Connection to Preamp

Hi. I’ve just changed connection from my Bartok to my preamp using RCA cables and I am no longer able to control music volume through my preamp (it used to be ok with balanced cables). What am I doing wrong? Many thanks and best wishes for the Holidays. Best regards, F.

Can you please tell us what preamp you are using?

It’s an Audio Research (Ref 3) preamp.

Thank you, Franco.

Which L and R single ended inputs you have used on the Ref 3 for the Bartók SE outputs?


Thanks Ermos. I’ve used AUX1 (fifth from the left in the picture), which is what I used with XLR: I’ve replaced the XLR because suddenly I was no longer to hear the right channel.

That is indicating something is really wrong, either with the cable(s) you were using, or with the Bartók out, or the AR ref3 in(s).

Assuming your SE cables are OK, and you did use the correct Right (top) and Left (bottom) input connectors, and your Bartók’s Output setting is AMP: can you power cycle your Bartók from the rear panel switch, and try again?

Just tried and it’s still the same. Could it be faulty cables?

Can you try this:

  1. Swapping the right cable for the left, so connect the right out from Bartók to the left in of your Ref 3, and L to R. Does anything change?

  2. Use another pair of inputs on your Ref 3 than AUX1? No change?

I’ve changed cables (still RCA) as well as input on the pream with no results. It’s like the Bartok is completely bypassing the gain section of the preamp (?).

The Bartók cannot bypass your Ref 3 inputs. If cables and connections are correct, then the gain stage of your Ref 3 (or attenuation) is maybe faulty.

Why did I not have this issue with the XLRs (?)

Music is playing just fine and the volume of the preamp is set at 0.

You did say you had an issue with XLR.

Yes It happened today with the right channel. That’s why I’ve changed to RCA. Now music plays fine from both channels but no gain from preamp.

What are your output settings for Bartók?

Line Level: .2V - .6V - 2V - 6V ? Output level at 0.0dB?

Your Ref 3 can take 6V, but before you try: turn down your volume on Ref 3.

Line output is set at 2V. As I said, the volume of the REf3 is set at 0 and music is playing.

Bartók Output level at 0.0dB? (turn volume knob of Bartók all the way to the right)

No. It’s -25db

So, try Bartók 6V out (not 2V), and output level Bartók at 0.0 dB. But first turn the volume of your Ref. 3 way down, and then turn up slowly until desired level. Better?

Nope. It’s just much louder. As I said, volume of the Ref3 is set at 0 and music is playing fine now at -35db and 6V.