Preamps can color sound considerably. Surprising?

Had the pleasure of listening to 4 hi end preamplifiers this weekend. And each preamp sounded very nice. But they were different. Each preamplifier has different circuitry and within the frequency spectrum there was more vibrancy in some areas versus other areas. Amplifiers are the same way.

It takes a while to appreciate sound differences between preamplifiers. And then you got the issue of Breakin which further changes the color.

clearly designers are playing around with all the internal circuitry in a manner that hopefully will be appealing. Clearly, these units do not get out of the way when it comes to moving a signal through the box.

I think solid state is more susceptible to coloring versus tubes. Tubes color sound as well.

It's all about marketing different ways to color Music. This isn't necessarily bad but it's never really talked about this way.





The preamp is the heart of my system. I use a DAC with perfect measurements and class D amplifiers, on a multi-amped fully horn loaded system.

The amps by themselves sound a bit sterile, and the DAC while very good for the money doesn't add much "flesh" to the bones. The active crossover can be considered as transparent as can be.

My (vintage) preamp, on the other hand, is wonderful. It's a rather unknown model (Korn&Macway SP100) built like a high end device, and I recapped it using NOS Roederstein Gold caps in the PSU and Elna SilmicII everywhere else. It is majorly responsible for the musicality of the system. I've tried without preamp, I've tried other preamps, I keep coming back to it for its precise yet lush presentation. It's like it's holding everything together. Take it out, and the magic is gone!

Do pre-'s effect the final product?  Yup.

That's why I don't have one anymore in-line.  Available, yes.  Optional, sure.

Pre- and post-eq instead?  Yup, and happy about it.

More noise from the equipment fans than the system itself.  Not 'black', but dark enough 'gray' to suffice....

Absolute neutrality shouldn't be the goal (and is unattainable) Musical enjoyment is what we are after - if you can still recognize the voice of your favorite soprano / tenor, it's all good.

Those engineers operating the studio gear are putting that sacred "absolute sound" through miles of wires, pan pots, addled brains, unclean tape heads, unclean bald heads, digital manipulation, badly tuned pianos, and personal tastes just like the home hifi geek. The only way around it is to hire musicians to form a circle around you while you lie on the floor after recently having cleaned your ears. Preamps sound however the designer wanted them to so it's up to you to decide what sonic manipulation you prefer. If you're lucky you can enjoy music...or spoken word...or dump trucks backing up...lucky you.