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Audiosector LM3875 - Volume Control / Preamp options

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This was posted on the chip amps forum, however it was suggested I post here also.

Hi all,

I have built the LM3875 Dual Mono Premium Kit successfully and have used an ALPS 50k log pot on the input side, however the music sounds "restrained" on playback.

But, if I use the preamp section of my receiver (Yamaha RXV1900) and turn the pot all the way up on my LM3875's I get the sound I am wanting. My source is a Gigawork DAC.

So, what is the best way to move forward? Will changing the ALPS out for something else be OK, or do I need a preamp? Is my ALPS at 50K to high? How do I calculate the correct value? If the preamp route is the way to go, can anyone point me in the direction of a suitable kit?

If you are using fixed series resistors shunted by a pot, it doesn't matter what value is a pot, for a given required attenuation the pot will be always set to a same shunt resistance value, no matter if it's 50k or 10k.

However, it's still worthwhile to try smaller value series resistors, like 10k suggested previously. And it looks like you need a lot of attenuation, so if 10k series resistors work better, most likely you will need to go with 10k pot indeed, to get more control over attenuation range.
iPhone/headphone or line-out and potentiometer


I have two questions about what potentiometer to add to my Lm3875 kit. I was originally planning to take the headphone-out of my iPhone, send it directly into the LM3875, and put the output into my old Stax electrostatic headphones. I was going to use the volume slider on the iPhone to control the sound level.

But then I started thinking about a pot for a more flexible design of the chipamp... and then as I was trying to find out about the output voltage and impedance of the iPhone jack, I thought - maybe I should be using the line-out?

I think I should be able to take a headphone-out into the chipamp, but I would like advice from the experts. And then - what is an acceptable pot to get. I've looked at the recommendations -- ALPS RK27? 20K ohms? The resistance just limits the "off" level in the way it's wired in the diagram above, right?
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