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Thread: Switched attenuators, what's all the fuss about?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: The Black Country

    Posts: 5,096
    I'm Alan.

    Default Switched attenuators, what's all the fuss about?

    Beware that low flying cloud of moths, I've finally opened my wallet

    What with all the fabulous construction of DCB1 preamps in all their states of turbo charging, I have had the pleasure of hearing what a quality switched attenuator can bring to the party.

    The answer is an opening of a (very wide) door to what is really contained in all your favourite music
    It is well known that a passive pot can stifle the dynamics/presentation/depth/(insert your own word) of an audio signal so it has only confirmed this being the case with the Alps Blue control in my KIN preamp.

    For a while I have switched to using one of the cheap Chinese RVCs (resistor/relay volume control) as that has given a greater clarity to the system.
    Now knowing that a switched attenuator, the Khozmo in particular, is the most transparent control I have heard, I have bitten the bullet and decided that I need to fit one into the KIN.

    However I wanted to keep the remote control function and the remote add on for the Khozmo is both large and expensive.
    Searching around I came across Acoustic Dimension switched attenuators http://www.acoustic-dimension.com/at...ators-main.htm
    The bonus with this one is that the remote control for an Alps pot works identically with the Acoustic Dimension.

    Inside of the KIN with the new switched attenuator:




    Fortunately there was a little spare room to push the phono section board back to accommodate the larger control.
    All I can say is 'why didn't I do this earlier?', the sound is now phenomenally good.

    Close up of the Acoustic Dimension attenuator:




    On short initial listening I think this is as good as the Khozmo attenuator, more listening will be done and other ears will be entertained, with results reported in due course.

    So what's all the fuss? One of the biggest upgrades you can do IMO, that's what.

    Happy bunny
    Firebottle - for the no bottleneck approach.

    I love Hendrix for so many reasons. He was so much more than just a blues guitarist - he played damn well any kind of guitar he wanted. In fact I'm not sure if he even played the guitar - he played music. - Stevie Ray Vaughan

  2. #2
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 9,762
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    As usual, I find myself envious of the skill on show here. The inside of the KIN looks fantastic.

    You're not kidding about squeezing it in either!!

    What I hope you have in the ADSA (see what I did there) is the same as what's available in the Khozmo. Transparency.

    The Khozmo is streets ahead of any other pot/TVC/AVC/RVC I've heard and that's why I've bought another for my current DCB1 build.

    I heard of the ADSA a few weeks back when one of the members here recommended it. Construction looks superb and the fact it's a smidge cheaper than the Khozmo is an absolute bonus.

    Now, when I get a Chance to hear this tomorrow, I'm gonna be listening carefully!!

    A short bakeoff v the DCB1 is in order so I'm looking forward to that.

    Great work Al, as usual. Glad you enjoyed took the plunge. It's only took 12 months of convincing
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK6 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage
    Digital: Orchard Audio PecanPi with JRiver
    Preamplifier: DCB1 with Khozmo 48 Step Series Attenuator or Neurochrome Differential Preamp
    Amplification: Neurochrome Modulus 686
    Cables: SPOTFIRE Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Mordaunt Short Performance 880

    Price List For SPOTFIRE Cables here:https://bit.ly/2Uxiv3j

    Alternative reading: http://www.audioaddictsforum.com

  3. #3
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Notts

    Posts: 2,271
    I'm Geoff.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Firebottle View Post
    Beware that low flying cloud of moths, I've finally opened my wallet

    What with all the fabulous construction of DCB1 preamps in all their states of turbo charging, I have had the pleasure of hearing what a quality switched attenuator can bring to the party.

    The answer is an opening of a (very wide) door to what is really contained in all your favourite music

    It is well known that a passive pot can stifle the dynamics/presentation/depth/(insert your own word) of an audio signal so it has only confirmed this being the case with the Alps Blue control in my KIN preamp.

    For a while I have switched to using one of the cheap Chinese RVCs (resistor/relay volume control) as that has given a greater clarity to the system.
    Now knowing that a switched attenuator, the Khozmo in particular, is the most transparent control I have heard, I have bitten the bullet and decided that I need to fit one into the KIN.

    However I wanted to keep the remote control function and the remote add on for the Khozmo is both large and expensive.
    Searching around I came across Acoustic Dimension switched attenuators http://www.acoustic-dimension.com/at...ators-main.htm
    The bonus with this one is that the remote control for an Alps pot works identically with the Acoustic Dimension.

    Inside of the KIN with the new switched attenuator:




    Fortunately there was a little spare room to push the phono section board back to accommodate the larger control.
    All I can say is 'why didn't I do this earlier?', the sound is now phenomenally good.

    Close up of the Acoustic Dimension attenuator:




    On short initial listening I think this is as good as the Khozmo attenuator, more listening will be done and other ears will be entertained, with results reported in due course.

    So what's all the fuss? One of the biggest upgrades you can do IMO, that's what.

    Happy bunny
    Alan,

    I was recently considering buying a stepped attenuator passive preamp from China on ebay. Do you know if there are any commercial units that have these devices fitted at reasonable cost?

  4. #4
    Join Date: May 2017

    Location: West Sussex, UK

    Posts: 776
    I'm Steve.

    Default

    Hi Alan
    Finally took the plunge, about time mate.
    I've heard your kin pre and always thought it to be very good indeed, must be something else with the new pot, sorry attenuator. I think i might try one in the Dcb1 for comparison to the Khozmo with the added bonus of being remote controlled.
    Cant wait to hear your Kin now...

    S.
    Technics SP10 tt. Cart: At33ptg
    Project 2xperience sb dc
    Nelson Pass DCB1 pre
    Audio Research 75hd
    Aragon 4004 dual mono
    Monarchy Audio SM70
    CD Player: Cyrus cd8se
    Spotfire Speaker Cable
    Rogers Ls3/5a 15ohm
    Tannoy Eaton

  5. #5
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 9,762
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherwood View Post
    Alan,

    I was recently considering buying a stepped attenuator passive preamp from China on ebay. Do you know if there are any commercial units that have these devices fitted at reasonable cost?
    You could possibly make one for 250
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK6 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage
    Digital: Orchard Audio PecanPi with JRiver
    Preamplifier: DCB1 with Khozmo 48 Step Series Attenuator or Neurochrome Differential Preamp
    Amplification: Neurochrome Modulus 686
    Cables: SPOTFIRE Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Mordaunt Short Performance 880

    Price List For SPOTFIRE Cables here:https://bit.ly/2Uxiv3j

    Alternative reading: http://www.audioaddictsforum.com

  6. #6
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: Derbyshire

    Posts: 8,426
    I'm Josie.

    Default

    Looks good.

    I've been using Khozmo for years now but have wondered what others have to offer.

    Sent from my 9001X using Tapatalk
    TRIO L-07D Turntable - Tube Distinctions Copper Amp (Using KT150's) - Croft Epoch Elite (Very highly upgraded) - Studer A80R Master Recorder (High Speed 15/30 IPS) - 15" Tannoy Monitor Gold - Loudspeakers in Lockwood Major cabinets - Tannoyista SPEC 3 Custom Crossovers - VanDamme Black Speaker Cable - Allo KATANA SQ + SHANTI psu

  7. #7
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: The Black Country

    Posts: 5,096
    I'm Alan.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherwood View Post
    Alan,

    I was recently considering buying a stepped attenuator passive preamp from China on ebay. Do you know if there are any commercial units that have these devices fitted at reasonable cost?
    I don't think you will find anything at 'reasonable' cost, unfortunately being 'precision instruments' in effect the cost is what it is.


  8. #8
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Notts

    Posts: 2,271
    I'm Geoff.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Firebottle View Post
    I don't think you will find anything at 'reasonable' cost, unfortunately being 'precision instruments' in effect the cost is what it is.

    It's about 200 for the motorised RC unit?

  9. #9
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: Derbyshire

    Posts: 8,426
    I'm Josie.

    Default

    Where are they manufactured, Alan, do you know?

    Sent from my 9001X using Tapatalk
    TRIO L-07D Turntable - Tube Distinctions Copper Amp (Using KT150's) - Croft Epoch Elite (Very highly upgraded) - Studer A80R Master Recorder (High Speed 15/30 IPS) - 15" Tannoy Monitor Gold - Loudspeakers in Lockwood Major cabinets - Tannoyista SPEC 3 Custom Crossovers - VanDamme Black Speaker Cable - Allo KATANA SQ + SHANTI psu

  10. #10
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: The Black Country

    Posts: 5,096
    I'm Alan.

    Default

    Netherlands Josie.

    @ Sherwood> 225 for the motorised unit, inc delivery.
    You do need a remote control board and handset on top of this, unless you already have it with an Alps equivalent.

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