Is the remote controller a boon?

I came across
It made me think differently of pre/int amp that comes with a remote. Have manufactureres spent enough time/money/effort to make theire remote contollers right?
BAT sells remote contols at extra $500, and some would ask why so expensive when there are many recievers at under $200 with remotes?

Would you rather have a remote on your over $1000 pre/int amp at the cost of sonic degradation for conveniebce or not?
Or would you be willing to pay extra $500 for a remote that is made right and has zero interference with the sound?
Or, would you be rather without a remote than paying $500?
I think that remote control for at least volume level is essential, it is not merely a minor convenience feature. The that sounds best usually lies in a pretty small range of volume setting. It is hard to make a good adjustment except by sitting in the correct listening position. Balance setting is also easier to do with a remote, though one does not have to constantly change balance, so remote setting is not essential. I like linestages that provide for absolute polarity switching (phase), and that too is best judged by making a switch from the listening position.

Doing remote control the right way can be expensive. I like stepped attenuators for the volume control, but, only if a whole lot of steps are offered. Volume controls with 2 db steps are, to me, unacceptable. Stepped attenuators with a lot of steps, switched by relays, are not cheap to make.

As for the BAT remote control, it is really quite an amazing and flexible device. In addition to volume, balance and input selection, you can adjust the relative volume between inputs so they sound roughly the same in volume when you switch from one to another, you can name your inputs the way you want to (and in Russian or English), you can set a maximum volume level so accidentally blasting the volume can be avoided, you can switch absolute phase, and you can do a whole lot more than that by remote control.

My Levinson No. 32 has a remote that is similar to the BAT in terms of versatility. It also controls the built-in phonostage. By remote control I can try different loading settings for the cartridge, I can set channel balance independent of the overall system balance (to account for channel imbalance of the cartridge itself), I can turn a rumble filter on and off. In order to avoid the controls degrading the sound, all of the control elements are housed in one box and the actual amplification/switching components are in another box. When the remote is activated, the logic/control circuits only come on briefly to activate the switching relays so the electronics are not mucking up the sound except for the brief time of implementing the command. This type of implementation of remote control is not cheap to manufacturer or design.

My current tube-based linestage is much simpler, and so is the remote control. Still, the remote does the basics, which is to set volume (in 1/2 db steps) and balance and switch inputs.
I think most of the high end products buy a remote from a common source and do not design their own. I have a Krell remote that will work my older Theta Digital transport and in fact it does a better job than the one that came with the Theta. (Latter on, I learned that my Theta was not shipped with the correct remote and it really should have came with two remotes - a basic remote and a full function remote. It only had the basic remote that could not access all the transport functions. It was not until I got a Krell CD player that I really learned the full benefit of Theta's features. lol
Larryi, many thanks for your indepth post. Now I change my thought on my Rogue Magnum 99 remote -- one big heavy aluminum case with just volume contol. No mute or souce control. Now I think the Rogue remote is pretty cool!
When a small compay like Rogue and BAT spends much effort on their remote, some big shots out source their remotes?
Hi Ihcho,

I find a remote essential. Like Larryi articulated above, it's been my experience that better sound (with my particular room acoustics and equipment) for a particular song can normally be found within a prescribed volume range. For me, that's best accomplished while at the listening area. I have BAT gear.