In yesterday’s post about the preamp conundrum many of you correctly pointed out that what I was referring to is called an integrated amplifier but perhaps missed my point. The day of the preamp as a separate is long over and while there are multiple ways to address the issue: adding amps to all preamps or preamps to all amps (for two quick examples) – we need to look at the bigger issue at hand.
The bigger issue is separates themselves. I have long advocated for the demise of the separates category altogether. Why? Because separates only came about in response to the crap large scale hifi manufacturers were making in the early days (PS included). There were a number of technical reasons why it may have been difficult at the time to integrate all the functions of a preamp, amp and radio tuner but that is no longer the case and hasn’t been for years now.
Separates equal many things: independent choice and clutter among them. As Audiophiles we like the idea of mixing and matching separates to get the performance we want – as practical humans I think we prefer neat, tidy and elegant.
I am proposing to you that technically separates need not exist – that in fact without all the interconnecting paraphernalia they require between boxes – we’d be better off without them.
The preamp conundrum points out that existing integrated amps are still compromised accumulations of separates and therefore are irrelevant to our discussion. Integrateds should be better – yet they represent compromise not sueriority. That’s just plain lazy.
Technically separates shouldn’t be required. We should demand more.
Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.