Volume Controls

Printable View

  • 05-15-2011, 01:43 PM
    anamorphic96
    Volume Controls
    Hello everyone.

    On my current computer based music system I have a total of 4 volume controls.(iTunes,Mac,uDac2,amp) Everything is maxed except the amp. From my understanding this is needed to maintain bit perfect output via digital/usb.

    However I have never gotten a clear answer when using a newer iMac. I have heard the iTunes, and Mac volume controls introduce distortion but the problem has been dealt with and can be used without affecting sound quality and I have also heard to not use it. Same goes for Mac volume control.

    But I really like the keyboard/remote based volume control in the Mac.

    Anyone have some more input on which volume controls are best to use.

    Thanks.
  • 05-15-2011, 03:09 PM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anamorphic96
    Hello everyone.

    On my current computer based music system I have a total of 4 volume controls.(iTunes,Mac,uDac2,amp) Everything is maxed except the amp. From my understanding this is needed to maintain bit perfect output via digital/usb.

    However I have never gotten a clear answer when using a newer iMac. I have heard the iTunes, and Mac volume controls introduce distortion but the problem has been dealt with and can be used without affecting sound quality and I have also heard to not use it. Same goes for Mac volume control.

    But I really like the keyboard/remote based volume control in the Mac.

    Anyone have some more input on which volume controls are best to use.

    Thanks.

    I guess the standard answer is to stick with the amp VC and leave the others at max if possible. But if you like the Mac VC, try it and see how it goes.
  • 05-15-2011, 05:10 PM
    anamorphic96
    I probably should have been more clear and asked how the Mac and iTunes control the volume and their effects on the sound.
  • 05-16-2011, 10:32 AM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anamorphic96
    I probably should have been more clear and asked how the Mac and iTunes control the volume and their effects on the sound.

    Well exactly, eh? I could be wrong but the following is what I understand.

    The Mac and iTunes VCs are digital. As I understand it, (could be wrong), digital VCs work by reducing the bit depth, i.e. from 16 bits to something lower. The ostensible problem with this is a possible reduction in dynamic range, but this might only matter on music with a very wide dynamic range.

    The amp probably has analog control, (though maybe not if it's an AV receiver). These work by reducing the input voltage as passed by the preamp to the power amp. In principal this won't affect dynamic range, but then that might depend on the quality of the particular analog VC.

    So the bottom line is try both and see which you prefer.
  • 05-16-2011, 12:07 PM
    anamorphic96
    Thanks for the more detailed reply. I think i do hear a slight difference between the two when I do some subjective tests. But nothing I would say for certain. As you mentioned it seems to depend on the music and it's dynamic range.

    It's easy enough to set them correctly for critical listening so its not a huge deal. More just curiosity. A remote would be nice in the future or mini desktop pre-amp. We will see where my upgrade odyssey leads.

    Right now I have two configurations I can run.

    Mac (USB out) >>> NuForce - uDac2 >>> Audiosource Amp 100 >>> Energy C1
    Mac (digital out) >>> Onkyo TX-SR506 >>> Energy C1