Never underestimate the importance of the volume potentiometer. It has a dramatic and clearly audible influence on sound quality. Get it right, and it is an open window to the musical performance...get it wrong, and it will crush sound completely. Our favourite volume and balance controls had always been those manufactured by Noble, As far back as the Audio Innovation products, launched by Peter Qvortrup in 1984, the Noble AP25 volume pot proved to be the finest sounding unit available, and was exclusively used in all of the higher level Audio Note (UK) products. Unfortunately Noble decided to discontinue these excellent potentiometers in 1997, which left us in dire and urgent need of a suitable replacement. We purchased quantities of every type of unit available, regardless of price or construction, and found every single one to be deficient in one way or another. Surprisingly, some of the most frequently used and well-known volume controls - often advertised as a particularly 'audiophile' feature in our competitors products - actually sounded the least satisfactory!
Back to the Drawing Board
So, as with many of the components used in our products, when there is nothing suitable available from external suppliers, we went back to the drawing board and produced a range of custom units. After four years on extensive prototyping and testing, we finally hit upon a pair of designs that met our exacting requirements.
Great Performance, Great Price
The first of these models are the Audio Note (UK) Rotary Volume and Balance Controls. The range consists of a 100 K Ohm standard logarithmic taper potentiometer and complementing balance control. Both feature a conductive track made from thick silver, a wiper made from solid silver and heavily silver plated connection pins. We use these in all of our more affordable products, and they are truly excellent sounding alternatives to the usual offerings found in the majority of audio equipment available today.