to volume pot or not to volume pot

I am getting the EAR 834-P MM/MC. I do not know whether to get the volume pot or not. I will be using it almost exclusively with a separate pre amp. Is there any difference in the sound between the two? One review I read stated "the black 834P without the volume pot is the wisest-choice cost and sound wise". Is this the common opinion? cost is not an issue.
Thanks in advance.
the volume is going to add a layer of stuff between you and the music. If you are never going to use it, don't get it. (If you might try it direct, with no pre... then it might be a worthwhile investment.)
PS the theory is what is going on in the recommendation you read. Sometimes theories do not hold up in practice....
If there's an audible difference between the volume model and the standard model, I'll give you a Golden Ears award. There's obviously more "stuff" in the volume model, but it amounts to an extra inch of wire and a potentiometer. If you plan to use the volume control, get that model. If not, get the standard unit.

The volume model gives you the opportunity to eliminate your preamp, but I doubt that will give the best results. Are you familiar with passive preamps? That's what the 834P volume becomes in this situation. In theory, it seems smart to reduce the number of components in the signal path, but an active preamp does something the 834P doesn't do. It controls the impedance of the signal running through the cable and keeps it stable. Passive preamps are notorious for sounding thin in the bass and mid bass because they can't control these impedance fluctuations. It's best to hear these things first-hand rather than from some stranger. If you have the opportunity to listen to a passive preamp, you should do so before deciding on the 834P.
If you want versatility down the road,I'd go for it.
Won't the volume pot function as an adjustable gain ? This might be convenient!!

"The EAR's voltage gain measured 49.2dB moving-magnet, 68.2dB moving-coil. These are very high values, particularly for the MM; typically, the gain in MM gain stages is 35–40dB, and 55–65dB in MCs. I don't anticipate this high gain to cause any problems, but I'd check to make sure that it won't overload my line preamp"----Thomas J. Norton
I agree with Elizabeth. If you plan on using the EAR with a seperate pre, buy the one without the volume pot. In any system with better than average resolution the difference will be very audible. Simpler signal path will almost always yield superior sound. A big part of the brilliance of the EAR's design is, in fact, it's simplicity. Why muck it up unnecessarily?.

BTW, I use the EAR with a passive with exceptional results. It's all about good matching of all components in the system. I suspect that the reviewer that you allude to was making the point that the version with the volume control was the better sonic choice, IF you were NOT going to use a seperate pre.
If you can't hear the difference with a pot and an extra inch of wire in the path then maybe your system/ears are not very resolving.

Having said that the flexibility of having the volume pot still may be well worth the price. Having the option of running direct is very compelling.

Most of the negative impact of inserting the volume pot can be avoided by setting the control at the maximum position. At the maximum setting it is more like a switch contact than a pot.
Simple volume controls can be a significant cause of distortion. It all depends on the circuit and the components. The worst, and most usual type, is a cheap wire-wound pot, inserted on the hot side of the input. Such a control has balance problems, inductance problems, resistance problems, etc. Wiring it on the ground side and using a fixed resister on the hot side improves things considerably. Other modifications and innovations are numerous. How a volume control circuit is executed makes all the difference.
It controls the impedance of the signal running through the cable and keeps it stable. Passive preamps are notorious for sounding thin in the bass and mid bass because they can't control these impedance fluctuations.

Uh, sort of. The impedance of cables and input impedance of an amp is a fixed value. It is not fluctuating and it is not controlled. For the record passives sound thin when they are used with the wrong cables and amps. Mated with the right stuff they sound glorious. Blaming a passive for thin sound is like using salt in a recipe that called for sugar and concluding that salt is an inherently poor ingredient. I'm sure the EAR will work very well in some systems and not so well in others just like any other component in a system.

That's all I've got to say since you can search the archives and find endless debate on the topic.

A couple of things... As was said earlier, if you completely open the volume pot you effectively take it out of the circuit. An audible difference between a two identical circuits, except with one having an open volume pot, would be highly unlikely. My system sounds much better running the EAR 834p through a pre-amp, but systems will vary in that regard. One other nice thing... if you ever need to have your pre-amp repaired or you sell your pre-amp, you can use the EAR 834p with the volume control while you are without a pre-amp. Kind of handy.