AVS Addicted Member
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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Not too start an argument, but it's hard for me to understand how pre amps are less than perfect at least when it comes to the basics.
The analog audio path from input to output, when measured always seems to be nearly perfect. No bumps in the audio band response curve of any importance. Levels of noise and distortion well below .01% THD (I think .00n% THD is the standard?)
The digital path seems simple enough, excluding room correction. Take the input, process it in the DSP (using what should be perfect decoders,) and dump it out to the DACs (which I guess are about as good as they can make them in most pre pros.)
But audiophles obsess about things. I remember reading reviews about the distortion from volume controls. So some pre pros were using very expensive volume controls. Nowadays, volume controls seem to be commodity items; they seem to be mostly electronic volume controls using op amps. If such a minor thing is important, you may as well give up hope achieving perfection.
If some audiophiles stopped at worrying about DACs (which are rarely tested under any scientific conditions by people claiming this and that,) I would be ok with them. But many of these people are the same people who are sucked into thinking power cords matter.
At some point, you have to take one of these stances -
* Any reputable electronics are really good, especially something specialized like a pre amp, and worrying about their audio quality is (mostly) a waste of time
* That you have golden ears, and you will simply have to buy the gear and try it out to determine whether the gear has objectionable audio; a reasonable if time consuming and possibly expensive proposition
* Obsess about it so much your life is ruined; After a few months of comparing specs, reading biased reviews, and pushing into the crazy high end world of audiophile power cords, we will find you curled into a little ball muttering just a few words like jitter and skin effect (ok, I exaggerate, but you get my point maybe)
"But this one goes up to 11"