Unsure about what to do about volume control
May 21, 2020 at 10:02 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1


100+ Head-Fier
Jun 20, 2019
United Kingdom
So I currently have an ADI-2 DAC feeding a Benchmark AHB2 power amplifier. This means that thanks to the ADI-2's hardware reference level adjustment as well as its 32bit DSP volume control, I have no need for a preamp.

However, I have ordered a Holo Audio May dac which will be here in a month or so, and that has no volume control.
I wanted to ask for some recommendations of preamps, or if I should perhaps just stick with roon/HQPlayer based volume control.

My thoughts on the options i've considered:

DSP Volume control:
Roon volume control is 64 bit, so there should be no issues here. Also, its worth noting that with my current setup and the AHB2 on low gain, I usually listen at around -10db on the ADI-2. And given that the May output is 2dBu lower than the ADI-2 at max anyway, I imagine i'd only ever need to add 6-8db of volume adjustment.
Perhaps high quality/64 bit volume control at this small of an adjustment would be better than nearly any preamp anyway?

Passive preamp:
This was my initial thought, to get a goldpoint or a khozmo stepped attenuator. But then there is the potential for impedance matching issues. The may has an output impedance of 400 ohms on balanced, and the AHB2 has an input impedance of 50kOhms.
I have no idea if a 10kOhm stepped attenuator or pot would have a noticeable impact on frequency response.
I did actually order and try the nobsound NS-05p just to see how a cheap passive would fare, but there was noticeable treble rolloff at anything other than 90%+volume (between the ADI-2 and AHB2)

Active Preamp:
This is of course the 'traditional' way of doing it, but considerably costly especially given as I have no interest in choosing a flavoured preamp (though wouldn't be opposed to the option of a tube injection like the freya +), and only need to do a few db of volume control.
In this option I honestly have no idea what I'd go for. Something like a pass labs preamp is more than i'm willing to spend, but something like the Freya + seems to be good, but not really quite up to the same level as the AHB2 or May, and so could in effect be a bottleneck.

Basically, I have no idea what I should do :p
If anyone has any suggestions they would be greatly appreciated
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread