Passive Volume Control for DACs/Sources

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Madaboutaudio, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. David Ketley

    David Ketley Rando

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    Try the Stereo Coffee preamp not expensive a solves many of the problems of volume controls.
     
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  2. bilboda

    bilboda Florida boomer

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    I'd consider an ldr if I understood what kind of load it presents to the source and the amplifier and if was actually measured by somebody for linearity. Just went thru a lengthy thread flame/fest on diy forum and it was generally, try it, see for yourself, etc. I have other measured solutions that I can try instead. I will know how they will react with loads. Maybe with nothing better to do for a long time, I will try an ldr cause there is no compelling information available to make me want to try it now.
     
  3. allegro

    allegro Friend

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    Before you buy an LDR preamp browse Tortuga Audio LDR3 measurements. See quote below:
    I tried one out, returned for a refund and replaced with a Saga. Saga measures and sounds better at one fifth the price of the Tortuga.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  4. WHO23

    WHO23 Rando

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    Schiit Saga+ Passive or Active Remote Tube Hybrid Preamp (Passive Relay Attenuator +Remote +Active Stage)
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    Tisbury Audio Mini II Passive Preamplifier (Stepped Attenuator)
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    Promitheus Audio TVC Balance Volume Control Preamp (Transformer)
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    ericyam Balance SMD Dual Mono Passive Preamp (Stepped Attenuator)
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    ericyam Dale Resistor Passive Preamp (Stepped Attenuator)
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    Yisheng Hi-Fi Balance Passive Preamplifier / Passive (Relay Attenuator)
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    PGA 2310 Preamplifier Bluetooth (Relay Attenuator +Remote)
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    Sanchun Balance Passive Volume Control (Relay Attenuator +Remote)
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    Bonus: Allo Volt+ (Stepped Attenuator)
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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
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  5. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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  6. WHO23

    WHO23 Rando

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    The Promitheus sounds great. The volume knob feels amazing and the attenuation works well. There is no noticable noise when using it for speakers but I can't be sure if there was distortion. Similarly using my headphones (DT1990) it works really well even when turning the knob on the Promitheus TVC all the way down.

    When switching between inputs, it's not as smooth and sometimes some noise can get induced into the line. Wiggling the knob fixes this. The unit is very heavy so something might have gone loose. Also while I was switched to an unwired RCA channel, I could still hear some faint music from the other RCA channel which was playing at line level.

    I have not used the XLR channel, but I will try it out in the future. Also I found an interesting new preamp: Nord One Pre-TVC. https://www.nordacoustics.co.uk/pretvc
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  7. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    My SA1X, that as I reported here, got mysteriously fried after I connected it between two Bryston units, came back from Goldpoint Controls. Arn checked it carefully, he did not want to repair it under warranty (he was right about that), but said that it appeared to be working with maybe some static sound when changing volume.
    Well I connected it and it is working, no cracks or static of any kind, all volume level work, no channel imbalance I could hear.
    I was very surprised and spent like two hours listening with two DACs, one good and one not so good, and nothing I could hear that would be different.
    And that device was in fumes. Amazing quality.
     
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  8. androxylo

    androxylo Rando

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  9. Forza AudioWorks

    Forza AudioWorks MOT: Forza AudioWorks

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  10. lehmanhill

    lehmanhill Facebook Friend

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    Don't forget the Glasshouse TVC Passive Pre from hificollective.co.uk. As a kit, its 450 pounds or $550 in today's weak pound to dollar. I haven't heard it personally, but a friend has one and it is very well received in reviews. Only good for single ended, no balanced.

    I have been using a relay switched stepped attenuator since 2010. Mine is a Reliaxed2 which is a pcb and BOM to build it yourself. I like the stepped attenuators a lot and have no reason to replaced mine.

    Going back to the LDR discussion, I once borrowed a LightSpeed LDR Attenuator (Uriah Dailey DIY) from a friend and compare the LightSpeed to a nice quality Alps potentiometer and the Reliaxed 2. I preferred the Reliaxed 2 over both the LightSpeed and the Alps.
     
  11. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    Hey guys, I am getting a pair of Kali LP6 monitors and my DAC is a Schiit Modius. I was planning on using my EC BW2 as a pre-amp, but @famish99 recommended going for a passive volume controller. My dealer is recommending a Palmer Monicon, which based on @wormcycle 's comments in this thread, seems to be good. But I have also read that these affordable controllers can be prone to channel imbalance and imaging issues, in the lower end of the pot.

    I fear Modius' XLR Out will have too much gain that I might not be able to cross the lower end on the pot of the Monicon. I guess, using the RCA outs of the Modius instead of the XLR is one option. Or I could go for slightly better passive controller. But at that point, would it make sense to go for a separate pro D/A box altogether? I would love to hear any insights you might have to share.

    It's just that, returning an item is not an option in India. So I am trying to avoid any mistakes as much as possible.
     
  12. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    The Kali's have a volume control on the back. Adjust that so you get the travel you want on any other pot. That said...

    I have a BW2 as well as a GoldPoint attenuator. FWIW I have actually used both in conjunction with my active monitors and it works well. In my case both pots at 50% and the monitors with no attenuation.

    For my taste, however, I found when I had a Gungnir DS as a dac that the Schiit 'fatness' was a bit much through BW and I preferred the leaner DAC1541. I expect Modius will also have teh fatness. Presently I am using just the GoldPoint.

    Play around! See what you like.
     
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  13. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    I looked up Kali LP6 and they cost roughly $170 each in the US, I would not spend more on volume control than on monitors. LP6 has gain control. If you set the gain on Kali reasonably low you should be able to use the middle of the pot range on both Monicon or Big Knob. I am using Monicon with LSR305 and I used it with KRK 10-3 and it was doing just fine.
    Monitor hiss was a problem on KRK with or without an external volume control.
    And I had no problems with Big Knob as well. There is nothing really between Palmer Monicon, or Big Knob, or JBL Nano patch+, and something like Goldpoint that would cost you, even used, $300-$400. I understand that not being able to return an item is a pain, but spending way more on volume control than on monitors does not make sense to me.
     
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  14. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    Thanks guys, that's reassuring. That’s correct, I am not willing to spend, as much as the speakers. My dealer just informed me that, he only has the L version of the Monicon, which costs $360 here. I'll need to hunt down the regular version or, look for a Nanopatch or a Big Knob. But even these cost around $150 here.

    @wormcycle , between the Monicon and the Big Knob, do you have a preference for one over the other?

    @GoodEnoughGear , it totally slipped my mind that you have used the BW2 as a pre for your monitors. If I am unable to find a good pot, I’m just going to pursue this option.
     
  15. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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  16. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    Big Knob or Monicon will be fine, JBL NanoPatch+ will be good too. Big Knob is 2 in 2 out with the switch on both input and output. And for Big Knob you will need XLR to TRS cables on input and output.
     
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  17. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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  18. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    The nano is balanced in & out too - just 1x out and no switch like the M-Patch.
     
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  19. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    Yup my bad. Was thinking of something else from when I was considering a passive solution.
     
  20. ogodei

    ogodei Friend

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    I have the SMPRO M-Patch V2 which, from the photos at least, appears to be the same as the JBL MPatch, re-badged and re-boxed.

    http://www.smproaudio.com/index.php/en/products/monitor-controllers/m-patch-v2

    It works, but meh.

    On related note Im purging several volume controls. Anyone interested, PM me for a shipping costs only SMPRO M-Patch V2
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2020

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