You need to watch the output impedance of your source equipment and input impedance of your amplifier. An active pre will take almost any source without problems, because it has a very high input impedance. Then it goes through the gain stages and output is based on the volume control. With a passive pre you only add impedance to the source signal. So if your source signal is very low (or very high impedance) you may not be able to play that source at realistic volumes.
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