FT Audio/ Passive Preamps - Comments?

Any feedback on this preamp? I would like to add switching capability to a simple SET based system, but would like to change the sound as little as possible and definitely not degrade it at all. The amp that I use (Audion Silver Night) has a single volume pot, but accepts only one line source. I have already tried a few good active preamps with this setup and they changed the sound quite a bit and it was not to my liking. Because of this I am now wondering if a passive preamp might do the trick. I had originally hoped to pick up a used preamp with phono (AI, BAT, etc.), but having already tried an AI (which I really like in a friends system) and hearing the difference it made to my setup I have a feeling that I may be wasting my time trying to combine an active preamp with this system, considering what my goal is. The true integrated version of my amp retails for $3200, so that's out and the Placette that has a very good rep is also too high considering that I will need to pop for a phono as well. Any suggestions? The most I would need to add to the system is a CD changer for my wife and a phono.
There are quite a few very happy owners over there. Do a search on the general asylum page for "FT Audio" there will be about 20 or 30 posts on the LW-1. Also, Paul Lam who is the distributer/partner in T audio hangs out there all the time. Do a search for his name and all his responses should come up.

I just looked everything again, so here are a few threads:







Thanks Dark: I was unable to search AA before, kept getting a message about three characters (not Manny, Moe & Jack) or something like that.
Do you have DIY cabilities? I've made six or seven passive preamps, the best using Shallco switches from The Parts Connection (with Holco resistors) and internal wire supplied by the Stealth cable designer. The only change I'd make with the TPC Shallco is to submit my own list of resistors planned for 1 db steps rather than the 2db (or more) they give you. Thir HUGE range of attenuation has the advantage of working with ANY system, but the chances are very great that you'll need many fewer steps and so can make them much smaller. Please get in touch if you'd like to pursue this. I've looked into a lot of commercial passives, and found none quite as good as one you can make yourself for less money. If a chassis is a problem, I might be able to help with that too.
Hi Dekay, long time no see (you gave me suggestions regarding DAC - Bel Canto or PT, etc. - a while ago). I happen to own FT audio. I haven't tried other passive, but this one is really really good from high to low. The usual caveat people mention about passive does not apply here. You may want to email Paul, who is extremely nice. Yes, I bet this would be your best $500 investment ever. Oh, there is another new forum for FT Audio here. http://harmonicdiscord.com/forums/ Ken
Tom Nice,

Which commercial models have you compared your DIY model to? The Little Wonder? Others?

Thanks for all the input. I may take you up on your offer, Tom. I am electronically ignorant, but do have the assembly skills (I assume that they are still present in my brain and hands anyway). A good thing about DIY (other than the price and perhaps the quality, depending on my skill level) is that I intend on bypassing the RCA's on whatever I use and hardwiring it instead with the 47 Labs OTA cable. This is the only way that I can justify all of these additional connections and it may void the warranty on a pro unit (I will ask FT first when I get to that point as this may not be the case). I think that I will start by asking a friend to bring his Creek passive by the next time he is in my area (just to see what effect it has on the mids in my system as I understand that it may influence the lows and highs a bit). I have never used a passive, though I suspect that the volume pot in my amp, may be just that. I had also hoped that I would be able to place the Alps pot (already on my amp) at it's optimal level, which might actually improve the sound of my setup if the other passive does not get in the way and works well within it's volume pot range. This is all guess work, but it seems that this might be the case. I just secured a TDS Passive Audiophile this morning (always wanted to try one), so abruptly ran out of funds for the passive preamp addition, but will start selling stuff out of the closet on Ebay to raise the funds. I just realized that we already have a CD changer (for my wife) which is contained in the Pioneer PDR-W839 CDR that is resting in the spare room right now, so I am sure that she will be up for the addition of a preamp, once she understands that she can just flip a switch and then use the changer for background music. I intend on hardwiring the TDS as well as it does not come with a warranty.
Dekay -

Wish you would get out more? Meaning visit other sites :) About the FT Audio, I got one last summer to bypass / upgrade the volume control in my AA ddev3.0 dac. Being a tube-head I rightly struggled with staying the passive route or going tube pre. I'm happy with my choice, once you've gone passive it's tough to lose that transparency and dead quiet. My system was/is not lacking in what tubes provide so that made the choice easier - but not EZ. Plus the LW-1 is a much less expensive route than a nice tubed pre. I love mine and thinking about a DACT attenuator and pure silver wire upgrade. Tom is right, I've heard that you can put together a killer passive for cheap if you got the time / skill / knowhow.

Mike: I don't use a preamp at all, so am just trying to preserve the sound that I do have. It's kind of an odd perspective when going from an SET that already has a volume pot as the different preamps that I have tried sound "way different" and completely alter the sound that I already have. I guess the only way to find out is to plug a passive in (to the IC's anyway) and give it a try.

I am using a Stan Warren DACT 1 buffered passive. This is the best possible way to get the "pure" sound. He still builds them if you are interested.