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romnation

Is it possible to use ONLY a software volume control with no dac control or preamp?

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I realize how dangerous this could be if something else were to generate a sound at the full volume of the output, but would this work theoretically without damaging the speakers?

 

Running straight from a DAC without volume control (such as Bryston BDA-3) straight into an amp only amp with only high level inputs. If I use only the volume control in say foobar2000, would this be possible?

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Agree with mansr. I have been doing it for years into a 3 way active system with no loud mishaps. In my case I use JRiver's internal volume control which also has volume protection. Not sure if foobar2000 has that or if it even really matters. As mansr noted, just need to be a bit careful is all.

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I agree with mitchco and  mansr.   For added convenience, I use a DROK physical volume knob to control the internal volume control in JRiver.  It might work with foobar:

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Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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10 hours ago, Kal Rubinson said:

It was very complex.  First, I had to plug the cable into the control box.  Second, I was required to plug the other end of the cable into the first available USB port on my PC/Server.  Finally, and at long last, it was necessary to turn the knob in order to adjust the volume.

I'm guessing it generates the same events as the volume keys found on many keyboards.

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4 hours ago, mansr said:

I'm guessing it generates the same events as the volume keys found on many keyboards.

Yup.  It is said to be programmable but, so far, I have not figure out how.   Out of the both, it works fine with JRiver  (volume control and push on/off for mute) but not with Roon. 


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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20 hours ago, romnation said:

I realize how dangerous this could be if something else were to generate a sound at the full volume of the output, but would this work theoretically without damaging the speakers?

 

Running straight from a DAC without volume control (such as Bryston BDA-3) straight into an amp only amp with only high level inputs. If I use only the volume control in say foobar2000, would this be possible?


it is possible but risky. But things can go wrong if you accidentally push the volume to the max. Sometimes when you use the midi the control the volume you can accidentally push them or the mouse can simply misbehave at times. 
 

I was using Mytek DAC and it is possible to trim the volume to prevent such accidents. Not sure if your DAC could do that. 
 

 

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As others, I do this also but in a somewhat Hybrid manor. I use ROON's DSP software VOL control in my setup. Even though my DAC does have a VOL knob (Benchmark DAC3) I choose to keep its -10db VOL PAD in place and the VOL knob active instead of fully disabling it (which is an option).

 

During normal listening sessions the DAC VOL knob is buried at Full Tilt and ROON's VOL control is handling the heavy lifting but before I get to that point I always turn on my system with the Benchmark VOL knob turned all the way down. I start my Playlist with physical knob all the way down and slowly roll it up to full blast. This is for pure paranoia purposes and not because of any event that caused unexpected full output from the software VOL control in ROON. But to the OP's point, I choose to keep an extra layer of protection in place to save me from my own stupidity, if nothing else.

 

Also, with ROON, they have safety features available as well, which I also use. There is a Safe Limit and a Max limit setting. The Safe limit only allows the "Slider" for the VOL to go as far as you set it in the config. Any desired output beyond the "Safe Limit" requires additional presses of the "+" button for each increment up to the "Limit" you set. This prevents a fat finger action that would result in full output unexpectedly.

 

I had my reservations of this approach for a long time too but at the end of the day its probably the best VOL control one can use and one that most likely eclipses even the best of PreAmps analog VOL controls. I saved 5 figures going this route over the PreAmp I was going to buy.

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