Romy the Cat
Joined on 05-28-2004
Remote control, problems, money and stupid journalism
I probably never get tired to mention the stupidity of the folks
who write for Audio publications. This time my hero is Marshall Nack of positive-feedback.
The hero just published a review about the Lamm updated preamp L2:
The “review” is very empty, juts shameful repeating of what
Lamm has said at his site, which is nothing new. All manufactures keep on leash
own bitches that they unleash when it time for them to bark and call sale.
Interesting that it is very indicative for a person who read between the line
and who know the rule of the game to observe which bitch a manufacture to paid
with which product. Considering that Marshall Nack is kind of lightweight in
the hierarchy of the industry bitches it is understandable that Lamm do not
value his L2 preamp too high. This is kind of shame as I feel that L1/L2 were
very interesting preamps. I do not know if L2.1 is advisement or a huge step
back as it was with ML2.1 but to talk about L2.1 is not my objective. My
objective is the foolishness that Marshall Nack is trying to institutionalize:
that there is some kind of deep fundamental problem connecting a remote control
with so sound quality. I believe it is idiocy and as any idiocy in
audio it the best expressed by “audio reviewer”
Marshall starting his “review” with a short anecdote:
"I suppose there's no remote? Dual mono volume
controls?" I was discussing the operation of his L2.1 Reference Preamp
with Vladimir Lamm.
VL: "Yes, that's right."
MN: "Ah, determinedly 20th century."
VL: "Correction: 22nd century."
MN: "Huh? Don't you mean 21st?"
VL: "No. Sometime at the beginning of the next century,
they will realize the contamination introduced by these controls." Who
said Vladimir Lamm doesn't have a sense of humor?
Well, Marshall Nack, this is not about Vladimir’s sense
of humor but about your own sense of reality and your absolutely fucking ignorance
on the subject, which is very much qualified you to be audio industry professional
reviewer, or a Moron in my language. What
contamination introduced by remote controls?
A remote control is a voltage diver. There are dozens and
dozens of them in any preams and they are not a problem. You want to have an adjustable
analog voltage diver and there are zillions of them. The regular sliders attenuators
are not so good and they do impact sound. They however seldom used in more of
less demanding audio equipment. This is universally acknowledged, well sort of.
It would be worth to mention that when some audio people scream from ecstasy
describing the Sound of the “original” Wester Electric, Klangflm, Telefunkem
and other vintage brands they are describing the sound that goes over many sliders
attenuators. Let me to leave this subject aside and do confirm that sliders attenuators
are not good. It does not prevent the audio shops to sell the horribly performing
sliders attenuators for many hundred dollars but this is self-explanatory: they
will sell you a dead rat on a stick if the audio people pay.
They there are switchable attenuators, basic contacts
that switches a dingle or a group of resistors. If you use good resistors in switchable
(or step) attenuators then you get pretty good results. There are very many of
them on the marker, some invest money into resistors. Some in switches, some in
shortening of signal path, some in shielding and some in the combination above.
Lamm uses one of the step attenuators with switchable resistors. It is Japanese
TKD step attenuators. They use I think surface mounted good resistors and generally
they are very good, not the best but at very top flying off the shelf attenuators.
Now the argument that Vladimir makes and Marshall Nack spread
around is that an ordinary switchable attenuator somehow “introduce contaminations”.
Sure, it does but if it implemented foolish and cheap. Put on the very same TKD’s
shaft a motor that cut off after the adjustment is done and you have a remoted controlled
attenuator with no “contaminations”. The cost of the solutions to do it very
much the same as the price Lamm pays for his TKD attenuators. Just from a top
of my head I could name a dozen of companies that do it, probably staring from
The next level up would be to have a relay attenuator with switchable
resistor. There is tone of the kits out there with all imaginable resistors and
relays. Lamm has in his pream the signal flow over a few relays already, one extra
will be not a big deal but it would be anyhow much better than any step attenuators.
The cost of the relay attenuator solution is very much comparable to the cost
of the TKD. What could be better than fixed relay switching voltage divider and
control circuit drops power after the switching is done? Lamms not a fool and
he can perfectly design his own switching resistor relay attenuator and I am
sure that $20K price tag is not limit in there, particularly if he already pays
his couple hundred bucks for his TKD. So, what prevent Lamm to do it. Well, in
my mind it is the presence of the Marshall Nacks who has no own brain, ears or integrity
to form a valid preamp usage argument.
Now, it is important to make know that I am not against absence
of a remote control. I did my opinion known:
However, the argument I support based on educational aspect
of usability of preamp with no remote control and has absolutely no relation to
the absurd fear of introduced contamination. I think it is grotesque for Lamm induce
a faulty fear of “introduced contamination”. He knows that it is BS and I am
sure if he had a demand then he would “squeeze” in his $20K unit a problem-free
$200 remote control. However, Lamm is manufactures, he can do whatever he wants
and here is where Marshall Nack should act a consumer advocate but he is just
an unfortunate Tampax of the manufacture’s mouth.
Rgs, Romy the Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche