I'm strongly considering selling my Peachtree Nova Pre in order to get a Schiit bifrost uber but I'll need some way to control volume. I was previously using a Lightspeed Attenuator, which I loved.
I was thinking about just buying s Schiit SYS for the time being. Is the SYS going to be a let down? I really only have about $100 to spend on a volume control right now. I only need one set of inputs and one set of outputs. I dont have to have a remote control. I'm just looking for the best sounding option.
This is all FWIW and I'll defer to anyone who's used both the Lightspeed and the SYS (I've used neither), but I'm betting the SYS would likely be a step down - at least in the short run, til you could get something better, but if there's anything better-sounding than the Lightspeed I can't imagine what that would be. The next best-sounding-for-the-money solution I know of would be Goldpoint attenuators (which I've used and have found to be highly transparent...on par, I believe, with the Lightspeed. Don't let anyone kid you though, the surface mount resistors used are ridiculously transparent and are the real thing, IMO). But, a stereo, single-ended Goldpoint is $159 without the knob, box or shipping. Other solutions might include Alps or whatnot, but none I've tried could hold a candle to Goldpoint or Lightspeed. If it were me and money was the overriding concern, I might think about the SYS for the moment and let it tide me over, unless the wait was expected to be unbearably long or whatever. But, if OTOH you happen to be more concerned with not wasting any of your hifi dollars by buying something twice, then I recommend maybe waiting until you're in a better buying position for a nice attenuator. But, after the Lightspeed, almost anything would likely be a step backward, except the Goldpoint...or possibly the DACT, but Goldpoint is what I know and they're in the USA. BTW, Arn is a super nice guy and can set you straight on how to choose the right impedance values with no worries.
As with all the passive attenuators, the shorter your IC's (6" or less - 3" is ideal) between attenuator and amp, the less there is of the usual sound penalty associated with passives (usually a loss of lower mid presence or decreased dynamics, or sometimes both).
Hopefully someone else can post with a lower-priced option here that I'm not aware of. Regards. John
Chase RCL-1. Often on eBay for about $100. This is a line control with a remote. I have three of these, all work perfectly. Some are available in a 12 volt version, and having a choice, that is the one to go for. How could something be so good and so inexpensive? One of the mystery's of life. Enjoy.
In my view and as near as I can tell, the Axiom looks fairly interesting. This one is new to me and I'm not sure exactly how he gets the Alps pot out of the signal path, but, if that approach is sound, then I believe I might be considering that thing myself, were I in your situ...just could be the way to go, here. Maybe somebody has tried it. Not as sure about the Bottlehead, it could be ok too, but I dunno.
Update: Oh, ok, I see now where I misread the website text. The pot simply shunts the signal to ground. That may work, but the pot would likely still exert some influence on the sound quality...hence the stepped version for $500. In that sense it may not be the best value...unless somebody has tried it out.
B_limo, yes, not really the way to go here. I've never tried it, but, on the face of it, it doesn't look as promising as the Goldpoint to me. Hopefully it may just be a matter of being a little patient for the right deal to surface, whether a Goldpoint or some of the other suggestions here, if you're moved to try one of them...
There is nothing special about the SVS. It is off the shelf inexpensive parts.At best it can sound okay compared to better parts. You get what you pay for.
If you are going OEM parts, look for the best pot you can get, ladder is generally the best, SMD can be right there and variable next. For variable I found that, NOS ALPS Black Beauties are nice with Blue Velvet's next.
There is an ebay seller out of China that sells some decent passives in lots of configurations. They are in the price range you have budgeted from 100-225. The least of which uses an ALPS Blue Velvet, has 3 inputs, two outs and one monitor. The parts alone, if you attempted to buy them would be close to 175 and then you would have to solder. So, his complete package is really a great value!
Over on audio asylum is my old passive that the buyer is selling for 100. I think I sold it to him for 125 and it comes with some nice parts. Hurry cause it will go fast at that price and if you don't like it you can sell it at no loss. But I think it will work well for you.
He has it listed as a diy but it is not a diy. It is a full production piece. The thing outclasses any near its price point.
Btw.....the seller for the units is ericyam at eBay. Search passive preamps and he will be there. Btw the one at AA would cost you close to 200 new and as long as the seller didn't abuse the one I sold him it should be almost like new.