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Attenuator talk

post #1 of 125
Thread Starter 
It is no secret that we all have varying dissapointments with attenuators:

Grit (rk27)
Less grit, but... (TKD 2511)
Unobtanim (rk40 log taper)
DACT / Goldpoint / DIY (only 23 steps)
Seiden / Shallco / TKD / Penny & Giles, rk50 ($$$)
eBay steppers (23 steps, and WILDLY varying quality)

But, there is something coming in "a couple of months" - Goldpoint tells me they are developing a 48 step attenuator, with remote control capability. No further details, but Arn has heard, and is responding.
post #2 of 125
A few "out of the box" ideas as well

Audio Consulting - DIY Pot
AVC TVC Transformers | Diy HiFi Supply
intact audio
pure audio transformers
BentAudio.com :: TAP
Promitheus Audio
SOWTER ATTENUATOR TRANSFORMERS TVC VOLUME CONTROL
HIGH QUALITY 24 STEPS TRANSFORMER VOLUME CONTROLS! - eBay (item 120320586938 end time Dec-18-08 03:41:26 PST)
Stevens & Billington Limited Audio transformers TX-102
SAC Thailand
post #3 of 125
Fortunately, some of us here are sitting on a small supply of RK40 and AP25 pots. Have you tried LDRs or Broskie's attenuator, pabbi?
post #4 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by cetoole View Post
Have you tried LDRs or Broskie's attenuator, pabbi?
I've tried Broskie's, it works fine but quite frankly it's a pain in the butt.

I'm holding out hope that relay based attenuators can make some strides.
post #5 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by n_maher View Post
I've tried Broskie's, it works fine but quite frankly it's a pain in the butt.
Which Version?

And did it come with break before make switches?
post #6 of 125
There's the Joshua Tree but still unavailable
post #7 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post
Which Version?
Probably the first, it was when they were first introduced. But the 3-switch setup is what bothered me which as far as I can tell is unchanged. Don't get me wrong, it's a neat idea but I just want one knob.
post #8 of 125
From across the pond there is also Dantimax.
post #9 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by n_maher View Post
Probably the first, it was when they were first introduced. But the 3-switch setup is what bothered me which as far as I can tell is unchanged. Don't get me wrong, it's a neat idea but I just want one knob.
X2. Good sounding but such a pain. Even worse at meets when you have to explain how to use it.

This is NEW from Tent Labs.
post #10 of 125
I can never figure out what the heck I need to order from Dantimax to build a simple, rotary encoder controlled balanced attenuator.
post #11 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by n_maher View Post
Probably the first, it was when they were first introduced. But the 3-switch setup is what bothered me which as far as I can tell is unchanged. Don't get me wrong, it's a neat idea but I just want one knob.
Yeah, I can see that being really annoying. Maybe not to the same level as dual mono attenutators or 2-3dB steps, but pretty annoying anyways.

That Tent attenuator looks cool, as does all of Tent's products, but man, 1-2 more relays would have made it much more appealing to me
post #12 of 125
Also over the pond.

HiFiCollective UK

They also have a TVC.
post #13 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by looser101 View Post
This is NEW from Tent Labs.
Given the current dollar/euro relationship that's actually priced pretty well.
post #14 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by n_maher View Post
Given the current dollar/euro relationship that's actually priced pretty well.
plus, much more compact than alternatives..
post #15 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by pabbi1 View Post
(only 23 steps)
I have to say that I find this to be one of the most curious notions in all of DIY audio. Do you guys really use all 23 steps from top to bottom and still find that there just aren't enough? Or, what seems more likely, do you use a small portion of the range, but find the nature of 23 steps means that, within the range you want to use, there are only 4 or 5 steps while you would really like 9 or 10?

It seems like it would make more sense to just get the gain of the system right in the first place, and then use some mechanism for adding a few steps around the listening range to account for particular recordings, or moods. Use a regular 23, or 12 position switch, but put it in 1 or 2dB increments right around your range. Then add a few large steps at the margins for when you want to test just how loud your amp can go.

The whole point of DIY (among the other whole points of DIY) is that you can build gear just for you -- you don't need to adhere to manufacturer conventions, or do things how they were always done. Instead, you can figure out what works for you and implement it. The whole notion that one's own amp would need 48dB worth of attenuation simply says that the amp has some design problems.

My current amp, for instance, uses an attenuator with 12 steps. I only have 6 of them wired up, and in fact have only ever used 3. The reason this works is that it is build for my ears and my source, and so is just right for me.

And yes, I understand that some people use multiple phones and sources, but in that case, maybe a switch to switch between High Z and Low Z, or some sort of gain adjustment might be useful.

I might point out, too, that the attenuation method used is a huge step up from a resistive attenuator which throws away signal as heat and mucks with impedance. Resistive attenuators, no matter how well made, are always detrimental. But, a well implemented TVC or AVC actually improves drive capabilities as you attenuate.

-d
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