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Help with new Mac Mini sound/volume level issue

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Recently, my 2009 Mac Mini's hard drive died and I decided to buy a new Mini. I purchased the i5 model and upgraded the RAM to 16GB. I am still using the factory hard drive. My music is on a firewire connected external hd. I am running Audirvana 1.5.10. I have set the Mini up with all of the same settings as I used before. What I am hearing is that for some unknown reason the signal output from the new Mini is much higher than my previous model. In other words, my system is playing louder at the same volume setting. I have the "sound check" option in iTunes disabled, yet it sounds as though all of the music is dynamically compressed, like I am listening to a "high-end AM radio." Very strange. Does anyone have any ideas about what I might look at to fix this issue? Do newer models of the Mini have higher outputs? Thanks for your help.

Auralic Aries/Devialet 200/Analysis Plus Oval 9/Harbeth M30.1

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It might be (total guess here) related to the newer Mini's having USB 3.0 (vs 2.0). Yes, I know that USB 3.0 is supposed to be backward compatible but I found otherwise.


My Mini (2012 i5) would not recognize my XMOS USB DAC. The solution was to add a simple USB 2.0 hub between the Mini & DAC. I ended up with a Schiit Wyrd but you could check it with any USB 2.0 hub.

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