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REVIEW: Reference Line Audio Model 2000 Other Review by Dr. Al at Audio Asylum

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Recently, I unplugged my Dynaco Pas 3 Preamplifier and replaced it with a Reference Line Audio Precision Controller Model 2000 passive preamp. It has four inputs. I have it hooked up to my CD player, tuner, reel-to-reel, and cassette deck. One selects one's component via one of two toggle switches. There is a volume control and that's it. Simple. Elegant. Straight forward. My friend, Terry took one look at it and said: "Wow, you got an Amish preamp!" Terry always tells it like it is.

I was leery of using a passive preamp with my stereo kit as my amp is a Decware Zen Amp with flea power wattage (about 2 watts rms a channel). However, my speakers are efficient devils: Gallo Acoustic Micro satillites rated at 92db 1w/1m. My powered subwoofer is an AMC Ace-Bass B1-20 (one of the most musical subwoofers that I've heard under a cool grand). I use MITerminator 4 interconnects between the amp, the powered subwoofer, and the passive preamp--long runs of 15 feet. I was worried that the long runs of interconnect would present a devastating disadvantage as I've been informed time and time again that one should have a short run of cable between an amplifer and a passive preamp, i.e., 1/2 a metre of ultra-high grade price is no object cable.

My worries vanished as I gave it a go. I loaded up a CD and let it rip. I got sound, enough sound to annoy the wife, wake the baby, scare the dogs, and almost tick off the neighbours. I could turn the volume up full without noticable distortion. The signal was clean, pure, and vivid. I can't crack the foundation of the house, blow out the windows, or destroy my ear drums with skull splitting volume. This may be a good thing, then again, maybe not.

The sound presentation was more 3 dimensional, more detail was retreived, and it was more natural sounding. Even my wife, the audio skeptic, was impressed. She noticed the difference and was delighted (as always she was annoyed that I had added a new piece of stereo gear to the collection) with what the Model 2000 did for the music. I'd say that the sonic improvement was a good 25 to 30%. No small beans this!

In short, the improvement to my stereo kit is astounding. Given my motley collection of stereo equipment, I am lucky that a passive preamp works at all in my system. The other passive preamp that I had considered purchasing was the FT Audio LW-1. Had I not found a Reference Line Model 2000 for about 1/2 the price of the LW-1, I would have snapped one up. But my review of the FT Audio LW-1 (and other's reviews of this magnificient passive preamp) and be found elsewhere on the web.

Passive preamps can produce amazing results, especially if one has the right gear to complement them. Good passive preamps, however, don't come cheap (check out the Reference Line Audio Preeminence Two). But check out the 2/H market and you may be rewarded for your diligence as was I.

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Topic - REVIEW: Reference Line Audio Model 2000 Other Review by Dr. Al at Audio Asylum - Dr. Al 07:57:47 08/29/00 ( 4)