Reducing volume in the digital domain: any downside?
Oct 19, 2008 at 1:48 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

sunseeker888

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Since I use 32 ohm cans a lot, I keep my macbook volume at 50% so I can keep the volume pot of my amplifier above the 30% mark. This ensures better channel balance since I'm using the pot in its more linear region.

But: Any downside in keeping digital volume attenuated? Do the bits get reduced in any way? Thanks!
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 2:08 AM Post #2 of 6

hew

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You lose resolution that way so better to max digital vol and use amp's volume pot.
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 7:46 PM Post #4 of 6

Rempert

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It is a compromise. Weakening the source signal too much could raise the noise floor. But if you can only use the very lowest range of your amp's volume pot, that's not going to be very practical. I think you are fine doing it the way you have been.
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 7:51 PM Post #5 of 6

audioengr

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The LSB's (least significant bits) of the data get truncated when adjusting the volume digitally. This loses fine detail.

One way to get around this is to set the volume at a listening level with a quiet track with a analog volume control with the digital volume at max. Then, when a louder track comes on, you can just ratchet it down a little with the digital volume, impacting the detail very little.

Another way to get around this is to use a USB interface that uses the Centrance firmware. This automatically pads 16/44.1 files to 24/44.1, allowing for 8-bits or 256 voltage levels of volume control before ANY of the data is impacted. Converters/DAC's from Empirical Audio, the new BelCanto, Benchmark and PSAudio USB interfaces allow for this.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 4:23 PM Post #6 of 6

krmathis

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They are both compromises.
Its just a matter of which compromise which are least audible to you.

I for one would keep transport volume at 100% to keep ti bit-perfect as long as possible, and use the volume control on the amplifier. Your mileage may vary though...
 

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