What do you think is the best make volume control ?? ALPS NOBLE ????


I am interested in putting the best volume control with-in reason in a friends Audio Research Pre-amp and I am interested in what people think is the best control with-in reason (cost)    Thanks
autospec
I just installed a TKD volume control and find it excellent.
Manual only the DACT - can be remotely controlled but it's clunky 😄 Fully remote controable the Bent  - nothing comes remotely close to above they sound very similar as they use the same topology and surface mount resistors.

DACT is only 24 steps so limited on the bottom I.E. the first step is too loud with digital sources, the Bent have 60 steps which makes it a clear choice.  The Dact is about 1/4 price of the Bent 

Best of Luck

Peter
Manual only the DACT - can be remotely controlled but it's clunky 😄 Fully remote controable the Bent  - nothing comes remotely close to above they sound very similar as they use the same topology and surface mount resistors.

DACT is only 24 steps so limited on the bottom I.E. the first step is too loud with digital sources, the Bent have 60 steps which makes it a clear choice.  The Dact is about 1/4 price of the Bent 

Best of Luck

Peter
Mofi,

Potentiometer only the TKD clearly is the best choice, both I mention above is stepped attenionators.

Good Listening 


Peter 
My headphone amp has a very good ALP RK50 volume control (not stepped).  This is one of those "legendary" components.   However, this is a very BIG pot and it costs quite a lot.  A friend tried to buy one from the US distributor.  He was told that the price is $850 each, and the minimum order size is 50 units.  Headamp, the maker of my headphone amp, might be willing to sell someone this pot as they keep it in stock for their own products.
I've got a 50k Ohm stereo Noble(AP25), that I'm not using. Can a 1 1/8" H X 1 1/8" W X 1 1/4" D pot fit your application?   If so-  you can have it for free.   
Have Alps, TDK but neither is as good Goldpoint.
Magnum PI, do you have the ALPS RK50? Its the very large and expensive ($800) volume control. Did you compare this volume control to a Goldpoint stepped attenuator in the same system and find that the Goldpoint attenuator sounds better? That would be great news for Goldpoint since their stereo attenuators are around the $200 point and the alps is over $800. I use a Goldpoint and am interested in your findings. Thanks Jet
My issue with some stepped attenuators is that many don't have enough steps; it seems like the ideal level is somewhere between the two steps.  I find 24 steps is WAY to few; those with something like 47 steps, and steps no larger than than 1.5 db are okay.  

There are also some interesting alternatives to conventional resistor attenuation.  A friend made a passive linestage that utilized a remotely controlled light-dependent resistor attenuator.  This provided reasonably fine-grained volume changes (1 db per step), the convenience of remote control (really a necessity to me), but, it did not offer balance control (another necessity to me).  I liked the sound of his passive linestage which is really nothing more than the attenuator plus input/output jacks and a source selector.

When it comes to passive linestages, the ones I tend to like the most utilize transformer volume controls (TVC)--instead of attenuating by dissipating the signal as heat, transformers convert voltage to current when stepping down the voltage to reduce volume level.  The sound of the TVC's I heard was quite dynamic and lively.  Most TVC's, however, have limited number of steps and can be VERY expensive.  An intriguing alternative that works like TVCs is the autoformer volume control made by Dave Slagle.  I have heard his autoformer volume control as a separate standalone unit, and as something built into a Vinnie Rossi integrated amplifier.  I cannot say how it sounds because I have not tried it in my own gear, but, I do like the fact that it allows for fine grain volume changes (1 db steps), balance control, and remote control.  It is better described here:

http://http//www.bentaudio.com/index2.html

I have a Goldpoint SA1X  ...

never used as I switched out my system

I’m assuming your ARC pre-amp has a PC board type Alps. The TKD, which is waaay better than the Alps will fit the space but has solder tabs, not PCB hookage. I don't know if any of the others mentioned here or my personal fave Taiwan 28 step ladder attenuator for $25 bucks will fit.

I made that very installation some years ago in an LS--1; it required soldering short lengths of 28ga. solid core to the TKD then shoe-horning them into the PCB eyelets. Quite challenging. That plus getting rid of all the by-pass caps made a wonderful sounding unit.


When I built my integrated amplifier - a preamplifier and amplifier in the same chassis so that there would only be an inch or two of Kimber silver wire between stages, while the power supplies for the preamp and amp still have their own power supplies - I wanted to use the best volume control possible, which was a selector switch that used the best metal film resistor pairs for each volume setting.
Unless the volume was full up so that there was no resistor in the signal path, it sounded dull and lifeless, but what could I do since in theory this was supposed to be the best possible. Part of the problem was that I really could not choose any volume between the highest volume and the first step down and that, I learned was only part of the problem.
I replaced this big barrel of resistor pairs with the TDK 2CP 2511 and it outclasses the more expensive stepped resistor pair system at any volume setting. I never thought I had the sensitivity to hear what I had thought was so subtle as sound stage width and depth before, but there was nothing subtle about the difference this volume control does. I doubt there is a better sounding one even at what you might define as too expensive to be within reason.  
All pots with resistive tracks sound different because they use different substances for the wiper and the track composition, and the VERY light point contact tension between wiper and track that is a potential problem area. They are all flawed, and start a decay process from the first rotation.

The next best is switched resistor pots that use double leaf contacts (one above and one below the wiper), better contact than the above.

Then even better is switched relay type as the contact in a relay is lager as has more pressure than any of the above. The Schiit Freya and Saga use this type of control over the volume.

Then the best, are ones that have no contact at all in the signal path, like the LDR volume controls. (follow the green track)
https://www.stereo.net.au/forums/uploads/monthly_2017_10/59ecfdedd78df_LightspeedAttenuatorMkIICircuitDiagram.jpg.9340f5b171a89d2e6e6ac97b1d5698af.jpg

The very best, is no volume control at all. But one that’s done in the digital domain in CDP’s or DAC’s that have digital domain volume controls, but these must be used at or above 75% of full ouput or you run the risk of "bit stripping" EG: reducing the resolution from 16bit to 14bit or 12bit the lower you go.

Cheers George