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Windows Vista volume control

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I have a question in regards to the basic Windows Vista volume output. Until I decide on which dac to purchase I am currently using the analog output from my soundcard to an integrated amp. It was my understanding that the Vista OS did away with the kmixer (which would degrade sound quality if not set at 100% - correct me if I am wrong) and that sound quality would be the same at any output level. Now if I set it at 50%, 75% or 95% and adjust the volume to the same level with my amp those outputs sound identical. When I set it at 100%, there is quite a large difference in sound with noticeably more detail than the 95% or any lesser output. I'm kind of stumped as to why this is so.


Can anyone help shed some light on this?




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Moon unit,


The K-Mixer may have gone, but in it's place sits another audio engine. It produces a far superior output to the K-Mixer but your audio will still be affected on adjusting the volume control - there is no way around that I'm afraid. Best to adjust volume at the amplifier end and keep as clean (unchanged) a digiital stream out of your computer as you can.


Whist the Vista engine is of a very good quality, most would still prefer to pass it completely. Microsoft added exclusive mode which enables some applications to take direct, exclusive control of your audio card. Software such as Foobar or XXHighEnd enable this and are worth trying though none have the feature set and ease of use of iTunes.


Once setup, I'd encourage you to perform a blindfold comparison between say Foobar and iTunes with Vista's volume control set at 100%, your audio card set to the sample rate of the music your playing and all enhancements switched off ... see if you can really hear a difference.


Long winded answer .. sorry !


HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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Thank you for the reply.


I normally set Vista volume at 100% and forget it, out of curiosity I lowered it to 80% and adjusted the volume up with my amp to see what it sounded like and was surprised at the difference in sound. So, anything less than max volume would affect the sound in a negative way, K-mixer or not. Is this true on Macs as well? Is there any way to adjust volume digitally where it would not degrade the sound, or is software not at that point yet?


I'm actually very pleased with the onboard sound playing through WMP - I really wasn't expecting to be. Most of that is probably down to the speakers and amp that I am using plus all enhancements are switched off and I set the output to 16bit 44.1kHz. Unlike most, there is no static at all in my system, it's an all-in-one Sony desktop that is basically a stand-up laptop with a desktop processor and a small, quiet power supply - going green does have it's benefits!


My next step is to try out a dac but all the different choices out there are making it tough to decide. I have a S/PIDF out and am not sure whether to get a dac which utilizes that or go with a USB unit.


Thanks again






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