Headroom Micro Dac gain
Jun 27, 2007 at 1:53 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7


500+ Head-Fier
Apr 20, 2007
I find the gain on the Micro Dac to be a little too highto be amped through a Hornet. When amped through the Micro Amp it is fine (and this would make sense sincethey were made to work together). Is there any way to lower the gain in the Micro Dac (or the Hornet) without sending either in for modification? Is there a dip switch or jumper pins that set gain or is the only option an in-line attentuator to lower the gain?
Jun 27, 2007 at 7:34 PM Post #2 of 7
This is the setup I am using right now and if I set Hornet at low gain, there is no problem with me even with my E500s. However, I admit, there is not much playing with the volume, but my Hornet does not have an imbalance of some sort in low levels, so I am fine. Which headphones are you using? With big cans, this is not a problem at all. With IEMs, it may be a problem for some very sensitive ears.

There is no jumper you can play with in both the Micro DAC and Hornet, if I am not terribly mistaken.
Jun 27, 2007 at 8:15 PM Post #3 of 7
1. Technical terminology - you have problems with the output signal strength, not gain. Gain is ratio between input and output, but Micro DAC does not have an analog input, it is the source.

2. Depending on where you plug your DAC in, you have some options. On the computer you can lower the volume. Contrary to what some would say, the degradation in the quality is nowhere near significant (it will be on higher end source/headphones, but in that case you would not have the volume issue either =]). If you do not have such control over volume (digital output of a CD player or portable player), I believe you can set an attenuator between the DAC and the amplifier, although depending on how well things work out impedance-match wise, there might be quality degradation of the analog signal.
Jun 28, 2007 at 4:00 AM Post #5 of 7
I use both the e500 and HD650 (have not tried my K701s with it yet), but with low gain on the Hornet and optical out from an iriver h120 I can barely turn the volume up before it is too loud to my taste (I do not like it loud). With the HD650s, it is not really an issue, but there is still not a lot of play with the volume. With the e500, I seem to be detecting a slight channel imbalance (ever so slightly louder on the right) only up to the point where the music is a bit louder than I would like - after that I could detect no channel imbalance. If I use the line out from the h120 there is no issue at all and in fact can turn the volume up quite a bit with the e500 and need to be on med or high for the HD650s. I prefer the sound with the optical out, but find the channel imbalance and almost no variation in volume (other than loud and louder) with the e500 to be slightly annoying. Anyway, it would seem that an attenuator may be my only option with my IEMs.
Jun 28, 2007 at 4:02 PM Post #7 of 7
Yeah the MicroDAC output is really loud, which i like.
I'm using tha same setup H120/MicroDAC/Hornet and find everything normal. Of course i have just a few volume knob play with my Shure E2c, but with the Grado and AKG it's awesome. I can drive the K701 perfectly even with gain on low. Actually it has to be on low, otherwise it will be to loud.
I'm so pleased with this combo right now ...

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