Alps Blue Velvet Replacement

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Hi, my tube pre uses a 100k Alps Blue Velvet volume control; I'd like to upgrade it, but don't know what would be considered as such. I want to retain that carbon comp sound, warm, smooth and liquid. The Khozmo stepped attenuator appears to be beautifully made, but the use of dale/vishay metal film resistors is somewhat counter intuitive, goes against the grain, to some extent (don't associate metal film with warm, smooth and liquid).

What would make a good upgrade?


If your volume control is "sounding warm, smooth, and liquid," it's defective.

A stepped attenuator is far and away the most neutral and reliable path (assuming a good quality switch). If you want to stay in the potentiometer range, the Alps Black Beauty has always worked well for me. I've heard good things about the premium Penny & Giles pots, but no personal experience.
tomchr is right - Elma's are excellent - used the Goldpoint Mini V for a long time till the Lightspeed attenuator came along ( you can do a search here if you want more info on this )
The Alps Black Beauty is a good step up from the ' Blue ' but is hard to find now.
Try E Bay and type ' stepped attenuator '
The Dale resistor loaded ones are very good and sound great - much cleaner than the Alps Blue - not too expensive either.

Thank you all for your responses. I see the Black Beauty is still available, but if I'm going to go to the trouble of changing the pot, I'd like to get what is currently thought to be the best or amongst the best; which is? lol

Here's the one that's locally avaiable:

Chris Johnson tells me the Dale/Vishey metal film resistors are only shunt resistors, not in the signal path, only a craddock is. However, at 48 mm deep, it might not fit in my chassis. AndrewGM, is this the one you mean by "Dale resistor loaded ones?"

Dact and Goldpoint seem commonly available. Of all the choices, however, which is the best (a loaded question, sorry)? Is the Lightspeed attenuator only an attenuator because when I checked the site, it seems contained in a chassis???

Any and all help appreciated!



Hi, my tube pre uses a 100k Alps Blue Velvet volume control; I'd like to upgrade it, but don't know what would be considered as such. I want to retain that carbon comp sound, warm, smooth and liquid.


What would make a good upgrade?

Alps Black, if you can find it.

Noble if you can find it.

Build your own attenuator using high quality switches.

If you want to take my own Guru's advise you do not daisychain loads of resistors, he commented once that resulting attenuators make "Hilarious dummy sound". Use a single series resistor and switch the shunt resistor per position.

I find most "electronic" pot's (especially the BB and CS ones) fall into the same "hilarious dummy sound" category.

There are some exceptions, the DS1666 from Dallas as used by ARC is not bad.

Right now I either use the DS1666, Noble or TVC...

Ciao T
The problem is that your ears will be required after we've all told you of our own favorites. We can't tell you what is ' best ' in the context of your system, your musical preferences and the room your system is installed in.
It looks like a lot of us here have tried many type's ( I have ) before we settled on the one we currently use.
All of the units mentioned are better than the Alps Blue - it's a well respected but entry level pot so when you move up to the the Alps Black or any of the other units you just hear more detail in every department - you really do.
Also the more you spend the better it all gets - it can be a serious upgrade for some and whatever you decide on you're definitely going to have a big grin on your face :D
I built my own lightspeed attenuator by buying a kit from a member of this site. He makes the circuit boards and supplies all the bits for about $ 50-60.
The one in the black box you encountered is made by the inventor and designer of it - also a member of this site.
For me - it's the best one I've heard - period.

It's fun going through the process - you don't really spend a lot ( unless of course you go TVC ) and the rewards can be a bit like swapping out big bits of kit - such is the upgrade possibility.

Like I said at the start of this post - it's your ears that decide:)


I'm sure you're absolutely right about the "your ears" as final judgment of what's best. One thing I've learned, in the brief time I've been at this, is that build quality is not necessarily commensurate with sound quality (although, again, the latter is dependent on individual "ears").

I guess I shouldn't be too surprised by the idea of a digital attenuator, although, at this point, I'd rather like to keep it simple, especially as there's not a lot of room in my housing.

The Khozmo attenuator seems to be well made, but at a depth of 48mm, is too big to fit. I think I have my choices down to either the Alps Black Beauty or the Goldpoint Mini-V. The only worry I have with the Goldpoint is the limited 24 steps, instead of 48 (Khozmo), although all but one of my sources also have a volume control.

All your responses are much appreciated. Any and all info always welcome.


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The Alps Black is very nice indeed and feels well made - I remember being quite surprised at the gains I made with it having had the Blue previously.
I had the Goldpoint in my main system for over two years - it really is a class act and looks so nice you wish you could have it outside the case !!
If you want build quality it's there in spades - the switching feeling is so solid and very precise - lovely ( not much of an audiophile description but y'know what I mean ! )
24 steps never seemed too few to me but then again I never had the pleasure of 48 - hey, let me know what it's like if you do it.

I've just changed to the lightspeed and was not expecting the reviews to be so correct - quite a revelation in every department.

I've only used these pot's passively by the way - never had active pre stages for years and bought into the ' less is more ' principle as it also cost's a lot less to implement !!.

Good luck with your selection

John - one more thing....the Khozmo....bloody hell - what a beauty - had no idea about this till I Google'd it - thank you.
They look like Dale / Vishay's all over it - fabulous looking build.
Hey, if it's too big - leave it outside so you can drool and if it's expensive at least you know why....hahaha

Oh...and the Goldpoint is a long way better than the Black Beauty - make no mistake - night and day difference

Andrew, having read your description of the Goldpoint and given it's a "night and day difference" over the Black Beauty, I may as well skip that step and put my money towards the Mini-V.

Yes, the Khosmo appears to be very well made, with ceramic parts, ball bearings and silver contacts; there are two types, one with smd resistors, the other with Dale/Vishay's:

High Quality Audio & Industrial Attenuators

and, here's more:

While I found a lot of chatter on the subject of this attenuator, there's not a lot of feedback, but whatever I found was very positive.

Unfortunately, no room to try it, nor to have it hanging around (on the outside) and so I'll go with the Goldpoint Mini-V, hope for the best.

And, again, thanks Andrew!

John Hi

Great - exciting stuff - it's an excellent investment.

Mine's a 10 K unit and I keep thinking I'll E Bay it and let someone else have the pleasure - then I think no..keep it - it's too nice.

The switching quality alone will impress you and... don't lose any sleep over 24 steps - you'll listen at virtually the same volume settings most of the time anyway - most positions won't get used.

It's right up there with the DACT models and I'd be very surprised if the Khozmo sounded better.
Sure it's engineered to death but it still does exactly what yours will do -
switch accurately and quietly across a bank of high quality resistors.

Please do let me know once your up and running.

Hello Andrew &

I think you should keep your 10k unit; it's good to know: "it's too nice!"

I'm looking forward to experiencing it, both mechanically and in terms of its sound quality.

I've researched quite a bit and, in most cases, the consensus is that the Goldpoint is a better unit than the DACT; I believe the mechanical switch is much the same, comes from the same Swiss manufacturer, but the Goldpoint apparently uses better smd's than the Dact. Parts Connexion suggested the Khozmo better than both; however, there's not a lot of feedback on these units. Also, the TKD stepped attenuator is thought to be better, overall, but is twice the price, or more, of the Goldpoint and is also larger.

So, I'm sticking with your suggestion and believe I made the right choice. Yes, it is exciting.

I'll let you know how I make out.

Again, thanks!

Just for reference, how do the chunky black Nobles compare to the Alps, TKD and stepped attenuator options? I've been getting my Nobles NOS from a seller that has a bunch of old Hafler parts.

Got one Noble in a modded class D amp. The sound quality of these amps is very sensitive to the pot in use. It's a quality part: the construction was solid, the action smooth and the output measured to spec. I pitted it against an Alps Blue Velvet in an A/B listening test and thought Noble was comparable or a little better.

Having said that, I can't seem to find a low-quantity supplier for Noble, whereas Alps are obtainable everywhere.
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