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Passive Preamp/ level control with Remote?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for a preamp for my powered speakers.  I like the idea of something passive, simple, neutral or slightly warm (just not bright/sterile/cold ie not the Nwavdeuche/Gilmore/Benchmark sound).  Someone I trust recommended this NHT Passive Volume Control (and is has one to offer me used) which looks nice, but I'm wondering if there is something similar out there with a remote.  Maybe the only units with remotes are the big honkin fancy ones, but I'm just giving it a shot before I go with the NHT. 

 

My current setup is Macpro -> Optical -> Gamma2 -> NAD 1020 -> Mackie HR624

 

The NAD works but it's old, the volume crackles and pops and I think it may just be adding coloration and removing transparency and it seems I don't really need a powered preamp for my setup. 

 

Price range is Team Cheap Bastards.


Edited by rhythmdevils - 4/7/12 at 4:11pm
post #2 of 15

Passive with a remote control?  Hmmmm, that's gonna be tough.confused_face_2.gif

 

You may wish to look into the Firestone Cute MASS or the Fostex PC-1e

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Yeah seems like a unique offering but having a remote would just mean power to move the volume knob, the amp could still be passive.  Or just neutral. 

post #4 of 15

The attenuator could be passive, you mean.  There's no such thing as a passive amp.

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

Yes, the PREamp could be passive.  I believe a remote (at least the old school kind) just triggers a motor attached to the volume knob, and there's no reason that couldn't be attached to the kind of unit I linked to in the first post.  Although it doesn't seem like something that would be all that popular. 

 

If that's not possible, I'm ok forgoing the passive part, I just want something with the sonic qualities I listed in the first post...


Edited by rhythmdevils - 4/7/12 at 7:59pm
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

So not a lot of ideas here eh?  I guess I have to go with the NHT

 

I'd really like a remote though.  Right now I have to use the rowmote app on my iphone to control the application's volume digitally if I want to turn it down and don't want to get up, and that app is a pain in the arse. 

post #7 of 15

No idea about its sonic qualities since I've not heard it, and it might be overkill for what you want it for (not to mention a not really "Team Cheap Bastards" price), but I think that the Presonus Central Station does have a passive pre-amp, a passive and well-regarded volume control and you can get it with a remote. As a bonus, it might happen to be an upgrade to your DAC as well.

 

There's also the Creek OBH-22 passive preamp. It has a remote. I'm sure there are other options as well, including DIY (for example, http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=81176.0)


Edited by AlexP - 4/10/12 at 3:13am
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

You think the Central Station's DAC would be an upgrade to the Gamma2?  That seems doubtful considering the price, the huge amount of features on the Central Station and the fact that the Gamma2 is DIY so profit margins are smaller.  But I have been interested in that unit for a while.  I had the opportunity to get a demo unit for free when I was photographing this Audio Expo in SF, but couldn't get to him at the end of the show.  Definitely too bad. 

 

The Creek looks nice, and it's predecessor the OBH-12 also looks good.  Not sure what the difference is except for maybe a better pot in the OBH-22.  But that looks like exactly what I'm after.  Seems to get pretty good reviews.  Here's some raves on Audiogon http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/frr.pl?rprea&1030467554&&&/Creek-OBH-12-Preamplifier

 

Thanks for the tip!  The DIY you linked to looks awesome, but I have no soldering skills. 

post #9 of 15

The CS has mass production and studio use on its side, but I really don't know, I've heard neither - I remember reading some rave reviews but that's it.

And yeah, the Creek looks interesting! And it seems to sell for half the price of the CS.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmdevils View Post

You think the Central Station's DAC would be an upgrade to the Gamma2?  That seems doubtful considering the price, the huge amount of features on the Central Station and the fact that the Gamma2 is DIY so profit margins are smaller.  But I have been interested in that unit for a while.  I had the opportunity to get a demo unit for free when I was photographing this Audio Expo in SF, but couldn't get to him at the end of the show.  Definitely too bad. 



 

post #10 of 15

hi,

i have the need for something similar.  i have 2 very nice active monitor speakers that have RCA / XLR inputs.  i am trying to use them with my new smart tv that has an optical audio output that is fixed.  i don't want a receiver or amp set up.

 

any ideas??  i really wanted to use the remote from the tv but now just want to have remote to control the volume of the speaks.

post #11 of 15

Guys --- check out Bent Audio's TAP-X.  They make high-end stuff.  I use their remote control motor drive for my DACT stepped attenuator.

I think they have exactly what you are looking for.

 

From what I know of John and what I've heard, this is basically a passion of his and not a requirement for livelihood.  His prices are not much above his cost.

 

http://www.bentaudio.com/products/tap-x.html

 

www.bentaudio.com


Edited by IPodPJ - 7/25/12 at 12:34am
post #12 of 15
Don't know if you solved your quest, but I've approached the same problem with a 2.0 Samsung TV living room set up using a Dac (Grant Fidelity TD-11). I've been limited to the Audioengine 5+ speakers because they're the only relatively larger speakers available with a volume remote. Wish other Dac or powered speaker manufacturers would come up with an alternative.
Edited by highstream - 10/14/13 at 10:23pm
post #13 of 15

Still looking for a cheaper option for the Emotiva Airmotiv 4's. 

 

A remote would be fantastic, but even a semi-decent preamp just to use as a master volume control for the desktop would be nice. 

post #14 of 15

The Airmotivas are consumer copies of real pro grade studio monitors. As you have found monitors are designed to work from either an audio interface, a mixer or a monitor controller. So it makes sense to at least have a look at what is available in your price range.

 

Something like this would be ideal.

 

http://uk.focusrite.com/usb-audio-interfaces/scarlett-2i4/specifications

 

Control speaker and headphone gain with a handy physical knob, balanced connections for nterference free use, Spare output channels for when you get a sub or for remote secondary output, analogue ins for microphones or recording. Excellent software EQ and effects package, well known company with ongong software support. clean and transparent conversion.

 

There are many alternatives. Look out for names such as, MOTU, Native Instruments, Avid and Roland. EMU, ART, M-Audio and Berhinger makes even cheaper models. Top of the range are RME, Audient Lavry among others. SM Pro make affordable passive monitor controllesr and Mackie  make decent small mixers.

post #15 of 15

I avoid pre-amp since I do not want to change the sound of my Adams Audio and my Neuman Audio as the way they're intended to be: a studio monitor not a hi-fi speakers. Here what I have been using from Fostex. I had to order oversea from Juno, Britain. In the US, I found only the USB which is not what I want.

 

 

 

The Fostex passive volume control PC1 -ex.

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