My experience is that a preamp ALWAYS makes a DAC sound better. I have a Benchmark LA4, Topping pre90 (selling if anyone wants one), a CODA 07x. Adding the preamp improved the Gustard X26 Pro DAC (now sold) and the Topping D90SE DAC. I also hate digital volume controls. My Benchmark DAC3B does not have a volume control which I attribute as a positive feature.