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A simple line controller with audiophile acclaimed sound quality. Use it to control volume, switch between multiple sources, connect multiple amps, control active speakers or add outputs for a subwoofer, headphone amp or just about any line-level device.
SMD Stepped Attenuator
Key to the excellent sound quality is the stepped attenuator, which utilises an array of thin film SMD resistors to provide precise, stepped volume control and excellent channel balance at all levels.
New Look, More Inputs and Outputs
Our second generation preamp now has 3 inputs, 2 configurable outputs and a laser engraved walnut + aluminium enclosure. The chassis is longer, more substantial and remains stable with heavy cables.
Selectable Fixed Attenuation
A new feature is the selectable attenuation, which allows you to reduce the signal by a fixed -10 dB or -20 dB. If your system has too much gain and you can't turn the volume dial past 12 o'clock without hearing damage, this setting will help.
Output 1 is the primary output and its level is set by the volume control. Output 2 can be configured (by switches on the base) as either an additional primary output, or as a 'loop' out, to bypass the volume control and (you guessed it) loop out to another device.
Handmade in England
Our products are designed, made, and tested in our London workshop and the vast majority of parts and labour costs go to British companies. We could probably have it made cheaper in China, but that wouldn't be true British quality hi-fi now, would it?
"Would I recommend partnering a £130 passive pre with an Iridium costing nearly £5,000?... Yup, I would."Hifi Pig
"If transparency, getting as close to the source as possible, and reducing electronic noise in your system is a priority, the Tisbury Mini Passive is a great choice."AV Revolution
"I've got £20k speakers and a £130 pre-amp, but it is entirely capable of sounding to that level of quality."The Art of Sound
I have been a hi-fi audiophile for 40 years and worked in the retail side of hi-fi for 25 years. In all my time I have not heard such a good pre amp as this. Everything else seems to put a veil over the sound and lack the incredible detail of the Tisbury and depth detail. I previously had a Luxman class A amp and now have a Meridian 502 pre and 556 power amp. The Tisbury works great with the 556 amp and there is plenty of gain.
Thanks for a great product which is exceptional value and superbly built.
In a word: Awesome. Swapping over the old preamp with yours I was immediately presented (confronted?) with a soundstage where all the musicians were delightfully placed in their correct position and the dynamic range of their output was a joy to hear. Your preamp opened a wide window where the fine detail of the music came through in a simply stunning manner, uncoloured - perfect in fact.
Thanks also for the money back offer. I'm sorry to say wild horses could not drag me away from your baby preamp.
Thanks for the most enjoyable experience.
Enclosure: Handmade American black walnut facia and anodised aluminium body, laser engraved markings
Attenuator: 1% tolerance thin film SMD resistors, ±0.25 dB channel balance at all levels, gold plated contacts
Size D x W x H: 150mm x 105mm x 60mm
Input Impedance: 10 kOhms
Output Impedance (at full volume): 0 Ohms
Fixed Attenuation: 0 dB, -10 dB, -20 dB. Set by switches on base
Power Supply: None (it's passive!)
Number of Inputs: 3
Number of Outputs: 2
Output 1: Variable - level set by volume control
Output 2: Variable or Loop, set by switches on base:
Variable: Level set by volume control simultaneously with Output 1. Provides a second main output for connecting another amplifier, active subwoofer etc. Loop: Bypasses the volume control. Use this to loop out to a headphone amp or other device without adjusting the volume.
What is a passive preamp?
The Mini Passive Preamp is fundamentally a high quality volume control and input selector in a box. It has no power supply or active components inside, resulting in some of the most transparent sound quality around for a fraction of the price of its active counterparts.
Why should I be using one?
Most modern sources have more than enough output voltage to drive an amplifier directly, and pairing with an active preamp can often result in too much gain, high noise and loss of sound quality. In this situation, a 'passive' can offer the most elegant solution. It's also small, cheap, good looking, and has a very high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor).
Will my system work?
As a passive preamp has no gain, your source must have sufficient output voltage to drive your amp to full power (known as the 'input sensitivity'). Digital sources (CD player, DAC etc.) will generally work perfectly. Vinyl gear comes in a much wider variety, so it gets its own answer below.
I have a turntable. Will my system work?
You'll need a seperate phono stage, preferably with multiple gain settings so you can pick the setting that works best with your amp. If your phono stage doesn't have adjustable gain then we can check compatibility to make sure you'll get enough volume. For this, we need your cartridge output level, phono stage gain, and amp input sensitivity. If you don't know these things, let us know the make and model of your cartridge, phono stage, and amp and we should be able to find the rest.
Does it matter what cables I use?
You can safely use most cables up to around 10 meters in length between the preamp and power amp.
Longer cables can be used, but may start to cause high frequency roll off due to cable capacitance. With standard coax cables, 10 meters sets the worst case frequency response to around 60-70 kHz, leaving plenty of margin above the 20 kHz hearing limit. This is for a cable capacitance of around 100 pF/M. Some specific "audiophile" cables have higher capacitance and would require shorter lengths.
Do I need to worry about impedances?
No, not with this preamp. Some passive preamps have a high output impedance and require careful system matching to avoid loss of volume from output loading. The Mini preamp has an output impedance of 0 ohms at full volume so does not suffer from impedance bridging issues, even when driving multiple devices at the same time.
What type of attenuators do you use?
Our SMD stepped attenuators use a 'series' configuration, similar to the excellent DACT and Goldpoint attenuators. These have a track of resistors connected in series and the volume is varied by moving the output up and down the track. This mimics a standard potentiometer and is ideal for audio. They typically have long life, low operation noise, extremely high sound quality, and fairly consistent impedance throughout their range.
14 Day Returns & Warranty
You can try out our products in your own home for up to 14 days. Simply notify us within this time if you would like to return a product.
The Mini Passive Preamp is covered by a one year limited warranty on parts and labour. If you get any problems with your item in this time, we'll repair or replace it at no cost, subject to our warranty policy.