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Icon Audio's Passive Line Pre Amplifier is a purer alternative to a full pre amplifier, allowing line level items directly to your power amplifier, with only high quality volume and input switching inbetween. The main reasons for having a full pre amplifier (apart from tone controls and balance which thankfully most high pre amps have dispensed with) are:
(1) Voltage gain (for example where your 1 volt tuner output needs to drive a 1.5v power amp input), and...(2) Where the capacitance of very long connecting leads degrades high frequency.
However, modern tuners, CD players and phono stages usually have enough output to drive your power amplifier(s) effectively without the need for (1) and in most modern systems you are using relatively short leads of 0.5m or 1m in length, so there is no need for (2). You therefore only need to control volume, and switch the input - nothing else.
Some years ago QUAD described the perfect amplifier as “a piece of wire with gain”. By default the Icon passive is perfect, as it has no flaws and is the basis for all of their amplifiers. There is no hum because it is perfectly screened. There is no noise because there is no amplifier to make noise. Distortion is non existant. As a result, this is the only way to hear the true sound of your power amplifier, with nothing added by the distortion, extra gain, etc. of a "traditional" pre amplfifer.
The Passive Pre Amplifier is also very versatile. You can use it purely as a pure selector box with the volume wide open. Or, use it to provide a monitoring circuit for your recording equipment as well as additional inputs. A very useful addition to any system.
The Icon Audio passive pre-amp is a great piece of kit, and makes you wonder why we bother with 'normal' pre-amps. Highly recommended!
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