Who needs a Preamp??

Seriously, if your cd/dvd player has volume control as my Oppo does.
and you own a phonostage with volume as my PS audio does,  then
you your issues are:
-how to power a sub
-how to listen to tv thru your system

Who believes that a preamp Improves sound??

I suppose if I had to floor the accelerator to drive 55 mph, maybe I’d think the life was being sucked out of my driving. Then again, maybe I like 55. Nice and safe, good gas mileage…
atmasphere Immediately following the text George quoted above from Nelson Pass is the text above.

That is why one of Nelsons favorite preamps he says is the Aleph L, passive up till 3o’clock then turns active above that if you need the extra gain, but he says at sound a penalty of having active components in the signal path. (They are like unobatinium to find as no one gets rid of them.)

Nelson Pass
Unique to this preamp, patent pending, is a volume level control which combines the best qualities of a passive attenuator and active gain circuitry:
At the 3 o’clock volume control position, the Aleph L offers a direct path from input to output.
The only component in the signal path is wire and switch contacts.
At positions below 3 o’clock, the volume control functions as a precision passive attenuator using discrete resistor ladders.

Above 3 o’clock, active gain is added to the output signal in 2 decibel increments, for a
maximum of 10 dB.
As a result, you suffer the effects of active circuitry only when additional gain is necessary.

I know many love the Freya, I’m just doubting the unit would be an improvement over a $4000 preamp like my BHK pre. 
Now those responses were exactly what I hoped for. Thank you all for adding your thoughts to a question no doubt addressed many times before. It is a question I asked in earnest.

There are several schools of thought going on this subject.
Active, Passive or Nothing.
Some contributors seem to be trying to justify the money spent on a preamp.Not ready to admit that perhaps they have only degraded their system.

Many feel Nelson Pass walks on water. I am becoming a disciple
myself after both reading the above quote George passed on
and seeing Steven Guttenberg's interview, Part 4, in Pass's home where he said his very customized 1960's Tannoy 15 Dual concentrics reveal more about his amplifier than any other speaker he has tried.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msE14...  

I was advised to buy an Audible Illusions amp by my audio mentor Blake Hovecar. Recently I did. Retail was around $4,500. Mid-Fi I suppose. My reference point may be well below where some high brows posting here are but my mind is open to learn and this I have done, thank you all.

The whole question came to me when I sent the AI back to the factory
for a repair. I had a good 5 weeks of listening direct and though I am not 100% sure it sounded better but I am fairly certain it did not sound any worse.

Our group met with local genius Dan D'Agostino for an evening
in his new digs last April. We had an audition of his latest creation in Amplifiers. Dan made a point of telling us that if you set the volume too low on a source controlled by a preamp you will lose SQ. I believe
someone mentioned this above.

Thanks Again to All

Assuming all impedance and voltages are matched, passive is superior in sq, to me, at least. However, I feel it might come down to the recordings, themselves. My highest quality recordings, shine, and the extra gain stage, those I have heard, obscured details and nuances in the recordings. With tubes, added colorations ( again, to me ). But, if I put on a mediocre recording, of which I have many, some sound thread bare, however, detailed, I prefer hearing it this way, as it is from the prospective of what the musicians and the producers were striving for. But, having some excellent preamps and listening to some excellent preamps, I can see why some people prefer them. However, I feel these preamps are " sugar coating " what is being heard, adding some things of their own. Listen, I do not know why, after all this time, people are still debating, better or worse, tube or ss, passive or active, horns vs. box vs panels, etc. The important thing, is to hear everything you can, and, determine what it is " you, the listener ", wants. I will tell you this, and I posted this on another thread, but this will be shorter.....The tone of a violin, as an example, will have changed, to a large degree, once it has been recorded, in it’s final " laydown ", due to the microphones, their placement, and the recorders, and everything else the signal has to see and go through. Unless I was there where the mic was placed, during the recording, I am clueless as to what the result should be. So, I listen to the musicianship, as I try to connect, with the emotional content of the composers, and the players. Tone, harmonics, dynamics, imaging, soundstaging, detail, and other attributes, are all things we expect, and strive to recreate, but, we can only accomplish a fascimile of the real thing. However, when you listen specifically to the " prat ", the start and stop of the music, this is, a given, as the musicians and producers were satisfied, to lay down the final cut. Everything else will fall into place, but when I went passive with my Luminous piece, this, is the area, that truly shows itself, with every recording. So, if the tone of an instrument is off, because of the recording, it is all about what is happening with the " playing " of the instrument. I am not as interested in the instrument itself, as I am listening to the instrument, " being played ", and this, is somewhat lost, or fuzzed over, with a lot of systems. Some of you might know what I am speaking of, but I suspect some of you think I am a wacko....It’s ok....I listen differently than most, and I enjoy, every recording, I play.....Enjoy ! MrD.
One more thing....imagine your favorite artist  ( piano player, sax player, vocalist, it does not matter ), and you had the ability to have him / her, play for you, solo. These are your choices. ( 1 ) you could hear him / her, perform, at his / her best, but....., in a poor sounding environment, similar to an airport bathroom, or, ( 2 ) you can hear, a high school student, of the same instrument, play, at Carnegie Hall, with you in the front row, the same piece of music. Mind you, the student is not bad, but lacks the " expertise " and years of " experience and polish ", of the instrument, your favorite musician possesses,........you cannot have both, in this situation. What scenario would you opt for........if you selected # 1, you know of what I speak. If you select # 2, well, you figure it out.....Again, thanks for indulging.