Being CD only I recommend either a quality passive volume control or a CD player with volume control. No preamp is better than no preamp.
10 responses Add your response
I used an older, very early Audible Illusions pre in conjunction with my McCormack and Vandy 2ci's until just recently. The AI died, or at least started spewing injurious low frequency signals(as confirmed by Steve McCormack's excellent trouble shooting..thanks again Steve!) that would shut down the McCormack. The AI & McCormack combo is excellent & quite common...a little limiting as far as range/ fine volume control though. I just switched (yesterday..Merry Christmas to me!) to using the McCormack RLD-1 solid state (brave new world!) pre amp with remote and a .5db increment volume control. As I wallow in my listening chair making micro volume adjustments(unfortunately burning far fewer Christmas eve feast calories!), I am struck by the RLD-1's musicality, smoothness as well as increase in inner detail and dynamics. And this first listen based on a compromised holiday audio set-up..speakers moved away to accomodate the tree, inferior holiday speaker cables and ac, and kids rustling with their new acquisitions...
More critical evaluation will ensue after New Years with the exit of the tree and the return of audio nirvana...Steve McCormack also does mods to the RLD-1's as well as the DNA amps, taking them to another realm of stellar performance...someday my mods will come.
You might want to email Steve McCormack & ask him that question. I was in the same boat a few years ago. I was using a Creek integrated as my pre-amp and I didn't know if I should buy a pre or have my DNA 1 upgraded. I emailed Steve & he said "definitely get a quality pre-amp first, then worry about the upgrade".