For a couple of years, I have been using a passive preamplifier built with "Slagleformer" modules, which are Dave Slagle's excellent autoformers packaged in a remote-control friendly circuitboard by John Chapman of Bent Audio. They are absolutely wonderful modules, allowing volume and balance control in 1dB steps, mute and optional source selection from the comfort of your favorite audio chair. I am an admitted passive preamplifier junkie, having experimented with nearly everything: cheap potentiometers with plastic conductive elements, stepped attenuators built with discrete resistors, high-end switches with SMD resistors, and several other brands of transformer volume controls. I’ve learned firsthand that here are many good solutions out there, some of which I could live with quite happily, but to these ears the Slagle iron is the best. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the Slagleformer package adds a remote control to the mix - a luxury, yes, but a luxury that I would now be loath to live without! That Slagleformer preamp was the pinnacle of preamplifiers for me. Was… A couple months ago I sent another email to John Chapman, asking him if there were any truth to the rumor that these magical modules could be wound with silver wire. Oh, and dare I ask how much they might cost? He replied quickly (as John always does) that yes, they could be wound with silver. Yes, they are expensive and if it were him he would rather try to ignore their existence and spend the cash on a pile of records, instead. A very sensible thing to do, I thought, as I considered the option... But I am not a sensible audiophile.