With no volume control in your CD player, you'd be playing every CD at the same level, whatever attenuation you added. That's not workable, is it? It wouldn't be close to workable with my CD's. In any case, a fixed attenuation network shouldn't be a single resistor, I think experts would agree, but rather one Rs in series and one Rg to ground following Rs. Values would depend on what your CD player can handle at the low end, but certainly not more than 10K for Rs + Rg. This is because the Aleph 3's input impedance is lowish at 23K ohms. I've used 10K ohm passives with Aleph 3's very successfully. But your idea of fixed attenuation simply won't work, I'm sorry to say. And once you put a real volume control between CD player and power amp, it's not so different from playing CD's through your active preamp. Well, maybe it is--I thought so when I went exclusively to passive preamps, selling a CAT SL-1 Signature because it wasn't transparent enough. Would you consider simply replacing the Audiolab used as preamp? With a good passive preamp? That sounds like what you need, at least if you don't play LP's. Please feel free to email me if you'd like to discuss this further.
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