PS goes Linear
Our first audition of the prototype Control Center, outside of PS Audio's reference system, was a total flop as I described yesterday. The amp we were trying to drive with our passive "preamplifier" had gain low enough that even with the Control Center's pot turned all the way up there was barely enough level on the system. Clearly this was a problem and one that could only be solved with an active gain stage. Our idea of the passive preamp, its purity of signal and minimalist properties weren't going to cut it for every system. What to do? Of course we could have just thrown a gain stage in the product and called it a preamplifier. I mean, why not? That's what everyone else did. And I mean, everyone else. We were standing alone on this issue and wanting badly to keep the purity, simplicity and open sound we had achieved with this simple solution. Neither of us wanted to give that up, yet we knew the product wasn't a viable one for every system. In fact, it wasn't viable for well over half the systems out there. I designed an output stage for the Control Center and we tried it in the system. Yup, sounded great, bass was better. Bass was actually a lot better. But we'd lost some of the openness of sound we so wanted to keep. But then Stan had an idea. How about a switch? Why not put a switch on the Control Center that would allow those with enough amplifier gain to use the Control Center as a passive box and not suffer the degradation of the gain stage? If you didn't have enough gain, simply flip the switch and now you had plenty. Want to run a long length of interconnect between the Control Center and your power amplifier? Passive preamps suck at this. An active device works quite well. Now our customers would have a choice. We had both a preamp and a Control Center in one box, but it became a preamp only when it was switched to the active gain stage inside. As a passive device, it was still appropriately labeled a Control Center. We needed a more descriptive name and I think it was me that came up with the idea of adding the word "Linear" (describing the gain stage) that got added on. Now it was the Linear Control Center, or LCC for short. Here's a picture of the first one:
- Choosing a selection results in a full page refresh.
- Opens in a new window.