The heart of the system

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The debate over the true heart of a system—amps or preamps—is as old as the category. What’s the truth?

My pat answer is “both”, but that’s not always practical. What if economic constraints force you to choose between one or the other? Which do you select?

The immediate answer is that it depends on what you’re replacing. If you’ve been living with a compromised amp but a decent preamp, the choice is obvious. But, what about two “meh” components?

Audiophile lore has the preamp as the heart, the amplifier as the brawn. I’d like to question this myth, and I chose the word “myth” on purpose.

A myth is a widely held falsity like swallowed chewing gum remains inside your body for seven years, eating carrots improves eyesight, drinking coffee helps you sober up, or there is a dark side of the moon (the moon is evenly lit, it’s just that from our vantage point we can’t see it).

Let’s take a look tomorrow and see if this is actually a myth, strong opinion, or if it has any merit.