Audio pads are used to attenuate an audio signal for the purpose of matching required levels between different pieces of equipment. Pads can be built unbalanced or balanced depending on the signal requirements. We will start with the basic unbalanced audio pad. For these pads to work correctly the input impedance and output impedance must be correct as stated for the pad being used otherwise the loss will not be correct. To get odd values of loss you can put these pads in series as indicated in the schematic below.

Here is the electrical schematic of an unbalanced audio pad.


Here is the electrical schematic of the combination of two pads to get an odd number of dB loss.


Here are the resistor values for some common Pads at different impedances. The values used in this table are 1% resistor values so if you are using other tolerances you should choose values as close to the stated value as possible. The un equal impedance Pad can be used in either direction and combined with other Pads as long as the impedance matches at the connection point.
LOSS                          600 Ohm                                                   10K Ohm                                                   10K to 600 Ohm

dB                    R1 & R2                      R3                         R1 & R2                    R3                              R1                 R2                 R3
1                         34.8 Ohm                   5.21K                    576 Ohm                  86.6K                        66.5K           16.2K           86.6K
2                        68.1 Ohm                    2.61K                    1.15K                         43.2K                        33.2K           7.87K           10.5K
4                        133 Ohm                     1.24K                    2.26K                        21K                            18.2K           3.74K            5.11K
8                        255 Ohm                    562 Ohm              4.32K                        9.56K                        11.5K            1.91K             2.32K
10                      309 Ohm                    422 Ohm              5.23K                        6.98K                        10.5K           976 Ohm      1.69K
20                     487 Ohm                     121 Ohm               8.25K                        2.05K                        9.76K           118 Ohm      499 Ohm
30                     562 Ohm                     38.3 Ohm             9.31K                        634 Ohm                  9.76K           442 Ohm      154 Ohm

To design a balanced Pad because the circuit is double sided so the loss will be doubled for any set of resistors in the table and with no ground the R3 value is divided in half and only one resistor, that is half the table value connects the two sides together. So the resistor connects the two sides directly together instead of going to ground and the value to use is half the resistance value stated in the unbalanced table. Also you must choose a dB table value half that of the Pad loss you want since the loss will occur on both sides of the balance circuit. So the for 2 dB loss you would choose the values in the 1 dB loss table and divide the R3 value in half.


Here are the formulas for generating the values for any Pad you want to make.

Equal impedance input and output formula.


Unequal impedance formula.


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