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Old 13th June 2013, 04:47 PM   #1
mjock3 is offline mjock3  United States
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Default Soundstage

What affects the soundstage a preamp produces? The reason I ask is when I hook up my DAC directly to my amp I get a significantly wider soundstage that I do when I put the preamp in between. I am wondering where I could start to look in the preamp to improve on this.
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Old 13th June 2013, 05:31 PM   #2
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Cross-talk between the two channels. Most of this will be caused by capacitive coupling between the channels (wiring, switches, and volume controls), common and relatively high impedance ground connections. Coupling through the power supply at both frequency extremes.
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Old 13th June 2013, 05:48 PM   #3
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And generally the increased distortion of all types caused by additional gain stages and cabling.
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Old 13th June 2013, 06:08 PM   #4
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Probably would not be a bad idea to give us a lot more detail about the components in your system. It may be that a simple passive attenuator is all that is required here unless you also play LPs.

Consider posting schematics or links to same of your pre-amplifier. Follow copyright requirements for any documents you post.
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Old 13th June 2013, 06:32 PM   #5
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Many DACs have built in volume controls. Regards
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Old 13th June 2013, 06:49 PM   #6
GoatGuy is offline GoatGuy  United States
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Interesting theories here ... but what of compression? A remarkable number of preamps - especially based on FETs and triodes, compress the signal audibly. In "live sound" mixing (one of my hobbies), this isn't a bug, but a feature. Indeed... so much so, that most 2012 or later mid-grade mixers have 50% to 100% of their input line preamps outfitted with a variable compression knob. Does remarkable things for vocals. Even the circa 1995 Yamaha 01V (digital mixer) had both compression and expansion in a combo-function that could be engaged on any channel.

Having built a number of FET and triode "Preamps" (I put that in quotes, because its simpler than saying, "sound contouring modules") for a whole bunch of different applications, compression is a very real phenomenon that can be employed (or worked around) at that critical first input stage. Bug, or Feature ... depends on what you're trying to achieve.

I could imagine that subtle compression would make the soundstage seem smaller. Does in live music!

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Old 13th June 2013, 07:45 PM   #7
mjock3 is offline mjock3  United States
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Yes I am able to control volume in digital domain. Would like to get away from that by using a preamp. Also because I have inefficient speakers I need more gain. The preamp in question (currently) is a Tubes4Hifi Aikido. It is only 15 db gain so not over the top. It appears to be pretty simple circuit and has a decent sound though lacking in clarity and soundstage. I think I know how to improve the clarity aspect. But I have no knowledge base for soundstage.

Here is a link:Dynaco PAS3 rebuild in addition this power supply http://www.tubes4hifi.com/PAS3.htm#regPS
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Old 13th June 2013, 08:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjock3 View Post
because I have inefficient speakers I need more gain.
There is a misunderstanding here: the maximum output from the amplifier is a function of its input sensitivity. If your amplifier reaches clipping, i.e. maximum output, with 500mV input, then applying 501mV input will just drive the amp further into clipping. If you have inefficient speakers you need more wattage output from your amplifier not voltage input from the preamp.
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Old 13th June 2013, 10:12 PM   #9
mjock3 is offline mjock3  United States
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I have 400 watts per channel (Ncore). Wouldn't the DAC cause the same thing?

Last edited by mjock3; 13th June 2013 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 13th June 2013, 10:30 PM   #10
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Balancing imperfections with imperfections, as claimed in the link, is rarely a good idea except in truly balanced configurations like push-pull or LTP.
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