Passive Volume Control for DACs/Sources

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

  1. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

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    This Emotiva Control Freak is pretty interesting and relatively cheap.

    Just $50(+$8 more for Balanced version) for this:



    Will be getting one to try and see if it's better than Audio-gd Master 9 Preamp with Yggdrasil as source.
     
  2. mtoc

    mtoc SBAF's Resident Shit-Stirrer

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  3. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

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    Only wish Schiit would improve on their SYS to include a Balanced version.
     
  4. uncola

    uncola Friend

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    for inexpensive options, I went with a dact clone stepped attenuator no name from china.. but the same attenuator is used by tisbury and used to be used by luminous audio as their upgrade to the alps rk27 pot. also the khozmo exists for more money. those 4 are the "cheap" options I was looking at for passive. the sys and emotiva use pretty low end potentiometers.
    here's the attenuator from the guy who sold me my passive http://www.ebay.com/itm/DACT-Type-S...837651?hash=item2a4451cb93:g:M2QAAOxyXzxTILZZ
     
  5. beemerphile

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    I am using the balanced version of this with my Yggdrasil. Since I am only using the one source these days, it replaced a Krell pre-amp quite handily.
     
  6. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

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  7. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

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  8. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Goldpoint steppers are really nice. I like them because they're not as rigid as the Chinese steppers.

    I'm using the delta1 R2R attenuator in between my DAC and poweramp. Setup to be controlled by random Sony BR player remote.

    Eventually plan to move it into its own chassis, and add another border for balanced attenuation.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. dubiousmike

    dubiousmike Friend

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    I just wish there was a reasonably priced ready-made enclosure for these. (I.e. I hate the idea of spending more on the case than the sum of the components inside it.) Dropping in/wiring up a $30 valab stepper off ebay would be a cheap and great sounding solution but for the case work and/or the cost and wait time on pre-drilled chinese preamp cases.

    I've also read really good things about the glassware attenuator boards (http://glass-ware.stores.yahoo.net/atandsise.html) on various bottlehead threads, and they do make a balanced option. Again though, you need to drill or design your own endplates.

    May be time to start hunting for a decent drill press on craigslist.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
  10. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

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  11. Dukja

    Dukja Rando

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    I am always interested in this topic since currently I am using AGD Ref-7 => Pass Lab's Aleph3 => HE-6. I have tried Lighter Note LDR attenuator and DCB1 but none of them can compete the natural, transparent, and clear sounding of the direct DAC-AMP connection. I am using Foobar's attenuation bar (~-32-29 dB depending on source material) to control the volume and have NOT notice any ill effect but only great sound. It seems Ref-7 drives Aleph3 very well.

    I am still curious any other approaches since it is a pain to switch between my home (HD800) and office (HE-6) setup. And I have been shocked a couple of time due to forgetting to drop the volume control bar in Foobar...|\/|
     
  12. nizwiz

    nizwiz Rando

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    Uncola, I'm thinking about getting one of those custom-made passive pre-amps from that same seller on ebay. So you got the whole pre-built device, not just the attenuator for building it yourself, right? If so, I'd be really grateful if you could give as an update. Like, how satisfied are you with the device, after using for a couple months? Thanks!
     
  13. uncola

    uncola Friend

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  14. Priidik

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    Awesome. But do you get 'clicks' (pikes) between steps?

    I ordered one of these: http://www.vaneijndhoven.net/jos/relaixedpassive/index.html
    The original (old) version supposedly had 'clicks' b/w steps, hmm.
     
  15. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    If by clicks you mean hearing the clicking of the relays, then yes. Kinda like the Rag for those who are familiar. But I think it's doing a make-before-break sequence so that the devices downstream don't experience any popping like you would normally get when connecting or disconnecting a live component.
     
  16. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    I think this may have been asked before, but couldn't find it.

    Will adding a Schiit SYS passive preamp between my DAC and Amp impact sound quality? ie Modi2 -> SYS -> Magni2. Does passive attenuation of the output voltage of a DAC cause any sound quality degradation?

    I want to try driving some low impedance cans that are just too loud even with Magni2 on low gain. I assume this is the normal use case, but want to be sure.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  17. uncola

    uncola Friend

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    People say potentiometer quality doesn't really affect sound much other than channel imbalance at low volume and impedance causing issues. The resistor based attenuators seem to not have the imbalance problems. I think the Schiit sys uses a small alps pot
     
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  18. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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  19. nizwiz

    nizwiz Rando

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    Thanks for the update, uncola. Much appreciated. The remote controlled pre-amp is a bit too much for my taste, don't really need the remote feature. But the same seller also has another passive pre-amp in store which seems to be similair to the chinese one. I'm kinda thinking getting either one of those two, the Schiit Sys or this nice-looking vintage Yamaha:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Yamaha-MVS-...me-Controller-Selector-Pre-Amp-/231870968400?
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  20. Madaboutaudio

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