Check out the Creek OBH-10 or OBH-12. The 10 is a single input volume control. The 12 is a small passive preamp with 3 inputs and a tape loop. Both are extremely quiet and can be controlled by a remote. I think you can find the 10 used for about $200 and the 12 will be a bit more.
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The Placette is supposed to be very good from what i've read here. You might also want to think about a pair of Ultimate Attenuators from Ric at Electronic Visionary Systems. His website is http://www.tweakaudio.com and he can build you whatever value stepped attenuators that he thinks you will need for your specific gear. These will be a couple hundred dollars compared to $1000+ for the Placette. Sean
Hello Sturbo2000, why would anyone want to use an attenuator ? Or passive preamp ? I've always encourage, or suggest to connect direct from CD player and use volume control from the CD player. But anytime you add anything in the middle of the chain the sound will degrade or change ! So you might as well add a full flesh active preamp and have all the convenience to go with it, until your budget allow for a CD player with volume control. There are full of active preamp, that is affordable out there. Use common sense, enjoy, and don't think too much.
No offend intended
Bent Audio sells a kit for a Transformer Volume Control which avoids many of the traditional problems with passive pre-"amps". If you don't want to build yourself Bent Audio can build it for you.
I haven't heard this one yet, but I do plan on building one when finances will allow it. Responses from other people have been uniformly positive.
Evidently you don't have your SACD player yet. Why ask about an external volume control until you know whether your SACD player will have one? But if you end up without one in your player, and don't want to spend as much as a Placette would cost--I've never heard one but still believe they must be very good--Goldpoint sells an SA-3 passive built around Elma ladder stepped attenuators, much better than any series stepped attenuator (uncontroversial) and arguably better than potentiometers, except maybe for super expensive ones. The SA-3 is $389 assembled and $309, I believe, as a kit. It can be seen at www.goldpt.com. You won't do better at roughly that price, IMHO. A lot of passives at around that price compromise quality at one point or another, but this one is high quality all through. I did see a used Placette on Audiogon recently--you might try a Search.
All of the options above are good and sound good. Your ears will need to be the final judge. However, if you are somewhat handy, maybe a little adventurous and looking for a somewhat permanent solution, you can hardwire a Goldpoint Mini-V Stepped Attenuator right into the back of your CD player. It is a rather straight forward process. I found myself in a period of minimalism wanting to eliminate my assortment of preamps and clean up the basement and garage of all the leftovers. Maybe just a passing case of late in life nesting instint. Regardless, the results were very pleasing and I cannot complain. It cost $185 with shipping. If you use their ladder attenuator (almost twice the price) you gain some clarity and soundstage. If you are interested in directions, let me know.