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What’s the deal with preamplifiers?

  • Beginner talk. In an age of DACs arriving with in-built lossless volume controls, the theory suggests that traditional pre-amplifiers are surplus to digital audio’s requirements. Personal experience over the years – with units from Schiit, PS Audio, Wyred 4 Sound and Vinnie Rossi – says otherwise. Returning a pre-amplifier to the mix adds body and weight to the sound. But why?

    Time to tug on the coat of experienced audio electronics designer Vinnie Rossi to learn why the preamplifier’s role in an audio system is more than just signal routing and volume control. According to Rossi, the input stage matters, the volume pot itself matters, tube choices matter, the topology matters – active or passive – and the output impedance / current delivery matter.

    Listen to our twenty-six-minute conversation here:

    Further information: Vinnie Rossi

    John H. Darko

    Written by John H. Darko

    John is the editor of Darko.Audio, from whose ad revenues he derives an income. He is an occasional contributor to 6moons but has previously written pieces for TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile. John used to live in Sydney. Now he lives in Berlin.

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