1. Time for some upgrades in server hardware and software to enhance security and take AK to the next level. Please contribute what you can to sales@audiokarma.org at PayPal.com - Thanks from the AK Team
    Dismiss Notice

It looks like the "straight wire with gain" theory is being questioned

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by the skipper, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. the skipper

    the skipper Amateur Curmudgeon Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,746
    Location:
    Aggieland
    Naturally, the user's inferior equipment will mask any bad things it does to the signal. Of course, personal preference, room interaction or a deficient recording couldn't have anything to do with it, could it?
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
    Bodyblue likes this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. 7.62

    7.62 Gearhead Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,650
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    This has happened to me so many times !

    Kinda makes me feel better cause now I know I'm not crazy.....:crazy: I may very well order one in the morning.
     
  3. bimasta

    bimasta Super Member

    Messages:
    2,640
    I always thought it was Sir Peter Walker, founder of Quad and fount of many quotable quotes. But who knows?

    It was probably Einstein, Churchill, or Ghandi. They have by far the most famous quotations of things they never said. People just tack their names on to any BS to give it stature and credibility.
     
    Alobar likes this.
  4. c.coyle

    c.coyle All solid state except for the tubes Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,256
    Location:
    40.339044,-76.423500
    Maybe I'm dense, but if there is no gain and no tone controls, what does it do?
     
  5. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

    Messages:
    11,415
    Location:
    Norman OK
    I read online that the term is attributable to Stewart Hegeman, who designed HK's Citation line of components. Of course, one can read anything online.

    http://audiophilereview.com/amps/a-straight-wire-with-gain.html


    Switches between sources, attenuates for volume control. Search passive preamps with your browser.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
    Pio1980 likes this.
  6. dcmfan

    dcmfan AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,859
    Location:
    Welcome 2 Missouri
    Input selection and volume attenuation - it's a passive preamp.
     
    mprince, Pio1980 and musichal like this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

    Messages:
    11,415
    Location:
    Norman OK
    I don't use bass/treble tone controls, or graphic equalizers (which I hate, parametric are better, imo, though I don't own or use one of them either) but I do use my amp's built-in 80hz roll-off for the new speakers with their tee-niney woofers, and add a subwoofer. So while I am no purist, I let my big brain compensate for frequency anomalies whether caused by the room, equipment or recording quality. It's gotten good at it. However, like dcmfan, I think we should all enjoy our music the way we like it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
    Alobar likes this.
  8. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    52,899
    It could be passive (attenuator and a source selector) or it could be active (e.g., an impedance buffer -- plus attenuation and/or source selection). A buffer is (should be) "unity gain" i.e., no net gain, nor loss, in the signal chain.
     
  9. c.coyle

    c.coyle All solid state except for the tubes Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,256
    Location:
    40.339044,-76.423500
    I know what a buffer is. So a "passive preamp" is just an input selector and a volume control?
     
    Pio1980 likes this.
  10. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,716
    Or, no input selector at all. A box with attenuators to control gain.
     
  11. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

    Messages:
    40,927
    Location:
    LoTL
    More or less.

    FWIW, most posts seem to mention attenuation in conjunction with passive. And, in much operation (regardless if passive or active) one is attenuating the source output. However there are passive units that can have gain, such as transformer volume control.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  12. PRESSON100

    PRESSON100 Member

    Messages:
    59
    I think we are divided into different groups, largely defined by what music one prefers. For me, I listen to old rock and roll most of the time where recordings vary from extremely poor to "pretty good" (Dark side of the Moon). But most do not compare
    to the rock recordings of the mid 80s where the recordings improved but the music quality declined in general, at least in my opinion. In any case, I generally need tone controls to make somethings sound half way decent and sometimes an equalizer.
    I agree I don't need this for Mannheim steamroller recordings, but most of the time, I am not listening to this. I am interested to hear from other rockers on this.
     
  13. c.coyle

    c.coyle All solid state except for the tubes Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,256
    Location:
    40.339044,-76.423500
    I don't want to sound like an annoying little nit picker, but the terminlogy has always wondered me (as they say here in Pa. Dutch country). I have always thought of a "preamplifier" as an amplification stage before another amplifier. All amplification stages in my book are "active," so you can't passively amplify or pre-amplify anything.

    But now that I think about it, I guess a "pre" amplifier can be any kind of circuit that's ahead of any amplification stage.
     
  14. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    52,899
    Mine has one -- and transformer attenuators.

    [​IMG]010 by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

    Little silver colored metal box.
    Two knobs: Left is source selection (three sources), right is attenuation (different taps on the transformers).
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
    Lavane likes this.
  15. Bodyblue

    Bodyblue AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,476
    Location:
    CA
    I have come to like just a bit if EQ on some music and older rock is one of those. Even on Spotify there is some quality differences that an EQ can help with. When I listen to my vintage rock playlist I have the EQ on and when I listen to modern recordings like Chris Botti or Diana Krall I bypass it (even though I leave it on to have the spectrum lights on). If you like how it sounds, use it and dont care what random posters on the internet say......
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    PRESSON100 likes this.
  16. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    52,899

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  17. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

    Messages:
    40,927
    Location:
    LoTL

    Generally, in this context, "active" is a reference to something that uses outside help, so to speak. A battery, a power supply, etc.

    As well, I think the matter of gain is independent of active or passive. However, the ability to add gain sure is more common in active devices than passive.

    In the other direction from a passive TVC with gain capability, I have a Pass B-1 which is just attenuation but I certainly wouldn't call it a passive device.
     
  18. bimasta

    bimasta Super Member

    Messages:
    2,640
    I have a passive preamp: no gain, no active circuitry, only attenuation. I love its clarity, detail, transparency. But it's not a totally "purist" passive: it has 4 inputs and remote control. These are convenience features, not "sound altering" features. If I have to get up and rewire my "pure" one-input preamp to change from Phono to CD to Tuner etc, forget it.

    But passive preamps don't do dynamics — dynamics are flattened, excitement is flattened, pleasure is cerebral, never visceral. Sure, passive may be "closer to the source", an audiophile ideal — but most recordings are pale renditions of the performance, through a glass dimly.

    I have another very good, accurate preamp, active, whose sound is very close to my passive — clarity, detail, transparency. It also has — oh the horror!! — tone controls. They do what tone controls should do: boost or lower treble or bass slightly, without affecting the music in any other way. The active gain, and the tone controls, can bring a dead recording back to life.

    If I were a Zen monk seeking Satori, excitement and pleasure would be anathema. All respect to Zen monks — namaste brother — but I am not a Zen monk.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
    +48V, Lavane, Alobar and 1 other person like this.
  19. c.coyle

    c.coyle All solid state except for the tubes Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,256
    Location:
    40.339044,-76.423500
    A passive device can't create gain, if "gain" means amplification of a signal.
     
  20. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

    Messages:
    40,927
    Location:
    LoTL
    That is incorrect.

    A transformer is considered a passive device, and a transformer volume control can create gain.
     

Share This Page