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cocojazzsta 27th November 2012 11:36 PM

best balanced volume control solution ?
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Hello all,

Some of you can maybe help me to choose the best sounding solution to my balanced volume control problem?

I have a nice DAC board with balanced XLR outputs and I just bough a pair of professional studio monitors with balanced XLR inputs. That sounds good but I have no output volume control. I would like to add a volume control system at the output of my DAC board (see project.jpg)

- Target : choose the volume ctrl solution that will have the less impact on the sound quality (be the most transparent as possible)

- Constraints : since I live in a flat I usually listen to my music at low volume so I want to keep the best possible performance when volume is low

After searching on the web, here are some potential solutions :
Please help me to choose the best sounding one.

Solution 1: Passive resistance network (see solution1.jpg)
I found this recommended resistance networtk to control the volume using a simple potentiometer, but I am not very confident in its ability to drive correctly the amplifier input load at low levels.

Solution 2: passive resistance network + THAT 1606 balanced line driver (see solution2.jpg)
The THAT 1606 balanced line driver adds an additional stage in the signal path but it is a dedicated balanced driver that should drive correctly the amplifier input load even at low level.

Solution 3: back to unbalanced (see solution3.jpg)
Is it really a good a solution to go back unbalanced??? I am not confident in it.

Solution 4
: digital volume control before DA conversion : doesn't look a good solution since I will not use the full dynamic range of the DAC.

Any other good sounding solutions are welcome :D

Speedskater 28th November 2012 12:22 AM

Does your DAC have enough output to drive the speakers to full volume? How about way more than full volume?

If you haven't tried the above, first re-record something at a minus 40 or 60 dB level so you don't blow them up.

cocojazzsta 28th November 2012 01:00 AM


Yes the DAC ouput can drive the monitor to full power.

JKoch 28th November 2012 11:40 PM


From many months I search good sounding solution of digital potentiometer too. Now I work on optocouplers but I still afraid about influence into sound quality. I consider to implement the THAT2180 (voltage controlled amplifier) or TPL8002-25. Maybe the last IC would be sufficient? I do not know. I checked them. Does anybody use the TPL8002-25 as a digital audio potentiometer and what result obtained?

DUG 29th November 2012 03:23 AM

I like solution 1...KISS principle

log taper good quality pot

put it in a shielded box...metal can

cocojazzsta 29th November 2012 11:31 PM

Thank you for your answers,

I am asking myself if I can use solution 1 in front of a B1 buffer or a DCB1 buffer? :confused:

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