What’s The Difference between BOURNS AND CTS POTS?
this is one of the most asked questions that we cant really answer, as it is too subjective. it’s like asking you “which soda do you prefer, 7up, or Sprite?” both are lemon lime, and both have fans who love one, and hate the other!
BOURNS PDB241-GTR SERIES
CTS Control Pots
Life Cycle Rating and value accuracy: Lets talk about the most important part about potentiometer quality that manufactures look for when buying pots. Both bourns and CTS feature excellent ratings both in life cycle and in accuracy of their stated value. But on a more serious side tangent. Lets talk tolerances. You will find that there is a lot of sub brands who resell their own versions of both Bourns and CTS using cringe marketing terms designed to make you the consumer choose them over the company they bought the pots from. First your guitar wiring is a passive circuit so that means tolerances within the normal variance of +/-20% doesn’t matter to the overall sound quality. It's only when you switch from large amounts like from a 500k to 300k pots will you hear a difference. plus just because it says its -/+20% doesn't mean a lot. After measuring over 200+ pots of both brands we found that 89% measured within 10%
Where these brands actually differ and create their own cult following
Pot Taper: Now if you don’t know what a pots taper is then this chart makes no sense. So lets quickly explain what a pots taper is. First, Taper in your guitar wiring is defined by how the volume or tone control decreases. Simple enough right, now the confusing part. Pots have 2 versions of tapers. Audio and Linear. Linear taper means that the volume value decreases in a consistent amount. So level 10 is 100%, 9 is 90%,5 is 50% and so on. Audio taper is designed to mimic how your ears work. So like a linear taper level 10 is 100%. But this time level 3 on your guitar knob is going to be close to 50% of the pots value.
BOURNs vs CTS Taper: So using this chart as a reference, you can see that the taper is very similar from volume levels 4 and lower but very different from 9-5. CTS has a decrease from each level of around 5% and Bourns has a slower rate of around 2%. At this point I am assuming I lost a lot of people by using percentages to talk about the taper but in simplest terms. Bourns is louder and for longer.
Part 2: Shaft friction
Now this is a make or break for a lot of people. Bourns features a “low friction shaft” which means it is incredibly easy to spin the knob. Some people love this as it is a must have for those who love volume swells. But for those who don’t like it. They really don't like it. You hear them say things like "it feels like a toy" or “it feels cheap” even though there is a lot of engineering to make it feel that way.