@mrdecibel, I did as you suggested but didn't like the sound. It sounded "thin" to me, for lack of a better word. I switched back from the rec out to the pre out. I like the sound better this way. My question is why is it bad or at least different if the preamp influences the sound with its volume and tone? Forgive my ignorance also, but can you clarify what you mean by gain stage? It is louder the way I have it now. Is that what you mean? Finally, does my preamp "color" the sound that is given off by the Belles’ amplification? Can the improved separation and resolution of the music provided by the Belles still be aided by whatever musicality is added by the Belles? I’m not being argumentative; I’m curious and relatively inexperienced, so I welcome your input.