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Tentlabs volume control


Riotvan
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So i just build a crack /w speedball and it all went well and it is sounding great. Except that the stock pot is pretty shit and i wouldn't mind a remote control. After some searching i came across this one: http://www.tentlabs.com/Components/page31/page31.html

 

Some specs:

 

Input impedance: > 40 k-ohm (actual value depends on volume setting) 

Output impedance: < 8 k-ohm (actual value depends on volume setting) 
Power: AC or DC, 6 to 10V max, current max 150mA DC, 225mA AC (power connector supplied with module) 
Volume setting: 64 steps of 1.0 dB 
Channel imbalance: < 0.15 dB 
Inputs: 4 
Input / Output connectors: Cinch / RCA (can be supplied without connectors on special order) 
Remote control: Not included, can be programmed by Philips / Marantz models and most Sony types 
Power on/off output: Open collector 
 
The added input selection is nice too(i have been thinking about a vinyl setup) and it seems to have enough steps for my use. And it's not much more expensive than a dact which lacks steps anyway. 
 
I'm pretty much a beginner when it comes to this stuff but i reckon i can integrate it pretty easily, there's a 6.3v terminal on the transformer to power it. I plan to have the display and volume on the front and maybe a headphone jack as well and the input's on the back. 
 
What do you guys think? Does this look like a good piece of kit? 
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I always thought their stuff pricey, and that 2 digit display is as butt ugly.

 

What about Kevin’s digital attenuator?

 

That one surely looks nice but don't you have to be part of a group buy which also might take a while? Not sure if i can live with this shitty pot for that long haha. About the display well i was thinking of placing it behind transparent dark piece of plastic.

 

Or AMB's

 

Also looks nice but probably a bit above my current skill level :(

 

Looks 'bout right to me. I'm using Jtree and it's okay. I am contemplating to use the TKD stepped attenuator in my next build instead.

 

So many choices... i'm going to have to think about it if i actually want remote control and instead just stand up and not be so lazy, the extra inputs on the tentlabs are nice though..

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There's also this - http://www.8thnote.eu/attenuator_details.html

 

Still, as time passes I'm starting to doubt if these types of attenuators are worth the hassle. To date the most elegant volume control I've used was digital as seen in the Sabre 9018 DAC's. My pipe dream to this day would be to use a digital volume control and build headamps without any of the expensive attenuators. The problem is that I've yet to found a ESS9018 based DAC that I would actually enjoy to listen to.

 

My favorite DAC chips from Asahi Kasei sort of have the digital volume control feature, but none really want to bother with designing a control board.

 

There are still interesting choices from BurrBrown and Muses but these also need control circuits that DIY people are reluctant to design.

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That 8th note one looks allot nicer then the tentlabs, specs wise and also when it comes to integration. No need to do woodwork on the base etc. Unfortunately he doesn't seem to be making them anymore though i found a forum post from december stating he still had some single ended units left, i think i'll shoot him a mail.

The only experience i have with digital volume control which is quite good to my ears is from the V800 dac, still though only from about 2 o'clock and later. But maybe you're right and it is just too much hassle, i mean once you get to 12 on the pot it should track quite accurate right?

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So many options and it seems like most volume controls are a compromise in one way or another. I think i might just get a cheap alps and some resistors so i can keep the pot at 12 atleast for a good listening volume. Then i can take a good look at some of the options.

Right now the 41 step from acoustic dimension looks nice and it is cheaper then a dact or gold point if i were to go for a stepped pot, it has both smd and a normal resistor version. I take it the latter is better?

The tentlabs is pretty much out of the question at this point. I'm not willing to spend more then 200€ after seeing the price points of competitive solutions. Perhaps i should just go alps now and wait for another batch of Kevin's boards....

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