Finding just the right spot
Most preamplifiers have a zone on their level controls where they sound best; typically higher on their dials.
Finding that perfect spot on the dial isn’t too hard, but getting there can be because much depends on the loudness levels of the source and the sensitivity of the speakers.
Most sources don’t have level trim controls to help match their gains to the rest of the system.
If you have a DAC, like our DirectStream, then it is an easy task to set the gain to match the sweet spot on your preamplifier. For example, depending on the system I am using, I like to set the DirectStream at around 80 on its level control. This places most tracks in the upper 40s and 50s on the BHK preamplifier, and the softest tracks bumping into the high 70s.
It’s tempting to think preamps sound the same at any level setting, but it isn’t true. Not for most preamps, anyway.
Finding just the right spot on the preamp level dial can bring hours more enjoyment to your system.
If a tree falls…
…in the forest and there’s no one to witness, does it make a sound? We all know the answer to this question because we understand the mechanism of sound, but the old chestnut gets one to think.
How much do hidden sounds impact our world?
If your audio or video electronics pass all the details in the music to speakers unable to fully reproduce those details, does it make sense to afford high-resolution electronics?
I think this is the same question people ponder when contemplating the addition of a subwoofer. Most music has very little in the way of subsonics, yet subwoofers offer a presence that cannot be achieved without them.
It is the reproduction of hidden cues that can influence what we perceive: Extended phase response can help the highs sound more present. Quicker transients improve plosives. Lower noise levels blacken backgrounds. Subwoofers extend realism.
It is not always the obvious we should focus on. Sometimes, it’s the hidden gems that make magic.