dCS Debussy as preamp

How good is the level control in dCS Debussy without preamplifier?
dCS Debussy is very expensive and I do not have money for a good preamp.
I read the opinion that in Paganini and Puccini very poor volume control and listen them without preamplifier is bad. What about dCS Debussy direct to power amps?
I have considered getting the DCS Debussy and feeding it straight to active speakers but I read on stereophile that activating preamp function of the Debussy does not show its best side so did not make the purchase. It's less of a money issue but more of a convenience thing for me. I have no analogue sources! I went for a Total DAC instead. Sure it is not anywhere near as sleek but....
Consider perhaps the MSB analog DAC? I think it is around the same price and it is just as sleek.
the dCS are actually pretty good at volume control in the context you're considering...if you were to spend another 5-10k on preamp, you might prefer "some" things the preamp does..but likely not all. The most transparent sound usually comes from the dCS straight to the amps...

I"ve owned a Puccini and now Scarlatti. I've mostly used a preamp...but I had a top flight preamp on hand...
Wonderful_electric, USB-input on MSB-technology DACs is not good.

Jfrech, I have heard dCS Scarlatti and its built-in volume control I liked. How the volume control of Scarlatti compared to Debussy?
Thanks for the info Crow. So I am a little glad not to have gotten a MSB.
But why not get the MSB and match it with an audiophileo then? And if you are using a desktop, slot a SOTM USB card in for safe measure. So there you have it internal noise suppression plus external re-clocking! Or do you not like MSB in general?
The_crow - the volue in both DACs (Scarlatti and Debussy) is exactly the same. I'm puzzled by Stereophile comments, to say at least.

I have owned both Puccini and Scarlatti, and always prefered the direct connection. At the time I got the Puccini, I also had the ARC Ref-3 preamp, which I quickly sold, as I preferred the direct connection. I have also tried several preamps in the $15-20k range, with similar findings.
Besides dCS Scarlatti I tried direct connection of Weiss DAC202. Weiss is also digital adjustment. It's a good DAC, but quality control was low. Distortion-free only up to -10 decibels.
Now I'm afraid to digital volume control of dCS and others...