I’ll receive in few days a Perfectwave DAC MKII and wondering if it worth or not to use my pre-amplifier I read some discussions telling that at a low level (beside 50%) the volume control of the PWD has loss of details.
As I’d would prefer to plug the PWD directly to my power amplifier (without pre) I remembered that in some cases some users (with Linn DS) reported that using a RCA attenuator (i.e Rothwell http://www.rothwellaudioproducts.co.uk) are a good solution. They can decrease up to 20dB (other option is 10dB) the output of the source, thus for a same level you need to increase the volume control of the PWD. I don’t know how is built the plug but they recommend to choose on of the 2 different models available depending on where you want to place it (on the source vs. on the power amp.).
Has anyone already test such solution?
I have two sets of those for my home cinema, but I haven’t done serious listening tests.
I would be sceptical from a highend perspective, but otherwise they work well.
I have used 10 dB attenuators on the balanced output of the PWD-II. I didn’t find any problems with them. Like frode, I haven’t tried hard to evaluate any sonic differences, but I can say that nothing struck me immediately.
These do look to be thoughtfully designed and well worth trying.
The potential downsides are a loss of transparency through introducing another circuit, and the loss of the remarkably low output impedance of the PWD.
If you try a set, please report back with your impressions.
Thank you all. I’m still waiting for the delivery of my PWD.
I may have a try once the bur-in period will be passed. But looking more in details at the Linn forum, the feedback on these components are just at the middle between positive and negative
I just got a PWDii and can only run the volume up to the mid 30’s. I want to run my system balanced because my amps (Hypex NCore) are made for balanced, and I like the fact the they system is dead quiet in my bedroom in balanced mode (I can hear some hum in single ended). I am considering Rothwell balanced in-line attenuators (http://www.rothwellaudioproducts.co.uk/html/attenuators.html). Would they have a negative effect on the sound? The amp has a “DM Input Impedance” of 104 kohm. Is there a difference between having a 20db analog pad built into the circuit (as many people wish the PWD came with) and putting one between the PWD and the amplifier?
Sounds like you desperately need a pair of Rothwell attenuators.
They can only possibly improve the sound, as you will not have to listen with the volume set way down.
Where I come from cheap is good. This applies mostly to amplifiers and cables which, if properly made, on level matched blind testing can rarely if ever be told apart. Once you realise this you will be happy rather than concerned that a product costs $50 or less.
For the relatively few people that still use multiple box audio systems for listening to music, component matching is as important as the components themselves. I have a PWDII and the volume control is essential. I also use a bespoke phono pre-amp, that has only three inputs - line (for the PWD), mm phono and mc phono. Besides the main volume pot, the mc output also has a gain pot of its own, as the mc output is the most likely to produce background noise in any system.
I would give it a go with the attenuators. You can also drop the input sensitivity of the nCores with a little soldering. Check threads on diyAudio or contact Hypex directly.
Paul or anyone else:
The PWD II spec says the output voltage for balanced, at max volume, is 6.3. The Ayre AX-7e integrated amp spec says the “Maximum Input Level” for the balanced inputs is 8 V rms. Am I safe from any clipping? Would you recommend a PWD volume reduction in this scenario?
You are absolutely safe to go.
I know this is an old thread, but I thought I would write down a few thoughts about GoldenJacks.
GoldenJacks is a small company based out of the UK. Iain is the name of the owner of the company. I purchased a set of his XLR attenuators a few weeks ago and all I can say is “WOW.” Iain made my XLR attenuators for about $40, and to spec. I asked for 20dB of attenuation, and he made it.
His attenuators are completely invisible. They do not damage the sound like a those manufactured by companies like Shure do. What 20dB of attenuation did for my system (PWD Mk II) was to help make the sound just a little more full. Bass was more defined. In all, I was impressed.
I spent a little time tracking Iain down, but it was worth it.
Drop him a line if you’re in the market email@example.com
Resurrecting this older thread. I’ve had a bunch of issues with a new Cary SLP-05 and using balanced cables (every new toy in this hobby seems to bring a new issue). I slayed the big problem: ground loop and now have a volume problem. I use the 20dB attenuation feature on the DS, which works well. The problem is now from my phono amp. I have the gain in the phono set to the lowest available, 45dB, and the volume is still crazy loud with the volume control set at 10:00. Looking at these attenuators to help solve the problem. I really don’t want to buy a new cartridge (spent enough on the Cary). My current cartridge is a Soundsmith with a 2.12 mV output.
Any additional comments from people with experience? Thanks!
P.S. I think Goldenjacks is no longer in business; however, I did send an email.
Edit: Looks like goldenjacks is still in business. I received an email respons in about 5 minutes. You can buy them on eBay! At something like $30, I’ll give them a try.
Well I bought the goldenjack attenuators but I’m going to solve the problem a different way. The Sutherland PhD uses internal cards with different resistors to select gain (none of the default values went low enough). I have a set of blank cards that came with the pre-amp. With the help of Ron Sutherland (very helpful/patient owner of the company), I purchased Vishay/Dale resistors in 475 and 750 ohm values. One of these values should give me a good gain match with the DS DAC (with -20dB selected). Another challenge with my new Cary SLP-05 resolved.
I like this solution much better.
Please let us know how it works out.
Just soldered in the 475 and 750 resistors onto custom, removable cards. 475 was still too much gain, the 750 resistors are close enough to perfect for me. Ron Sutherland is another good guy in this industry. Can’t recommend Ron or his products enough. Anyone interested in a really fine phono stage, Ron has a used Sutherland Phd available (all battery and very configurable). Have no idea what he’s asking. Drop him an email.