This garbage and that garbage. (Both have rave reviews I think).
You need good passive preamp? - look transformer based - Promithoud, Bent(?) etc
The Placette is a simple resistor ladder, consisting of very closely matched Vishay Bulk Foil resistors, two total per channel, per attenuation level. The power supply for the remote function is housed separately from the attenuation(signal) circuit, and it sports OFC RCAs. Bottom line: It is as completely transparent as the best interconnects you might find to hook up to it. No "garbage" about it. If you want the best and most transparent in a passive linstage, the Placette is it. I owned one for a couple years, and(unfortunately) needed gain to feed my SPL addiction.
What about the Sonic Euphoria? Although Stereophile gives the Placette a class A rating and the Sonic Euphoria a B, I read the review and comparison, and it seemed more of a tradeoff in sonic strengths than one being clearly superior.
And the Sonic Euphoria can provide a little bit of gain and is less finicky about interconnect lengths.
Would it be an "upgrade" for me?
That will depend on your system. Gain is something that needs to be taken into account when using a passive unit as it needs to be provided by the source and the amp only. Some passive units provide a bit of gain to address the possible lack of gain issue with some systems.
I highly recommend the Promitheus Audio C-core TVCs. They are transformer-based, dual-box designs. It was a revelation to me how having a switch selector and volume control for each channel can render images so accurately. This feature is rare in the realm of preamps, regardless of price. Promitheus TVCs may be lacking some ergonomic features, but judging from their sound performance in the right system, I think you need to spend way a lot more money to get this kind of fast, articulate, grain-free and harmonically-correct sound.
If you really need volume control, then you should look at the new Bent Audio TVCs. I'm not sure, but I think the Bent units provide a bit of extra gain.
Hello iSanchez. I misspelled "Promitheus Audio" and you are correct - C-core improves. I had it - its great with Spectron monoblocks because you have enough bass and fantastic 3D sound stage - with other amps its good but its only sub $1k preamp...
Bent is also good but Promithieus finish is unbelivable and I have a weakness for nice looking audio equipment.
Did you ever hear Placette? dry, dry, dry...
Perhaps you don't know what the term, "transparent" means. You don't "hear" a Placette AT ALL. If what is passed to your amp is "dry", that's what your source is delivering. Some people prefer colorations/inaccuracies in their reproduction. If this is what you are seeking, the Placette will not deliver, as it will add(or subtract) nothing to(or from) the signal. If you want to hear exactly what the source is delivering, the Placette is the passive for you.
I have had the Adcom and currently have the Placette with Merlin speakers. The Placette was significantly better in every way. On my system the Adcom sounded brittle and bright while the Placette, still slightly on the dry side, toned down the highs, solidified the imaging and had a more coherent presentation. I would recommend the Placette over the Adcom. I cant comment on the other passive preamps.
What is being compared here, the Placette remote volume control (passive) or the Placette active linestage (unity gain, but it utilizes an active buffer stage). I own, though I no longer use, the Placette Active. In my system, the Active was more dynamic and musically engaging than the passive remote volume control.
I have used a Placette with Merlin's as well. It was a huge improvement over an audio research pre I had previous to it. Incredibly clean sound, very smooth. I now have a Joule but have kept the Placette as I couldn't part with it. the Joule may be a bit more euphonic but not as detailed. I enjoy them both. It's been a while since I had the placette in the system. I guess the real test that says it works in my system, is the I am looking forward to hearing it in the system again with a degree of excitement, it performed that well in certain ways.
I never heard the Placette, although I was considering it while I was looking for a passive unit.
I really don't know what or why it is, but in my system the Promitheus C-core TVC sounds amazing. I'm running an all balanced system, and the C-core TVC is a true balanced design. I ordered my dual-box C-core TVC with two balanced inputs, one RCA input and two balanced outputs. I tried the RCA input first and I have to admit that it was not nearly as good as the balanced inputs. Again, I don't know why this is, but this TVC mates really well with the rest of my system as it is.
Also, this unit has responded extremely well to the cable updates I've introduced recently, which is a concern I had.
I have used the Placette RVC, Active, K&K SB102, and the Bent TAP with autoformer. The Placette Active was noticeably (it too very little time to notice) better than the RVC in my system, much better bass drive and control and I don't think it had much to do with impedance matching or sensitivity - my system is very passive friendly. The K&K for some reason simply did not have the dynamic drive of the Placette Active. The Bent Tap with autoformer (I suspect the K&K would be very similar to the Bent Tap with the SB 102 transformer)was the best of the lot in my system with the Placette Active a close second. Ultimatley, while I loved what all of these passives did not do (they all sounded very good, and certainly good values compared with comparable actives), at the end of the experimentation I always came back to an active tube linestage - they simply sound more like live music to me, and of the many I've tried the Dodd Battery preamp is the one that works best in my system (I also tried CAT, Joule, Lamm and ARC) - like passives, it is also off the grid making for exceptionally quiet S/N performance with a livelier performance that always seemed out of reach with passives. I do think that passives are a great alternative to much more expensive actives, but I think the end of the road will take you to a quality tube preamp.
I agree with you Pubul57 at the end of the road but for the $'s, especially second hand, at least in my system, the Placette RVC definitely took my system up a significant notch. BTW - I haven't heard the Dodd but suspect it is a great value and I appreciate the low totally black background that being off the grid brings. In fact, I think that is something I really liked about my placette vis-a-vis the Joule.
"I really don't know what or why it is, but in my system the Promitheus C-core TVC sounds amazing...."
I think I know why: a) you are not deaf and b) you do not buy "Recommended Component" and c) the monoblocks take care of a few weaknesses of this unit - 1 its flat a bit as all passive units but your monoblock create this "palpability" or "holographic imaging" and 2 Spectron more then enough compensate for weak bass of ALL passive units
So, you have all advantages of this TVC-gorgeous finish - box and none of its disadvantages.
I neaver audition active Placette and thus I can't comment - except I never audition solid state preamp I liked in my life.
All The Best
Thanks for your insights into the TVC subject. I totally agree with you on the Spectron mono-blocks complementing the Promitheus C-core TVC. I'm still amazed at the sound the Spectron amps provide.
Promitheus Audio has some technical explanations
about TVC and impedance, which I think can be very helpful.
There is also this Bent Audio thread
that covers the impedance subject as well.