Passive intergrated Amps

Sorry if this has been discussed before...

A lot of my friends here in London have a simple 2ch, which they use for CD replay only. We tend to spend about £1000 to 2000 on the entire system (Arcam/Creek/Linn etc) I was wondering if anyone made a 'passive integrated' (i.e. no pre amp gain, etc, just an attenuator) obviously accepting only line level inputs (most of us hook up only a CD anyway)

Not having a needless headphone circuit would be a plus too.

Anyone heard of such an animal?

The 47 Labs Gaincard amp with built-in volume attneuator may fit the bill. Also, If you already own a power amp the Luminous Audio AXIOM passive preamp for $150 is pretty damn good.
Hmmm... the gaincard does sound tempting, but I was looking at the $1500 level. Passive preamps I've heard of, but then that's adding another box... less room for me in my small London flat!

Thanks anyway..
Check out the Acurus DIA-100 and 150. They can be had for very good prices and are good bang for the buck.
They ARE integrated with a passive pre.
Happy Listening!
The Creek 5350SE pre-amp section is passive and provides no gain. Does have headphone jack though.


Someone is selling a 50wpc Gaincard on Audiogon for $1750.

The Luminous Audio AXIOM passive preamp is tiny. Much smaller than a VHS video cassette. It's so small because it doesn't do any switching. It has inputs and outputs for just one source.

Have a look!
integrated creek amplifiers is nothing else but passive volume control and the power gain stage.
Marakanetz, thats true for some Creeks, but, not all. It depends on the vintage. I'd suggest checking the archives on this subject.
Densen B-100 I think fits your description. In any case it's a nice sounding amp.
Why worry whether the integrated is passive or not ? Just buy the one that sounds the best.
I forgot about the Densen. Although I never had the chance to hear one, I always thought they looked cool.
Many of the affordable integrated amps today are actually passive. However, they do have lots of inputs that you don't need for your configuration. A good example is the Plinius 8100/8150/8200. BTW, a used 8100 at around $1000 US is a GREAT unit.

Considering your proposed configuration (CD source only), you have a potentially better option. Buy a killer CD player that has built in volume control and connect it directly to your amp. I have the Cary CD-308 running this way and it is wonderful! Plus it gives you REMOTE volume control so you don't have to get up off of the sofa!!

The nice thing about the CD w/volume control is that it provides flexibility. You can use it with a pre-amp or an integrated amp, but you can also use it with an inexpensive power amp. BTW, I saw a Roksan Caspian power amp on AudiogoN for $495. Add that to a good used Cary CD-308 and you will have a nice affordable system.

My System:

Cary CD-308
BottleHead Paramour SET monoblock amps
or Dodd 8 watt Stereo Tube amp
Reference 3a MM De Capo Monitors

Simple, but very nice!!!



link through to the "control" amplifier.
Gunbei, I own the densen, and it sounds really great to me (good mix of musicality with transparency) but I can't compare since I rarely listen to other amps (can't stand shopping). I don't like the looks personally ... too showy. The knobs on the front should be smaller and either silver or black.
The conrad-johnson CAV-50 tube integrated is a passive switcher and attenuator mated to a 50W tube amp.
Cheers for the help...

I guess I never realised that many of the newer integrateds w/o a phono stage are actually passive pre's. The Creek really surprised me, in that respect. Slaesmen just arent knowledgeable enough at this end of the market and that's a shame. That's why I count on the 'Gon anyway!

Thanha again

You mentioned brands that do nothing but SS. Are you limited to SS, or open to tubes? If so, remember that there's plenty out there in the way of 'passive integrateds' in the tube world, and if your a one source person, most of these only have one input anyway.

I've owned several integrateds, the only one I still have that I know has a 'passive' front-end is the Myryad MI-120. Great unit, but it does have a headphone jack, and I know you wanted to avoid that.
The Mistral Integrateds feature passive preamps. They sound very nice, too, and can be had for a good price on Agon. Yes, and they're made in the good ol' UK!
To create your own passive integrated amp, attach EVS Ultimate attenuators to the amp input RCA jacks. These are $350 new; used price is less when rarely available on Audiogon. has them for either tube or transistor amp and there is a 30 day money back trial period. Since you omit any interconnect between preamp and amp the saved money can go towards price of the attenuators.