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Technical Information

The need for a preamp when most sources already have enough output to drive a power amp is really related to the need for an accurate and truly transparent volume control. Accurate in the sense of not introducing non-linear distortions and accurate in that it can track all possible output settings while still keeping perfect channel to channel balance without having to use a separate balance control. Placette Audio solves this problem with a stepped volume attenuator that provides 125 discrete volume steps and by using only the very costly Vishay S 102 resistors. These incomparable resistors simply do not damage the audio signal. They pass it along intact, unlike any other resistor.

The sonic value of the Vishay S 102 is well known but the cost is so high (several dollars each instead of a just a few cents!) that some builders use them only in certain parts of the attenuators. For example, sending the audio signal through a single Vishay and then grounding through something else. This doesn't work. The only way to get the clarity, purity and transparency that these resistors are known for is to use them exclusively, in every part of the audio circuit or control. When used exclusively in this way, Vishay resistors more than triple the cost of any product they are used in! But when you hear your system without the grain, the brightness and the smearing common to lesser controls, you will readily agree that they are worth every cent!

Another important quality of Placette Volume Attenuators is that they provide a constant input impedance. This is important because your source should always see the same load at every volume setting to keep it from sounding different at different volume settings. And that load should be one that is as resistive at audio frequencies as possible. Again, only Vishay's offer an almost totally resistive load so that your source is always playing into the easiest possible load. You will then have full access to everything that your sources are capable of offering.

In order to keep all active circuitry out of the volume control, all switching in the attenuator is done with ultra-sensitive relays. Active switching, although much less expensive to build, can introduce non-linear distortions that translate into listening errors that mean irritation and listener fatigue.

The perfect loading of your sources coupled with the inherent transparency of the Vishay
resistors means that Placette Linestages and passive Volume Controls actually go a little beyond total transparency in the sense that they will enable your present source components to sound far better than you ever though possible and then deliver that undistorted signal to your power amplifiers.

Because we sell direct, we pass that savings on to our customers in the form of much higher parts costs and absolutely unrivaled performance. If you value ultra-high-fidelity, then nothing else even comes close. At any price. We guaranty it!

Guy Hammel, Placette Audio


  Guy Hammel (owner)   -   682 Granite Way Boise, Idaho 83712
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