Placette RVC vs. Placette Active?

Functionality aside, how does the sound differ between the $1000 Remote Volume Control unit and the $6995 Active unit?
I read about this on the Placette website, but it didn't seem very informative to me. Thanks.
I compared the placette active to the placette passive (not the RVC) in a setup that did require a somewhat long interconnect to the amplifiers, so the passive was not in an ideal setup. Under these conditions, the active sounded more lively and "vivid." Even the active does not actually have gain (it has a unity gain buffer), but that is usually enough gain for most applications these days.

I think the Placette active is a really nice sounding linestage for the money. My only issue with it has to do with functional concerns. While I like the small steps between volume settings (which is what Placette offers with something like 128 steps), the first step up from off can, in certain systems be too loud, necessitating the use of some other in-line attenuation. Also, I would have preferred having a balance control.
Thanks Larry! By the way, I also owned those Stax Omega phones I see in your system. (I later switched to dynamics and good headphone amps as technology progressed).
I was actually considering either using the Placette on its own or adding it between my (tubed) preamp and amp and seeing which setup sounds better.
If you do not need buffering to match source, ICs, to amp, I would expect the RVC to be a better choice, but many systems do need some buffering, especially if you run long ICs, and in that setting the Active would be preferable - so nothing inherent to either independent of system context . I agree that a balance control would have been nice (I owned both) - I good alternative would be the BENT Tap-X (which I also owned), which also has the benefit of volume control and does address impedance matching in a way the RVC can't, and much cheaper than the active. In a proper system, I would choose the Lightspeed Attenuator over any of them (though it does lack balance control).
08-08-11: Pubul57
In a proper system, I would choose the Lightspeed Attenuator over any of them (though it does lack balance control).

Hi Paul, I also do a twin mono L&R volume control version for $35 extra, just thought I'd let you know.

Cheers George
Clio09 (Antony)
Just ordered one.

Cheers George
A friend has a passive linestage built around a light sensitive resistor/LED element (like the Lightspeed, though I am not sure of the brand he is using). Like the Placette, that device offers a large number of steps of attenuation. He uses it in an ideal setup (very short interconnects and very high input impedance of the amplifier that it feeds). I really like the sound of that linestage. However, we did an informal comparison with a VERY good active tube linestage and found it a touch less dynamic, particularly at lower volumes; that seems to be the story with ALL the passives I've heard. The best in this respect are the transformer passives. I bet that the advantage of those devices is that, instead of attenuating by wasting energy as heat, a transformer converts the voltage to current when stepping down voltage for lower volume. My problem with transformer passives has to do with the few steps offered--it always seems to be the case that the desired volume is between adjacent steps.
The BENT has a pretty large number of steps, no? Don't remember exactly how many, but thought it was 61 - let me check - memory not what it use to be:)
The dual mono LSA in addition to balance feature also has very fine adjustment of volume.

I just ordered a second LSA. My original is now in our demo room at the shop. While I'm waiting for my new one I'm using my Slagle autoformer passive. This unit which I built using the Slagleman modules co-designed with John Chapman offers stepped volume controls that incorporate a large step switch (3.75 dB) and trim switch that in combination can accomplish attenuation in 1.25 dB steps. In comparison, the S&B transformers sold for DIY projects and used by other manufacturers were mostly 24 step designs with very large steps at the beginning, then tapering off to 2 dB steps. Bent and others circumvented that but it came at a price.

FWIW there is not a lot of difference between the Slagle and LSA. I would give the LSA the advantage though and as of yet, I have not heard an active line stage come through my system that exceeded the purity of either of those passives, and especially the LSA. I have my own opinion to contribute to the debate on dynamics and I'm not going to rehash them here, you can read that elsewhere. Suffice it to say I'm not using an active preamp and have no plans to do so in the future.
What is the Difference between the Placette and the LSA in SQ?