Author Topic: Can a preamp improve sound?  (Read 3065 times)

Offline Slim-Shaddy

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Can a preamp improve sound?
« on: April 26, 2011, 11:00:01 PM »
I currently have my cd player running directly to my amp. i don't plan on using any other sources for sound in the near future. Would adding a "good" preamp improve my sound or is direct the best route?
I am confident that an SL-1200 is capable of outperforming turntables of much higher expense with minor modification.

Offline F1nut

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Re: Can a preamp improve sound?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2011, 12:05:30 AM »
IMO, the only real answer is that it depends unless it's a tube pre, in which case I would have to say yes.
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SunnyDaze

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Re: Can a preamp improve sound?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2011, 12:29:01 AM »
This is off-topic, and somewhat hijacking the thread, but, F1, how do you feel about tube buffers?

Sorry Ed.

Offline F1nut

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Re: Can a preamp improve sound?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2011, 03:50:25 AM »
I'm limited in my experiences with them, but what I heard, I liked.
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Offline Turtle

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Re: Can a preamp improve sound?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2011, 11:11:47 AM »
IMO, any component that you add into the signal path is going to have an effect on the sound; whether it is an improvement or not is just each person's subjective observation.  I have a tube pre, but for some styles of music, I think that the solid state Marantz I borrowed from Tom sounds better.  But a lot of people might disagree with that.
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Offline wkhanna

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Re: Can a preamp improve sound?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2011, 11:15:02 AM »
regarding the OP.....

The best pre-amp will add nothing to the signal.
Lesser pre-amps contaminate the signal with colorations at best, distortion in the worst cases.

JMHO YMMV
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Offline OldiesButGoodies

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Re: Can a preamp improve sound?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2011, 11:23:51 AM »
every pre adds the impact of its transfer function and some noise to the signal along with some functionality,  whether you like it or not depends on you.  me,  I like a remote control,  a good RIAA phono section with decent gain,  and some tone control to compensate for any deficiencies on the recording or my other system characteristics.  and a digital input to deal with my computer's output is a big plus.  gladly accept more noise in trade for convenience,  because I am lazy.
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Offline Slim-Shaddy

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Re: Can a preamp improve sound?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2011, 11:39:55 AM »
The preamp I will eventually add will be a Carver C19 which is a tube pre. I won't need it until this fall when our porch will be finished into a den/listening room. The only reason I'll "need" a pre is because I plan on having a Turntable as well as a cd player hooked up. From what I'm gathering, there will be a definite change in the sound of my cd player being played through the pre, and it's up to my ears to decide whether or not I prefer it. One thing I'm hoping for is the tube aspect to "warm up" some digital recordings. I could care less for tone controls or remote, but a balance control would be nice for diagnostics.
I am confident that an SL-1200 is capable of outperforming turntables of much higher expense with minor modification.

Offline OconeeOrange

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Re: Can a preamp improve sound?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2011, 05:15:06 PM »
regarding the OP.....

The best pre-amp will add nothing to the signal.
Lesser pre-amps contaminate the signal with colorations at best, distortion in the worst cases.

JMHO YMMV


I am not on your level, but I disagree.  I might be wrong.

Anything you add in will/might have some effect.
You can buy some nice passive preamps which are little more than volume control.

I have a few.
On the deck, I use a Benchmark DAC/Pre.  In my opinion, it is very neutral.  It costs me a lot though.

In my RedNeck Bar, I am currently using a Carver CT-6 which adds to the sound in my opinion.  I have a tube pre on order to upgrade that system.  I don't know if it will.  Many of Bob Carver's stuff have a built in tube color to the sound, not to mention the "holygraph" thing.

The purest sound from a CD (or even some LPs) might not be the most pleasing.
All the stuff is run through all types of mixers before we get it.  Some do a good RECORDING job and some do crap.  So adding a slight change yourself is no big deal.  Pure sound is "LIVE".

In my opinion, unless you have high end stuff made in the last couple years, the best bang for the buck is a quality DAC.  Damn good ones can be had now under $500.

OO





Offline wkhanna

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Re: Can a preamp improve sound?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2011, 07:47:11 AM »
regarding the OP.....

The best pre-amp will add nothing to the signal.
Lesser pre-amps contaminate the signal with colorations at best, distortion in the worst cases.

JMHO YMMV


I am not on your level, but I disagree.  I might be wrong.




Don’t sell yourself short. I am no expert by any means. Your ears & opinions are every bit as valid as mine.

And actually, I don’t think we disagree at all. The point I was making was that a well designed pre will not degrade the signal. Some V good pre’s add a ‘House’ sound, and that can be pleasing to the final product. Just as some combinations of equipment sound so right together, others, not so much. A pre that adds warmth can be a perfect match for a system that is a bit on the bright side.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 07:49:00 AM by wkhanna »
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Offline treitz3

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Re: Can a preamp improve sound?
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2011, 01:12:36 PM »
IMO, the only real answer is that it depends unless it's a tube pre, in which case I would have to say yes.
I'd have to say that this is an incredibly precise answer to the question.
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