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ElectroLund 28th January 2013 07:39 PM

DIY kitchen speaker amp: analog volume control
My kitchen has a pair of wall-mounted speakers, but no amplifier. I wanted to play music on these with my iPhone and have a volume/power knob on the wall for control. I realize that thereís probably a better way to do this, but hereís the solution I came up with...
I got a dirt cheap amp on eBay for $20. It has a stereo analog pot for volume adjustment. I wanted to tuck the amp in one of the lower kitchen cabinets, away from view (because this amp is butt ugly!). Btw, I caught this line at the end of Sjef's post: "DO NOT BUY ANY CHINESE HIFI CRAP FROM EBAY> IT'S ALL CRAP". That made me smile, as it probably is the answer to my problem. :)

So I removed the stereo pot from the amp PCB. I soldered up a cable about 3 feet long, 6 conductors (2 channels, 3 pins per pot). You know where this is going right?

Yep, I did a sanity check and the audio was extremely static-y and popping. Itís like the chip amp was clipping or oscillating. Iím assuming that I built myself a great antenna, huh?

Any suggestions for what Iím trying to do? I just want volume adjustment up on the kitchen counter.

cotdt 28th January 2013 08:08 PM

Use a wireless remote to control volume.

JMFahey 28th January 2013 08:35 PM

Yes, mount everything back as original, set (hidden) pot to some convenient midpoint and fine adjust the volume from your IPOD.
You are not mixing live like a DJ, just setting some background music, so no need to constant tweaking.
As an example: *now* I'm designing a PCB, want some background music but nothing too distracting, so I'm listening to some Classical Music using Shoutcast .
Set a background level and there it stays.

Bloodmist 28th January 2013 09:23 PM

and if i may add my 2 cents, if it is dirt cheap stay away from that pot, they wear out so quickly.

ElectroLund 30th January 2013 01:39 AM

Thanks for the replies, everyone!

A couple more thoughts --

In my case, I need to adjust the volume a lot. I have kids and they can be quite noisy. Also, if I'm listening to music, that requires one volume level, but podcasts can be very quiet in level, so I need to turn it up. So that's a lot of adjusting.

Also, I chose an iPhone dock connector which brings line level audio out (the preferred). Using the headphone amplified out level can really distort the audio to the speakers.

sofaspud 30th January 2013 02:26 AM

As JMFahey said,

Yes, mount everything back as original, set (hidden) pot to some convenient midpoint and fine adjust the volume from your IPOD.
Connect the iPod to the amp with regular patch cables. Do all your volume tweaking from the kitchen counter control.

KMossman 30th January 2013 03:12 AM

maybe a stupid question but is the cable run to the post shielded and grounded?

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