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Best volume control
Best volume control
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Old 21st October 2019, 11:46 PM   #41
Tromperie is offline Tromperie  Australia
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I have used something like this for years, more than 10, and find it excellent. It is stepped but does so inside a chip.
Assembled hifi PGA2310 Remote Audio preamp board Remote Volume Controller L3-30 | eBay
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Source: LMS 7.9.2 on FreeNAS, PiCorePlayer * Storage: FreeNAS 11 * DIY PGA2310 * Amps: 8 x LM3886TF
Xover: 24dB @ 300 and 3kHz * Speakers: CNC cut 54 laminations * SB 10", SB 5", VIFA 1" * Remote: Squeeze Control
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Old 22nd October 2019, 03:46 AM   #42
Chris Daly is offline Chris Daly  Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tromperie View Post
I have used something like this for years, more than 10, and find it excellent. It is stepped but does so inside a chip.
Assembled hifi PGA2310 Remote Audio preamp board Remote Volume Controller L3-30 | eBay
Thinking a PGA2310 might be good for audio I tried one too , but it now gathers dust.
... no comparison to what LDR's done properly can achieve.
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Old 22nd October 2019, 07:04 AM   #43
robmid is offline robmid  Australia
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This thread is or should be for CONTRIBUTIONS about Best Volume Control, not grammar, so here is my two bobs worth.

Like other DIYers, I have continuously tried to improve the enjoyment of my systems. After decades of using run of the mill, wire wound pots because I didn’t believe they could contribute to sound quality, I took the plunge and experimented.

First try was to an ALPS blue potentiometer wired as an attenuator, which to my ears was noticeably smoother.

This took me on an enjoyable path of exploration that led me to passive attenuation.

After reading mountains of forum posts it seemed that a 24 step dual gang ladder attenuator was a move in the right direction. Yes, it was a vast improvement in quietness, transparency and enjoyment compared to a rotary pot but the sound was slightly harsh and bit thin to my ears.

This encouraged me to explore further and eventually led to an LDR passive attenuator that was designed in Australia and put in the public domain many years ago but doesn’t seem to have been upgraded in recent years.

The enjoyment level was a couple of levels above a stepped attenuator and it felt was more tactile because it wasn’t stepped. Sound was transparent, a bit raw but powerful, controlled dynamics were missing.

Around the same time, I discovered a couple of other DIY LDR attenuators from NZ and USA which sounded much more dynamic without being tiring and I was hooked on the sound improvements of LDR attenuation.

The main annoyance at that stage was that it wasn’t possible to completely zero the signal on any of them.

That problem is long past and after many noticeable improvements that I have heard from one design, I now enjoy a highly refined LDR attenuator that on my system, has zero audible noise or distortion at any level and enormous dynamics when mated with a pair of stereo bi-amped Dutch D-Class amps and some small Australian hybrid ESL speakers built from a kit. Total cost around $2750

There is no point telling me I’m imagining what I am hearing because my imagination isn’t good enough to do it justice and there are many others throughout the audio world with other high level systems, enjoying the same thing.

If you ARE serious about sound quality that will have you wondering how it’s possible to sound so good for such low cost, just read the post #21 and TAKE THE INFORMATION ON BOARD and APPLY IT TO YOUR OWN EXPERIMENTS.
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Old 22nd October 2019, 07:33 AM   #44
mbrennwa is online now mbrennwa  Switzerland
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Best volume control
Quote:
Originally Posted by robmid View Post
If you ARE serious about sound quality ... TAKE THE INFORMATION ON BOARD and APPLY IT TO YOUR OWN EXPERIMENTS.
+1 Find out what works well for YOU.

It's no big news that LDRs do sound different. Some may say they sound better to their ears. This is simply because they introduce quite a bit of low-order harmonic distortion to the signal, which some ears seem to interpret as "hey, this sounds nice!". If you want to know more about this, just read the LDR threads (which often lead to heated debates, and I see no need to repeat all of this here). That said, I did use LDR attenuators for a while. Yes, my ears did say that the sound was nice, but it was a bit too much after a while.

A simple potentiometer or stepped attenuator with discrete resistors will not introduce any harmonic distortion, so that's what most people use. I agree that Rod Elliott has an interesting read about "better volume controls".

If you are worried about impedance matching issues between the source and the amplifier (and you wouldn't be wrong to care about this), take a look at transformer volume controls (TVC) or autoformers (AVC). They pass the signal from the source to the amplifier without "burning" the signal power, as resistive attenuators do. TVCs and AVCs provide a high impedance to the source, and a low impedance to the amplifier. I have been using the Sowter 9335 TVCs for many years, and I am not looking back.
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Old 22nd October 2019, 08:43 AM   #45
Tromperie is offline Tromperie  Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Daly View Post
Thinking a PGA2310 might be good for audio I tried one too , but it now gathers dust.
... no comparison to what LDR's done properly can achieve.
Given your well documented lack of understanding of basic electronics, as pointed out by many very experienced electronic engineers on this forum, why would anyone put any credibility on this assertion? You have a commercial interest in this topic, only very thinly disguised as altruistic.
When you provide any evidence, as requested ad nauseum, will any of these claims be other than pi@@ing in the wind.
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Source: LMS 7.9.2 on FreeNAS, PiCorePlayer * Storage: FreeNAS 11 * DIY PGA2310 * Amps: 8 x LM3886TF
Xover: 24dB @ 300 and 3kHz * Speakers: CNC cut 54 laminations * SB 10", SB 5", VIFA 1" * Remote: Squeeze Control
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Old 22nd October 2019, 08:57 AM   #46
robmid is offline robmid  Australia
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mbrennwa:

You are right and I probably had an inbuilt preference for some harmonic distortion because I have mainly built valve amps, including a Son of Beast OTL which sounds more like SS than valve but still has some harmonic distortion

I did notice a small amount of valve like with earlier LDRs which I liked at the time but once I moved to ESLs and Hypex harmonic distortion didn't sound as desirable.

Although some harmonic distortion must be present, the current LDR attenuator I have embraced has such a low level it is inaudible to me at home listening levels, which is what suits me and I can't ask for more than that.

I'm sure every DIYer is looking for their own solution.

Last edited by robmid; 22nd October 2019 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 22nd October 2019, 09:44 AM   #47
robmid is offline robmid  Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tromperie View Post
Given your well documented lack of understanding of basic electronics, as pointed out by many very experienced electronic engineers on this forum, why would anyone put any credibility on this assertion? You have a commercial interest in this topic, only very thinly disguised as altruistic.
When you provide any evidence, as requested ad nauseum, will any of these claims be other than pi@@ing in the wind.
As an expert in basic electronics could explain in a technical post why Chris's approach LDR attenuator design is wrong?

I am hearing superb results from the latest circuit and it is in a different league to others I have built, so I think DYers interested in LDR preamps and alternatives deserve to know why they should or shouldn't ignore his explanation.

I came to this DIY thread in the hope of hearing the results of other LDR adventures. Why did you come?

Have you heard any LDRs attenuators and what is your opinion?
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Old 22nd October 2019, 10:04 AM   #48
stvnharr is offline stvnharr  Australia
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Originally Posted by tribute View Post
Hi, I am about to try to build a pre-amp & want to make sure I get the best vol cntrl available.
I had initially thought of the Alps Black Beauty, but that is apparently not available any more.

Definitely need something better than the Alps Blue pot, don't mind stepped resistor attenuators, but it must have more than 24 steps, otherwise the vol increase between steeps is to big.

Happy to go up to around $150 for a unit.

Cheers thanks for any input
While others have their own debates on volume control......
I'm assuming you just want something not too complicated.
Your budget of $150 is a limiting factor. A stepped attenuator with more than 24 steps will cost your way more than that just for the switch, assuming you want a high quality switch like a Shallco or Seiden. Have a look at Michael Percy's offerings.
A top quality TKD is $100 from pcX plus shipping. You will find that hard to beat without increasing your budget 2X or 3X.

Oh, and for the record I use an Alps Blue Velvet on the living room amp. And in the music room I have a Tortuga and a shunt stepped attenuator, and mostly use the Tortuga. I don't use a preamp, just passive. In a preamp, space can be at a premium, so a high quality potentiometer is a good choice.
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Old 22nd October 2019, 11:41 AM   #49
merlin el mago is offline merlin el mago  Europe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbrennwa View Post
+1 Find out what works well for YOU.

It's no big news that LDRs do sound different. Some may say they sound better to their ears. This is simply because they introduce quite a bit of low-order harmonic distortion to the signal, which some ears seem to interpret as "hey, this sounds nice!". If you want to know more about this, just read the LDR threads (which often lead to heated debates, and I see no need to repeat all of this here). That said, I did use LDR attenuators for a while. Yes, my ears did say that the sound was nice, but it was a bit too much after a while.

A simple potentiometer or stepped attenuator with discrete resistors will not introduce any harmonic distortion, so that's what most people use. I agree that Rod Elliott has an interesting read about "better volume controls".

If you are worried about impedance matching issues between the source and the amplifier (and you wouldn't be wrong to care about this), take a look at transformer volume controls (TVC) or autoformers (AVC). They pass the signal from the source to the amplifier without "burning" the signal power, as resistive attenuators do. TVCs and AVCs provide a high impedance to the source, and a low impedance to the amplifier. I have been using the Sowter 9335 TVCs for many years, and I am not looking back.
I'm sorry my ignorance, please tell me how in the case of an AVC (single piece of wire) provide a high impedance to the source, and a low impedance to the amplifier?

Perfection doesn't exist TVC & AVC have his own problems as all.

N.B. I own and use AVC also I own and use ladder stepped attenuators (only passing signal across two resistors)
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Old 22nd October 2019, 12:31 PM   #50
analog_sa is online now analog_sa  Europe
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Best volume control
Quote:
Originally Posted by merlin el mago View Post
I'm sorry my ignorance, please tell me how in the case of an AVC (single piece of wire) provide a high impedance to the source, and a low impedance to the amplifier?
An AVC transforms impedances in exactly the same way a standard transformer does. The only difference is it does not provide galvanic isolation.
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