Gain and Rothwell attenuators

I have a Rega planet 2000, Cary slp-50a, and linn LK-85 amp. When I first got the cary I couldn't turn the volume up past the 8 o'clock position! That was about as loud as I could stand. I put in some Rothwell attenuators (-10db) and now I'm at about 10 o'clock with the same result. Problem is is that the Rothwell attenuators dramatically alter the sound. Right now they are between the cd player and pre-amp. I tried them between the pre and power amp and the music sounded strangled. When I take them off completely things open up but seem uneven and I start getting different L/R signal strength through the speakers at lower volumes, with some cds becoming unplayable because of this. I haven't seen much written about attenuation or any other way to solve this problem. Are there other, more neutral ways to achieve this or has anyone come across another posting on this issue? Thanks and happy holidays.
How long have you had the Rothwell's in the system in playing time? They take some time to break in.
I've had the Rothwell's in for about 2 months and I listen to alot of music so I'm guessing they are burned in. They aren't horrible in their present position between cdp and pre and even do some good, sonically that is, but I do find they slightly "shroud the music in a light mist". Between the pre and pwr amps is another story. yuk. Still waiting to hear from Cary.

I retract my earlier assumption that the attenuator won't do much when placed between the CDP and pre. I was under the impression that there might be some AGC circuit preceding the PRE input stage (I suppose it is not necessary with 2V output of a CDP). So, I took out my attenuators (12db or .25Vin) and placed them after the CDP. Yes, there is a big drop in volume. And it does sound better than putting them after the pre. But, what happened to the Bass!! And all the low level details!! Looks like with a 0.5V CDP output now, a lot of low amplitude info is getting buried.

In any case, I prefer not to use the attenuators. I'm stuck between 7 & 8 o'clock just like you. I'm just glad I have dual volume control.
Yeah, it's kinda six of one, 1/2 dozen of the other. Some aspects sound better with the attenuators and without the sound is a little strained but bass is better. What to do. Still no word from Cary.
You've got impedance mismatch problems, when you are placing that resistive attennuator in the line. This is typical with passive preamps, and it is always a struggle to get them to be anywhere near acceptable. The way out of this, if you want to stay with a passive pre, is to use a transformer-based passive, that provides better impedance matching characteristics, because of the nature of it's design. Since a transformer has separate windings on input and output, the impedance can be better matched. All of these things that you are complaining about are typical of resistive-based passive preamps. Check out the Bent Audio website for further information on this subject. They sound cleaner, and work better. Much more beneficial all around. They can be gotten even as a kit, if you are working within a budget.