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04-28-2005 Post mapped to one branch of Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 957
Reply to: 957
The ultimate buffer – light in the end of a tunnel

“Do you hear the people sing
Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people
Who are climbing to the light.”
Les Miserables

PREFACE

I would like do not shape this article as a review: I do not write “reviews” religiously and I have many reasons why. I would like more to shape this writing as my personal dairy or as a collection of semi-random thoughts that cover a period of time while I was searching for an adequate line-level solution.  Should my “light in the end of a tunnel” be called a buffer or a preamp? I would live this question not answered, perhaps intentionally. Anyhow, to move further I have to say that there is no agenda in this article. This article is juts my personal journal brought public, like anything else you would face within this site.

PREDISPOSITION: OBSESSION, MANIA, FIXATION.

I think that the regular observants of my site have read my semi-paranoiac yelling about my almost-psychotic craving to have a line-level buffer (or whatever it might be called) that would be able to drive my amps, but at the same time would not interfere in any way with sound of my sources. Also, I did not want my line-level devise to introduce any annoyances to the “Melquiades Sound” ™ (look at the end of the article for a definition of a term ”Melquiadanization”). Today I might report that the “mission has accomplished” (do I sound like our Moron-President?), the buffer-candidate was found, evaluated and eventually, it had been planted into my system.

A few months ago when I discovered about a capability of the “Melquiades Sound” and about the L2 disability to handle sound at level that Melquiadanization requires I decided that I couldn’t live with Lamm L2 preamplifier anymore and I begun to look at the alternative options. There were multiple reasons that made me to look at L2 differently then before: L2’s multiple design shortcomings; multiple sonic disadvantages and the lack of transparency. I mean it is transparent enough within a limited scope of Lamm understanding of Sound but we are not in Kansas anymore and not even in Brooklyn… However, despite of all “L2 misery” that preamp offers something that put it heads and shoulder above anything else out there, namely the X-factor that I described in the following article: Preamplifiers: keys to mystery.

Over 5 years I kept using the L2; hating it for many bad things it did to sound, but was quite enslaved (and I have to say gratefully enslaved) by L2’s magnificent and absolutely unmatched ability to do what I described in the abovementioned article.

FURTHER PREDISPOSITION: ABOUT THE STRAW AND THE CAMEL’S BACK

Then, a few month back the Melquiades amps came and brought to the table the Melquiadanization effect ***. The Melquiades quite dramatically changed the rules of the game. First of all Melquiades is so more superior then the power amps I used before (ML2) that now L2 literally was not able to facilitate the Melquiades’ sonic demands. As the result my line-stage got converted into the weakest element of my playback. Secondary, some of the things the Melquiades did PARTIALLY took care of some aspect of the X-factor. I would like to note the I use the world PARTIALLY as the some very interesting things still exist in the L2’s sound and the Melquiades dose not cover them. From a different prospective the “Melquiades Sound” imply certain contribution where the L2 did not go. So it was a choice…

Eventually, the disadvantages of living with L2 were too great and I decided to look somewhere else. I am intimately familiar with a great number of preamps that I evaluated before L2/L1 and my familiarity with them encouraged me to not event to attempt to approach them. I thought to try a new thing. I thought to let Melquiades to do its Melquiadanization job and to introduce instead of L2’s amassing X-factor a completely transparent (sonically and politically) line-level unit. (I would LOVE to have a line-level unit with the L2’s X-factor capacity but without any sonic degradation… unfortunately it dose not exist). Furthermore, considering that I have 5-6 sources and that I can’t switch the cables I begin to visualize what my new line-stage might be.

My initial idea was to have passive switchbox and a volume control sitting right at the grid of the Melquiades. Then I asked myself if it would be possible to have a completely none auditable buffer that would sit next to my switchbox that would be able to drive my amps? The idea sound fascination and I begin to think.

First of all I needed a volume control. I do not really care about a remote control option, in fact I hate it and I consider that a presents of a remote control indicate a corruption of listening culture. The best step-attenuators were not attractive to me as they slightly compress dynamic (TKD and others) and the best step-switches that I tried were problematic as well. The only know to me attenuator that I did try in past and that I had a great respect was Guy Hammel’s attenuator. The problem with this and any another voltage devider is that it can’t drive anything. The guys with passive preamp who sing odes to passive preamps are juts the guy with dynamically compressed and LF–disabled loudspeakers.

A MEMORY LANE

I know Guy Hammel from end of 90s and I use his passive attenuator for some kind of crazy project where his attenuator managed my LF section. The attenuator worked wonderful at that time and there was something more to it. I remember that I was constantly kept requesting some new requirements form my attenuator. Against my expectation instead to sending me to hell Guy agreed to make all alternations to his attenuator. Furthermore each time I send him the attenuator (4 times) Guy returned it modified next day FedExing me the init overnight. The fun part (for me) was that he refused to take money for the shipments even when I begin to feel guilty and proposed him to reimburse his expenses (trust me: if a Jewish guy like me begun to feel shame that it means that I REALLY abused him). When I proposed to Guy the last time to take money for the shipmen and the modifications he replied that it was a part of his game… It was more then attracted to Guy attitude and the only similar level of support I have seen form the Balance Audio Technology’s early years of operation - those guys were amassing then.

Anyhow, I use the Guy Hammel’s attenuator and then, in a couple years when I lost opportunity to have the attenuators sitting right at inputs I stopped to use them. I was tying to use it full range and it was fine. Then Guy sent me to try his fully active unit (same attenuators + no gain buffer). I tried it and confirmed that the active unit was WAY better, I meant the order of magnitude (!!!) better, more transparent and hugely more dynamic then his passive attenuators, even the passive attenuators did not drive anything (5” cable)… However, at that time the X-factor of L1 (the ancestor of L2, that BTW was way better preamp from many perspective then L2 – the fact the I keep pitching since day #1 of my L2 ownership) was a dominating force of my playback and I decided to live with Lamm’s L1

So, remembering all of it, I contacted Guy Hammel and told him that I would like to bult my own preamp and I would like to use his attenuators in it. Guy agree to allow me to use his attenuators and agree to build them in into my chassis, living me juts a pair of contacts for my own output stage.  So he did.

Placcete.jpg

THE FIRST BLOOD

After I got from Guy my preamps with his 42K attenuators built-in at inputs during the next few months, on and off, I experimented with different output stages trying to make an absolutely transparent buffer using various tubes topologies and various power supplies. All of then were not successful and you might see my frustration in the following thread: HELP: I’m a line-level looser. All buffers that I bult were better or worth and they performed not well: all them were too devastating to Sound. I was kind of disappointed and in my desperation I called to Guy Hammel dumping all my experiences to him. Guy asked me why don’t I want to try his buffers. He explained that what I was going was what he went over years ago and that his current SS buffer was that answer to his quest.  So, I trashed all my buffers and sent the preamp to him asking him to bult in his output stage after the attenuator.

OOPS!!!

Well, surprise, surprise…. it actually worked well. Guy Hammel’s buffer was not only the more transparent and neutral then all my tube buffers but it turned out to be absolutely (a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y) non-auditable compare to a setting when I drive my Melquiades with 47R direct couple source.

Nope, the Guy’s buffer unfortunately DOES NO DO the smart phase rearrangement, the intelligent sonic harmonization, or any other kinkiness that would manifest the Lamm L2’s X-factor. However the Guy’s buffer “doing nothing” and allows the Melquiades to do with Sound whatever Melquiades dose. That was exactly my NEW DEMAND to a preamp and it was the exactly that Hammel’s buffer had delivered. In fact I have no preamp anymore but juts a switch-box (it is nice to have all 6 inputs to sonically identically - the luxury I never had) and a unity-gain direct-coupled buffer with 10R-output impedance. And of course…. having all of this the most important thing that this line-level gismo DOES NOT LOOSE or ADD ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING in context of my installation.

For instance when I tried my buffers of any other preamps I always was loosing the lowest bass. No mater how good parts, assembling, the topology of the buffers I made the buffers always screw the lowest octave: change harmonic structure, roll-off, added coloration to the tones. The Hammel’s buffer turns out to be absolutely invisible in there. Once I armed one of my Melquiades (the amp that produces the best know to me bass) with an output transformer that I prepared for a LF channel of Super Melquiades. It is 450mA monster that useless above 1000 cycles but the go down to 7Hz at full Melquiades’ power: The single-ended bass this transformer does is absolutely insulating and it really has no references in audio semantics.  I was interested to see if in context of THAT LF challenger the Hammel’s buffer will hold its face. Well, I have to tell you that the bass after the Hammel’s buffer was kind of more dynamic then without it. Certainly the driving ability of Hammel’s buffer is way more superior then my sources when I drive the amps directly.  I was playing a very first “one piece pressing” of Janos Starker’ Kodaly’s 8th sonata from 50s – the peace with such a phenomenal complexity at lower octaves that practically all know to me audio chock to handle THAT tone. My L2 convert that “dry & yellow scratching” of Starker’s 1667 “Davidoff” into juts a testerone-loaded violoncello form Berkley School of Music. Tonally L2 was perfectly fine but it was not able to handle that abrasiveness and explosiveness of Starker playing his Strad. With Hammel’s buffer everything went where it should be and it become very clear why some freaks pay for a first pressing of this record $600

Even more. I like harpsichord music, if it is properly played than harpsichord might be an extraordinary complex and powerful expressive tool. Is anything might be more beautiful then Raphael Puyana playing 17-18 century peaces or Trevor Pinnock playing Bach’s concertos for the multiple harpsichords and strings? The problem with harpsichords that after 10 minutes of listening harpsichords recordings we get exsosted.  The harpsichords begin to sound in our head as tonal booleans and as a result, we loss our ability to recognize each tone as different notes. The best solution for harpsichords do not listen it on hi-fi playback and go for a “table radio” (I’m a not kidding) as the long trim listening harpsichord on hi-fi is dangers. This dulling of listing response never happens with  “live” harpsichord, no mater how long you would listen it. I observe the effect of “harpsichord revolt” on countless hi-fi systems and here is where the audio ignorance of audio people bits them up. The real key for reproduction of harpsichords is an ability of a playback to operate at ultra low octaves. The better your playback does at sub-sonic frequencies the less listening problems you will have with harpsichord.  Interesting that harpsichord is even better test for hi-fi then any ultra low frequency spectral analyzer combine with a distortions analyzer. Here is how: volume up (very-very-very loud) a good performance of harpsichord piece and if after 5 minutes of VERY loud playing you did not start experience semi-painful sensations then your playback does the lowers octaves very fine. So, in my case with Hammel’s unity-gain buffer I maxed out the volume of my system (15W into 110dB sensitively) and still it sounded volume-vise menacing but …quite relaxed. In fact it sounded way more relaxed and calmer then when I drove the amp directly from my sources. My very subjective assessment would be that with Hummel’s buffer I was able to experience the same threshold of “harpsichord pain” at 3-4dB more volume than with an anything else

All the way form top to bottom, no mater how complex and how suspicious, demanding and prejudges I was trying to be I was not able to detect any signs where the Hammel’s would slip. There is an ingenious performance out there that I enjoy tremendously. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE – is my favorite contemporary orchestra) recorded in 1987-88 the collection of all Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. This is a performance-marvel that not only stunningly played (like anything else the those guys do), but also wonderfully and very smart recorded. (I have it on “Musical Heritage Society” MHS 522498M). The OAE does not sound like any other orchestra out there and they play music in a very different way using this different sound. Half of time it feels that the orchestra is actual not tuned properly at least for my contemporary taste. You are listening it and it forces you almost to suffer. Suddenly some very alien and totally unheard colorations pop-up in the Brandenburg Concertos here and there and you listening and asking yourself: “Wow, wow, wow… where THIS it going to!?” However, the fanny part that it is not really only the “vintage tune” but also the way how wonderfully and superbly tasteful the OAE “abuse “ it.  The musicians from OAE actually USE that “vintage tune” and they tease hearing with the very minute fluctuations of that “off-tune”. They never go too far or too off the balance and thier ability to operate at the threshold of the “de-tonal nuances” is extraordinary. Audio mostly screws it up: all those “chromatic notes”, the winds-flopping of those valveless instruments, the “strangely none-fancy” and “none-sophisticated” violin group with their anorexic tone…. all of it usually bleached out buy audio and we hear it on recording more intellectually then actual.  All buffers/preamps that I’ve herd juts shadow-out those nuances. Lamm’s SS preamps does this tonal rollercoaster wonderful but ONLY if it has the tubes in PS no older then 2-3 weeks old and only during 10-20 days out of year when electricity is favorable. I always was trying to listen this peace bypassing the Lamm, and although I was loosing the benefits of X-factor but what OAE did was too “big” to kill it. The Hammel’s buffer “swallowed” this music phenomenally!

I have to explain the paragraph above. Thomas Mann in his letters about his objectives regarding the  “Josef and his Brothers” said that everyone knows the story and it is not a big deal to tell it in a fictional manner. However Mann’s objectives were not juts to illustrate the story but to make a reader to become the ACTUAL WITNESS of the story. So, Mann  use many “special” methods to accomplish it, so he did. The story with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Brandenburg Concertos is very similar. We all know intellectually what is going on in there and we all, no mater how bad playback would be, will be able to extrapolate the OAE affords. However, better audio allows do not use awareness while we listening this music and do not utilize any predeterminations, imagination, contemplations, reckoning, extrapolation, visualization and juts become a "witness of music as is” and anable us to let musicality to "handle" us as violent as it could without our own brain involvement. Do you remember when that last time you had sex without stimulation your mind with any external influences and when you were completely preoccupied by a subject of your lovemaking? Here it was!
 
Nope, I’m not saying that the Hammel’s buffer helped to facilitate that “as is perception" of those Brandenburg Concertos but it DID NOT PREVENT to do it and it was EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED.

SOME THOUGHTS AFTER THE “OOPS”

I intentionally do not call this unit as preamplifiers. First of all because it does not amplifies and second because it dose not perform the functionality that Lamm L2 did – namely to repossess sound and to converts a dual mono sound into stereo (read my article “Preamplifiers: keys to mystery”).  However, behind this absolute transparency and further Melquiadanization of sound there is something else: I still DO find that there was SOME virtue in that audio-illiberal “political” contribution that Lamm L2 did to Sound. The problem was for me that after I heard the none-contaminated Melquiades-effect then there was no way back behind the shades of L2’s sonic ego. I would love-love-love-love to have a preamp that would be able to introduce the Lamm’s X-factor but still to be transparent up to the level of the Guy Hammel’s buffer. I heard the Lamm will be trying sometime in future better preamp then L2 but I have serious doubts about Lamm prospective venture and there are 3 reasons why: 1) Lamm electronic does not operate at the level of Melquiades – Melquiades and the Lamms present very different way of thinking, 2) The new preamp will be based upon the different topology then L1/L2 and there ARE some evidences that the X-Factor is a fortunate but accidental outcome of the L1/L2 SS design, 3) Lamm Industries pretty much quitted a few years ago to make any attempts to make sound-producing equipment and nowadays they are just a hi-fi McDonalds with thier reference objectives targeted to Robb Report Magazine.

It is all very unfortunate as if an L2-like X-factor producing preamp that would not have any sonic degradation would be an absolutely ultimate preamp. But as I said: you can’t plug your fantasy or somebody else’s deceitfulness, hypocrisy or ignorance into your playback system… Furthermore, a local audio guy asked me another day: “Romy, are any your sure that you do not overestimate the validity of the X-factor?” This question made me to think. The next paragraph perhaps would be beneficial to read in order to answer this question.

SOME HOWEVERS…

When I begin to use the Hammel’s buffer my playback did not sound well: the positioning of the loudspeakers and the way in which my system imaged before did not work out with it.  I have seen before again and again that when I bypassed L1/L2 the sound went to toilet and become extremely amusical. However, I never worked  hard on playback system after I removed the L1/L2. I mean I moved speakers and worked with room but I never did it with the level of determination as I did it this time. This time I did it for 2-3 weeks, iand n the end I did find a quite interesting positioning that to my surprise turned out to be remarkable close to what I had … but this time it was way more precisely and demanding timing-wise (and the system’s sensitively to absolute phase become almost painful). I would say that I have ~70% of the total imaging that I had with L2.  However, I'm having quite few other image-related qualities that I did not have with L1/L2. I would not speculate witch result is better. As said: there was some merit in L1/L2 contributions. The New Sound and “new presentation” are quite different BUT they are absolutely otheres than "having a well performing playback with L1/L2 and then juts to remover the L1/L2 from the system". The current imaging of my playback is more self-contained value and has no relation to what I has with L1/L2. Yes, the buffer positions the interments and joint the notes similar to L1/L2 but it dose it completely differently, though the final result is more then acceptable. It means not the system dose itself without using ahelp from apreamp.

So, how to estimate the validity of the X-factor? I do not know. The X-factor IS wonderful but how much of other problems I am wiling to tolerate for it? 

THE EPILOGUE AND THE FURTHER QUESTIONS.

Anyhow, Guy Hammel from Placette Audio deserves to be congratulated, so do I. My search for an ultimately transparent buffer is over. I am not saying that there are no other options out there and that it is imposable to accomplish the same level of transparency with a tubes stage. I juts personally was not able to do it. If someone would challenge the Hammel’s result with a tube buffer then I would be greatly interested…but then…. listening what Guy’s buffer does today I’m asking myself: “Do I really need to be interested. Do I have now any specific shortcomings that I might name and that I would like to improve in this line-level buffer? Nope. I do not.

I would love to be wrong about my assessment of Lamm capacity and would love to see him (or somebody else) dose a preamp with the Hammel’s transparency and with L1/L2 sound processing intelligence but something suggests me that it would never happen…

Time will show how it would go along further. The Melquiadanization GREATLY reduced my interest and dependency for the X-factor and introduce a LOT of new things what did not exist in the X-factor driver presentation. How would it affect my long–term vision about the ways in which music should be reproduced? Is any place for X-factor in “Further Audio”? Is something beyond it the X-factor? Would the Melquiadanization be an answer and should I take it further to cast the X-factor as a heretic accident?  I do not know now. I would need to live with it for a while to discover it. I know that today the Guy Hammel’s unit enable me to do EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED – to have an absolutely none-intrusive buffer and I fully appreciate for the opportunity to have it.

Rgs,
Romy the Cat

*** Melquiadanization - is a semantic derivation of English Romynizms. Melquiadanization implies a conversion of sound coming to amplifier to the “Melquiades Sound” via processing it in Melquiades input stage. The Melquiades Reality Reconstruction Amplifier is very much dynamically-none-linear amplifier, from an ordinary (constrained and restricted) point of view. Melquiades’s first stage imposes specific re-processing of sound and introduces certain dynamic modulations-inconsistencies to input signal.  Those dynamic modulations-inconsistencies are primary responsible to the process of Sonic Reality Reconstruction. So, the Melquiadanization is a conversation of Just Amplified Sound into Sonic Reality Reconstruction process.




"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-24-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
RonyWeissman
Lyon, France
Posts 138
Joined on 05-29-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 3813
Reply to: 957
Kleiber surprises while Gergiev snores: Placette Active
Just a brief note on my recent addition: Placette Active preamp.  Due to a recent purchase of Tannoy Golds, I had the opportunity to pull an old McIntosh SS amp out of the closet recently.  This amp has gain controls, so I tried running it with and without my tube preamplifier in the system.  The difference wasn''t HUGE, but it was noticeable. I preferred the sound without, so I picked up a used Placette active on Audiogon, which arrived a few days ago.

Let me say that talking about preamps is pretty boring stuff, but I told Romy I would post a few thoughts...I have no way of doing the with/without comparison as I sold the McIntosh last week after deciding that I don't want to keep it or the Tannoy Golds.  My 300B amplifier came back from the shop this morning, so I replaced my tube preamp with the placette for a first listen.  Well at first I was cursing my local audio guy because he returned my amplifier still in broken condition, absolutely no sound was coming out of the drivers while I powered up the system.  I put in a CD anyway (La Traviata, C Kleiber) and hit play just to see if any noise was going to come out and then out of a far away place came strings like I would want playing at my funeral. I immediately gave my old custom made two phono input tube preamp that I was so proud of the big middle finger (appologies romy for plagarism) and sat back to listen to the entire La Traviata CD without interruption.

I have several CDs that I use to make sure my system is running well. Typically I change back and forth after a matter of a few moments with each. With the Placette in my system I was listening to entire preformances.  Even some that I use to really enjoy and with my new preamp I found quite boring all of a sudden (Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet, Gergiev).  This is really something different.

People at the goodsoundclub.com site typically have world-class sytems, so I won't bore you with more details.  One thing that struck me though is that the 'clarity' I thought was so interesting with my earlier tube preamp (typically associated with SS gear) has been replaced with a softness and richness (typically associated with tube gear) that is almost overwhelming. I am getting much closer to what these Vitavox S2s are capable of. And now I can hear what is WRONG with my system. That is also something different.

Thanks,  R Weissman

02-27-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 3826
Reply to: 3813
Placette vs. the World.

Ronny,

I moved your post to the Placette thread. I hope you do not mind.

What I fine interesting in this subject is not that fact of Placette wonderful transparency - it a fact but that you (and I in past) were trying to challenge Placette with a tube preamp. Placette is juts one SS, discrete op-amp. It dos wonderful but I wonder if it even theoretical possible to have tube-based buffer that would even remotely approach the Placette transparency. With Placette Active in the chain it is absolutely not presented in system. I know, there are many preamps what would say it but so far I did not see any beside the Placette Active that really mean it and the can put the actual transparent performance behind the empty words. BTW, wait until you go to bi-amping world. Then the 8R of the Placette’s output impedance will be like God sent….


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-28-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
RonyWeissman
Lyon, France
Posts 138
Joined on 05-29-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 3829
Reply to: 3826
Placette; one thing I would have liked
Hi Romy,

I wish I had seen your post on Placette before buying mine.  I didn't realize that there is no balance control on the unit.  I know in theory this should not be a problem, but I miss this feature for several reasons.  Can't have everything when you buy on the used market though... 

My unit has what is referred to as Dual Volume Control, which allows it to play at very low levels. Though turning up the volume with Dual Volume Control engaged doesn't sound as good as turning down the volume without the DVC engaged. Maybe this is a question of break-in time on the resistors, who knows.

and yes I am excited about biamping now.  Here's a question: with the placette unit, am I better off with longer interconnect between preamp/amp and shorter speaker cables, or inverse? I need about 3M run to get to speakers. 

thanks,  Rony
02-28-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 5
Post ID: 3830
Reply to: 3829
A Temporary Plug-in balance control

 RonyWeissman wrote:
I didn't realize that there is no balance control on the unit.  I know in theory this should not be a problem, but I miss this feature for several reasons.  Can't have everything when you buy on the used market though... 

Yes, I agree a banes control would be a useful future, thought I would like do not have one more relay in a signal pass when I use the unit it at 0db between the channels.   I need a balance control only for the moments when I work from home - my work desk is at almost 90 degree to the system on the left. So, when I know that I will be working home all day long I plug into my left amp’s RCA jack an adapter that has a minus 9dB voltage divider and it sets the balance at my desk to at 0db.  As an alterative you might look for older production of EVS attenuator or to many similar products:

http://www.tweakaudio.com/Ultimate%20Attenuators.html

http://www.diyparadise.com/stepped_atten.html

With those attenuators (make sure they use RN60 resistors) plagued directly into the RCA jack and they do not drive any cable (like EVS does) then they are extremely transparent. I have to point of that EVS-type attenuators will drop the input impedance of your load but with 8R of Placette’s output it is negligible for a temporary solution

The final solution would be send the unit back to Placette. Guy is extremely flexible, he has absolutely no idiotic ego (as the most of the manufactures) do and I assure you he will do whatever necessary to accommodate what YOU want. If you wiling to pay a little more then you could put a second processor in your unit and to have 2 sensors and ability to change attenuation between right and left channels independently….

 RonyWeissman wrote:
My unit has what is referred to as Dual Volume Control, which allows it to play at very low levels. Though turning up the volume with Dual Volume Control engaged doesn't sound as good as turning down the volume without the DVC engaged. Maybe this is a question of break-in time on the resistors, who knows.

Hm, I do not know what the “Dual Volume Control” is.  What puzzles me that you report that in one volume setting it doesn't sound as good as in others. It has nothing to do with break-in it juts should not be.

 RonyWeissman wrote:
and yes I am excited about biamping now.  Here's a question: with the placette unit, am I better off with longer interconnect between preamp/amp and shorter speaker cables, or inverse? I need about 3M run to get to speakers. 

Well, Placette has 8Ohm output impedance, the lowers I ever seen and it is DC coupled. Many manufactures sing the songs that their preamps can drive complex load but the really is that the louder songs are the more impotent output stage the preamps have (I can give a lot of examples). With 8R direct couple the Placette is very capable but the section of long interconnects vs. long speaker cables would not be only upon the preamp’s capacity but because of many other factors. With all things being equal I prefer long interconnects with monoblocks sitting right next to speakers. However this preference has totally utilitarian reasoning….

Rgs,
The CaT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-28-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
RonyWeissman
Lyon, France
Posts 138
Joined on 05-29-2004

Post #: 6
Post ID: 3831
Reply to: 3830
Placette balance ideas, thanks.
Attentuators plugged directly into the RCA jacks sounds like good solution for balance control, though I will check Placette first for cost of adding second remote controlled sensor, thanks romy.
02-28-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 7
Post ID: 3832
Reply to: 3831
The current-loading of cables as a separate subject.

 RonyWeissman wrote:
Attentuators plugged directly into the RCA jacks sounds like good solution for balance control
Do not forget that you do not need the attenuators but juts one attenuator that you would plug on right OR on left. Also, in a past I had an idea to put mono Placette passive attenuators right in the input stage of my Super Melquiades. This would be absolutely wonderful solution but…. I have 6-7 sources and the Placette has more powerful output stage then any of them. I king of like to current-load my 12feet cable between Placette and Super Melquiades. But the current-loading of cables is a separate subject….

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-28-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 8
Post ID: 6223
Reply to: 957
The “ultimate preamp” is going for tune up.

My active Placette is gone back to Guy Hammel for minor changes that I requested recently.

1)      Install more input lines

2)      Install absolute polarity phase switch

While Guy will be doing it we will try to slightly change PS. I have no sonic objective in the change and it will be just an “intellectual change” with objective to make the Sound of the preamp less depending from the quality of electricity. I doubt that it will work out but since Mr. Hammel will already have the unit “in play” then why not to try it? I will be reporting the results.

The CaT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-28-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Wojtek
Pinckney (MI), United States
Posts 158
Joined on 09-01-2005

Post #: 9
Post ID: 6225
Reply to: 6223
In your buffer quest
did you (or anybody else ) by any chance try Erno Borbely discrete op-amp based buffers? They are  J-fet based kits from EU , not as expensive as Placette but not quite cheap either . Regards, L
12-28-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 10
Post ID: 6229
Reply to: 6225
Borbely Audio op-amps
I did not use or know anyone who uses anything by Borbely but Placette basically is the same idea – a discrete op-amp. It has also a proprietary switchable voltage divider and assembling is “made for transparency”. If not Placette then I still would look into the world of discrete op-amps of SS amps in my quest for “absolutely transparent line-level devise”. Placette is just is less expensive then anything else in my case as it has “out of box” solution. Only God knows how much time and efforts I would spend to accomplish with my own buffer the same level of transparency as Placette has.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-12-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 11
Post ID: 6630
Reply to: 6223
It is coming, it is coming, it is coming … back.
My playback is disarray and distraction for weeks. My preamp is being rebuilt by Guy Hammel and without it my playback feels like a playground of WWIII. Nothing could be connected; nothing can drive anything – sucks in other words. But is it coming, coming, coming back and I can hardly wait it as in my playback the preamp is the key to connect everything. My new Active Placette will have 11 inputs, new PS and whopping 3R output impedance – die you damn 6-ch Milq with your hungry miserable input filters! It is coming on Friday and it should be beginning of end of my latest round playback modification. With Placette reported back to duty I will be able to recalibrated Macondo-Melquiades they need to be. Can’t wait…


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-16-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 12
Post ID: 6678
Reply to: 6630
The Placette on steroids with a lot of testosterone.

I got toady the preamp from Guy Hammel. Oh, boy, I did not expect that it will be so interesting.

The initial idea was very moderate to add more inputs to my preamp. We ended up with adding 5 inputs extra input, so I have 11 all together – eventually enough for everything…

They I figure that if Guy will have the unit them why do not ask him to address the hipper-sensitivety of the preamp to the quality of electricity. The idea was very simple: to convert the C filter into RC filter, to employ the Silicon Carbide Schottky rectification diodes that showed themselves so nice in 6-ch Melquiades  and to beef up the preamp with large better caps. Also, since the 6-ch Melquiades  is such a pain in ass to drive I asked Guy to bias the output stage as hot as possible and to drive the output impedance as low as possible.

It does not sound like a lot of dramatic changes but to my surprise when I got the preamp today and gave it some listening discover that it has quite a number of clearly auditable improvements of it’s performance. I do not know what made the trick: the 3R of out impedance, the 400.000uF of capacitance or the Silicon Carbide rectification something did. What is interesting that my Placette before was absolutely transparent and now I reposts the “improvements”. It is not an absurd and I will elaborate on it later. Sometime next week I pill pit some thoughts together describing what my new preamp does different in term of sound.

What this new Placette++ demonstrates takes the entire idea of preamp’s duty much further, I need to spend some time with it and to think about it as I feel the new horizons are exposed.

Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-16-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 13
Post ID: 6680
Reply to: 6678
The New Placette as the dynamic quandary

 Romy the Cat wrote:
The idea was very simple: to convert the C filter into RC filter, to employ the Silicon Carbide Schottky rectification diodes that showed themselves so nice in 6-ch Melquiades  and to beef up the preamp with large better caps. Also, since the 6-ch Melquiades  is such a pain in ass to drive I asked Guy to bias the output stage as hot as possible and to drive the output impedance as low as possible.

It does not sound like a lot of dramatic changes but to my surprise when I got the preamp today and gave it some listening discover that it has quite a number of clearly auditable improvements of it’s performance. I do not know what made the trick: the 3R of out impedance, the 400.000uF of capacitance or the Silicon Carbide rectification something did. What is interesting that my Placette before was absolutely transparent and now I reposts the “improvements”. It is not an absurd and I will elaborate on it later. Sometime next week I pill pit some thoughts together describing what my new preamp does different in term of sound.
To us, the people who use sub 110dB sensitive horn-loaded compression drivers in hear-field and single-ended triodes it is not necessary to hear educational lectures about dynamics. We have The Dynamic as a commodity at the lever no other topology in sound reproduction can approach. The more I sing odes to dynamics the more I get fascinated when I witness something that defines all comprehensible rules of dynamic common sense.

One of the quandary of dynamic are Wilson speakers, not the little Wilson crap like Watt/Poppy 5, 6, 7, Max, Sophia but by Grand Slam and Alexandria. With all their shortcoming of the large speakers then from my point of view defile the common sense of dynamics and they are the only know to me loudspeakers that have dynamic capacity of a good horn installation (bad horn installation demonstrate no dynamics). Another quandary of dynamic is Expressive Technology Transformers. For whatever reason the Expressive magnetics does something absurd it increased the dynamic range and harmonic of a phonostage (at least the 834PT) at the same time. It does not increase a perception of dynamic by squishing harmonics and doing “sharp” (like 99.999% of dynamic-affective audio does). In a contrary the ET magnetics actually prolongs the second harmonic tail and in the same time it increases the speed with which sound runs across the NEW extend dynamic range. Now is the New Placette.

I do feel that New Placette is more dynamic then it older brother. I say “I feel” as the new Placette came at the same time as the new 6-chennal Melquiades. I was not able to driver Melquiades with anything else, except by digital at full volume – too damn loud.  So, Placette in my playback overrides the output capacity of all my front ends that have difficulty to drive Melquiades direct. Therefore it is possible that some of the advanced that I attribute to my new active Placette are derivation of the new 6-chennal Melquiades sound. I did not live with 6-ch Melquiades driver by other preamp, so I have no way to abstract what is coming from New Placette and what is coming from the New Super Miq.  I had a very few days when the 6-ch Milq was ready and then I send the Placette to Guy. Still I feel that I might make some observation about the effect of the new Placettenization.

So, the New Placette is juts more dynamic then old Placette. It is not that old Placette was not. Conducting the “Insertion Test” (Read the “Reviewing preamps by imbeciles” in the linked thread) the old Placette had no influence to sound after the Insertion. The new Placette dos have influence. One of the influences is increase of dynamics with (look like but it is not a final judgments) no impact to harmonics.

Now, it is very important to understand is that I am not a reviewer and I do not conduct the quality assurance of the New Placette. If I was and get paid for my time then the next step would be to bring another New Placette into the game and perform another insertion test with New Placette driving another New Placette. That would indicate if the New Placette in fact increased the dynamic range or it is juts simply repair the deficiency of the not perfect output stages of my front ends component. However, since I do not need to say Truth I might report only what I get – the New Placette does subjectively increases the dynamic range and I care less about the bottom of why and how.

Another amassing characteristic of the New Placette, something that I very seldom see in sound reproduction is that the New Placette is losing bass at low volume very much different than it might be expected. Evan at very very very low listening level the New Placette somehow maintains the reference to bass notes. It was kind of freaky at beginning. The Placette of cause does not implement any correction of equal loudness contour and does not dynamically offset the compression contribution of the driver’s suspension at low volumes (it is arguably what DSET does) but somehow, the New Placette juts has more  and better quality bass at lower volumes. Very very cool!!!

To be continue…

Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-17-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 14
Post ID: 6692
Reply to: 6680
The Placette oscillations – pass the test.
Latterly is have been some controversy with new Placette output impedance, it does not look like it is 3R but rather 37R according to my measurement. I need to clear it with Guy.

I also desided to address (since the Active Placette is a discrete op-amp) the fear of oscillations and I made a few measurements to see how stable this thing is. Here is a feed from my “better” generator at 0dB digital outputting the whole 5.95V RMS into Placette. The voltage is much-much more then usually music plays (normal listening level is at 0.2V-.5V with 1-1.5V in peaks), with 5V and connected speakers I would burn the drivers. So the setting was following. The Placette is driver by 5.95V RMS 1000Hz sinusoid. The Placette output loaded into Milq and paralleled into the HF 50R input of 150mHz scope. In the scope input mounted 3mHz first order filter to keep all sound and to get only oscillations. I will not comment on the result- you can see it. The first image is the setting as described and the second is the same setting only the Placette is loaded to 0.1uF capacitor.

Placette.jpg

Placette.jpg


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-27-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,148
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 15
Post ID: 6806
Reply to: 6692
Benefits from stronger PS?
Romy, have you been able to gather any thoughts yet about the new "bad-AC-proof" power supply?

If yours is actually bad-AC-proof and still sounds just as good or better than the "crappy little PS" with good AC then it will be good news.

Do I sound desperate?  I am.

So, how's the new Placette PS working out?

Best regards,
Paul S
02-27-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 16
Post ID: 6807
Reply to: 6806
No results yet
Placette when last week back to Guy Hammel for “revision”. Despite of a truly phenomenal result with bass and dynamics my new version of Placette has one characteristic at HF that I feel was terminally incorrect. We presume that we know how to address the problem and what caused of it and the preamp will be back on this Friday. So, I did not use the Placette since my last post in this thread.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-29-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 17
Post ID: 6818
Reply to: 6807
The Placette is back to business.

OK, got the Placette from the second round of "modification", it took 15 second to confirm that the HF problems that I sniffed out was not there anymore – so the absolute transparency is back to the business and this time the word “absolute” could be understood literally. The measured output impedance now 9.2Ohm – way too cool!!! The Placette swallow the labor to drive 6-ch Super Melquiades with eagerness of a person who just crossed Sahara drinks water. Did I mention bass as dynamic?

The only questionable thing is if I will be able to use my new 11 input Placette as a monitoring devise for my recording equipment. I was wonder if it I can drive my AD processor from the one of the Placette’s outputs.  Now I have 2-3 phonostages, Reel-mashie and tuner that I would like expose to my recording AD processor. In order do not replag anything I could make my AD processor to monitor my preamp. I wonder if Placette will be THAT transparent….

Rgs, Romy the caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
03-01-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 18
Post ID: 6820
Reply to: 6818
Placette and headphones

I asked Guy Hummel to put a headphones jack into my new unit. Guy put the jack, the switch that redirect signal to headphone or to the main output. It is so cool to have a headphone option – I have no idea why I did not ask him to do it before. In addition to pure benefits and camphor of using headphones, the headphones are superior tool to trace “quality of sounds” and to monitor certain thing that harder to monitor sending signal to large speakers.

Many people, including Guy Hummel, told me that Placette’s output stage is a very good driver for headphones. I disagree. Placette does produces VERY high quality sound via headphones, in facts sounds quietly at Fist Listing Level is absolutely phenomenal. However, overall I do not like that sound – it is very stiff and very anal retentive. It reminds what the deterrence between the world “meal” and word “eating ceremony”…

I have to admit that I have very weird headphones: the 70OHm ATH-M40FS. They are no way good headphone but they are the headphones that I am very much accustomed and very much like. To me the ATH-M40FS driven from Panasonic SL-CT470 with S-XBS EQ curve is the most musical sound from headphones that I ever experience. I so addicted to that sound that a few year ago I bought 6 now gone SL-CT470 and when my ATH-M40FS get broken (one in 1-2 years) I but right the way another ATH-M40FS. There are much more capable headphones then ATH-M40FS with better extension and certainly there are MUCH better headphones amps then the SL-CT470’s output but M40FS and bass-activated CT470 is what I feel home and I know that it might be not rational but it is what I call “musical.” When Placette drives my headphones the sound are way more sophisticated and more refined, it term of technical listening I found it superb. However, it is hardly appreciateable in human experience term and in musical terms.

Perhaps I need other headphones as so far Macondo sounds way more sophisticated and incontestably better then my headphones. However the headphones do have own place. For instance it is so comfortable to put headphones on and to drive the antenna’s rotor to turn the antenna very precisely to the given station using the minute noises that are very continent to recognize on headphones. I feel that this way give more exact result then monitoring the signal strength or the multipathing. There are few other options where headphones are very handy and I am glad that I have then eventually integrated with me my entire system.

Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
03-01-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 19
Post ID: 6823
Reply to: 6818
Placette and Audio-Umami

It is know that in addition to basic tastes (I believe bitter, salty, sour, sweet) of the Western culture those “different”  Japanese people recognize another taste they call  it “Umami”. Umami, if I am not mistaken, is a sense deliciousness or sense of prettiness…

I spent last night many hours deep into the night trying to make sure that before I finally admit Placette into my installation this preamps would do what I need from it. I was using my techniques that I described in “Reviewing preamps by imbeciles” article. I knew already that Placette was absolutely transparent in term basic sonics. This time I was trying to identify the Placette signature in term of Umami-transparency.

Among all audio that I ever own, ever used or ever experienced in other playbacks there is nothing that has such a high concentration of Umami as Sansui TU-X1, particularly with all my new discoveries how to use it. So, I was driving my playback (and headphones) from Sansui directly and then juts inserted Placette in the middle. The TU-X1 is not such a superb driver. Of course in my both TU-X1 the Sansui’s default output attenuators are disconnected but still Placette is much more powerful driver. However, the sonic differences due to insufficient Sansui "drivability" more affected the basic tastes of sound (bass, dynamic, harmonics etc…) but not the sense of “sonic prettiness”...

It is important to notice that “sonic prettiness” or the Audio-Umami is mostly not understood by audio people and mostly do not exist in audio.  It does not exist not only because the immunity of most of audio people to sophistication of sound but because audio generally is not transparent to audio-Umami. Last night I spent an hour witnessing how non-transparent Placette was in terms of Audio-Umami. Driven from Sansui sound has zillion “points of prettiness” and “moments of vividness”. As soon the Placette was injected the particulars of the prettiness were subdued and the Umami sophistication of deluded. How big my surprise was when I eventually recognize that I head not the Placette’s contribution but the contribution of the interconnect that used between Placette and Sansui. I did use a very good 12 inches short cable and I do have (as many other foolish audio people) a full closet of all imaginable “better” cables. So, I was sticking the different cables in order to milk Audio-Umami out of Placette, until I found the one, the ugliest and the less convenient to use – the older PAD’s Dominus -  not a big surprise to me  - but I thought that I would be able to go away without it during this test. So, with Dominus reported to duty it was VERY interesting to see how Placette deal with Audio-Umami.

I had a number of very good broadcasts doing on at that time – and the conditions where perfect. The Placette did fine. It was some very-very minute (I man absolutely microscopic) difference between Audio-Umami from Sansui and Audio-Umami from Sansui. However, whatever tiny difference was it was in the realm of “being different” not in realm of “being less”. The difference itself was at so negotiable level that it is absolutely ignorable. In quantifiable terms I would describe the difference like this: if change of my Dominus to Radio Shake cable is responsible for 1000 relative points of Audio-Umami redaction then injection of Placette is responsible for 1% of the same relative points differences. So I think I can discard the Audio-Umami difference, particularly considering:

1)      The Sansui itself is not as good driver and Placette
2)      Placette is driver from random and no condoled power source
3)      I do not know if Dominus is an absolutely transparent  in term of Audio-Umami
4)      Placette need a few days to be powered in order to give out it’s best

Anyhow, I amplitude of the Audio-Umami differences that I observed and the level of sophistication of Audio-Umami difference that the new Placette supports is absolutely indicative to me that the New Placette is fine. (BTW, I shorted Placette output caps and resistors and run the oscillations tests – I was clean). So, the project is officially over and the New Placette is welcomed back home…

Rgs, Romy the caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
04-19-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 272
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 20
Post ID: 7255
Reply to: 957
Would the Active Placette drive headphones?
Once I've assumed my speakers system into this house won't ever be able to deliver what I wish to accomplish, I have kind of downgraded my exigences and I'm more and more listening to headphones. For the last few months I've been trying different headphones and headphone amps. By chance and despite the statistics not going in my favour regarding "audiophiles knowledge", I've found the headphones and amp -which fed by the same sources I'm using with the speakers,- are capable to hold my attention listening to serious music recorded -not speaking of FM broadcasts- for more than ten minutes.

This has opened a new scope in my implication and interaction with recorded music -can't complain when attending live performances-, but I'm still too ignorant to know how far can I go with this and if I still can have things righter, in the way of climbing higher in the levels of appreciation of music and why not, audio too.

I can identify some things in my headphone system that could be improved. At this point I don't know if it's the amp or the headphones or both to blame. This morning I had very good electricity supply and listening to the fantastic Kleiber's Beethoven 5th and 7th -which for the first time in my life I've been able to really grab and get involved to at an intelectual level completely new to me,- I thought that having a trully transparent amplifier would allow me to know. Hence my question. Maybe it's a moronic assumption, but if the Active Placette is really transparent and were able to keep that character driving headphones, it'd be a phenomenal tool to learn where the flaws come from and eventually setting up a system that allows me to get a hold on recorded serious music that I've been missing forever.

Advanced thanks for any input. Rgrds
04-19-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 21
Post ID: 7256
Reply to: 7255
The Placette and headphone. My half-impedance rule.

Yes, the Active Placette would drive headphone, still I do not like the sound. I get way more proper sound when Placette driver my “big” system then what is drivers headphone. I use headphone quite aggressively but mostly for “technical listening” (like fine-dial the antenna attenuation to get better noise on FM). Placette does to headphone very good “quality” but it is very amusical quality. The HF-MF range with Placette into headphones is brilliant but it is not supported by proper harmonics – so who need that “brilliant midrange”. There is not bass at all and the lower MF range is very-very sharp. The upperbass is insultingly fast and overly round – very unpleasant. It very much reminding the sound of Kharma-Magico, only with even more ridicules extreme.

I think the truth is the Placette has no power to drive this thing, even I asked Guy to bias the out transistor as hot as heatsinks might handle but I think it did not help and my Placette still has no power to drive my 75R headphone. Saying it I feel that the headphone jack is very useful feature on Placette – extremely convent and very useful. Juts I feel that Placette’s headphones should be used for no other purpose then for monitoring.

Surely Placette has no of the above quality what it driver the higher impedance. I usually use double-load test to found out if the output stage with an acceptable load.  To simplify for you might do the following: driver big system with Placette and get the reverence how it sounds. When connect the headphone (not via the Placette jack and it will mute the main system’s output). Pay attention if the sound of your main playback changes. In my case it goes to toilet right the way. That is the sign that the amp should not drive the given load. My rule is that an amp should be able to drive with no sonic impact at least the half impedance.

I have to note though that I use top of the line and the near-bottom of the line Audiotechnica headphones, with the near-bottom of the line being my reference headphones (ATH-M40fs) . The Placette’s Guy disagrees with my findings about the Placette’s headphone sound. He feels that Placette sound very fine with headphones. He uses Sennheiser 650. I did not try any other headphones besides those that I already have.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
04-20-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 272
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 22
Post ID: 7260
Reply to: 7256
What a pity
I'm sorry to read that. It could be possible that it's a transparent HP amp if using high impedance phones like HD600, but then it'd be of no use to me, since the phones I'm liking more lately, which I'd like to know how far can go with some fine-tunning, are 62R impedance. Probably too low and asking for too much current to the output stage in the Placette.
I wrote Guy yesterday asking about it, but he didn't reply so far.

The HP amp I'm currenlty using seems to be fairly transparent and can drive whatever phones I plug into it. I can hear through most phones the known to me qualities of the Bidat like the killer lower midrange, the lowest bass extension and texture, and the rightness in the sibilance area without the damn glare most upsamplers add there, but having a contrasted transparent phones amp would be a very interesting and educative tool for my current purposes.

BTW I had for some time a Sugden Headmaster. At first I liked it for rock, but listening to classical.... it really did something very wrong to harmonics, the worse the lower the impedance of the phones you plug into it. With 300R didn't do too bad, but not right either.

Thanks a lot Romy, I appreciate your reply. Rgrds
05-06-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 23
Post ID: 7363
Reply to: 957
The Appreciation of Placette…

That is truly great and IO would like to express one more time my esteem to active Placette preamp.

I play with 3 tuners and multiple stereo decoder options trying to gig out the minute differences and aspect of sound of those units. It is a pure anal retentive nose picking as far as I concern but I would like to settle it once and do not return to this subject again.  So doing the “comparing” of 3 tuners and multiple output stages with Placette is just a pure pleasure.

Placette overrides the different output impedance of different tuners and allows to instantaneously switching from one tuner to other via a remote control. The most important is that Placette offers something that I never seen in any other preamp s that I owned – it has absolutely identical sound from it’s all 11 inputs. This confidence that my preamp will not screw up is so imperative in my experiments that I can hardly stress it’s significance.

Thank you, Placette


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
11-06-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 24
Post ID: 12160
Reply to: 7363
The little monster is coming back.
fiogf49gjkf0d
I never thought that it is so painful: to have a  playback and no front-end thatcan drive my amps. Thankfully the Placette is coming back now with the whole 12 channels and the tape loop. I have some ideas how to chance the connections across the whole playback. It might take for a while to find the best configuration for the ground loops considering that the “loopable” DAW and the “loopable” Pacific will be in the game. Well, the Placette will be installed in the new location and with new layout of cable – it might be interesting how it will go…

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
11-06-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
RonyWeissman
Lyon, France
Posts 138
Joined on 05-29-2004

Post #: 25
Post ID: 12161
Reply to: 12160
While the cat was away(missing plactte)
fiogf49gjkf0d
Hi Romy,I was wondering if you put in any other preamps while your placette was away for mods?  I decided to take mine out of my system temporarily (just to mimic you 8-) ), and put back in an old custom made tube preamp.  Well it is very interesting to hear the difference in sound, or rather the adjustment to sound that is coming from my tube preamp.  I confess that I like it very much, my bass is much warmer, fulller and a heck of a lot deeper (and that difference is from all my sources). The dynamics are almost much more life like (orchestral especially).  The sound is much more hazy across the entire spectrum, but i find a much more emotional attachement to this new sound. obviously this is not a critique of the placette but a realization that I will need to work more on my playback to get what I want, and to find what I am doing wrong with the placette.Regards,R weissman
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