View Full Version : Need volume control on the cheap

05-04-2006, 07:39 AM
This inquiry is frankly a result of being broke. I have a 4345 pair. The audio chain is presently: sources (tube cd player, turntable/Dynavector pre, 5.1 capable DVD player, choice of FM sources) to a Niles Audio switching box to a 5235 to a little tube amp top and a 6230 to the 2245H (biamped). Buy a pair of 4345's, have my particular family to take care of and be a working stiff, and you will discover why I am broke.:D

I discovered the line levels of all these sources were plenty high in mv for the 5235, no preamp needed for source gain. Problem is, I can't afford a preamp or a line stage (or gas for my El Camino). Is anyone aware of something I can build or purchase on the cheap, that will serve as a volume control in front?

I have enough speaker and amp gear around to do an all JBL 5.1 setup, but even with just a biamped stereo pair volume management is a mess.

The 5235 lost the setup a half step in clarity as it is, so I am looking for a solution that does not further degrade the signal very much.

Perhaps impossible, but I am throwing myself on the forum's mercy none the less.:)

Clark in Peoria

05-04-2006, 12:05 PM
You could shoot a PM over to member norealtalent.
Last I checked- he had an older McIntosh unit with remote.

Placette Audio makes 'em- if you can stomach the prices.

Also, there is an audiogon member that makes a passive DIY style volume control unit for cheap. AXIOM. I've never tried one- nor have I known anyone that has, but I always wanted to try one.

Here is his Audiogon item (no affiliation): http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?preatran&1151164063

...and his ebay item: http://cgi.ebay.com/LUMINOUS-AUDIO-Axiom-passive-pre_W0QQitemZ9719402388QQcategoryZ14974QQssPageNam eZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

I've read there can be a very subtle loss of dynamics when using some (lesser quality) passive volume control units. However, you may not even notice it since your 4345's aren't exactly shy on dynamics. You can spare it! :)

05-04-2006, 08:57 PM
Thank you, Hapy._.Face, I am looking into it. The price is within my grasp.

Still, I am itching to build something. Bad idea, I guess, as the pot alone would probably cost me that much.

About the 4345 dynamics, it isn't hard to agree with Greg Timbers, but I sure do. I have always - I mean always - preferred dynamic to "polite" speakers. I was looking for a scientific term for the 4345's dynamic characteristics, and Greg came right up with it. "Dynamic as hell." Science is a wonderful thing.:bouncy:


Mr. Widget
05-04-2006, 09:10 PM
I have a PS Audio 4.6 preamp that has a blown ? in the active section. Since it does have a switch to operate in a purely passive mode I have used it as a passive volume pot/selector and it works quite well. It essentially has no sound of it's own. If you want it it yours for $100.

It looks like the 4.5s shown in this article.



05-04-2006, 10:59 PM
I'm going to give Widget's amp a try. Any suggestions and experiences are still welcome.:)