One of the first port of calls for an upgrade of a pre-amplifier or integrated amplifier is the volume potentiometer. The standard fair for any reasonable manufactured piece of equipment is the Alps Blue beauty these come in at £13.00 a piece. The only other potentiometer worthy of using above the Alps is the Japanese TKD range, specifically the 601 and 2511 series. Click HERE to see the range we stock.
But where do we go from here? Stepped attenuators have been the audio grade alternative for some years now, we have sold thousands. They are becoming increasingly more exotic. The benefits of these over potentiometer is in the accuracy of the resistors used, effectively each step has 2 resistors in the signal path (not series types, however) rather than a conductive plastic layer with a wiper (potentiometer) So steps have far better channel matching, offer better sound stage and detailing, an all-round improvement. Audio Note is now producing a complete in-house design, featuring their new non-magnetic tantalum resistor and superbly engineered 36 step switches. These will be available to HFC within a few months. So watch this space.
The only slight downside for steps in the amount of control you have over the volume. Our Glasshouse range starts at 23 steps which are generally enough, but for those who want more we do have 28 step, 36 step and 47 and 48 step version. The higher numbered version offers plenty of control. One of our best sellers is the Elma 47 step switch, compact and beautifully designed.
Recently we have been asked for an Audio Note non-magnetic version and now that Audio Note has released new values of their resistors we can offer you the 50K, 100K and 250K version built on the Elma A47 switch. Available in mono or stereo format as a shunt version these new steps are amazing. They have a high price tag but it's at such a key position in the circuit you won't look back.