Stereo upgrade suggestions

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
These are the least expensive ones I’m aware of

Amazon product
And these are the ones usually recommended

Amazon product
You simply place them in the amp input and then connect your phono cables to them.

And I do agree. Minuscule volume dial changes are a pain.
 

silverbackben

Standard Member
Thanks Paul, I’ll be buying some of those!

I see Rothwell do 10, 15 and 20db attenuators - is there any downside between the three? I just tested sound from an iPad, certainly is noticeably quiet but even then it needed to stay below 15% on the dial.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
The iPads are definitely around the 1V mark from the 3.5mm output at max volume.

So if you’re getting only 15% usage form the dial I’d go for the 15dB attenuators.

I have 10dB and 20dB ones and the 20s are quite a large reduction. I only use them in my active speakers that have a huge gain.

15dB should bring your cds output down to around 500mv, ( it’s close to that at least, it’s ages since I made a pair), which is much closer to what the amp needs.

The -20dB attenuators will reduce the output from the Onkyo to about 200mv. So even though this is still more than the optimal 150mv, it might well have an impact on the max volume should you ever wish to party.
 

silverbackben

Standard Member
Thank you Paul, I think I’ll go for the -20db, my place is pretty small and we’d never be needing to pump the volume up high at all! I think I’d rather be able to make the adjustments with more ease.

Thank you very much for the information, and as before I shall follow up when I’ve got the part!
Ben
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Hope it works Ben.

I can see nothing at all wrong with the less expensive one though and it gives you a choice of attenuation.

Ps, is the turntable not plagued by the tiny volume range?
 

oscroft

Member
I can see nothing at all wrong with the less expensive one though and it gives you a choice of attenuation.
Indeed, there shouldn't be any difference. All they're going to have inside is a pair of resistors to provide a voltage divider, a bit like this (I put them inside the RCA connector when I had the same problem)...
D21_007_004a.jpg
 

silverbackben

Standard Member
Should I ignore the bad reviews for the cheaper one then? Concerns me that some are claiming it affects sound quality.

I have not checked with the turntable, but I assume it’s the same problem, so will need a couple pairs of attenuators
 

oscroft

Member
Should I ignore the bad reviews for the cheaper one then? Concerns me that some are claiming it affects sound quality.
You'll always find people who claim the more expensive ones sounds better, no matter how they really sound. The resistors these things use cost literally pennies. And despite what some people claim, I've never heard any difference between any decently constructed RCA plugs, sockets or cables.

The only thing I might do is go for ones with a fixed attenuation rather than selectable, simply to avoid having a switch in there - switches can degrade and can make poor connections. Saying that, though, it would probably be unnecessary caution, and I doubt I'd hear any difference between them.
 

oscroft

Member
I have not checked with the turntable, but I assume it’s the same problem, so will need a couple pairs of attenuators
Do check the turntable first, before you buy. I've had problems with DAC outputs being too high, but my turntable input was significantly lower and was fine. So I only needed attenuation on the DAC.

I think it's fairly common for modern digital sources to have higher line level outputs than in the past, while turntable outputs haven't changed as they depend on the cartridge.
 

silverbackben

Standard Member
Possibly my final update

Again a big thank you for the help and knowledge shared by everyone, I’m happy to say I’m now with a satisfied result!

The turntable shared a similar issue, but not to the same extent, I’ve decided it doesn’t bother me enough for that one so I have left as is.

Boy am I glad I went for the -20 attenuators, it’s allowed me to put the volume up to around 20-25% which is plenty loud! The annoying problem has gone and I’m left with beautiful sound that’s easy to adjust!

This forum is excellent!

P.S. for people searching for amp suggestions like I did, I can definitely recommend the Rotel RA-04 to be paired with my KEFs.
In the unlikely scenario someone is looked at a CD changer, the Onkyo DX-C390 is absolutely top notch
 

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