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Better Volume (and Balance) Controls

2015-03-02 17:54  
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Better Volume (and Balance) Controls
The volume control in a hi-fi amp or preamp (or any other audio device, for that matter), is a truly simple concept, right? Wrong. In order to get a smooth increase in level, the potentiometer (pot) must be logarithmic to match the non-linear characteristics of our hearing. A linear pot used for volume is quite unsatisfactory. Unless you pay serious money, the standard log pot you buy from electronics shops is not log at all, but is comprised of two linear sections, each with a different resistance gradient. The theory is that between the two they will make a curve which is close enough to log (or audio) taper. As many will have found out, this is rarely the case, and a pronounced 'discontinuity' is often apparent as the control is rotated.