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Whats the point of stereo preamp?!?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Could somebody please help me out here.

What's the exact point of stereo preamp like Parasound P3 or Rotel RC-1070 if it doesn't do bass management or DAC? Don't they only act as a passthrough switch box?
post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitaminc View Post

Could somebody please help me out here.

What's the exact point of stereo preamp like Parasound P3 or Rotel RC-1070 if it doesn't do bass management or DAC? Don't they only act as a passthrough switch box?

You have to have a 2-channel pre-amp if you are using a 2-channel power amplifier (well, you don't HAVE to; you could use a receiver with pre-outs). The pre-amp controls the volume, as well as other things (like bass and treble, for example). The pre-amp also provides multiple inputs for different input devices.
post #3 of 15
Preamps are for use with dedicated power amps. They accept multiple inputs (CD player, phono section for vinyl, SACD, etc.) and control the gain of the signal being sent to the amplifier (volume).

Simply put

Intregrated amp - amplifier section = preamp
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
But you can control the volume at the transport side?!?!

And not all preamps have bass management.
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitaminc View Post

But you can control the volume at the transport side?!?!

A few products do allow this but certainly not all. But it's not really the best method for controlling the volume. The gain control that some output devices have is not meant to be a master volume control, but is for level matching.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vitaminc View Post

And not all preamps have bass management.

I would venture to say that very, very few 2-channel pre-amps have bass management. Who said they did?


What is your point? As long as there are 2-channel aficionados, there will be 2-channel pre-amps. If you don't want one, don't buy one.


post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

A few products do allow this but certainly not all. But it's not really the best method for controlling the volume. The gain control that some output devices have is not meant to be a master volume control, but is for level matching.



I would venture to say that very, very few 2-channel pre-amps have bass management. Who said they did?


What is your point? As long as there are 2-channel aficionados, there will be 2-channel pre-amps. If you don't want one, don't buy one.



I dont know either. Multi-channel pre/pro does one very important thing which is the decoding and bass management. Headphone preamp also does the DAC. But the stereo preamps I have looked at does non of the decoding or bass management features, so just wondering why is that the case.

If I use my computer as a trasport to a DAC, then I could probably skip the preamp section and uses my computer to volume control?
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitaminc View Post

But you can control the volume at the transport side?!?!

In my experience most transports/sources do not have a variable volume output. The line level is fixed. Of the handful of sources I've used in the last 10 years only one has a variable output.
post #8 of 15
It seems as though your current needs don't call for a preamp. I would continue to use your computer as your source and volume control.
post #9 of 15
Stereo preamps existed way before digital gear. Except now manaucfurers can charge even more for them because less is more for audiophiles.
post #10 of 15
2-channel is typically seen as only that in many manufacturer's eyes. They expect the end user to have only 2 main speakers which have as full range as the user desires. While they do usually have multiple pre-outs so that you can hook up a subwoofer. 2-channel preamps are simply pre-amps. Nothing more. They don't have the processing units that a pre-amp/processor has. It just so happens that the pre-amp/processors also are multi-channel. This is because most people who buy multiple speakers probably do not buy matching full-range speakers all-around and it is expected that they would need a subwoofer to do the bass duties.

At most price ranges, you can find the solution for your needs. If you want 2-channel with bass management, there are external crossovers you can purchase, or hi-pass filters for the mains while the subwoofer uses its own built-in low-pass filtration.
post #11 of 15
Bass management is a multichannel term, not 2 channel. The "management" portion derived from the fact that not all speakers in a 5.1 or 7.1 setup may be identical or capable of putting out a full range signal; it was up to something like a pre/pro receiver or black box (ICBM) to route low frequencies to those speakers or subs that can handle the load.

In 2 channel the low frequencies are either handled by the full-range stereo pair or a subwoofer, if needed. That sub is either crossed over with the mains (active or passive) or run in parallel. Period. No "management" needed, other than a crossover filter (high pass, low pass), usually included in the sub.

So when you ask about 2 channel preamps, don't mix metaphors and ask about bass management or other HT issues (speaker distance, etc.). A stereo preamp is the heart of a 2 channel system that consists of more than one fixed level source, be it a turntable (with associated step up device), a cd player, the 2 channel audio output of a DVD player, a universal, and yes, even a computer-based streaming device (cuz many computer-based sources only attenuate digitally, a potentially noisy and bit-reducing solution if not done right). However, if you have only ONE source, and it is ONE variable-level source, like a Squeezebox or Transporter or PC with a decent soundcard, then of course you don't need a separate preamp....your source includes one on it's innerds. Just hook it directly to the power amp and make damn sure the volume is down or is not set for "fixed" when you power up.

Personally, I love the sound of my tubed Modwright LS 36.5, and have too many sources to go without it. In includes the necessary HT bypass so that when I use my processor for hirez music or movie processing then the stereo preamp "gets out of the way" and simple acts as a signal path to my front power amp, volume attenuated by the processor.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
haha

got it. thx for helping out.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ted_b View Post

In 2 channel the low frequencies are either handled by the full-range stereo pair or a subwoofer, if needed. That sub is either crossed over with the mains (active or passive) or run in parallel. Period. No "management" needed, other than a crossover filter (high pass, low pass), usually included in the sub.

This may be true in most cases, but not in all. I have a B&K Reference 5 S2 that does include bass management in a two-channel preamp. It has a fixed 80Hz crossover, if you want to use monitors with a sub.
post #14 of 15
My reciever allows me to bypass all functions except volume control. This gives the purest sound. If I were considering separates, I would look for a preamp with only volume control.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

My reciever allows me to bypass all functions except volume control. This gives the purest sound. If I were considering separates, I would look for a preamp with only volume control.

A preamp with "only" volume control is also called a passive preamp or passive line stage. My Bent TAP (other pre I have hanging around) is reviewed as one of the best of that genre. It's job is to simply attenuate, possibly add a small amount of gain, and do switching. It's power supply is a small wall wart. The TAP has balanced and single ended ins and outs, unbeleivable grounding flexibility (lift ground on one channel or both, etc) and an HT bypass for any input. It's all remote controlled, but at its heart is a pure TVC (Transformer volume control). Impedance matching is second to none.
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