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If I remember correctly the gain control on an iLive is a series of fixed value attenuators set at half dB increments which is why you hear the pop or click when you move the gain control, the pad switch is a mechanical one using a relay. The pad is positioned before the gain stage so the level is attenuated before the signal enters so as not to overload the input amplifier, the noise figure of the amplifier remains the same whether the pad is used or not because it is the self noise of the circuit and not a function of the pad. I am sure if I have it wrong some one will correct me.
Ian B.