preamp gain in relation to whole systems help

hi guys

newbie question, what the gain in preamp effect the whole systems?

while minimal volume is at 7 o'clock,
i run preamp gain of 2 with 100w amp = listening volume at 11 o'clock, then

i run preamp gain of 8 with 100w amp = listening volume at 8 o'clock

then whats the use of high gain preamp if its only limit the volume tuning?

whats the the different between the gain 2 and 8 preamp driving 100w power amp? will they effect the final watt? my understanding is they stay the same. enlightenment please

i am planning to try out class A amp. will this high gain preamp help? i also see some preamp with gain of 12.
Ideally the gain of the preamp and power amp, and the output voltage range of the preamp, and the input voltage range of the power amp, should combine such that the volume control is used roughly in the middle of its range (ideally between 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock, although between 9 and 3 may be ok also).

The power output to the speakers will not be affected if that is not satisfied. But if the volume control has to be used at a very low setting, in most cases its resolution (the ability to adjust volume in small increments) will be degraded, and adjustments may not track well between the two channels. If the volume control has to be used at a very high setting, then preamp-generated noise/hiss may become excessive.

Whether the power amp is Class A, AB, or D is not directly related to these issues.

That said, I'm not sure what you mean by "gain of 2," "gain of 8," etc. Is that 2db and 8db (preamps normally have considerably more gain than that), or 2x (two times, which is 6db) and 8x (which is 18db), or some other meaning?

-- Al
Hi Al

i am not sure bout gain stuff as well. maybe its 2^(2-1)=2db and 2^(8-1)=64db? can someone correct me if i am wrong.

how bout using 24 stepped attenuator and alter the resistors? say use 100 stepped calculation for 100k pot but only use the first 24 steps? will this help with the volume adjustment? thx for the helps
No, I doubt that is the correct interpretation. Just about any preamp other than a passive one will have considerably more gain than 2 db, and no line-level preamp will have anywhere near 64 db gain (although with a phono stage included that is somewhat in the right ballpark). Also, 62 db gain difference would make more difference than 8 o'clock vs. 11 o'clock on the volume control, I would think.

Changing all those resistors sounds like an awful lot of work, and might cause you to lose the proper logarithmic taper. You WANT the steps down near the bottom of the control range to be larger than the ones near the middle, so that you can reduce the volume to zero and near zero values. And you want the steps near the middle of the range to be small, to allow fine volume adjustments.

A simple solution for the gain of 8 preamp might be to put an in-line 10db pad (fixed attenutor) in series between the preamp and power amp. Look at the specs for preamp maximum output voltage and power amp input voltage or sensitivity to see if that would make sense.

-- Al
This attenuator has been recommended by some others here at Audiogon in previous threads:

-- Al