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Good, cheap series attenuators

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
For those of you wanting to get rid of your volume pots completely and try series attenuators on the cheap, this is what I use, and what many others have tried with success.

Mouser Part No. 10WR212, 12 position two pole shorting rotary switch. $3.12

Mouser Part No. 71-RN55D-F-[value], Vishay CMF resistors, $0.16 each.

Voltsecond has a great spreadsheet for calculating resistor values for series attenuators. Go to the Bottlehead site (www.bottlehead.com), move to the Loose Parts page, and find the link there.

All told, these units take less than an hour to assemble and install.

I seriously doubt the sound quality of these could compete with a goldpoint attenuator. But, a goldpoint attenuator costs more than the rest of the parts in my usual preamp combined.

In one of my preamp designs, I have two of these, one set up for -40 to -60 db in 2 db steps, and another for -10 to -40 db in 3 db steps, with a selector switch letting me choose which one to activate. The former is great for late-night or low background listening, and the latter is for everything else. I know 3 db might sound like a big step, but at higher volumes, it's not really that big a deal.

post #2 of 3
This is more information on shunted whispers than you'll ever want.

If you're designing the amp itself you can get away with a straight series... it's still only 11 (12) positions though.

edit: You'll notice a lessened thread... funny, that.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

More options

If you want to try this out and spend appreciably more, here's a lead on really good 24 position switches for $42. Also, some dual monos at 20 positions for $20, though the poster makes no representations as to quality.


Double-check with Nebraska to make sure those 20 positions are shorting, though.

It's still a series attenuator, not a ladder, and I really doubt it will be as great as a goldpoint. Who knows, maybe the goldpoints are four, eight, ten times better. They're four, eight, ten times more expensive!
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