Volume Pot Taper Count Ups

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by Papa, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. Papa

    Papa Senior Member

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    This represents "spare time" studio work. Originally, I did it for my own reference.
    After seeing what some of you put into this forum, I would like to share.
    (you folks are very cool)
    Hopefully, it may help some.

    Pots have two percentage numbers.
    Tolerance = accuracy with which they are built.
    Taper = kohms @ #5 divided by kohms @ #10 = % of taper.
    (This is the number that most sellers do not list)

    For these samples, these are the pots I used:
    All pots are CTS audio taper.

    550k +/-10% tolerance.................................500k +/-20% tolerance
    (brass shaft/brass sleeve)............................(aluminum shaft and sleeve)

    (Taper = 20% taper)..........................................(Taper = 10% taper)

    10___558___________________________________533
    09___532___________________________________481
    08___400___________________________________297
    07___272___________________________________129
    06___146____________________________________71
    05___101____________________________________50
    04____76____________________________________35
    03____52____________________________________24
    02____26____________________________________10
    01_____1_____________________________________0
    00_____0_____________________________________0

    RS S.P. values:
    (28% taper)

    10......542
    09......516
    08......394
    07......272
    06......178
    05......149
    04......110
    03........79
    02........31
    01.........2
    00.........0

    ****I also included a Linear (50%) taper pot test with all wiring styles.
    Each sample has a studio monitor screen shot of what the wave actually looks like.

    For best examination your volume should be set at 6 or 7 on a scale of ten.
    (all tests were done using a '76 L.P. Custom with Pat.# pickups)

    50's Dependent:

    10% volume taper...50's Dependent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/50s-dep-audio-volume-pot-10/s-zjalo[/SC]

    20% volume taper...50's Dependent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/50s-dep-audio-volume-pot-20/s-r2JMJ[/SC]

    R.S. Superpot...28% taper...50's Dependent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/50s-dep-super-pot-volume-30/s-NjWhw[/SC]

    Linear volume pot...50% taper... 50's Dependent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/50s-dep-linear-volume-pot-50/s-FfKW3[/SC]

    Papa
     
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  2. Papa

    Papa Senior Member

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    Next is

    Modern Dependent:

    10% volume taper...Modern Dependent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/modern-dep-audio-volume-pot-10/s-BiNzf[/SC]

    20% volume taper...Modern Dependent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/modern-dep-audio-volume-pot-20/s-p1mdU[/SC]

    R.S super pot...28% taper...Modern Dependent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/modern-dep-super-pot-volume-30/s-uVUkl[/SC]

    Linear volume pot...50% TAPER...Modern Dependent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/modern-dep-linear-volume-pot/s-ZNxMp[/SC]

    I tried to keep it as accurate as possible. I don't own a strumming machine so that was on me.
    Only the pot/pots being used are in the line.
    Signal = guitar to direct box to mixer (mixer tones zeroed)..mixer to studio card..24 bit in a 32 bit environment...48,000Hz.
    Mixed down to 16 bit 48,000Hz. Sadly, turned to MP3.

    To compensate for my own prejudice I set the mixer volume so that a normal strum on my part would create a signal between -.5db and -1.5db.
    I did not use headphones or monitors. My only judgement of strumming volume was the acoustic sounds of metal strings on a solid body electric guitar.


    Papa
     
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  3. Bigneil

    Bigneil Senior Member

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    cool, it's nice to see and hear whats really going on under the surface of these pots.
     
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  4. Papa

    Papa Senior Member

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    Thanks for the thought, Bigneil.
    Hope you, your wife and her sister are still making music.
    If you get a chance, put some up. I'm sure some of the members here would enjoy it!

    AnyWho,
    Thought I would put up some opinionated observations.

    I did these and several other samples over the course of the last winter. As a result, I have had a fair amount of time to review them.

    My "Dependent Wiring" volume pot assessments:

    10% taper - least expensive pots. A few like them for volumes. Most, not.
    They are the pots that fall off below 8 or 7. Those that like to adjust their volumes from 10 to 7 to go from driven to clean
    sometimes like the short throw. Below 7 or 8 they are akin to an off switch, IMO.

    20% taper - brass shafts and/or brass sleeves. These are a bit more expensive. They are by far the most popular.
    Commonly used by some of our own venders. Most consider them worth the extra money.
    They will provide good drive at 10 when used with the correct setup.
    Around 7 they start to provide a warm balanced sound.
    At 5 they start to go to clean mode.

    R.S. Superpots. Approx. 27% to 28% taper. Like the 20% taper they are expensive. They are also very high quality and
    very close to the TVTs. (True Vintage Taper - 30%). They provide a longer sweep. Good for those that like more finite control.

    Linear Pots. 50% taper - Stock volumes on many Gibsons and most Epiphones.
    They provide the greatest range. They also require the largest turning of the knob. Just what the name implies...a 45% linear line.
    ( Not a progressive curve and not for everybody.)

    What I do not understand is why someone would pay $500 - $5,000 for a guitar, replace the pickups for a couple hundred, and then
    worry about paying $10 - $15 each for quality pots.

    Feel free to post your own experiences and opinions.

    More to come,

    Papa
     
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  5. Papa

    Papa Senior Member

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    Well, some of you might get a kick out of this last segment of taper count ups.
    It includes 50's independent samples followed by modern independent samples.
    As before, I am using the same pots, ranging from the 10% taper up to the 50% linear.

    What some may find strange is the very small differences regardless of the taper!
    If you study the screen shots carefully you will see that there are small differences. ( There were no mix ups)
    At first, I also wondered if a mistake was being made. There were no mistakes.
    All the electronics were triple checked and the samples were recorded multiple times with the same results.

    It seems that when a guitar is wired "Independent volumes" the volume range gets broken up into soft (0 - 1), medium (2 -7) and loud (8 - 10).
    Within each range there are moderate increases. The potentiometer's taper, however, seems to have much less to do with the outcome.
    Why?... I have no idea.

    50's Independent:

    10% volume taper...50's Independent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/50s-inde-audio-volume-pot-10/s-pkieP[/SC]

    20% volume taper...50's Independent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/50s-inde-audio-volume-pot-20/s-vbUqe[/SC]

    R.S. Superpot...28% taper...50's Independent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/50s-inde-super-pot-volume-30/s-alqQa[/SC]

    Linear volume pot...50% taper... 50's Independent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/50s-inde-linear-volume-pot-50/s-yae91[/SC]

    Modern Independent:

    10% volume taper...Modern Independent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/modern-inde-audio-volume-pot-1/s-uZnOX[/SC]

    20% volume taper...Modern Independent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/modern-inde-audio-volume-pot/s-5c66o[/SC]

    R.S. Superpot...28% taper...Modern Independent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/modern-inde-audio-super-pot/s-FUQgH[/SC]

    Linear volume pot...50% taper... Modern Independent:

    [​IMG]

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/modern-inde-linear-volume-pot/s-r8nzx[/SC]

    Papa
     
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  6. Papa

    Papa Senior Member

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    Although intended to demonstrate volume pots, the final samples and observations are included for consideration
    when choosing pots for tone controls.

    Only one set of samples was recorded. All wiring was 50's dependent.
    There are no accompanying screen shots as they would demonstrate nothing.
    (All volumes were consistent)

    Tone pot count downs:

    10% Taper Audio Pot:

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/50s-dep-audio-tone-pot-10/s-rcrth[/SC]

    20% Taper Audio Pot:

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/50s-dep-audio-tone-pot-20/s-nVvfv[/SC]

    50% Linear Tone Pot:

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/whitmore-willy/50s-dep-linear-tone-pot-50/s-4OtXu[/SC]

    Basic Observations:

    I find the 10% - 20% tapers the most useful.
    The 10% taper does seem to have a slightly larger range. It begins to darken around #7 whereas
    the 20% taper begins to darken around #6.
    I am not sure the one extra number is worth giving up the quality in the pot build.

    Keep in mind that I am listening to full waves on 500watts worth of studio monitors. All I am able to put up here is Mp3's and
    most will only hear these compressed samples over a set of computer speakers.

    Lastly, the linear pots, when used in this situation, are extremely limiting.
    They only darken the tone in the #2-0 range.

    Best of luck to all,

    Papa
     
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  7. truckermde

    truckermde Senior Member

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    Thanks for this in-depth report! I've been fiddling with this stuff for years, without fully understanding everything about the various pots, and now I'm much better equipped to add the fine control that's been missing from some of my harnesses. All the graphs to go with the audio tracks are really helpful.

    Thanks!
     
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  8. RaSTuS26

    RaSTuS26 Senior Member

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    Great job Willy, thanks for all effort this must've taken, it's very informative.
     
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  9. Bigneil

    Bigneil Senior Member

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    Bump.

    I forgot about this useful thread.
     
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  10. Papa

    Papa Senior Member

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    Thanks Guys,

    It is simply a matter of utility and how you want your controls to work and sound on your guitar. IMHO

    Papa
     
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  11. Stinky Kitty

    Stinky Kitty Senior Member

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    Necro bump.

    Maybe this helpful stuff could be a Sticky?
     
  12. Papa

    Papa Senior Member

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    Stinky Kitty,

    Thank you for the compliment.

    I have reset the links so that (hopefully) you can once again press the play button and the samples will work on this forum.
    This allows you to play the sample while looking at the screen image above it.

    Hope it is of help to any trying to understand potentiometer tapers.

    Papa
     
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  13. Stinky Kitty

    Stinky Kitty Senior Member

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    Thanks Papa, this is really helpful to grasp easily what so many words seem to fail to communicate!
     
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  14. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    Thanks Papa for the informative post and most of all for the nice graphics illustrating the various tapers. I could tell by looking that the RS superpots have a taper that I have been missing for years and years. I always HATED the fact that most volume pots only seemed to work between 8 and 10 and below 8 you might as well have unplugged the guitar from the amp.

    The TVT pots that I am using now came from a reputable dealer in Germany, they sound great but are VERY STIFF to turn, again, the volume control should be something you enjoy using, not something that you have to fight with every time you go to use it.

    I also started using 300k linear taper pots on tone controls because the "sweet spots" in the sweep are more spread out and easier to dial in on the fly. Maybe I will try using the leftover 500k TVT pot for the tone control and see what it sounds like as opposed to the 300k linear. Can't hurt to try it.

    I ordered some of the RS superpots just now, we will see if these turn out to be as good in the guitar as they look on paper. Or LED/LCD screen. :cool:
     
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  15. Papa

    Papa Senior Member

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    Let us know how it turns out and how you like the R.S. super pots. Frankly, they should be similar to the TVTs.
    (barring smoothness of feel and high end spec) The SPs come in around a 28% taper. The TVTs are typically around 30%.
    The RS are also made to 550k spec with a 10% tolerance. The TVTs must often be "matched" if you want those specs .
    As to the actual "feel"....let us know what you think.

    Never tried that. Now, you have my curiosity up.

    Papa
     
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  16. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    The RS Superpots arrived, readings for 5 pots are very consistent with a low of 538Ω and a high of 541Ω. Although they require less torque to turn than the TVT pots, the shafts are still fairly stiff to rotate but seem to loosen up with a spray of deoxit, which I just now ran out of. Grrr..
     
  17. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    As hoped, a shot of deoxit (which JUST arrived via usps YAY!!) squirted in the RS pots removed about 80% of the torque required to turn the shafts, something I have had an issue with the CTS TVT pots not doing. You can spray them all you want, and they don't change. Too hard to turn. I think I will like these RS pots now!
     
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  18. nicoch

    nicoch Senior Member

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    Hi I would add that a pot is ,like a normal resistor, at the same time a caps ie have parasite capacitive problem ,some are more brigth for that,there is an interesting test on web .must refind...
     
  19. notjoeaverage

    notjoeaverage Senior Member

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    +1 for a sticky

    nice work Papa
     
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  20. Andree

    Andree Junior Member

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    If you would have 4 audio taper pots:

    Two with 515K and two with 522K.

    Which pots would you use for the volume? Higher or lower? :hmm:

    Thanks,
    Andy
     

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