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Here's the solution to a problem from which far too many audiophiles suffer - too much gain in the system. The symptoms are easy enough to spot - the volume is plenty loud enough with the volume control set to the 9 o'clock position, too loud with the volume control at 10 o'clock, and fine control at low levels is impossible.The Rothwell In-Line Attenuators are the answer. These audiophile devices simply plug into any input sockets and reduce signal levels by 10dB. They can be used with integrated amps or pre/power amps, and are compatible with equipment over the entire price spectrum, from budget to extreme high end.When used with integrated amps (simply plug them into any input sockets, then plug the source component into the atenuators) the volume control will be two or three "hours" further round its range than it was before, giving better conrol at low levels and operating well away from the end stops. When used with pre/power amps, there is an added benefit.
This may seem like nothing more than a minor irritation, but in truth the performance of the system is being compromised. Although potentiometers work reasonably well over most of their operating range, they are notoriously problematic at extreme settings. The most obvious problem is channel imbalance - one channel will fade out (or fade in) quicker than the other, causing the stereo image to shift to one side - but on a more subtle level, the music may sound veiled and indistinct with the volume control turned down to the point where it is nearly off. Some people have tried to cure the problem by fitting a more expensive volume control only to find that it doesn't do much good. That's because the volume control isn't really the problem.
Its the excess gain in the system which is the real problem. That in turn forces you always to use the volume control over a very limited portion of its travel. What's needed is a way to reduce overall system gain without compromising sound quality and without major modifications to the equipment itself.
Please note, the "For Source" option above is different to the standard option. The For Source attenuators have the input on the male end of the attenuator and the output on the female end and are intended to the used on the output sockets of CD players and pre-amps (as opposed to the input sockets of pre-amps and power amps, which is where the standard attenuators are used). This means the direction of the signal flow is opposite to our standard in-line attenuators and allows them to be used with equipment where space behind is restricted or the use of DIN connectors would make it otherwise impossible. Usually, though not always, this means Naim equipment.
Connected between dac (arcam irdac) and integrated amp (marantz pm7200).Enables use of volume control between 10 and 2 o'clock, rather than 8 to 10, with audible improvement as it's now operating in the middle of the range as it should. ..no deliterious effect on SQ either. Used 10dB attenuator .Also appears to have lowered overall noise floor! Very worthwhile upgrade for mimimal cost.
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I bought the -10db standard version to be used at the output of my passive preamp. Received the items in good condition within 2 weeks of order. I had a question and Gary Penska was very helpful to help obtain a reply. Thanks for the excellent service.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
It's made adjusting the volume on my Marantz amplifier so much easier and "gradual". Well worth the money.
These work as expected in CD input of my QUAD 34 preamp, giving me wider use of 34's volume control.
Product well built.Quick and easy to fit. Does the intended job.My CD player fixed output signal far exceeds the amplifier line input spec. With the attenuator fitted the volume control now sits around 12 o'clock for a comfortable listening level. The sound quality is not impaired. In fact, the sound is cleaner.
I personally got exactly what I was looking for. My old 70s amp coupled with a CD player was already too loud at 7 o'clock. Got the -15 db version and I can now listen comfortably between 7 and 12 o'clock.
These have solved my excessive gain problem beautifully. I purchased the -15 db version, and am exchanging to -20 db for a little more attenuation. There is no perceptible loss or undesirable coloration of sound characteristics, rather sound is improved as I am able to get into the sweet spot of amplifier now. Soundstage significantly expanded, and the harsh "pops" of percussion that were present before have disappeared. My system: Cambridge CXC CD transport>Schiit bifrost multibit DAC>Bottlehead Crack w/speedball>Senn. 800s or Beyerdynamic T1 gen. 2, depending on genre. The -15 db version allows 2-2.5 clock hours additional volume on this system, hoping for a proportional improvement with a step up to -20db version. I Recommend!
Be patient, it rewards you.After a break-in period, the impact is so big / great, that I wilI compare the impact with, getting a brand new high quality 2 RCA interconnects cable.The only thing I miss, is a marker for the red / black line and a arrow for in-line attenuator or source attenuator.At this price, "I feel it´s fair to do marking youself", because a alternative and competitive brand, cost you three times more.I wish, that I had come across the Rothwell attenuators earlier.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Bought a pair of 'From Source' 10 dB attenuators to fit between pre and power to reduce the gain from Rialto Phono Stage. To be honest I hated the sound when I first tried them between pre and power, everything was flat and lifeless and it destroyed the musicality I was enjoying before. I then plugged them directly into the phono stage which was an improvement over fitting between pre and power but still sounded sterile and lifeless. I left them in the phono stage and have been playing records over the weekend fairly non stop and was preparing to send them back. Decided to have one last comparison of with and without and between pre and power today and they are now plugged between pre and power and staying. They have now burned in nicely and the power amp has opened up in the bottom registers to a remarkable degree and by comparison sounds stodgy and muddled in the bass without the attenuators plugged in or if plugged directly into the phono stage. So Rothwell are absolutely right about the added benefits of fitting between pre and power amps, resulting in a lower noise floor and better headroom and for me better bass performance and musicality. The noise floor is so low now that when I lower the stylus into the lead-in groove on a record, I keep checking to see if I have the phono stage switched out or the volume turned down....it literally sounds as if the amp is switched off, its that quiet. Additionally, my amplifier always had a low level hum, a known issue of the design well documented in reviews by Martin Colloms; this has now gone. So overall an excellent product with by far the best performance to be had when fitted between pre and power amps but as with most quality items, expect to have to burn them in for a few days before they sound at their best.
Fast delivery. I used these attenuators between my phono amp and pre-amp, it has given me more control over the volume setting. I was a little worried they may be detrimental to sound quality but in fact I was surprised that the sound seems more open now and easier to listen to. I'm actually listening at slightly high volume now, Highly recommended
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