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I just recently bought a Placette passive on the used market. The volume control was damaged in shipping (it appears to be quite fragile) and I called Guy Hammel about service. He told me to Superglue it??? I don't really want to do that so I am using it with the remote control so I don't have to fiddle with the volume control. I am not sure if you will like the way the volume works as it is very hard to judge the correct volume settings. Just my opinion. As far as sound, the unit seems to be very transparent having no real sound of its own. I say this after listening for several weeks. The Placette does not add anything or subtract from the sound. You will find that the volume is very hard to adjust because of the control and because the unit is so transparent. Sometimes I have to turn the volume down because I really didn't know I had it up so loud. Dynamics are really pretty good for a passive. Much better than my previous passive controller. Hope this helps.
I have had the Placette Audio Active Linestage in my system for the last 6 months. I have found it to be absolutely outstanding...and getting better with time. Very transparent and allows for excellent detail. I find it to be better in A-B comparison to Krell and Levinson. I a-b'd it with a Morrison ELAD for 2 months and found them to be sonically quite similar.....but in the end I preferred the sound of the Placette which was a touch less bright. Perhaps a better match with my other components. Also I needed the convenience of the remote. You can't really go wrong with either!!!!
If you do not need your preamp to add or mask some character, I don't think you could do any better than the buffered version of the Placette. I have not found either a SS or tube preamp to better it despite trying everything I could get my hands on. If you want the purely passive model, then you are getting a fantastic bargain, but with some of the trade-offs of a passive pre. I find passive pres give wonderful resolution, transparency and microdynamics, but will always be somewhat underdone in macrodynamics, but the passive Placette is so good you may not care. In terms of sound, they are kind of "not there", but all the music is certainly there, except for a slight degree of added sparkle (but not brightness).