Review: Placette Audio 31p bal Preamplifier

Category: Preamps

I want to set the record straight!!

I have two all-balanced systems each consisting of a CEC TL51XR player/transport slaved and reclocked to a LessLoss DAC. One preamp is a Rowland Concerto and the other a Rowland Synergy IIi. Both of these preamps were chosen after much comparison shopping. The speakers consist of active ATC 20 Towers (biamped) and active ATC 50s (triamped). Input to the speakers is balanced-only. The LessLoss balanced interconnect going from the preamp to each speaker is about 8 feet long. Output voltage on the DAC is two volts, and input sensitivity on the speakers is one volt for full output.

I have had my eye on the Placette preamps for a couple years now, but have been extremely reticent about buying after reading all the literature warning about constricted dynamics relating to the passive preamp's inability to drive interconnect cable. I needed a balanced preamp, and did not want to spend double the amount of the Placette Active (single-ended). After spending some time via e-mail and the phone with Guy at Placette Audio (super nice fellow), I became convinced enough to go ahead and get the balanced version of his Passive preamp. Boy am I glad I did!! It was immediately apparent that everything improved. Detail was astounding and instrumental timbre made my head swim -- I am very big on timbre. I listen primarily to classical and jazz/blues. With the balanced Placette Passive, saxophone and the bite of the bow on violin/cello just blew me away! Female vocalists? Heaven! Overall, my system sounded by far the best ever. Very lifelike! What relieved me most, though, was that the dynamics were not restricted WHATSOEVER, despite the 8-foot interconnects! Wide open!

The most important consideration when buying a passive preamp? Output voltage of the source must be able to drive the amps. In my case, the DAC delivers two volts while the speakers require only one volt for full output. Interconnect, of course, should be high-quality.

If its your source, amps, and speakers that you want to hear, I don't know why anyone would buy anything other than a Placette.

Associated gear
CEC TL51XR used as transport slaved and reclocked to LessLoss DAC. Speakers are active ATC 20s and 50s. Balanced interconnect, digital cable, and power cables by LessLoss. Power conditioner is BPT Clean Power Center all tricked out, including all-Oyaide outlets. Composite Products Isolators under all components.

Similar products
Rowland Concerto
Rowland Synergy IIi (not upgrade)
Great review, I too run the Placette passive and have had it for a couple of years now. If your experience mirrors mine, which from your review it has so far, you've just bought your last preamp. Congratulations!