I've played in the past with a ensemble dac/player combination. I thought there will be not that many improvement by adding a pre-amplifier, i was wrong.
After adding a CAT SL1 ultimate mkII dynamics and 'air' where improved much, also the bottom end was much more dynamic.
Of course this is entirely an example of the preamp adding
euphonic distortion. If the CAT SL1 were the proverbial
"straight wire with gain" - then there would be no
difference whatsoever. [Presumable the DAC was capable of
driving the amplifier input w/o any need for gain or
Now the fact that you prefer the music with the CAT SL1 in
the chain is entirely legimate. If you like it - then
keep using it.
However, it does demonstrate a case where the addition of
a "signature" or distortion to the signal actually makes
the music sound better.
If the music has "air" with the CAT SL1 that it doesn't have
without the SL1 - then clearly the SL1 is *adding* that
"air" to the signal.
Dr. Gregory Greenman