Probably easier to purchase one of those external volume controls.
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"fidelity may be degraded by the manner in which the remote control functions" doubtless refers to the loss of bits in digital attenuation, an uncontroversial fact but maybe in some designs, with "bits to spare", not a worry. Wadia goes to great lengths (adjustability) to let you use as little digital attenuation as possible. Accuphase claims theirs does no harm up to quite a few decibels down. I use theirs and never more than 12 db down, and hear no deterioration. The advantages of direct connection to a power amp are very noticeable, however. Even a world-class separate passive preamp is less detailed and transparent. As for built-in analog volume controls, I suspect that many are simply poor quality attenuators. This would be likelier in less costly products, and reviewers almost always say they're terrible.
Sound quality does not necessarily suffer w/o a preamp. There are many cases where eliminating the preamp and driving the amp directly from the CD player is a noticeable improvement. A couple examples include: Sony XA7ES or Cary 306/200 driving the amp directly. This will also depend on "system synergy" with cables and the amp.
I assume that you are looking to eliminate your preamp. I have tried this also, especially as I enter my stage of minimalism. All the feedback you received is accurate. We all hear things differently and have different systems, so there is no one right solution until your ears and brain say yes. You need to experiment and there are options. (1)Wait. Several manufacturers are supposed to introduce new CD players in the near future with volume controls. CAL had a nice unit 10 years ago, all the others today are expensive. (2) EVS ultimate attenuators mounted on the inputs of your amp with the interconnect from the CD going directly to them. They work quite nicely. You just have to have your amp located so you can reach over it to adjust the volume. (3) Creek OBH 12. In a recent converstion with Stan Warren, he mentioned that at a Chicago Audio Society meeting they AB'ed a BAT preamp against the Creek. Yes, there was a slight reduction in sound stage and airyness, but in the end, most people liked the Creek very much. It is cheap and has a remote control. (4) Depending on your CD player, Creek also has the OBH-14 which is a DAC with passive preamp/volume control. Decide what you really want to do and then listen to the options. You can buy the Creeks and turn them around very easily, so you loose little or nothing. If you pursue one of these options, you may also need to be preared to change interconnects. Happy listening and have fun.
Thanks, Cellorover! Actually, I'm looking to upgrade a CD player. My preamp doesn't have a remote volume control, so the CD remote volume control comes in handy for those minor adjustments. I'm looking to replace an Accuphase DP-75 (digital control) with an Audio Aero Capitole (analog control) and was curious about the design pluses and minuses of each type.