Switch with volume control

I've come to the conclusion that what I want is a switch with a volume control that's transparent in its effect on sound. It could be balanced or unbalanced. The sources that would input to the switch are an Oppo 105, a Sony XA 5400ES, and a Parasound JC-3. All sources have the option of balanced or unbalanced output. The Oppo output is 5.1 or 7.1 analog, the Sony and Parasound stereo.

Any recommendations for such a switch? I've been using a Cary Cinema 11a with its inputs set to bypass essentially as a switch with volume control.

Your lucky day. The switch you need to buy is the Chase RC1, generally available on e-bay, used. With remote they go for about $100, what they cost new. I have three of these, all over ten years old and they work perfectly. In addition to volume, balance, bass and treble can be controlled. Now for the bad news, no balanced inputs/outputs. Transparent? I think so, but you need to try it in your system/cables.
It appears as though the Parasound P7 might come close. I've been warned that switching XLR can be tricky to avoid transients. I use balanced output to the amps because they sit between the speakers and thus are remote from the switch.

Placette makes a 3-input passive preamp that is basically just a volume control. Not sure how it would work with your Oppo though.

Can any of those, except for the P7, handle multichannel inputs/outputs?
The new Nuforce MCP-18.

In your opinion would replacing my Cary Cinema 11a with a Parasound P7 be a step up, a step down, or a sideways step, given that either can provide the functions I want? A Sony XA 5400ES connects via HDMI. but an Oppo 105 and a Parasound JC-3 connect via analog to the Cary. The Sony could connect via analog as well, if I limit it to stereo, a not unreasonable limitation with the Oppo in place. In either case, I'd use balanced output to the amps.


I used to own one of those years ago and got rid of it because if the power went out the unit reset to full volume and I didn't want to blow up my speakers. Was my unit defective or do they all do that?
I have a Placette if you're interested.
I recently installed a Parasound JC-3 phono preamp. It uses the XLR input of the Cinema 11a. The sound is so good I think I'll stick with the Cary until I can (1) actually try a P7 in the setup and (2) buy it at a good price. For pure analog, the Cinema 11a is very satisfying. It supposedly does no processing in bypass mode, but it does offer a volume control and conversion of unbalanced inputs to balanced outputs.