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How to reduce volume on a MacBook ? Software stack for use with Modi 2

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by misterfresh, Feb 3, 2016.
  1. misterfresh
    I bought the modi 2 uber to use with a macbook.
    To use the modi you have to set it as the default output in Mac General Settings. But then it seems volume controls are greyed out, you can either mute it or set it at full volume. The problem is that I'm using pre-amplified Eris E8 speakers, by default the sound coming from them and the modi is VERY VERY LOUD. 
    So I installed an app called Volume Mixer. I need to set in General Settings this Volume Mixer app as default output. Then in Volume Mixer I set the output as Schiit Modi 2. This lets me set the volume of Chrome tabs or when I play music from youtube.
    I also installed Vox app and set its default output to Volume Mixer. In theory I could also set the default output to Schiit Modi but then again, volume is ear shattering and no way to reduce it from the app.
    My question is, is there quality loss coming from reducing the volume through the Volume Mixer App? Is there a better way to set volume on a Macbook that outputs to the Modi?
    Also sometimes the volume mixer app switches back randomly to the macbook speakers. When it does so, it resets volume settings to MAX. When I switched back to Modi as output I almost had a heart attack. So now I have to be extra cautious whenever I press the play button.
  2. 5genez
    When working the volume in digital software quite often it will effect the integrity of bits if set too low.  Another option I discovered recently, and is used in studios, would be using a small physical attenuator running right into the RCA inputs of your speakers.  I am assuming you use RCA cables?
    Here is what I found.  They also offer a model in a 6db attenuation. http://www.amazon.com/Harrison-Labs-Line-Level-Attenuator/dp/B0006N41B0/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1454556763&sr=1-1&keywords=harrison+labs+12db+attenuator
    Using the Harrison Labs attenuator will allow you to use your computer's volume control and not have to cut it too low, so it will not harn the integrity of the bits. .
  3. ProtegeManiac Contributor

    When people use powered speakers, and especially with an external DAC, they use a preamp somewhere. In most cases it's built into the headphone amplifier they use, in some cases they get a one-box DAC-HPamp-Preamp like many AudioGD products.
    In your case you have many options from Schiit. If you plan on using a headphone at some point in the future, you can try the Vali2 or Magni2 Uber, both are headphone amplifiers with preamp outputs, with the Vali2 using a hybrid tube-SS topology. Otherwise, just get the Schiit Sys, which is a 2-input passive preamp. All of these are in the same size chassis as the Modi so you can neatly stack them on the desk.
  4. misterfresh
    Both of you seem to advocate for a hardware solution.
    Actually the sound is OK with the Volume Mixer App, the real problem with this app is that it randomly switches the output from Schiit back to the laptop speakers, and when it does so it automatically resets the volume to max. 
    I'm curious how the attenuators will work out so I'm going with that. I just ordered these : http://www.audiophonics.fr/fr/adaptateurs-rca/regulateurs-ila1020-niveau-passif-la-paire-p-7774.html  I like that you have 3 settings.
    Thanks for the idea, I would not have thought of this solution by myself. As for the preamp I'll consider it if the attenuators are not satisfying, right now I'm aiming for acceptable sound in a convenient format and low price. After all the Modi 2 sound quality is only slightly worse than what I head previously in my desktop computer with the Asus STX.
  5. 5genez
    Just need to make sure that the passive attenuators are connected directly into the component receiving the signal. not from the one sending it.
    Had to use Google Translate to see your choice.  :)
  6. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    These aren't far off from the price of the Sys, and considering you'll need two inputs to the volume controller, on top of a volume knob adjustment, the Schiit is just a lot easier to use.

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