Simply so

August 28, 2020
 by Paul McGowan

Simple, cleaner, less cluttered. That’s the way we like our signal path, right? Less is more.

In simpler days when vinyl was all there was, a clean and straight path was typically the best for sound quality: the perfect cartridge/arm/table, feeding a great preamplifier, and then on into a power amp. This was before cables and accessories were a thing. Didn’t get much cleaner than that.

Today even analog rigs seem to require more to make them sing. Perhaps it’s an expensive set of cables, isolation products, tube dampers, separate phono and line stage, monoblock amps, and so forth.

I remember my first education in how simple isn’t always better. Years ago we used between the phono preamp and amplifier the very finest potentiometer available. No line stage or buffer after the pot for us, because we knew simpler had to be better. Until we tried a proper buffer after that pot and then everything changed. Gone was the wimpy bass without slam factor. Enter a new dimensionality in instrumentation separation and a much cleaner, clearer, better defined soundstage.

All because we recognized simpler isn’t always better.

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