DIY Stepped Attenuator

This project came in as a logical end of a continuous process of refining the amplifier’s performance. The itch to check out how a stepped attenuator will perform against the ubiquitous volume potentiometer became increasingly acute after the surgery that transformed my Audio Note OTO Phono SE Signature integrated into a P1 SE Signature power amplifier.

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Audio Note AX-Two crossover project

Two coils, two caps and resistor, arranged across two drivers, with the purpose to divide the energy between them evenly. This is what I came up with after several months of experimentation. I tried almost everything, but it was the series crossover network that brought resolution and peace to my weary soul.

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Decoupling the phono board from the chassis of Audio Note Oto Phono SE Signature integrated amplifier

Audio Note Oto Phono SE Signature phono board

Although it made an analog junkie out of me, I have to admit that I’ve been aware of the slightly resonant signature of Oto’s phono stage. To my ears there has always been a sonic disparity between its line level and phono performance that manifested itself in a kind of exaggerated euphonic quality attributed to the latter.

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Audio Note AX-Two stand-mounted loudspeakers

Audio Note AX-Two stand-mounted loudspeaker

I have to confess that initially I was impressed neither by their look nor by their sound. It was a year ago when I climbed the stairs up to my apartment carrying the 15 kg heavy box that Andy Whittle handed me after a short stop at my place on his way to Copenhagen. “These are your new speakers, give them some time to properly break in,” were his words.

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Bernd Timmermanns’ Micro Block MK2 compact loudspeakers

Micro Block MK2 compact loudspeaker

I don’t know why I decided to build these particular speakers that found their way to the public on the pages of Hobby HiFi magazine. It was maybe the unusual concept that caught my attention on the first place – two-way construction combining long-excursion 4.5″ subwoofer unit with a 3″ dome twitter in a rather compact but extremely sturdy enclosure.

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