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Effective number of bits---or why "you have to keep software at full volume" is nonsense - Page 3

post #31 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

I'm really wondering where this idea and trend - at least that's what I've observed - "the more gain the better" came from. Maybe an alteration of the idea that more power = better?

 

I think you're right on target. If you're going to market the idea that more power = better, you're going to need the gain to achieve it.

 

EDIT: Even with traditional high-end audio, it's common to find preamps with 20dB of gain and amplifiers with input sensitivities of a volt or so.

 

se


Edited by Steve Eddy - 7/8/13 at 1:41pm
post #32 of 46

Oh and yeah, psychological reasons and misinformation like this:

Quote:
 It already gets painfully loud at 3 but the volume control goes all the way to 11. If it's that powerful it has to drive my headphones properly.

 

All the remaining volume control range is there as headroom for the peaks. If there is less the peaks will clip or it means the headphones will be "underpowered".

 

What a bunch of nonsense.

 

------

 

 

Back to digital volume control: a few dB attenuation usually do not hurt. I'm using digital attenuation myself in the form of ReplayGain.


Edited by xnor - 9/8/13 at 7:50am
post #33 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

Back to digital volume control: a few dB attenuation usually do not hurt. I'm using digital attenuation myself in the form of ReplayGain.

 

Do you apply the ReplayGain settings only to the file tags, or do you allow the files to be directly altered?  My practice has been to use Foobar to run and change the files by album-gain.  Is there any loss in quality by using either method?  Any benefit to either, other than the option of altering the files directly not being reversible?

post #34 of 46

Just using the tags. Scanned my music "as albums (by tags)".

 

Obvious benefits of not altering the files is that you can disable/configure RG without re-converting/encoding files, and you don't need to keep extra files (if you're using lossless rips as backup) around.

post #35 of 46
post #36 of 46

What they forgot to mention (at least in the pdf) is that even lots of digital attenuation would be fine if there were no amp with high gain downstream.

 

What I mean is that if your headphones need about 2V to reach your listening level and your DAC outputs exactly that you shouldn't have an amp with high gain. If you do you have to back off even more with the digital preamp, raising the noise floor further for no good reason.

Ideally, if you use digital attenuation only, your amp should have the minimal gain and your DAC should have a high SNR.

 

Also, pots may have severe channel balance problems. No such problem exists with digital.

post #37 of 46

I've noticed that the DACs that I own with USB connections always seem to automatically adjust the operating system volume to 100% when connected.  The documentation on these devices also claims that 100% volume is the ideal or normal setting.  Even DACs with no adjustable gain, such as the HRT Streamers will behave this way.  It seems that the entire industry is pushing everyone toward maximum digital volume settings.  No surprise to me that many of us are under the impression that we are missing something in quality by using anything less.

 

Many times I have asked on this site how I should set the volume levels in my configurations.  Should the operating system be 100%, what about the software player, the pre-amp, the amp?  It's rare to see a consistent answer provided, or any attempt to explain how it all works.  

post #38 of 46
Thread Starter 

I'm bumping this because it seems that people still don't understand that it's okay to use a little software volume control...

 

 

Cheers

post #39 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by skamp View Post

Pretty much. Attenuate a 16 bit song by 64dB, then increase the gain back up by 64dB: the music will sound pretty normal, except for the very loud quantization noise.


^ this guy... his face looks trust worthy!

 

I shall BLINDY follow you!

 

actually I kinda do this my self, I have fooBar set to about -10DB then from there I adjust volume with my amp.

post #40 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post


^ this guy... his face looks trust worthy!

That's the face I make whenever I read Head-Fi posts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post

I shall BLINDY follow you!

You make it sound like I'm telling you to do something dangerous…
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post

actually I kinda do this my self, I have fooBar set to about -10DB then from there I adjust volume with my amp.

What for? You're increasing the noise floor for no benefit.
post #41 of 46

Maybe the amp is really powerful, and setting the software source lower allows more usable volume control?

post #42 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonitus mirus View Post

Maybe the amp is really powerful, and setting the software source lower allows more usable volume control?


Even if the source is only 16 bit, what's the difference between noise at -96 dB and -86 dB? You can't hear that anyway. It's much nicer having some room to adjust the volume up/down without having to worry a slight jerk will blow your ears in than having software volume maxed for the sake of it.

Cheers
post #43 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonitus mirus View Post

Maybe the amp is really powerful

Then that amp is inadequate for his headphones, and / or his listening habits.
post #44 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skamp View Post

Then that amp is inadequate for his headphones, and / or his listening habits.


This is another possibility; although, I can sympathize with only having one amp but several different type of headphones. There's no reason one can't fully enjoy the more sensitive cans using a slightly hot amp using a little bit of software volume.

That said, sensitive IEMs out of lyr is not really recommended..
Cheers
post #45 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by skamp View Post


What for? You're increasing the noise floor for no benefit.

 

This is what I was replying to, and both ab and myself essential stated the same thing.

 

The benefit is being able to use a single amp that can drive several different headphones from multiple sources with no degradation in sound quality.  Right?  Noise floor is irrelevant except for absurd scenarios.  I'm curious as to why someone would need to permanently lower the source to -10 dB, but without understanding the situation better, I can't say any more on the subject or whether this is generally the right thing to do.

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