DIY Gain Cell volume control

July 31, 2019
 by Paul McGowan

One comment on “DIY Gain Cell volume control”

  1. I've not heard any sonic problems with using potentiometers but, to be fair, I haven't done an A/B comparison with and without a potentiometer. The Gilbert cell design is very tricky and a major challenge for the designer. A Gilbert cell implemented in tubes is an even bigger challenge. I suggest the following course of action:

    - Is there any audible degradation using a high quality (conductive film) control?
    - If so, is there audible degradation using a switched attenuator with plated switch contents and metal film resistors?

    If a simple ladder attenuator with decent resistors doesn't work, then normal engineering principles do not apply. Under these circumstances, designing a Gilbert cell will be next to impossible.

    Analog studio consoles use hundreds of potentiometers. They use electronically controlled gain (voltage controlled attenuators or VCAs) only for the purposes of automation, not for sound quality.

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