cheap vs expensive potentiometer

joesphanlu

Member
2016-02-07 5:59 pm
Hey guys, so i'm building a classic NE5532 headphone amp, and i need help with potentiometer selection. i have cheap dual gang potentiometers laying around, but i was wondering if it is really worth it to spend money on an expensive one. What is the noise difference on expensive vs cheap ones?
 

rayma

Member
2011-04-29 8:37 pm
i was wondering if it is really worth it to spend money on an expensive one. W

Tracking is one big difference. Give your pot a try, you can always replace it with a better one.
Make sure that your pot is intended for use as a volume control, with an audio taper.
Alps makes good cheap ones. RadioShack sells 100k Alps volume controls for $4. https://www.radioshack.com/products...nged-stereo-volume-control?variant=5717293381
These are good: http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/172025202945?lpid=82&chn=ps&ul_noapp=true
Switched precision resistor controls are very good.
http://glass-ware.stores.yahoo.net/atandsise.html
http://www.ebay.com/bhp/stepped-attenuator
 
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joesphanlu

Member
2016-02-07 5:59 pm
thanks for the replies guys

Tracking is one big difference. Give your pot a try, you can always replace it with a better one.
Make sure that your pot is intended for use as a volume control, with an audio taper.
Alps makes good cheap ones. RadioShack sells 100k Alps volume controls for $4. https://www.radioshack.com/products...nged-stereo-volume-control?variant=5717293381
These are good: 100 Original Japan Alps 27 Type Blue Volume Potentiometer 2 x 10K | eBay
Switched precision resistor controls are very good.
Attenuators and Signal Selecters
Stepped Attenuator | eBay

How many K pot should i use? how many ks will get me the least noise, but at the same time have good audio clarity and detail? Also how much difference will the expensive ones make?

A Bournes 91 series Dual is what you need. cheap pots are OK for 6 mths or so, but
invariably become noisy as time moves on, and are more likely to be headed for failure
as each day progresses.

Cheers / Chris

I will give the cheap ones i have a shot, as most of my source equipment have volume controls there, i might just stick on the ones i have, and keep it in one position. Is there any way that i can improve the reliability? (lubrication, cleaning etc.)
 
Just don't fall in the trap that they should/will sound different, or "better" .

Better made ones, which of course will be somewhat more expensive than plain vanilla ones (we are talking a few bucks instead of less than a dollar) will be better constructed, track better, be closer to rated value, maybe sealed or having scratch resistant tracks for longer life, all of which is good, of course.
That does not affect sound.

Now going to real expensive "exotic" ones, may or may not be electrically/mechanically better , but that will still not change sound.
 

tomchr

Member
Paid Member
2009-02-11 12:58 am
Calgary
www.neurochrome.com
what should be a good buffer capacitor size?

The coupling cap forms a high-pass filter with the resistance of the pot. The -3 dB frequency of the filter can be calculated as:

f0 = 1/(2*pi*R*C)

R in ohm. C in farad. Frequency in Hz. Just like anything else in the metric system: Base units go in, base units come out.

I'd aim for a cutoff of 2 Hz or below to avoid excessive attenuation within the audio band.

Tom