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Old 3rd February 2010, 05:24 PM   #1
markusA is offline markusA  Sweden
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Default Let's talk volume control alternatives?

Let's start thinking outside the box right now!

What different options are there for controlling the volume in a preamp?
What are the pros and cons?
Naturally I have some thoghts of my own but I'd like to hear what you have to say first.

What's the best volume control?
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Old 3rd February 2010, 05:29 PM   #2
sendler is offline sendler  United States
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Default No preamp and surface mount resistors

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Originally Posted by markusG View Post
Let's start thinking outside the box right now!

What different options are there for controlling the volume in a preamp?
What are the pros and cons?
Naturally I have some thoghts of my own but I'd like to hear what you have to say first.

What's the best volume control?
No Preamp. Use stepped attenuators with surface mount resistors (they sound better than through hole) inside the amps or right at the input connectors with the minimum length of wire following them to the first active stage.
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Old 3rd February 2010, 05:31 PM   #3
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Buffer + PGA2311 + buffer to amp is my choice
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Old 3rd February 2010, 05:31 PM   #4
Glowbug is offline Glowbug  United States
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Quote:
What's the best volume control?
A 4'9" redhead that controls my volume and mixes drinks
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Old 3rd February 2010, 07:34 PM   #5
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controls my volume and mixes drinks
That's all? What a waste.
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Old 4th February 2010, 07:21 AM   #6
markusA is offline markusA  Sweden
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sendler> Yeah, I've tried that but imho it's a game of chance. If you're lucky it sounds good and if you're not... It depends on the cd and amplifier. Insert a buffer or preamp and you eliminate the risk for disappointment.

blueskynis>Ok? A digipot? I've never tried a pure digipot but I've played around with a multiplying DAC. They measure very good but I never got around to trying it out in the system so I have no personal experience with real world applications. Do they sound ok? I'm always sceptical to new IC's in the signalpath.
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Old 4th February 2010, 10:50 AM   #7
danzup is offline danzup  Romania
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Yet another Volume controlers and source selections

my top :
1. shunt attenuation with Vishay melf smd resistor and Takamishawa relay
2. r/2r attenuation with Vishay melf smd resistor and Takamishawa relay
3. pga2310 at equal with Alps motor Blue Velvet
All 3 of this was constructed by my , also a lot of other have been build by me if you read the thread but only the top3 are hi-end !
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Old 4th February 2010, 11:42 AM   #8
sendler is offline sendler  United States
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Default Cable after attenuator?

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sendler> Yeah, I've tried that but imho it's a game of chance. If you're lucky it sounds good and if you're not... It depends on the cd and amplifier. Insert a buffer or preamp and you eliminate the risk for disappointment.
I have tried a lot of different buffers. Tubes, opamps, class A Jjets with active constant current source, if you go crazy with the circuits you can almost eliminate all of the coloration. Why create coloration and gain just to throw it away? Your source already has enough gain to drive the power amp beyond clipping.
.
Did you use a cable between the passive attenuator and the amp as with a "passive pre"? This is where the sound is lost with a passive volume control. Get rid of that cable and use the shortest path length from the attenuator to the input stage of the amp and your luck will return. Unless you have a source with a high impedance tube output that can't drive a normal load, or a tube amp with insufficient gain that requires a 5v input to make it to listening volume, a passive volume control inside the amp will be "The Ultimate". Not the most convenient but that is a different thread. Switched shunt is better and simpler than R2R. Use relays if you need remote control or use digital remote control after the attenuator is set for fine tuning. The new breed of surface mount resistors is a big step forward in sonics over through hole.
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Last edited by sendler; 4th February 2010 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 4th February 2010, 11:46 AM   #9
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CS3318. NO input buffer, built-in output buffer. Analog ladder 0.5dB/step. At least as good as your DAC.

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Old 5th February 2010, 04:31 PM   #10
markusA is offline markusA  Sweden
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janneman> I'll check it out.

sendler>In my case it isn't really practical with such a solution. I run monoblocks next to the speakers. And furthermore I need a low impedance source and high impedance input target (the power amps) for my passive bsc's that I'll integrate with my cables.

What is a typical output impedance of a cd or dac?

danzup>Since they banned the mercury-wetted relays (europe) I find it hard to find a relay that will give me peace of mind? To me relays always represented a high cost, high work solution with some distinct drawbacks. I'm not saying it's bad in any way but I've never liked the relay solution. I like KIS and relays just isn't it.
Otoh, if I'm shown a nice solution I can always change my mind.

As it stands today I'm very interested in the Lightspeed set-up. Even if I'm not planning on using it as is but it's still intriguing.
My main issues are low impedance, variable impedance and no-power = full blast (volume). Optocouplers seam like a very smart solution.
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