rothwell attenuators..effect on sound?

i am considering getting a pair of these and using them between my integrated amp and cd player to reduce some excess gain. i did read that they will cut volume output by 10db which is why i may buy them. but will using these change the sound quality at all? i did read one professional review that stated cd's sounded softer and less "digital" sounding, which was good for bright recordings, not so good for others. does his observations match the opinion of others here who have used them? thanks for your input.

They'll provide a bit of warmth to the sound, but the price might allow you to overlook this. If you want something neutral and transparent get the Endler or EVS attenuators. I have had all three of these and the EVS are the best. They are back in production so you don't have to look for a used pair.

The EVS and Endlers are 24 step switches so you have flexibility instead of a flat 10db. Also, if you have a single source system you could use them in lieu of a preamp.
I am using them now and highly recommend them. I bought them to reduce some excess gain and have more range on my volume control. I was running the Volume at 7 on a scale of 6 thru 6, now it runs between 8 and 9 at comfortable listening levels I found another use for them, I now biamp and they work great in matching the gain between the two amps my tube amp has a gain of 38db my solid state 28db by putting these on the IC's right before they enter the tube amp I have a seamless match. The build quality is first rate and I found no change in the sound quality
I bought the comparable goldenjacks attenuators on eBay and did not notice any difference other than the lower volume level. Made my volume control much more effective. Very high quality construction for less than the Rothwells. Search goldenjacks on eBay. I have no affiliation with this seller other than as a satisfied customer.
I use them between my pre-amp and amp and have not heard any discernable effect on sound quality other than lower volume. I would recommend them if your goal is to reduce gain.

Does anyone know where one could get those in-line RCA housings that are used by Rothwell? If I've already selected the type and value resistors that I want to use I'd like to be able to build my own.
thanks for the input guys. i thought initially that i would buy a cd player with volume control to get around this excess gain issue. but now i am considering in-line rca attenuators if i buy a cd player with a fixed output level. looks like i have more options, a beautiful thing!

broussard, i did notice those goldenjacks on e-bay. if i remember right, he has -14db pairs. does he charge more for those?


The price difference would be small, if any.

Send him an email. I found him to be very responsive.

It looks like he has changed to a slightly different exterior since I bought mine.

I continue to be quite sastified with them.


I am wondering if anyone has discovered mechanical faults with the evs inline jobs? The repeated mechanical disturbances from volume control, seem to translate right to the center pin of the RCA jack.

Back to the OP: I am also interested in finding blank/clam-shell XLR's for my own purposes...anyone know of a source...and I have also been curious about the effect on sound quality. It's interesting that one has reported an increase in "warmth", i guess this means maybe the noise floor may raise, or in this particular implementation that this user reports, there may be an interaction with input capacitance such that the higher frequencies are slightly attenuated...although warmth for some means the presence region (~1kHz-3kHz) is attenutated, and dull highs for another means the upper treble region is attenuated (w.r.t. rest of spectrum).
go figure.

I have two pairs (10dB and 20dB) that I used with an NAD integrated amp in my office system. They are simply voltage dividers and have zero impact on sonics.

Send me an email if you'd like to try/purchase either/both of them.

Another alternative is an NHT PVC (passive volume control, $100). This will let you vary the amount of attenuation. You'll need another set of ICs, though.