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  • Passive Preamps Passe' ?

    Does anyone use a passive preamp in their system? I remember back in the late 80s the passive preamps had somewhat of a following. I see a few manufacturers of purely passive devices today but they seem to not be as popular. I am curious to hear members stories of passive experiences.
    Marty

  • #2
    Passive preamps were never my cup of tea. Just like non-alcoholic beer and decaffeinated coffee, there is no 'juice' there.
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

    Comment


    • #3
      I used to have a PS audio unit about 15 yrs ago, but sometimes I needed more gain and at low volume settings it seemed like it rolled the highs a little. Otherwise it sounded superb.
      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by mep View Post
        Passive preamps were never my cup of tea. Just like non-alcoholic beer and decaffeinated coffee, there is no 'juice' there.
        with a passive pre, the juice comes from the output buffers of the source components connected to its inputs.
        Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post

          with a passive pre, the juice comes from the output buffers of the source components connected to its inputs.

          There is zero voltage gain with a passive preamp and thus my "no juice" comment.
          Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mep View Post


            There is zero voltage gain with a passive preamp and thus my "no juice" comment.
            true, but if your source components have high enough output voltage and good low source impedance, you can sometimes get away with a passive pre, especially if your power amp has a lot of voltage gain.
            Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

            Comment


            • #7
              I think in general you are restricted to listening to digital with a passive device unless using a really high output cartridge. Just not enough gain. Older passive units had issues with the FR changing as a function of volume position. The only real one I had a chance to listen to was the Ensemble preamplifier years ago that allowed one to switch between passive and active versions. It was a long time ago but the number one issue with the passive option was a real loss in dynamics.

              I know Brian was really high on the Teo (?) passive device at one time.

              I also seem to remember some good reviews for the Music First passive device from the UK that used a transformer?
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
              -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

              Comment


              • Rob
                Rob commented
                Editing a comment
                +1

                With my LOMC around 200uV and 60-65+ db of phono gain, I've never been able to get by with a passive line stage. Even using an active line stage set to unity gain, I'm a good 10 db shy of sufficient volume to drive an amp with the standard 2V input sensitivity.

            • #8
              I use a DIY passive in my system. Basically, a 10K TKD pot with two inputs and two outputs ( one fixed level to feed my headphone amp). It is remarkably transparent and neutral, and works well with both my digital system (an iFi iDac2) or my phono (a low output Dynavector 19a with an iFi iPhono. Haven't heard any active line stages yet in my price range that I would swap out for, though I am hoping to get the Rogue RP1 in for review sometime later this year. I've really liked what I've heard from their pricier preamps.
              Steve Lefkowicz
              Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
              -
              Analog 1: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 10X5 MK.II Low Output, iPhono2/iPowerX; Analog 2: Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Talisman S, iFi iPhono.
              Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 26, Tidal HiFi and Qobuz Studio), iFi NEO iDSD, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2, Audioquest Jitterbug.
              Electronics: DIY passive line-stage with TKD 10K pot, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso
              Speakers: Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7
              Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Audioquest Evergreen
              Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet
              Digital cables: Aural Symphonics Digital Standard xxv USB, Belkin PureAV.
              Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan rack, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
              Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Burson Conductor Virtuoso Amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro 600 ohm, DT770 Studio 80 ohm, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More Triple Driver IEM

              http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

              Comment


              • #9
                I have been using a diy passive preamp( not the same, but different approaches to the design of passive) for the last 20 years, in that time I have had active preamps in the system to compare and always ended up with the passive again.
                It is the naturalness/transparency and neutrality of the sound, that brings me back every time, active preamplifiers always color the sound to some degree.
                I have told my story on an other forum, here it is.
                Preamp´s, should they be active or passive, and a little background on why I have chosen, the way I did ? That was the question I asked myself some 20 years ago, after an experience with a passive device, till then I had never heard that kind of natural, uncolored, unforced sound before. Pre to this experience, I used active preamps like anyone else, because that was the way to do it or else run a integrated amp. The thing, that set me of on this new way of hearing the music, was a purchase
                Last edited by banditcat200; 05-14-2016, 04:10 AM.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Maybe Myles should allow us to start a diy section.............

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    I am using a manufacturer design from Hattor that is very well made, fully balanced and remote controllable.

                    Marty

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by jam View Post
                      Maybe Myles should allow us to start a diy section.............
                      +1 , I second the motion.
                      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post

                        +1 , I second the motion.
                        OK I have no problem with a DIY section. Just give me a couple of days to put the forum up. Am sorta backlogged from the weekend activities and trying to finish a few reviews.
                        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                        ________________________________________

                        -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                        -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                        -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          I've been using transformer based pre's for years and like them a lot. I don't need gain and will trade a smidgen of dynamics for lower noise.

                          Comment

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