Whats the difference bwtwn attenuator and pot ??

I have been trying to find the best volume control I can for my SA-5000 preamp. The stock one is a carbon potentiometer. The Counterpoint website recommends the replacement of the cheap carbon pot that was stock with the unit and recommends the TKD CP-2511 conductive plastic as it will fit right in the unit. After checking with a few modifiers, they all agree that this TKD CP 2511 pot sounds great. The larger stepped attenuators by TKD and Goldpoint are way to big to install without moving the circuit board.

I came across another option by TKD that should fit in my preamp model 2P 2511 S. The information says this is a series step attenuator. They also make a non S version so there are no clicks/steps.

My question is, so what is the difference except for the $75 additional cost for the 2P versus the CP.

Here are some website links:




Thanks and Happy Listening

"Pot" is short for potentiometer (changes the potential, as in voltage)

Attenuator is just that, something that reduces, or makes less (loud, for instance)

The result is the same in either case, and the terms don't necessarily describe a particular kind of physical device. Although pots are assumed to be continuous and attenuators intermittant.

The advantage of the stepped device is accuracy of each volume setting, as well as reduction of error between two channels, or two pieces of equipment at the same settings. However there are lots of conacts to get dirty or weak.

High quality wiper potentiometers, like the Alps or the TKD are as accurate as many stepped units, cheaper, and well suited for use in home audio where they won't be subjected to commercial conditions.
Thanks Msgarch. I finally think I got it now. The TKD 2P stepped unit only has 21 steps so I may just go with the CP potentiometer as it is only $65 to try it out.
Somewhere around $400/ounce.