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11 October 2008


I’m certain I’ve told this story before, but for the sake of this tid-bit I’ll recount the main points. Years ago when I ditched my analogue console to an unsuspecting audio school, I needed a new method of attenuating the master output from my DAW. The only option I could come up with at the time was a DIY passive potentiometer in a small electronics kit box. It worked well, and left a minimal footprint on both my monitoring path and work desk. It wasn’t until a few years later that manufacturers realised the score and began releasing dedicated and affordable master controllers.

A passive attenuator (not requiring power) isn’t a complicated piece of electronics, you could knock one up yourself for next to nothing. But with the price of the SM Pro Audio Nano Patch, why would you bother? The unit is well constructed, using inflexible 2mm steel and offers the obligatory ‘large black knob’ for volume adjustment. Beside that is a mute button. You can’t get much simpler than that. Connection to the Nano Patch is balanced XLR/TRS combo inputs and TRS jack outputs.

The issue with any unit like this is the quality of the potentiometer. You can spend over a thousand bucks on a single pot if you’re so inclined, or you can spend as little as five. Like all things, you get what you pay for, but it seems SM Pro Audio has found quite an agreeable potentiometer component for the Nano Patch. The pot doesn’t ‘steer’ to one side at low volumes and it has a nice smooth action. The mute button doesn’t pop or crackle either. The other aspect worth considering here is that the unit is a nicely presented box. If, at some point you’d like to upgrade the potentiometer to something a little flashier from a manufacturer like Alps, for example, and you’re not scared of brandishing a hot soldering iron, the Nano Patch would make an ideal starting point to house your more expensive pot (pending the end of your warranty period). The Nano Patch is a winner in anybody’s language. Brad Watts

Price: $59

Sound & Music: (03) 9555 8081 or info@sound-music.com


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