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Too many volume controls now!!

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first of all...i see that this time of year has brought many new people into the computer audiophile fold, including me. thanks to everyone before today for their help. this appears to be the best forum of its kind in terms of knowledge and helpfulness.


so that's my disclaimer for bringing up this topic for the umpteenth time: How to best control system volume. here's my background.


Source: MacBook Pro running iTunes networked to APX. iTunes content mostly ALAC files I ripped from cd's, but a lot of purchased songs (iTunes+ at 256kb), and increasingly the internet radio station RadioHab (192kb) through iTunes, which i really like.


DAC: APX connected via TosLink to Citypulse DA7.2x II (which has some "decent" implementation of volume control, with IR remote).


Amplification: see below


Speakers: For this intitial foray into the field, i decided on a minimalist approach, and I went for active speakers: AudioEngines 5, connected via stereo rca's from the CityPulse DAC, and a Y splitter to stereo mini-plug.



So for volume control: three choices:

1.) iTunes -- i am newbie, but not unable to search...and it appears unquestionable that iTunes must be kept at 100% to avoid information truncation. And I guess that iTunes volume slider will affect all network devices "listening" to it. So the only need to touch the iTunes slider, or pause, is to immediately mute.


2.) CityPulse DAC -- not 100% sure whether the implementation is only analog.


3.) Audioengines 5 -- must be analog, but not sure what best setting is for the built-in amps. And no remote control on the speaker volume, so i would like to set once only.


Any suggestions? Feel free to include new hardware, as I am within the 30 day return policy for the DAC and speakers. thanks!




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I am not sure how the iTunes volume is implemented either, but in general, digital volume controls that are implemented with at least 32 bit math can sound good. If you have to attenuate a large amount with the digital volume control, dynamics can suffer a bit, but in your case, you should be able to set the volume of the Audio Engine speakers to the louder levels that you generally like to listen at, and then use whatever volume control you think sounds best or is most convenient on the DAC and the media player. If you set the Audio Engine volume appropriately, you shouldn't have to attenuate too much digitally.




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