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Original Message

REVIEW: KYC111 Ladder Attenuator Passive Components

Posted by rhyno on December 7, 2004 at 15:11:05:

Model: Ladder Attenuator
Category: Passive Components
Suggested Retail Price: $55 for mono pair
Description: 100k Ladder Attenuators, Dale Resistors, 24 step.
Manufacturer URL: Not Available
Manufacturer URL: Not Available

Review by rhyno (D) on December 07, 2004 at 15:11:05
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for the Ladder Attenuator

if you look on ebay for seller "KYC111" from taiwan, you'll find that he sells ridiculously cheap ladder attenuators. $50 for a mono pair is a bargain by all accounts.

the units seem well built; soldering work is nicely done, and the switch is make before break, so no annoying pops. not the stoutest switch, but it will do. also, do note that the shaft on the attenuators to connect you control knob to is quite short, so take care. in that vein, the overall dimensions are quite small, so no troubles fitting it in tight spaces. measurements show 1% matching between the mono units, but at full attenuation one of them has marginal output from my speakers--go figure.

onto the sound: no question this unit is a marked improvement against the volume pots i replaced (nobles). imaging, bass(!), dynamics, detail and noise-floor are all markedly improved.

tonality is another matter: i find that all components have a character. so does this part: its on the warmish side (i recall reading that such is the character of the dale resistors used, so it makes sense). while this is likely a god-send for SS-electronics, it may be too much warmth in a tube unit (which is where i placed it). while its still an upgrade over where i started, its not the end result i wanted. its not euphonic or mushy or anything like that...its just more a sense that music has lost its natural aggression (which SS gear overaccentuates IMO). so, component matching is important if you want the proper balance.

put it this way: i'd not hesitate for one minute to upgrade a SS preamp with these things, but there is no way i'd use this part as a passive attenuator in my SET amp. it'd be too much glow.

for the cost, its a screaming bargain. in the right component (read: solid state, bright, aggressive preamps or amps), its a wonderful upgrade. but misapplication of this part to a soft-ish tube component will likely send you too far into the warm camp.


Product Weakness: as above
Product Strengths: as above

Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: Wavac 572 SET
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Terra Song Satori Mk4 (where part applied); G&D Custom (alternate)
Sources (CDP/Turntable): G&D UTP1 Transport>Entec 3.0 DAC
Speakers: Wilson WP6s
Cables/Interconnects: TG Audio High Purity ICs & HSR Speaker Cables
Music Used (Genre/Selections): all
Room Size (LxWxH): 11 x 15 x 8
Room Comments/Treatments: Risch Bass Panels
Time Period/Length of Audition: 1 week
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): TG Audio Bybee-based power conditioner
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner