I have been relatively happy using a PS Audio PWD (mk2) direct to amp. Two issues have bothered me a bit, however. The first is an inability to use a home theater processor with my main amplifier in a convenient fashion. The other is a little loss in dynamic range at lower volume levels (although this is admittedly rather small). In addition, there seems to be an argument by some that the right preamplifier in the system can be an improvement over amplifier direct, for many of the same reasons that you market your Final Drive.
So, on the one hand, the Final Drive seems to be almost the perfect answer for the home theater processor, as well as the added benefit of improving the sound quality of the system. At its price, however (and I am in no way saying that its price is not justified), I am left wondering whether aiming for a passive magnetic preamplifier (like the Music First models) might be more prudent given that it also addresses the digital volume "issue." I will mention in advance that I seem to be able to improve the dynamic range by keeping the PWD's volume at around 85% and making further volume adjustments in JRiver via its 64 bit volume, although I am uncertain if there is not a bias there.
So I guess my questions are something like this:
How do you prioritize the Final Drive product in a system compared to a preamplifier of the quality of a Music First model? I'd wager that BOTH might be better then one alone, but that may be cost prohibitive.
In addition, I believe there was mention somewhere in these pages of making a preamplifier using the transformer based design of the Final Drive. Is that still in the works?
Thank your for your time.