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Old 4th June 2010, 11:33 PM   #1
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Default preamps, ss versus tubes

Hello:

I have a friend who is much more knowledgeable than I regarding audio circuitry.
Recently, to my surprise, he stated with absolute conviction that although tube preamps exist, the only correct preamp is SS!
I was unable to understand his technical reason, but I assume he is not stupid and must have some valid point.
In fact, based on any response here, I am going to insist that he look here and submit either personally or through me, his perspective.
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Old 4th June 2010, 11:36 PM   #2
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Best is passive....neither SS or tube !
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Old 4th June 2010, 11:38 PM   #3
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Its usually guitarists who like the overdriven valve sound.
But the valve sound usually comes from the power amp.
Some guitar pre amps do have overdrive functions tho.
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Old 4th June 2010, 11:51 PM   #4
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Your friend is incorrect, Id rather have no preamp, between source and amp, most Cdplayers have built in volume controls nowadays, not possible if you have a turntable though. The shorter the signal path the better.
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Old 4th June 2010, 11:55 PM   #5
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Is he religious?
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Old 5th June 2010, 12:40 AM   #6
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I have designed and built both tube and SS preamps over a 35 year period, and for my taste, a well done tube preamp comes out ahead of a well done SS.

But a badly done tube pre is worse than a competent but "nothing special" SS, and vice versa.

IMO and IME, it's 95% in the design, not wether tubes or SS are used.

Regards, Allen
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Old 5th June 2010, 01:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by istari knight View Post
Best is passive....neither SS or tube !
There is nothing like that! Passive preamp doesn't exsist. If it is passive it doesn't amplify... it either pass unchanged signal or attenuate, so that should be "passive prestage".

BTW, Allen Wright is probably nearest to the right answer.
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Old 5th June 2010, 01:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homemodder View Post
Your friend is incorrect, Id rather have no preamp, between source and amp, most Cd players have built in volume controls nowadays, not possible if you have a turntable though. The shorter the signal path the better.
The output or volume control in a CD player is a preamp, well at least in the sense that it provides the necessary voltage or current or power to an amp, so is it not a preamp?
However, in response to everyone here, I will attempt to to have this friend submit his findings here before peer review-so to speak.
I really want to understand what his point is, so we'll see.
Regarding passives... I understand that they should be buffered and or impedance matching devices, no?
Regarding SS preamps, has anyone here seen this:
http://www.irdaudio.com/products/purist.htm

Last edited by philmagnotta; 5th June 2010 at 01:15 AM.
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Old 5th June 2010, 01:18 AM   #9
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Yes they are strictly speaking, thats why I recommend no preamp, shorter signal pass.
BTW I would agree with your friend about SS, I dont like most valve amps, they introduce high levels of second harmonic distortion that make music sound very sweet and pleasant to listen to, but this doesnt mean that they are accurately reproducing the real sound for example a instrument being played.
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Old 5th June 2010, 01:23 AM   #10
Gordy is offline Gordy  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boraomega View Post
There is nothing like that! Passive preamp doesn't exsist. If it is passive it doesn't amplify...
Just a small point...

Yes, of course it exists. The emphasis in pre-amplifier is on pre.

Pre means 'before'. Therefore it is a box that sits 'before the amplifier'. It does not have to amplify in order to function. In the context of 'pre-amplifier' the word amplifier is a noun. The box sits 'before the amplifer' and is therefore a pre-amplifier.

The pre-amplifier can of course be passive. It sits passively before the amplifier. It is a passive pre-amplifier.

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