Volume Control Too Sensitive

My latest issue:

As some of you may be aware I have a Bryston BP-26 preamp connected to a pair of Classe CAM-200 monoblock amps.

My issue is that I have very little range on my volume knob. If looked at as a clockface, I can only go from 6 to 7 using XLR cables, and 6 to 8 using RCA cables.

Not only is this lack of range annoying using the remote control, but I question if the sound is compromised by the fact that I’m just using such a small portion of the volume knob.

Any thoughts on this?


+1 for inline attenuators. I used 12db attenuators between my SP8 and VT100. I chose inline attenuators over having the preamp modified for lower gain, which ARC will do as they are aware of the issue. The attenuators cost about $25 to 50 each, and if they work, you're all set. Good first step.

Good luck and have fun!

lot of misinformation here

You have an impedance mismatch between the amp and preamp.

this has nothing to do with input/output impedance matching

The Bryston puts out 15 volts, that’s a lot. Attenuating the signal (pad down) is an acceptable method to knock down the output signal.

15v of output on the Bryston (30 in balanced mode) and 29 db of gain in the Classe amps obviously is not a good match.

Maximum output level of the preamp is not the issue, the issue is gain

Get a better pre amp

This has nothing to do with how good a preamp is, whatever that means


It is called a system for a reason and your system has the same problem that many do. You have way too much gain if you can barely turn it up. Looking at the Bryston manual it says it is internally configured for either 16.5 or 22.5 dB so you could make sure you are on the lower setting. That may help but it won’t solve the problem as you will still have around 50 dB from pre + amp.

as others have suggested, you need less overall gain by either inserting attenuators or getting a different preamp that doesn’t have so much gain. I suggest a passive, which is basically what the suggested attenuators are , just that they aren’t variable. A power amp with lower gain is also a possibility but mid 20’s is pretty much standard so not a lot of options there.

I agree with the idea that it is rather silly to add +20 dB or so with a preamp and then take it away with a fixed -20 dB attenuator. Get a preamp that integrates into your system








I have/had the same problem with Allnic 8000DHT pre and Pass XA60.8 amps.  I was able to change out a set of the DHT tubes for lower gain tubes. 

Interestingly I recently added a pair of Akiko Corelli's for noise and can increase the volume a few more degrees before it sounds loud (and I hear a lot more micro details).

The Allnic has a constant impedance volume control so it is supposed to be good without having to get past 12 o'clock- although I would like to use more of the attenuator range.

I believe my problem is the input sensitivity of the Pass is  too low at 1 volt to full output.  I am looking to replace the Pass with an amps that don't reach full output until closer closer to 2 volts.

The Allnic is way to good to replace.

I have had the same volume issue with an Audible Illusions Modulus 3A. The problem - as several others have already noted - is simply too much gain (the M3A puts out 28 db). I was not aware that this was something I needed to consider when I bought the preamp quite some time ago.

I’m currently waiting for a semi-custom preamp from SMc Audio which will be set at unity gain (0 db). This should allow me to use the full range of the volume control with finer increments throughout that range.

Perhaps attenuation will work well for you. If you do decide to change preamps just make sure to pay careful attention to gain within the general environment of your system.

Good luck! 






Total opposite, my preamps don’t even have signal til 45db


  the McCormack LD-2 and Sanders “preamp” have 1/2db attenuators, I press play, and turn up volume, no volume until the vol knob is above 45-50+ db on knob. 

 It’s nice, as when the Scotch is poured, and I’m in the mood, the vol is slow to increase, I love this!


 B and K pro10 and Onkyo p-308 volumes are more sensitive, and get louder much faster with vol knob!

 All preamps sound different, the Onkyo adding some deep tones to music, while others are more revealing, then Sanders  is quite revealing, allowing the recording to come through as it is on the cd/lp.