Ask an expert: Direct to the amp or through a preamp?

Ask an expert

Howard, can you help. I am going to be investing in LFD Audio amps from you in September this year. I have a limited budget. I have a CD player with a variable output that could, if you advise it drive a power amp. For similar money though I could buy a less sophisticated power amp plus an LFD preamp. How can I make the best decision?

This is not an easy question because it is so system and user dependent.

When I do home demos I rarely carry a preamp if the customer has a source with a variable output. Lugging two or three power amps plus a pair of (say) Vandersteen speakers with me is challenging enough, and sometimes the added trouble of hauling a preamp just isn’t worth it. Why? Because more often than not it isn’t worth it because there’s really little sonic advantage to doing so.

I’m ignoring the convenience aspect of preamps where numerous analogue sources plus tape in/out might be required. That’s when a neutral preamp such as a vintage LFD Linestage 1, 2 or 3 or the DLS Linestage is required.

In my demo room I have ……….

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