pre amp basics

does the pre amp play any role in driving the speaker? For example, if I have a speaker that is difficult to drive and therefor I use a higher power amplifier, will the pre amp I chose make a difference in how well the speakers are driven?
what would be the difference between a passive pre amp and one with a considerable amount of gain in terms of driving the speakers and low volume listening?

I have dcm time window speakers. I was powering them with a creek 5350SE, which I returned due to malfunction. The creek was nice except at low levels. I would love to have a combination that is better in that department. Another problem was very fatiguing and harsh highs. I'm not sure what the cause of that is though. I'm waiting on a music hall cd 25 which may cure that problem. It could also very well be the room or maybe the tweeters. Well, that last part was off the original subject but nevertheless it is part of my quest for better sound. Any advice is appreciated. I'm just looking to learn. Thanks.
Matching a preamp to a power amp is part of system synergy, but it should not be as much of an issue as getting the right amp for your speakers. Aspects of your amp's design like damping factor and power bandwidth are far more important when choosing speakers than your preamp's characteristics.

When a system does not prove satisfying at low levels, the problem is much more likely to be one of resolution than of volume. We turn up the volume to hear more detail. It works, but only a little. Previously inaudible sounds can be heard a bit more easily but now we have to filter out the roar of the loud stuff. The only way to really improve things is to upgrade to components with higher resolution, starting at the source.

Harsh highs are sometimes a room issue ( or issues ). At any rate, it is often cheaper to start there. I would guess, though, that you will fix the highs a good deal when you apply the upgrade remedy to the low-volume problem.
1-the creek is a warm sound if anything. If it sounds harsh in the highs, you should explore other speakers.
2-I doubt the creek has enough power to drive the DCM's nicely.
3-different pre-amps will sound differently. Gain usually is not a factor unless the source is being over-amplified. You may find that a classe or aragon pre to be "mellow" if you are looking to take some bite out of it.
Thanks for the input Tobias and Elevick. I believe the pre amp question has been cleared up. That will certainly help in the decision making process. Hopefully, with a more powerful amp and some room treatments, I can fix what I found to be problematic in the sound.
I had Time windows and never found them harsh at all.
That's good to hear because I do like the speakers.