Volume controls are one of the main ingredients of a preamplifier that can ultimately dictate the sound quality of your entire system. If you use a standard-grade volume control like the one pictured on the left, every time you raise or lower the volume, it can vary by up to 20% in each channel. The result is your stereo image doesn’t just suffer... it can possibly even collapse entirely!
This is why Mystere uses this laddered resistor volume control. Not only is it the most minimal volume control you can use (at any point on the volume knob, the signal only passing through two resistors; one for each channel), it's the best sonically. Now... these aren't easy, or cheap, to build. Each Mystere stepped attenuator takes 48 precision, hand-trimmed solder joints. This part alone can take more time to build than an entire printed circuit board found in our competitors' preamps! Inside the attenuator, gold plated contacts are sealed from the outside world, ensuring they stay quiet and never need cleaning or lubrication.
A laddered resistor volume control like this was typically found in such lofty preamplifiers such as the $42,500 Lamm LL-1. Leave it to Mystere to raise the bar, by offering it on every preamp and integrated amp we make, starting at just $1795!
Increasingly people that were into two channel have bought surround systems and find them wanting for pure music enjoyment. If you want to improve performance and get the groove back consider getting a superb integrated and using it as a power amp too. Most integrated amps will function just fine in this manner.
When picking out an amplifier, there are a couple of things to consider other than the sound, which is, of course, a given. Equally important are the amp's reliability and the power it produces – can it drive your speakers? Seasoned tube aficionados already know that fifteen solid watts from a well-designed tube amp is quite a bit of power.
With so many people having home theater systems, they are used to preamps that have a subwoofer out. In a regular stereo amp that has no surround processing, if you see something marked subwoofer out it typically means it is a preamp out. In essence nothing more than voltage signal coming from the preamp, fed to the woofer's amp that is then amplified.
Some Basics: Every power output tube, such as an EL34, KT88, 6L6GC, etc., must be set, or "biased" to its optimal operating point. Deviations from this operating point typically result in increased distortion, compromising performance. The voltage needed to bias the tube to this operating point is called "bias" or "bias voltage.”Think of bias voltage like the idle setting on a car's carbeurator.