Pre -amp or not

I listen to my music via hard drive ( Flac ) and cd . Am I right in thinking that a streamer that can act as a pre amp i.e it has a volume control and is therefore feeding direct to a power amp , will sound better than using a "proper pre amp " Thanks


Moot point, much discussed but no! Well probably not.

In my experience systems with a dedicated pre separate from all the digital stuff afford a more musical sound. However, Linn for example now routinely include the pre stage in their streamers and Naim’s own Uniti products prove that the technology is developing all the while.



You are not right. But then again you are not wrong either. It depends on the equipment, especially how good the volume control and preamp in the streamer are.

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Hi I’ve tried using a Quad Artera Pre in between the Quad QMP monos and a Cambrige Audio 851N network player and it all sounds good . If I take the Artera out and use the 851N direct into the Qmp’s …it still sounds good…I can’t really tell the difference , but I think the best sound I’ve had is using a Naim UnitiLite as a pre/streamer into the QMP’s . So basically I don’t really need the Artera Pre which I bought for the MM/MC input and realised I prefer the convenience of digital , so I’ll probably just sell the Artera and the 851N. Anymore thoughts and advice would be welcome

I knew a guy on another forum who had a big Wadia CDP with volume control direct into a pair of Plinius (I think) monos and big speakers. As an experiment one day he borrowed a valve (I think) pre and said that it transformed the system for the better. Could it be that you just prefer the pre-stage in the Uniti to the Quad?

I remember that @davidhendon had the Quad pre before. If my memory is accurate, he doesn’t find it very good. But found the Quad power amp much better for its price level.

I have an Auralic Altair G2.1. It is a preamp, dac and streamer and sounds very good.

I’ve not heard the Quad Artera preamp. I had several Quad preamps over the years and found the Naim NAC N-272 a great improvement over the Quad 99 preamp, which was the last I had.

I do think Quad power amplifiers are exceptional value for money. The Artera Stereo power amp is a genuine 140 watts per channel and costs about £1500 new. I prefer it to the Nova’s internal power amp to drive the SL2s in my second system.

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Implementation is everything here. I use a Chord DAC direct into a Chord amp so no analogue pre, but they were designed to work together.
Naim designs are different. Their systems are designed around the use of an analogue preamp. Removing this and using the basic digital control in their separate streamers is probably not such a good idea. There’s no harm in trying it though, I tried my NDX2 direct into a 250DR and it didn’t sound as good without the 282 in between, but it worked.

(I presume you are referring to digital volume controls in DACs here rather than the analogue pre in your 272?)

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There have been at least a couple of threads recently on the general topic, worth a read rather than people re-posting things here:

Hi lindsayM The Artera has subtle tone controls which I found quite handy for some music and thats probably the only reason I might keep it , I’ve still got it in my head , and a simple way of looking at it is that a pre in between a streamer and power amp surely gets in the way rather than enhances the sound quality.



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