A preamp can never make the sound more accurate, it can only degrade (it has its own frequency response, THD, etc.), though the degradation is usually not much of an issue for any good one.
Now, volume control and voltage gain are what many pre-amps can provide that many sources need.
However, the Oppo has been measured and shows its digital linearity (for volume control) is excellent, so no worry about worsening S/N as you decrease the volume; it also has more than enough voltage.
A preamp can never make the sound more accurate, it can only degrade
This statement is 100% correct. Going direct, has less distortion and colouration, is more transparent and dynamic.
An added preamp preamp, if prefered can only add colourations/distortions as a "band aid fix" for a "source sound" they don’t like.
Get a better source, instead of putting a very expensive bandaid on it. "The best preamp is no preamp."
Based on my limited experience, preamp is most important part after your speakers. You can read all the numbers and statements that logically sounds correct but if you add a good preamplifier, you understand why people use preamps.
p.s)Some DACs equipped with a in built preamp but still I prefer a separate preamp specifically a tube preamp!
OPPO degraded using a preamp? OPPO was designed as a bluray player with audio second in mind. Bluray players for music are a big nono IMO.
The preamp will always take the source and modify it according to it’s output. Remember, source is source, preamp and amp takes that source and runs it thru it’s circuitry.
Yes, end result changes. I’ve owned several OPPO’s, it was convenient for .flac files but I always ended up going back to the Simaudio i3 SE and Simaudio CD player for serious listening.
End result: bad recording, bad source does not get better, altho you can change it somewhat.
I believe the difference between those who like preamplification, vs. those who like passive, is as wide as analog vs digital, or tubes vs. ss. I have made my decision after owning some top tier preamps. My dacs drive my amplifiers beautifully, through passive units, and I simply hear more, of the recordings, then with top tier preamps in the systems. Not much more to talk about.
A preamp are the “lungs”, the poweramp :”the heart”. Just like that. A good préamp,gives a beautiful signal to the poweramp. It means, it is very important. In a integrated amplifier is off course,the preamp very important.. the big advantage is:much less cabling. You cann't match like you want, because it’s from the same brand.
As Ralph Karsten (atmasphere) has numerous times said here, a preamp-less system can work well IF the source component is up to the task of driving the power amp directly. If the source is NOT up to that task, the system may actually sound better with a pre-amp, as imperfect as it may be, inserted between source and power amp.
What are the requirements for a source component to be up to the task of driving a given power amp? Ralph has more than once listed them; hopefully a search of the Forum will bring up the related threads.
Maybe he’s like me and has a source he loves the sound of, and doesn’t need to colour it in any way by adding a preamp? Unless he could get one of those fabled preamps that have no sound and sounds just like a piece of wire, wait a second!! then that would be??? yes!!! like going direct!!!!
bdp24Enough output from the source to get it loud enough for you (which most are).
And a min of 1:10 impedance ratio, for output impedance of the source to the input impedance of the poweramp (which most are).
And if you don't like it, you don't like the sound of your source.
add something into the signal path and the results are like the optomotrist says, same, better, or worse
its on us if we feel we should introduce a dedicated line stage between the source and amp.
I feel that decision is based on what I hear. usually, I'm looking for naturalness and organics. I also feel if that is not what is going on I should try to achieve it. usually this means adding tubes, IMO.
tube pre amps can alter and or enhance the sound cheaper than a very good solid stae preamp can. usually.
it does not mean one needs more than a single source to chase that goose.
its merely a matter of preffs and certainly just one more choice in this past time..
lak said " Music customized to your liking ". System synergy. I said this on another thread. : " I believe an audio system, as a whole, should be able to " show forth " the recordings, in such a way, that when you are in your listening seat ( the sweet spot ), you are hearing your favorite artists and musicians, performing at their " finest ", in their chosen acoustic space, and you, are completely engulfed, and entertained, in the experience ". A final studio recording will not have a singer sound like he / she has a cold. They will record it on a day the voice is strong and competent. This is what I meant as " finest ". Imaging, spatial localization, ambience, are all being created by the recording and mastering engineers, as these characteristics are on the recordings. We all choose to hear our recordings with certain likes, wants and desires, whatever ways it gets us there. Passive, is " my way " to get their. Enjoy ! MrD.
I guess it depends on your definition. If your DAC/Source has a volume control then you are using a preamp. It may be rudimentary or elaborate but it is nonetheless a preamp. Some Dacs/Sources have exceptional inboard analog preamp circuitry while others may not.
For those that say they prefer the purity of no preamp, they are actually saying that they prefer the sound of THEIR source’s preamp rather than the sound of THEIR source’s preamp run through another outboard preamp.
For those with digital volume controls on their source that they prefer the sound of, they may be truncating the data. In those cases, a source with a digital volume control will typically sound better run at full volume (or the point on the source volume where data is no longer truncated) through a high quality preamp.
I have a $11k retail DAC which has a very nice analog output stage and volume control. It sounds really nice amp direct. It sounds even better through an Audio Research Reference preamp. YMMV.
THEIR source’s preamp??? Sorry there's no such thing!
The output buffer in the source is the same if it has a digital domain volume control or not. And only if that volume control goes below 75% of full does it start to "bit strip".
Many hiend source counter this by have a gain setting for the buffer stage, so then the digital volume control can be used at or above 75%. And if you have one that doesn't have the buffer gain setting or digital volume control the the answer is to leave it at full up and use an external passive volume control.
I have a $11k retail DAC which has a very nice analog output stage and volume control. It sounds really nice amp direct. It sounds even better through an Audio Research Reference preamp. YMMV.If that's the case then you don't like the sound of your source direct, and need to colour it with the AR preamp's colorations and distortions.
I used to own a dual mono TVC which I sold. The new owner claims that it bested a $12k Bespoke TVC. A TVC is a step-down attenuator, is what I understand. So the signal from source is toned down before being sent to the power amp.
I was pretty happy with the TVC for years. But when I replaced this TVC with an active preamp, the system gained musicality and life. There is a certain fullness that makes listening more pleasurable. Bass is rock solid and startling at times. I am amazed by what a great active preamp can bring to your system. And I had avoided an active preamp for 9 years thinking that they would distort or add fuzziness to the original sound from the source. Well, lesson learned!
The ARC preamp provides more of everything, especially the layering of instruments.It can’t make something from nothing, all it can do is to add colouration/distortion euphonics if you wish to call it that. If it’s not on the recording a preamp cannot make it. There is no voodoo in hifi!
I was pretty happy with the TVC for years. But when I replaced this TVC with an active preamp, the system gained musicality and life.TVC's are a "transformer based volume control" your lucky that's all you disliked about them.
I started a debate on this forum several years ago about the advantages and disadvantages of a preamp. I even took my preamp out of my system for awhile. I was searching for a clean and pure single, so I thought. Like many have reported here, one thing is certain, the sound of your system will definitely change.
After sometime listening without a preamp, I went back to a preamp and will never go down that road again. Preamps add so much to your system, and not having one eliminates much of the sublime beauty of recorded music for me.
The timing of the discussion couldn't be better for me ,
I've been using a Goldpoint passive preamp for years , 2 inputs one for my Carver SD/A 490t CD player and one for my phono preamp .
The CD player sounds FANTASTIC with the passive pa , it was the reason I explored a passive preamp because it had a volume control and I would connect directly to the amp , a McCormack DNA-250 .
The problem was the "volume control " , I've learned that I like the sound of a stepped resistor over an Alps .
Now my problem , when using a SS SimAudio Moon 110P phono preamp there was less bass than when using the CD player
( having a CD and record playing and switching back and forth ),
but not less enough to drive me crazy .
Now I have a Tavish Design Adagio and have been tube rolling trying to get the bass gain increased because it is less than the SS .
Yesterday I installed my old Carver CT-7 preamp and boom I had bass to compare with the CD player But being old and with a cheap volume control I lost a lot of detail .
I am back to using the Passive
and looking into a newer used active Preamp .
So if I only had a CD player like lilchris9 then a passive would be my nirvana , but adding the phono preamp complicates things a bit .