- Nov 14, 2015
- Reaction score
- Winnipeg, MB, Canada
For clarification:100% identical? I am asking, as preamp to preamp is generally not recommended. I felt like I was getting some distortion from my streamer to my preamp. I had been setting the streamer to control the volume. I decreased it some and the issue was resolved but when setting the streamer to control the volume it converts DSD to PCM. I remembered this post in the back of my mind and decided to go the preamp route as to not have DSD converted. This post was very helpful!
1) DAVE doesn’t have a “pre-amp”. It is a high-voltage DAC that has a high-end digital volume control. It can go up to 6-7V so to make it simple for users, when the digital volume control is set to -3dB, the DAC puts out 3V so an addition “mode” is created called “DAC mode” so that people who have turntables can pair DAVE with an analog preamplifier without thinking too hard about it and just setting DAVE to the “DAC mode”. This is why if you put Chord DAVE in ”pre-amp” mode and set it to -3dB = 3V, and connect it to an analog pre-amp, you’re not putting the Chord DAC through two preamps with further degradation. Your analog pre-amp has to receive a signal from the DAC, assuming it doesn’t clip at 3V, then it usually expects 3V from the DAC and that’s the signal Chord is providing the pre-amp.
2) You should not set volume at the streamer for Chord DACs with digital volume controls. Chord DACs usually adjust volumes after upsampling at 705.6kHz/768kHz with >24 bit accuracy whereas if you’re adjusting the volume at the streamer, you’re usually adjusting at the native 44.1kHz with <24 bit accuracy (though not always). The digital volume control is always going to be more accurate through the Chord hardware than through the streamer/PC.
3) If you’re using your streamer to control the volume (and I doubt most streamers actually increase the volume beyond the original signal) and you noticed that your preamp was having some distortions and when you set the streamer volume lower and you hear less distortion, usually, what this means is that your analog preamp is clipping at 3V. This is the other reason for not setting Chord DAVE to DAC mode because I have seen some surprisingly high-end pre-amp clip at 3V (and rarely even at 2V). If you need to have an analog preamp in the chain, your best bet then is to set the streamer to stream bit-perfect to M-scaler/DAVE and then set DAVE to -7dB for 2V (or if you’re using M-Scaler set DAVE to -4dB) and then use the analog volume control of your pre-amp, you should no longer hear the distortion As your pre-amp is no longer clipped. This is likely the optimal setup for your system.
Of course some of this is speculation as I didn’t get a detailed description of your setup and issues. But based on what has been said, this would be my best guess as to your distortion issue.