I was poking around in the sales area of PS Audio recently and found myself fondling the knobs and switches on one of our older preamplifiers from 40 years ago, the PS Audio 5.0.
This older preamplifier hailed from a time when preamps and power amplifiers had no displays. In fact, they had no remote controls.
To turn the level up and down, one had to actually turn the knob. And to select a different input, well, a flick of the wrist was required.
What a different time.
Today we can design and build far better sounding audio gear than those old warhorses, yet I wonder why we found it necessary to add displays and small internal computers to run them. After all, our preamps of today really don’t do much more than those of yesteryear.
I think the key is the remote control feature we all demand. By the time we add the IR receiver, the controls for the input switching relays, and the volume control, we have stepped into the need for a microcontroller to do the work.
I don’t think I ever want to give up my remote control, but I sometimes pine for the simplicity of those older beauties.