Passive preamps - differences between technologies


I have been wondering what are the main differences in the way some passive preamps are designed. 

Some have resistors, some are transformer based.. What are the pros/cons?

More specifically, I'm looking at Music First Classic/Baby Reference V2 vs Hattor the Big or a Tortuga.

I'm looking for an upgrade from Audio Research LS16, considering looking for ARC Ref3 or a nice passive. My amp is ARC Ref150 (which is a lovely thing and I feel like the LS16 is holding it back) and phono pre is RCM sensor2 mk2 - so there's enough gain from the phono, the power amp has 300k ohms input, my DAC can output 1-3V rms, I use interconnects up to 1m so a passive could be an option. 

Thank you. 

Greetings from Prague with the first snow



I gave up after ten years use a wonderful sounding dual mono valve preamp in favour of the complete quiet and transparency of detail of an Audion Select TVC line level pre amplifier (copper transformer windings w/ silver internal hook up wires) —sound is colourful, vibrant and dynamic - not in an additive way, just that it’s not greying or shrinking the sound as you would find with most alternative means of adjusting volume. Speakers are 104db horns.

OP, the 300K is the input impedance. The input sensitivity of the amp is 2V for rated output, and the V gain is 24db, a little less than the norm of 26-28 db. Just a friendly fyi. My best, and ENJOY ! MrD.

@mrdecibel Thanks! I was under the impression that the input inpedance is the main factor to determine how friendly a power amp can be to a passive preamplifier. And also the output of a phono stage or a DAC..

Lord to visit Prague again…. pack my REF5se in a flight case and be right there…

Astute read that you don’t want to give up the dynamics… In my experiments… a buffer almost always needed …. hopefully you can find a way to trial a few of tgese devices while retaining the excellent store of value your  ARC preamp represents….

Best to you….

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