People don't just buy what they need. They buy what they want. Which needn't be the same.

Case in point? Active preamplifiers. Most modern digital sources will drive most modern amplifiers to full output so no extra gain is required, just signal cut/attenuation and source selection. For those who don't want extra voltage gain only to burn it up again in a resistive volume control, there are passive preamps. Within that group, there are simple potentiometers with inputs and outputs, light-dependent resistors aka LDR, tapped transformers and autoformers. John Chapman's Tap under the Bent Audio brand was a TVC aka transformer volume control until those Stevens & Billington parts became unavailable for OEM. It then adopted autoformers by David Slagle. Eventually those also showed up as an option on the Vinnie Rossi Lio. I've used both.

Today there's the Bespoke Audio Company whose principals used to work at Stevens & Billington. Now they wind their own single-ended and balanced attenuation transformers for bespoke AVC. AM Hi-End have a single-ended and fully balanced TVC. Max Townshend has two RCA-based passives. Now there's Pál Nagy to resurrect the Bent Audio platform with Slagleformers, ±7.5dB balance control and pre-paired Apple remote.

His icOn4 can be ordered with 3:2 or 4:1 RCA i/o and offers 40 x 1.5dB steps actuated by ultra-fast Vishay Fet switches. There's also a display for volume, balance and input, MCU-driven firmware to add instant mute, AV bypass, night/sleep modes and more. Crackingly, the relevant websites are passivepreamp.com or tvcpreamp.co.uk. So if you're a passifist, now you have one more harbor to drop anchor in and expand your search for your perfect passive preamp.

You may not need it. But you might just want it. In which case this is one of the more affordable autoformer volume controls. And its execution is squeaky clean. No more rat's nest of wiring from yesteryear. 2020's motto is minimal wiring for lowest noise. And there's more. "I’ll still introduce the new Pro version with improved specs of 67x1dB steps and much broader attenuation range from +3dB to -72dB, very flexible connectivity, output selector optionally with balanced i/o (electronically or with double AVC pair), multi-channel up to 8 channels for high-end active systems and staying with affordable pricing."