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whats the difference between a good & a not so good audio potentiometer? Answered

looking to buy some potentiometers for a guitar project, i see the £1.50 500k audio pots that are usual style and some that are 4x the price and have a square enclosed case, still 500k audio. whats the difference and is it worth it?


Cheaper audio pots have a tedincy to crackle as your turning it. Sometimes they dont even work at all. -Buster

A very important factor is the quality of the slider - the bit of metal which sweeps across the resistive track. On a cheaper pot this will wear after out easily and result in pops and crackles when you move it, and noise even when it's left in one place.


9 years ago

One answer is the "enclosed case" -- a sealed pot is always more expensive. They might be necessary for dusty environments, but aren't the norm in most audio applications.

Also the quality of the, "audio" taper (log) varies somewhat--there's no universal standard. So one manufacturer might have a smoother, more consistent taper.

Still, you'll normally find CTS ($3-$4) or Alpha ($2-$3) POTs in the majority of audio equipment (guitar audio, anyway.)

audio is touchy - on one hand, you've got the fact that almost any wire/pot will 'work' but some would argue quality is gained or sacrificed with different parts: The more expensive one 'should' be manufactured to tigher tolerances, be more rugged, and have higher quality materials used for longer life and better signal. Smoother operation is another design 'constraint' - I know of a few pots that are dying on one of my amps and it scratches and pops when I adjust the low-pass - a cheap or worn out pot.