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Why do you not need separate Preamplifier and Power Amplifiers.

If you own an expensive transistor preamplifier,
please read the "Reviews from Customers",
who have replaced their Naim, Quad, Linn, Arcam, Heybrook preamplifier and power amplifier
with our "integrated" (loosely disguised power amplifier).
Why don't you plug your CD player (with a "proper" motorized volume control)
directly into a valve power amplifier.
( This trick might not work for transistor power amplifiers, )
(     which have lower impedance, and need "more drive".     )
Dr A.K. of Nottingham tried this, and he said
     "I also have a direct connection between my CD player and the EL34 which definitely sounds better."
  CD player used was Linn Genki

  Loudspeakers used was Tannoy M3

  Customer's previous amplifier was Rotel RB971 power amplifier
  Customer's current preamplifier is Linn Kolektor preamplifier

  How did the sound quality of our model EL34 compare with your previous amplifier ?
        Much better !  both when used as a power amplifier and with a direct feed from CD.
         I find it very good at low listening levels in the evening ( when the children are asleep ! )

  Other comments (optional)
        Having tried both options, I find the 8 ohm speaker taps to give a better sound.
        Because I have a lot of input devices, I use the EL34 as a power amp (volume set to full) with my Linn Kolektor pre-amp.
        I also have a direct connection between my CD player and the EL34 which definitely sounds better.
 

                                 Dr A K of Nottingham        November 2001
 
Before owners of expensive valve preamplifiers get too "comfortable",
please read this email from a different Mr A.K. from Australia ( email reprinted with Mr A.K. permission )
( I appreciate that the Audio Research LS-2 contains valves and transistors, )
(  but it is a very expensive "high end" preamp, that cost an arm and a leg.   )
Dear sir,
thanks  for  the  very  prompt  answer  to  my  inquiries,  re  your
valve  amplifier.
There's  one  point  needing  clarification,  I  only  use  an  Audio
Research  pre. the LS-2  which  is  a  hybrid model.
The  power  amps  are  custom  made  mono blocks,  with  4 x 6550 output
valves  each  producing  100 w/ch.  about  1/3 of it  in  class A,  so
Audio  Research  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  power  amplification
at  all.
However,  I  suspect  you  are  100%  right  about  the  pre  amp,  in
fact  I  get  slightly  better  sound  when  I  connect  the  variable
output  of  the  CD  player  directly  to  the  power  amps... perhaps
more  dry,  but  less  coloured  indeed!
I am  I  correct  in  assuming  that  you  only sell direct,  and
there's  no  distributor  of  your  products  in  Australia?
Again,  many  thanks  for  your  prompt  response  and  your  valuable
advice.
A different Mr A.K. , who is from Australia

 
Why do you need separate Preamplifier and Power Amplifiers (in the good old days)
In the good old days,
it was a good idea to have separate preamplifier and power amplifier.
The preamplifier had to handle a "delicate" tiny signal from the record player.
The power amplifier had to produce a massive signal to the loudspeakers.
Obviously, putting the "delicate" tiny signal from the record player,
together with the
massive signal to the loudspeakers,
in the same box,
was a bad idea !
So, it was a good idea to separate the "delicate" preamplifier
from the "hunky" power amplifier !

 
 

Long answer to
"Why do you not need separate Preamplifier and Power Amplifiers (in this day and age)"

A lot of things have changed in the last 30 years.
Most serious vinyl enthusiast have a separate phono stage,
which produces a large signal
(that can be plugged directly into a valve power amplifier).
CD players produce large signals
(that can be plugged directly into a valve power amplifier)
So, the traditional reason
for separating the "delicate" phono preamplifier from the "hunky" power amplifier
has disappeared, like the old 10 bob note !
Besides, serious vinyl enthusiasts own a separate phono stage,
so they have already separated the "delicate" phono preamplifier
from the power amplifier !
There is no technical reason for a separate preamp,
other than to charge the customer more money.
If you do not believe us, please ask any makers of preamplifiers,
for any technical advantage of a preamplifier.
( in this day and age, of dedicated phono stage and CD players. )
What we have done was to take a valve power amplifier,
and replace a 100,000 ohm "grid leak" resistor
with a 100,000 ohm volume control.
Electrical,
there is no difference between our "integrated amplifier" and a "power amplifier" !
We will not go into silly arguments about the
screened cable and selector switch might pick up a bit of electrical noise.
This problem will be worse with separate preamps,
because of the small "delicate" weak signal in the connecting cable
between the preamplifier and power amplifier . 

 
 
What is wrong with valve preamplifiers
Let us be frank about this,
all valves and transistors add coloration to the sound.
Valve preamplifiers will add 2nd harmonic distortion,
which will produce a warmer sound.
Although this might sound nicer,
it is not HIgh FIdelity !
The original "life like" sound has been altered !

 
 
 
 
What is wrong with transistor preamplifiers
Let us be frank about this,
all valves and transistors add coloration to the sound.
Most people will agree that valve preamplifiers make everything sound "warmer".
If people could listen to the difference between
introducing and removing a transistor preamplifier from a "high end" valve system, 
they will be shocked at
how transistor preamplifiers makes the sound so much "colder" and unnatural (totally not life like) !
"Op" amps are "operation" amplifier designed for mathematical "operations"
like "addition" and "subtraction" in ancient obsolete computers.
Why would anybody use these "op" amps in transistor preamplifier ?
Most transistor preamplifiers use horrible "op" amps,
that operate in horrible sounding "Class B" mode.
Maybe the "crossover distortion" of the "Class B" mode
produces a "cold" and unnatural (totally not life like) sound.
There isn't a sane reason for using "op" amps and "Class B" mode for preamps,
other than to "follow the crowd".
It is most fortunate that transistor preamplifier designers are humans beings and not lemmings !
( Most valve amplifiers use "Class A" mode for better sound. )
If you own an expensive transistor preamplifier,
please read our 18 reviews from satisfied customers,
who have replaced their Naim, Quad, Linn, Arcam, Heybrook preamplifier and power amplifier
with our "integrated" (loosely disguised power amplifier).
If that does not prove that
transistor preamplifier and power amplifiers are grossly overpriced and over hyped,
I do not know what will !
Transistors for preamplifiers cost a few pence.
Horrible IC "op" amps will cost from 10 pence to £2
Resistors cost a few pence.
The most expensive part is probably
the mains transformer that costs about £10,
and the pretty box !
So do not expect me to be impressed
when you tell me you paid a few thousand pounds for your transistor preamp !

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