There is rarely a component that excels so much in it's category, it has no competition. Although, I've heard (not listened to) the new Foundation Research V6 tube preamp has no competition and no remote.
If there are competitive products, I would have no problem holding out for the runner-up component that includes a remote, which I consider a very important option.
I'll probably save money in the process anyway, and could possibly make up the performance somewhere else in the chain via cabling, electrical tweaks, line conditioning, etc..
In top quality components the remote control requires a big extra stretch from your budget. I usually do no sacrifice this way but if I get some used component with remote that I like - why not.
I currently listen to the setup pretty close so I'm not lazy to get up and adjust the volume.
How about remote for the turntable or LP-changer?
Any high quality units out there?
i think a remote is most valuable for being able at the listening position to dial in the exact volume which makes a recording come to life. but unless you're a mega buck perfectionist you can use a creek unit in the tape loop, or even downstream of your preamp with minimal loss, and save a lot of bucks over buying a component only because of the remote.
This is very much a personal preference issue with no real right or wrong opinion. For myself I think a remote control is mandatory. Convenience is important, but the ability to set volume and channel balance from the listening spot are true audiophile considerations. Until I acquired the Rowland Concentra I never had a component that allowed for remote balance control. I never really thought much of it, but now I consider it an essential feature. It amazing what just a slight adjustment in channel balance can do to the stereo aspects of a recording.
It used to be, but not anymore. In fact with my first high end preamp (Audio Alchemy DLC) it precisely met my selection criteria at the time (1. simple purist design, 2. remote control for volume 3. upgradiblity 4. little to no other features). but since getting the tube monoblocks, I traded for a 4m interconnect and now place my new tube preamp next to my chair along with my Cd player. I don't need a remote control now, since I just lean over and turn the knobs. Same thing with the cd player - AND I OWN A CAROUSEL!
Really remotes aren't that big of a deal. if I had my preamp and sources between the speakers again, I might think hard about a remote. But I probably still wouldn't get one. We didn't have a remote controlled anything at home until 1994 when we got a remote controlled 19inch TV and a VCR (finally). Also bought a *gasp* garage door opener. Our TV before that was a "reagan-era" 13inch with knobs, V-hold, 300ohm RF input, the whole deal. And you had to get up to change the channel. And this was when I was still in high school in 1994. LOL. So yeah, I don't think a remote control is that big of a deal. I would NOT pass up a component just because it didn't have a remote control. Now if I can't *afford* it, that's another story. No remote? Who cares...
For some real fun, give a kid today a old TV without a remote (preferably an old one with vaccuum tubes). What him try to figure out what v hold is and try to adjust the aerial (rabbit ears) on top. LOL. No wait. That was 2001 and in my CEOs office last year. (and I'm gonna get fired, LOL!) Granted it wasn't an older tubed model, but it did have an aerial. LOL. Trained engineers too.
You want to laugh? This summer I spurged and bought a 36inch toshiba flat screen, and a JVC SVHS VCR (high end pro model). I didn't even open up the remotes. They are still wrapped. I'm keeping them in prestine shape for the next owner. He can have them. I'd just assume not use them. :-/ Call me weird.
24 and remoteless,
Answer to your last question: No way dude!
I don't care about remote control at all.
I only care at my outside work office. But then, even there the only button I use is "MUTE" on the integrated amplifier.
It is a personal preference. I like one, but only for basic features; mute, play, etc. However, I am willing to sacrifice convenience for play quality. I recently did this by going from a 5 CD carousel player to a single disc. So now, instead of having to change CD's once every 5 hours I have to get off the couch every hour. Less convenient yes, but the sound is so much better....
Call it my daily exercise routine.
Remote controlled volume is very important to me, and does play a part in what components I consider for purchase.
I like a remote control, because (in the way of an adolescent!) I like to listenting to certain passages with more volume than others sometimes. Volume is the most important feature of a remote control for me. In addition, since I don't have a dedicated listening room, sometimes listening is interrupted with (gasp!) conversation with another member of my household (like my girlfriend), and I don't like to have to jump up off the couch to tell her where the rivet gun is (or something...).
So, a remote control preamp (for volume) OR a CDP with analog volume control and remote is a must for me. Maybe I haven't heard the highest of the high ends yet - enough to convince me to forego.
Performance is the top priority. I must admit that I like my remote for the same reasons as stated by others but I wouldn't miss it if it were gone. I still shift gears in my real car.
remote is important - you don't know how much you'll like it until you have it, then won't want to do without anymore
I've owned a Blue Circle BC21 preamp which doesn't have a remote for almost a year. I guess the remote would be convenient and that's probably why Gilbert Yeung built one in to the newer units, but I've found that I can get around it since I usually listen only at 9 o' clock or somewhere between 8 and 9. I don't change the volume much so it'a not an issue for me. However, for my home theater I couldn't imagine living without my RC2000 mkII.
I imagine that it's a rare audiophile who doesn't trade some measure of sonic performance for convenience. After all, are your cables welded to your components, or do you allow yourself the flexibility to easily change them out? Why have a volume control? If you were really serious wouldn't you just solder in and out a single set of resistors every time you wanted to change level? A source selector switch on a preamp is clearly a source of sonic degradation. If sonics was paramount, then wouldn't you cut your welded interconnects and weld on the interconnects from the new component? You can see where I'm going with this. Clearly convenience does play a factor.
Well said, Onhwy61. Not to mention soldering the components AC wires directly to the service panel which is no less than 6 inches away that has nothing else soldered to it.
So much for the ivory tower syndrome.
Now hold on, guys. Before you put me in the ivory tower category, please realize that I thought that we, as audiophiles, were striving for the "ivory tower" of audio. I agree that if we can get the performance we want, with a remote control included, that is great. In my case, I either couldn't afford that performance level w/remote, or it just couldn't be had w/remote. My main question was, would you pick a 2nd choice in performance, simply because it had a remote, and your 1st choice didn't. The question was posed because I saw an example in my friend, who sacrificed huge levels of performance, because the remote was the most important thing for him. I have noticed a sentiment toward this idea on this site, and was wondering how deep it goes. Of course, I realize that some things are done in the name of convenience in all equipment, such as some of you mention like interconnects. But I think that skirts the issue. I am wanting to find out how much influence the mass market, Home Theater, and extraneous bells and whistles is having on our hobby. Since the ubiquitous remote control is the number one feature in the low-to-mid fi category, it is a good guage. At one time, the presence of a remote control simply screamed "mid-fi". No serious audiophile would take any component seriously that was equipped with one. Now it seems that many audiophiles wouldn't take a component seriously that does not have one. Perhaps another question would be appropriate here. Do you believe that the remote control adds cost, and degrades performance at it's price point? And are you willing to accept those negatives, simply because you don't want to get up off the couch?
I would not disagree with your thoughts as convenience to some level is always present (volume control, etc). I would love the George Jetson life. However, I feel it is more of an issue of opportunity cost. What is more important to me, spending time soldering cable and thus enjoying better sound or using that time to play with my kids, read, etc.? For ME, it is usually playing with my kids, etc.
Maybe when they are older, we can solder together.
Twl, obviously for me I chose performance over the remote, but on my limited budget I was trying to scrape all the performance I could get.
It sounds like your friend was dealing with much higher end equipment and therefore probably couldn't justify buying such a big ticket item that didn't have a remote.
On the topic of convenience, I find that a remote is vital in my home theater with all the different components and listening modes.
Also, the size of the room and the distance from listening chair to equipment is a strong factor. In a large HT room I think a remote would have to be considered as carefully as any other piece of gear in the system.
On the other hand, My 2-channel environment is something I would consider to be somewhat near-field. I sit in a Herman Miller Aeron chair which is easily adjustable and is on rollers so I can move backward or forward in relation to my setup which is only 6-7 feet away. And, I only use two or three volume settings on those big dark cherry knobs. Nooo, I'm talking about volume and source!!
From a psychological stand point my guess is that I perceive 2-channel as being superior, so maybe in my search for purer unadulterated sound I'm able to discount a remote much easier for than I am when watching movies.
Twl, I'm not really sure there's such a clear cut distinction between convenience and performance. Consider tonearm VTA adjustments. Since getting VTA spot on is critical to performance and the correct setting can differ from record to record, then is an adjustable VTA feature a performance item or is it convenience? At first it appears to be a performance issue, but if the adjustment cannot be easily, accurately and quickly performed, in other words conveniently, then how likely is the user to optimally adjust the VTA? In other words the lack of convenience could lead to lowered performance. (Didn't someone actually make a tonearm with remote control adjustable VTA?)
Regarding cost, nothing is for free, and a properly implemented, audiophile remote control that covers just the basic preamp functions (source, volume, balance and mute) has to increase the price. I imagine that for purist oriented tube equipment that the added cost can be quite significant.
Onhwy61, yes I'd like on-the-fly VTA. But I don't really need it to be motorized/remote. I could get up to do it. I think that part would lead to degradation of sound, because when you motorize something, it depends on the motor bearings for stability, and probably would not sound as good. I'd definitely go for a manual on-the-fly VTA if it was made right.
On the cost issues, that is part of my point. For the money that gets put into remote controls and stuff, people could get higher parts quality instead, and reap better sound for the same money. I like convenience, but I don't want to trade performance off for it.
Twl, check out the Townsend Audio website. They just introduced a remote controlled, motorized VTA adjustment.http://www.townshendaudio.com/products/rockreference/rockreference.htm
I agree with Bob_bundus. When I am doing serious listening this often means changing listening level from track to track - just a bit, but an important bit. Being able to switch through CD tracks I don't enjoy is also important to me. On balance, Remote control allows a different and important flexibility for serious listening.
Remote is essential.....why settle for less? Would you buy expensive HD widscreen TV with no remote feature?. Sit back enjoy your stereo from the comfort of you chair in complete control with your remote.
I like a remote for the previous said reasons. Knowing the phase is changed correctly is easier to hear from the sweet spot
Onhwy61, you know you are going to contribute to my demise as the last hard-core non-remote using audiophile on the face of the earth! That link was pretty cool! Some very nice looking stuff.
I'm curious about the comments on the Foundation Research V6 preamp. Those are bold statements for a product you haven't heard. Who told you the preamp was soooo great? The dealer??
I heard of retailers waiting several years to get a hold of these units only to drop the line in frustration. So I'm curious to know of anyone outside of Mr. Wolkow's inner circle of friends who has actually heard the V6 unit?? I'd love to HEAR it....
Remote's are very convenient and a desirable feature, but i can't find any preamps that i like that have a remote. If i could find one, it would probably be out of my price league anyhow. As such, i've got four out of five systems with no remote volume control. The only one that does is my HT system. Sean
PS... The older and fatter you get, the more likely you are to want a remote. The only problem with this is that the older and fatter that you get, the more likely you are to need the excersize : )
I like to control the volume to different levels for different songs on even a single CD.
As many know Im into hard rock,metal,nu-metal and the never to die,classic rock.
If there's a song that rocks hard,'ll give it a crank.If its a rock ballad I may turn it down a bit.
I think tweaking the volume to 'the right' satisfaction level is crucial for enjoyment.
If I had to get up during one CD to make possibly several volume adjustments,I'd be missing a lot of the music.
I also like to be able to skip over the weak songs without having to get up.
When I buy a preamp (Im on my 7th or 8th) now.If it doesnt have a remote I move on.
I admit,there have been a couple preamps I wanted that didnt provide a remote and I was bummed.