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Volume control


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Hi everyone, this is my first post, and I'm new to the area of using computers as Audiophile devices.

 

My question is regarding volume control from the computer... I have searched the site but am not sure I found any answer to my question.

 

I plan to use a HiFace (Windows 7) and cable run (about 15ft) to my older Marantz SR-19 AVR. Here I will use the DACs and headphone stage in the AVR until I can upgrade to a newer DAC/Headphone amp.

 

Anyhow, I want to ensure a bit perfect stream and no other volume changes (or anything else) happening until the signal reaches the AVR... just a pure digital stream.

 

I plan to use iTunes, MediaMonkey, or Foobar... not sure which.

 

Is this possible, or is the volume control in whatever media player always going to be in the middle of the data stream?

 

Any knowledge, advice, or redirect to the appropriate forum thread is much appreciated.

 

Thanks!

 

-Newbie

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Love the name and welcome!

 

I also love the newly arrived FAQ section! Not deliberately trying to be a smart ass, just pointing out that there is a FAQ section. It has some lovely FAQs in it, that have some equally lovely answers.

 

So, may I redirect you to the FAQ section?

 

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I would recommend the latest Foobar2000 and Kernel Streaming plug-in for the HiFace. The others will not sound as good without Kernel Streaming. Use a good S/PDIF coax cable and an attenuator can also help. See:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/446375/usb-24-192khz-m2tech-hiface/1440

 

Also, make sure that you make good choices before starting ripping CDs, so that you dont have to re-do it later. I recommend dbpoweramp with Accurate-Rip enabled using a good correcting drive, such as this one:

 

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=68223.0

 

As for digital volume, they are all bad I'm afraid. The best I have found is Amarra on a Mac, but use it sparingly.

 

Steve N.

 

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Thanks for pointing out the FAQ, but I guess I will have to get the HiFace ordered and install the drivers to see how exactly it works, as it doesn't seem clear to me that the volume controls will be entirely bypassed. I will do more research, get the thing installed, and experiment a bit.

Thanks.

 

-Newbie

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Or even a little bit bypassed. Or even bypassed in any way at all!

 

These things tend to be a little bit OS specific but, in a nutshell, everything to 100% and you're good to go. In other words, it's not so much about bypassing the volume controls as making sure that they're not actually doing anything.

 

Things can get a tad more complicated than that, but that's it in essence.

 

The Hi-Face is doing nothing more than providing a route out of your computer for the digital data being generated by the media player of your choice. The Hi-Face is just a conduit to your DAC.

 

As far as volume controls are concerned, think of them as relatives - sometimes useful, not in any way lethal and you're not getting rid of 'em.

 

They're just best avoided!

 

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Although the above poster is quite the wit, I think the answer you were looking for is yes, by definition digital volume control will change the data stream and will thus no longer be bit perfect. This is of course also true with dacs that change the volume in the digital domain, but of course like anything audio, implementation is really the key factor here. General consensus (reasonably or otherwise) seems to be that for the most part software volume controls have proven inferior to volume control later in the chain becoming more problematic the more attenuation is needed.

 

PS Audio Quintet > Powerbook (iphone with apple remote app) > HRT Streamer II > Kingrex Pre-amp > Kingrex QS-01 > Devore Fidelity Gibbon 7.1\'s

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Do I need to apologise?

 

And actually, the answer to the OP question is no. The OP was asking if it was possible to avoid volume controls in order to ensure bit perfect output.

 

There will always be at least one volume control somewhere between hard drive and dac which would affect the signal, if it was used, and which cannot be avoided. So set it to 100 % and it will do 'nothing' to the digital stream.

 

It isn't difficult and doesn't need to be made difficult.

 

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Do I need to apologise?

 

And actually, the answer to the OP question is no. The OP was asking if it was possible to avoid volume controls in order to ensure bit perfect output.

 

There will always be at least one volume control somewhere between hard drive and dac which would affect the signal, if it was used, and which cannot be avoided. So set it to 100 % and it will do 'nothing' to the digital stream.

 

It isn't difficult and doesn't need to be made difficult.

 

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Try JR Media Center. JRMC supports Windows Exclusive Mode which will bypass any processing between your the player application (JRMC) and the stream end point (the DAC). Something else you might consider would be, when you get around to replacing your AV receiver, choose a DLNA/UPnP receiver that can stream hi-res content. Marantz has just announced such receivers and Onkyo and Integra have had them available for more than a year. You could then set up a media server on your PC or on an inexpensive NAS (

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