I have 3 preamplifiers with 3 different sets of volume/balance controls that brought a question to mind: Is a balance control still a viable control these days? This has been in my head for a long time and it's cool to get it out and ask RG about it.
I have an Audio Note pre that has a volume control and a balance control.
I also have a Rothwell Indus SE, a passive preamp with dual volume controls. But these aren not left/right level controls...they are "fine" and "coarse" controls. And there is no independent balance control.
I have a Croft line stage with dual volume controls, two independent level controls.
I also have a Vincent KHV-111 headphone amp with dual left/right level controls.
For me, the Croft and the Vincent have the best and easiest to use balance controls I've ever encountered. The Rothwell's fine tuning level control ability is also excellent at getting an absolute correct level of sound for each album and for any room....it is quite remarkable.
The Audio Note is also excellent for adjusting left and right levels, but not as effectively as the Croft and Vincent.
Some say it's really difficult to work with dual left/right level controls, but for me, when I got used to them, I became much more aware of left/right imbalances that only they could correct. Very happy I have them.
None of my other headphone amps: Audio Alchemy, MF, and Slee, have any balance controls and I have to rely on their circuit design to get that control correct.
Just wondering how RG feels about having or not having this control on their units....J
Personally, I no longer feel the need for balance controls. They usually cause some kind of technical compromise. These days attenuators using 1% Metal film resistors result in very precise channel matching as well as wider bandwidth and lower noise, and the use of 1% MF resistors in the gain setting area of preamps also results in excellent matching. I haven't noticed too many modern CDs where the channel balance is way out either. Alex
If one wants balance control then, I would say, twin volume pots must be the way to go.
A ganged pot necessarily contains two pots already, so why add the extra complexity of the additional balance control? With separate R & L volume knobs I'd set a rough volume level, then use just one of the controls to balance left with right.
For some reason I find some 'classical' recordings to be biased to the left.. acouple of dBs to the right helps IMO.
Fully Modded Pssst ! Got any spare capacitors ?
I'm with Alex. Modern audio parts and recording don't need them any more. Even if there is a misbalance, we may not be too aware of it in stereo recording as we may think it was recorded that way. Anyway, KISS is best and still is.
For dual volume pots, they wouldn't be a PITA to use to balance the sound if they are of the notch type. I always prefer dual volume pots of the notch type for their best stereo separation.
For some reason I find some 'classical' recordings to be biased to the left.. acouple of dBs to the right helps IMO
I find that with, say, a violin concerto, the lead violin focused at center stage in a stereo presentation will, by it's nature of relationships in the orchestra, accentuate the violin section on the left and bring the balance leftward. In that instance, I appreciate the dual volume control's ability to re-balance the sound for me....but is it a "trick" being played on my ears by proximity and relating to other instruments? Could be, but it could also be a less than stellar production, too. But, it happens a lot and that is when I hear the imbalance in Classical mostly....J