Value of a preamp?

Other than impedance matching and volume control?


When I added my external DAC (Gustard X26 Pro) to my Parasound P6 pre A23+ amp based system I stopped using the pre remote to control the volume as I was intrigued with checking out all of the different settings on the DAC. Based on another discussion here I set the DAC volume at 100% (so that the DAC digital volume circuit isn’t involved) and went back to just using the preamp to adjust volume and SQ improved.

I don’t mean to suggest that the Parasound pre is exceptional (I am in the process of deciding on a tube pre to audition once I replace my amp (probably with a Bryson 4b3), but offer this anecdote as to one benefit of a preamp Inhave recently observed)

@kmcong ...PS Audio was coming out with their new Stellar Gold Preamp, and I was given the opportunity to beta test one. The improvement was remarkable! Soundstage was wider and deeper, greater detail, just more musical in every way!! And it’s a ss preamp. Your results may differ, but it sure improved my system. And BTW, many who have tried the new Stellar Gold Preamp and compared it to the BHK Preamp (which has a tube input stage) preferred the ss Gold Preamp.


Did you get a look inside the Stellar Gold Preamp by chance? I followed along with the design and designer a bit on this one, and keeping an eye on it into production. There are several stages and various components going on in there, looking inside.

For those who don’t believe a good preamp (adds or removes) anything, take a look inside this one. What I first thought might be a simple preamplifier design, was a very incorrect assumption. Imo, using a DAC with a decent volume control won’t usually hang in the sound department, compared to a system with a really good active preamplifier in the mix. It seems good preamps aren’t totally dead yet.


@cey. I agree systems sound better. I understand designers aim for the elusive straight wire w gain; however, exciting colorations must account for many findings :)