Volume control question

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Waffles
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Volume control question

Post by Waffles » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:37 am

Context: I'm using a 2.1 speaker system connected to the line-out (headphone) jack on my MacBook Pro (early 2011; Intel HD sound card). I understand that keeping Decibel's digital volume at 1 is optimal for sound quality. What I'm wondering is whether the device volume, which is presumably controlled by the internal sound card, is implemented in the digital or analog domain. Since I can control the volume on the speakers directly, is there technically any benefit to leaving the device volume of the computer at 1? I realize this isn't strictly a Decibel question, but I'm hoping some kind soul, either the dev or a knowledgeable user, will help me out. I can't think of any better place to ask :D

Thanks in advance!

Waffles
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Re: Volume control question

Post by Waffles » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:02 am

Well, I think I've managed to answer my own question from digging around on the 'Net (though I found nothing so nice as a simple, direct answer for my specific case). I'm about 99% sure that the built-in audio on a MacBook Pro performs its signal attenuation in the digital domain, and so a maximum system volume setting (0db) is optimal. So now I arrive at a Decibel-specific question: does Decibel employ dithering to avoid loss of resolution from reducing digital volume? If not, is it correct that small digital adjustments will have no significant impact on signal quality (i.e., going down up to 10db)?

Cheers,
Waffles

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sbooth
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Re: Volume control question

Post by sbooth » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:58 am

Right now the digital volume in Decibel is not dithered. At some point in the future (soon, I hope!) I will add dithering but for now it is a simple gain.

As for the second question- I suppose it depends on how good your system is and how good your ears are! I wouldn't think that a small reduction in digital volume would have a significant impact on sound quality, but everyone hears differently.

Waffles
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Re: Volume control question

Post by Waffles » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:41 pm

Thanks for the reply and info. Small adjustments to digital volume produce no audible loss of detail on my system. The main reason I'm using digital volume control at all is to perform fine volume adjustments for nighttime listening--the volume control on my speakers works in increments that are too large sometimes.

citro
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Re: Volume control question

Post by citro » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:13 am

Waffles wrote:Thanks for the reply and info. Small adjustments to digital volume produce no audible loss of detail on my system. The main reason I'm using digital volume control at all is to perform fine volume adjustments for nighttime listening--the volume control on my speakers works in increments that are too large sometimes.
It works the same way in my system, no audible loss from minimum to maximum volume.

alexb
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Re: Volume control question

Post by alexb » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:39 am

Hi everyone,

I have a slightly different issue with Decibel: my device volume is automatically greyed out for any output device and I can't hear anything. The operating system is Mac OS X 10.7.2 on Mac Mini and I am trying to use a DAC. I have checked my Sound settings in System Preferences and they are fine. Same result for the in-built speaker.

I also have Pure Music and it works well.

I would like to switch to Decibel, however I have no idea why there is no volume. Digital volume is active and adjustable, but makes no difference. The data is definitely getting to the DAC as it is displaying on the DAC display - but no sound can be heard.

I'm sure there is a fairly simple fix - any ideas?

Regards,

Alex

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sbooth
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Re: Volume control question

Post by sbooth » Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:49 pm

Hi Alex,

Decibel only enables the device volume for certain audio devices that present a special analog volume control (normally via a USB descriptor) like the Wavelength Proton. I don't know how many devices support this type of volume, but it probably is the minority. However, you should obviously still be able to hear sound with Decibel. As a quick sanity check, does using your Mac's built in audio work properly?

alexb
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Re: Volume control question

Post by alexb » Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:40 am

Hi sbooth,

For context, I am using the Ayre QB-9 DAC however there is no volume with the in-built speakers or any other output device that I try when running Decibel. Sound plays normally on all outputs when I am not using Decibel.

The tracks are definitely playing through Decibel and the DAC is definitely receiving the signal (DAC screen shows 44 or 96 when data is being received).

Is there anything else I could try? I am really keen to purchase this software.

Regards,

Alex

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sbooth
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Re: Volume control question

Post by sbooth » Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:03 pm

I also have a QB-9 and haven't ever had any problems. Do you happen to know if you've flipped the DIP switch on the back for high speed USB?

Would you be able to enable logging and send me the result? That is all I can think to try at this point.

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