Excited or confused?

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In yesterday's post I offered a sneak preview of the BHK preamplifier's sound - and the bewitching qualities it imparts on the music. Reader Terry Franklin reminded me of my disdain for preamplifiers by quoting from what I had previously written:
Our recommendation is to use the DAC directly into your power amplifier and bypass the preamplifier. “There’s no preamplifier like no preamplifier”. Certainly this is your choice but we believe the fewer pieces of equipment in the chain the better performance of the system.
And until I heard my former reference preamplifier that statement was (and is) true. And it drives me crazy. How in the world can adding something in the signal path, complete with wires, power supplies, components and more wires, improve the sound of music in honest ways? Sure, we could imagine some added this or some added that, could enhance the music in unnatural ways, but improve its purity? That stretches credibility. And yet… There isn't one among you that would disagree with these findings were you to also sit in the Music Room and make the same comparison. DirectStream or PWD straight into the amplifiers sounds better than through any preamplifier I had tried, including our own PCA-2 of old. But it wasn't always that way. Before the PerfectWave DAC series appeared, we hadn't the advantage of their lossless volume controls. Older DACs with volume controls lost resolution with decreasing gain and using them with any good preamp was better. Once we had DACs without compromised controls, the addition of a preamp was not only unnecessary, it was worse. That is, until I was shown what became, for several years, the reference preamp in the Music Room. A tube based device of extraordinary sound, that I have written of before. What magic inside this box of glowing fire bottles, wires, and metal bits wrings sound truer than no box at all? I haven't any ideas. I just know what I hear.
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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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