Passive Preamps

I have the EVS "Nude Attenuator" RCA version which costs $225. I didn't evaluate others such as the Placette Audio, Art Audio, etc. My preference is the type that eliminated one interconnect and mounts directly to the back of the amp's RCA. Has anyone done cross comparisons between passive preamps? I have seen passive preamps as high as $1000. My system - Sony SACD player, Harmonic ProSilway II interconnects and a Bel Canto EVo 200.2 Digital amp.
I recently asked Placette audio about passive preamp comparisons and was told to my surprise that there are huge differences between passive designs. Apparently, my PS Audio running in passive mode is not very transparent compared to the Placette unit. I am going to try the Placette unit this summer when I can raise the cash. If you are interested in comparing, they have a trial period on their products which you could compare and get your money back if you don't hear any differences. Hope this helps.
The Adcom GFP-750 works extremely well as a passive.
I have owned EVS units in the past, so if your into passives his are the best. With only one Vishay resistor in the line you can't get more simple than that. That's why his cost are so low. I have stoped using them because after many years I had felt that the dynamics were lacking. I would be curious if some of these other units address this problem. Best and Good Luck.
I have a reference line preeminence 1 series 2 that I am extremly happy with. It's a $1500 preamp that I got for $425. I will never ever go back to a powered preamp again. And what is cool is I will never have to upgrade it. No powersupply or circuits that could be improved in a newer model because it doesn't have any. No power to be corrupted. And the dynamics are amazing with so much air around instruments and a very dark and quiet background. But don't ever put line conditioning on your amp for the best dynamics. I think sometimes people confuse the cleaner sound, quieter background, and a pushed back soundstage for a loss of dynamics. I don't know maybe they just got a week frontend or a bad combo or something. All I know is I got way better dynamics since the signal is kept very pure. Hope this helps.
I use a homemade passive built around Shallco "true ladder" attenuators from The Parts Connection, and use a Cinepro Line Balancer, and have plenty of dynamics from a Pass Aleph 3. A good digital output stage is doubtless part of the story of this success. My passive beats a CAT SL-1 III with factory-simplified signal path--much quieter.
I too own a Reference Line passive unit, the preemminance 2 to be exact. There ARE substantial differences between passive units. Before the Reference Line unit, I owned a McCormack TLC and was quite happy with it. Then on a whim, I picked up a Reference Line Preemminace 1, Series 2 with a direct input. I thought that passive pre amp comparisons would be an excersie in sublte differences. What a difference! Rich open soundstage and stunning dynamics and bass impact. It made the TLC sound thin in comparison. No dynamic compression here. In fact, my wife kept telling me to turn it down. That was over 3 years ago and since then I have tried about a dozen highly regarded active pre amps in the $2000-$5000 USED price range. Some were tubes and some were solid state. Some were quite nice to listen too. But after a week or so, I could pick at the sound and the results were always the same...loss of transparency and loss of dynamics...EVERY time. Put the Reference Line unit back in and the music was thrilling once again. Just goes to show that there are some myths out there that are just that, MYTHS. A well designed passive pre amp will INCREASE the dynamics of your system. The Reference Line units are the best pre amps I've tried and that includes other passives. They are absolute steals on the net and are drop dead beautiful. The only thing you need to be aware of is that the source components need to have an output impedance of less than 200 ohms. Not too much of a challenge for most solid state stuff but can be difficult for a lot of tube gear.
I am interested in using a passive pre-amp in my system but am curious if it would sound better than going direct from cd. I currently own a reference line power amp and would naturally use its matching pre, but i am not sure if this would sound better than running a wadia 830 or cal audio cl-20. For the most part i only listen to one source. So my question is should i go the passive route or look at purchasing one of the above cd players. I have personally found running cd direct into the amp has led to aloss in dynamics, at least with the players i have heard. Supposedly both wadia and cal audio share the same digital attenuation stage. If any one could offer some advice please do.