Passive preamps: What are the relevant numbers?

I'm trying to decide whether I am going to add a passive preamp to my system, but I've been reading that system compatability is very important. What numbers should I be looking at in the specs of my CD player (Rotel 1072), Amp (DNA 0.5) and Interconnects to judge whether a passive preamp might work well in my system?

I know that there was previously a thread about this, but it seems to have been deleted.
The McCormack amps have a very high input sensitivity. Basically because they were designed to work with Steve's TLC preamp ... which is passive. As long as your CD player has an output level that is close to the industry stardard (or above it), at 2 volts, you should be fine.

"As long as your CD player has an output level that is close to the industry stardard (or above it), at 2 volts, you should be fine."

Bob, that's the part that confuses me. According to the specs for the Rotel 1072, the output impedance is 100 ohms and the digital output is 0.5 volts, peak to peak. Are those the numbers I should be looking at?
Dave, if you are going analog out of CD player, then digital output is irrelevant. It is quite standard that analog output from standard CD players is at least 2.0 volts, you should be fine with a passive between the Rotel and DNA .5
I humbly suggest you search the archives.
In the context of your system, it seems the low output impedance of your CD player should be able to drive the amp. I'm not sure what your amps input impedance is, but if it higher than 40Kohms you shuld be fine. I would expect the Rotel's output voltage to be at least 2volts, more than enough to get full volume from your amps. You should try to keep the interconnect from the passive pre to the amps to less than one meter (the cable can be longer if you have low capacitance cables - less than 20pf/ft).
I'm not sure what your amps input impedance is, but if it higher than 40Kohms you shuld be fine
Do you consider this a general rule of thumb where passives are concerned, that they feed into loads of >40K ohms? Why is this?
I got that as "general rule of thumb" from the manufacturer of my passive - but I don't know the technical reasons. I do know that the higher the input impedance of the amp (the 100kohm typical of tube amps seems to be ideal) the better, it is - an easier "load", and the lower the output impedance of the source the better (my DAC is 200 Ohm output impedance). The other factor is adequate voltage from the source (CDs are typicall 2 volt and up - more than adequate for most applications) and a low input sensitivity for the amps (I have a 1.5v and 835 mv sensitivity on my two amps, the 1.5v amps are more than senstive enough). It is probably ideal to have the output voltage twice the amount of the amps input sensitivity. The you want low capacitance in the IC going from you pre to the amp - I read somewhere that less than 100pfs for the run is ideal.
Dave: the 0.5V you are looking at is the digital output. Line is 2V for most Rotel CDPs - standard. You are fine with a passive pre into DNA - keep the interconnecs not too long and of low impedance.
Well, my wife and I just finished the Bolero Test as described by Arthur Salvatore at Basically, we played Ravel's Bolero directly from the Rotel CD player to the Amp and bypassed the integrated amp completely. Our findings playing Bolero directly from CD player to amp:

1. The volume was much louder than our normal listening level.
2. Better separation of instruments.
3. No seeming lost of bass.
4. Horns seemed to be a little sharper. Brighter?
5. Sound seemed more natural.

We went back and forth a few times. The first time through, my wife didn't know what I was doing and made similar observations to the ones above. I preferred the sound without the integrated amp, although the horns were a bit sharp.

I'd be interested in doing this as a blind test, but we both thought the differences were very obvious. Will placing a passive amp in between the CD player and the amp likely result in similar results?

By the way, as recommended by Arthur Salvatore, we only played Bolero because it starts out soft. I was afraid to do it with another piece of music because the volume direct from CD player to amp was so loud.
There are several different types of passives. There's no real way to know how one would sound in a given system. You'll have to experiment.

Good luck
When you do the "Bolero" test, what are you looking for beyond a potential DC leakage hum/buzz?

I just did the Bolero test, but with different quiet music since I don’t have Bolero. I did not get any abnormal buzzing/noise. It was quite loud which brought out a lot of the recorded "hiss". Do I need to find a quieter recording to tell if this "hiss" is some sort of incompatibility [I am running 2M balanced ICs from my CDP to my amp]?

This hiss is also there when the pre is in the system, but I am not so sure it is the same level of hiss...I guess I need to spend more time on this. The recording I am using is great music, but poorly recorded. I’ll try finding a better recording.