Relay-Controlled Volume - The Ultimate Solution for Analog Audio

Relay-Controlled Volume - The Ultimate Solution for Analog Audio

by John Siau April 11, 2018

Benchmark has introduced a new analog-to-analog volume control circuit that features a 256-step relay-controlled attenuator and a 16-step relay-controlled boost amplifier. The volume control has a +15 dB to -122 dB range in 0.5 dB steps and is a key component in the HPA4 Headphone / Line Amplifier.

Our goal was to produce an analog-to-analog volume control with the highest achievable transparency. We wanted to be able to place this volume control in front of our AHB2 power amplifier or in front of our THX-888 headphone amplifier board without diminishing the performance of either device. Our volume control would need to have lower distortion and lower noise than either of these amplifiers. Given the extraordinary performance of these THX-AAA amplifiers, this would not be an easy task!

This application note discusses the engineering decisions that went into the development of this new analog volume control circuit. The end result is a fully buffered volume control with a signal-to-noise ratio that exceeds 135 dB. THD measures better than the -125 dB (0.00006%) limits of our test equipment.

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Volume Control Technologies

Volume Control Technologies

by Benchmark Media Systems April 24, 2010

Fix the Weakest Link in the Audio Chain!

A playback system's volume control is often one of the weakest links in the audio chain. This is especially true when remote control is required.

Benchmark’s HDR-VC™ (High Dynamic Range Volume Control), combines the best features of two distinct volume control methods while adding remote volume control.

  • How does a volume control degrade the sound?
  • What are the different volume control methods?
  • Are some sonically superior, and why?
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