Remote control volume = unacceptable compromise?

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Reading through some of the threads it seems that the absence of a remote control on a pre or integrated is a ‘deal breaker’ for some here. These are my experiences. A couple of years back, at a private listening session with a maker (anonymous ‘cos it really doesn’t matter who because the thread might loose focus) had 2 preamps identical other than one had a remote volume control and other was manual. Both volume controls made by Alps. Apparently these are among the best.

Using a digital source with twin analogue outputs and full-range speakers and a sophisticated SPL meter the system was set up to switch, using a Manley Skipjack, between the two preamps. At identical SPLs for both, the differences were ...

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