Placette Audio Remote Volume Control passive preamplifier Brian Damkroger, January 2006
The Placette model that most directly competes with the Sonic Euphoria PLC is the Passive Line Stage, which combines remote input selection and volume control with multiple inputs and outputs and retails for $1595 ($300 more than a single-ended PLC, $400 less than the balanced version). I didn't have one of these on hand, but I'm told that it's sonically indistinguishable from my single-input/output Placette Remote Volume Control.
The PLC and Placette are both excellent but quite different. The PLC has a more luxurious feel and appearance, offers balanced operation, and is less sensitive to cable length. The Placette allows more precise volume control, has better channel-to-channel tracking, is supported by a lifetime warranty and "full cost recovery" upgrade program, and has more than a decade's worth of delighted customers on its résumé.
The sonic choice was between the PLC's dynamics and solid, dense images, and the Placette's transparency and resolution. Listening to more natural recordings, or ones made in a natural acoustic environment, I usually preferred the Placette. Its clarity and transparency, and the way it locked the performers and the original environment into place in my listening room, were incredible. Be it Rickie Lee Jones or Beverly Sills, if I wanted to re-create the experience and feel of a live performance, I went with the Placette.
On multimiked classical music or rock, the PLC's dynamic punch and re-creation of microdynamic shadings did a better job of sorting things out and portraying the performance as a group of instruments instead of as a wall of sound. In most cases the PLC also did a better job of conveying the music's pace and timing. If I wanted to rock out to Bruce Springsteen or be swept away by a huge orchestral spectacular, the PLC was usually my choice.—Brian Damkroger