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DAC output volume distortion

vaclav

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Oct 11, 2022
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Hi guys, I have the following combo:
Topping D30 PRO
Topping A30 PRO
Dan Clark Aeon 2 Open

I just saw the measurements here and went for it.
According to Amir's review, the amp performs best at about 75% of the mid-gain setting. After that, he measured a slight distortion, so I'm trying to keep it in the safe zone (I'm aware I'm not going to be able to hear it, it's just my OCD).
Having such a setup, I'm sometimes lacking power, as I'm also using Roon EQ (-4 dB on the output to even stuff out).

Now to the question:

D30 PRO has digital volume control. I don't know if it's ok to turn it up all the way to 0 dB without ANY compromise in terms of the sound quality.
At 0dB, I sure have more than enough juice. I'm a bit traumatized from the '90s when anything cranked to 100% was a bad thing.
The Internet generally says it's fine at 100%, but you know how it is, anybody can post and then it's just repeated.
I didn't find any data on this concrete DAC with something as distortion vs volume.
Now I'm at -10 dB tops.

Can any of you audio titans help me out here?

Kind regards,

Vaclav Hrones
 

restorer-john

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A DAC that doesn’t have its lowest distortion and highest performance at 0dBFS (max output) is a faulty implementation.

There is the odd digital product where knocking back a dB or two could help, but -10dB on the source is just killing your available volume/power range.
 

Sokel

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A DAC at 100% is just in it's default state,it's where it performs best,have a look at the SINAD vs Volume charts (example):

index.php
 

DVDdoug

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I don't know if it's ok to turn it up all the way to 0 dB without ANY compromise in terms of the sound quality.
With (integer) digital 0dB is defined as the maximum you can "count to" with a given number of bits. Nothing bad happens when you get "close", only if you "try" to go over.

With analog, the circuit sometimes starts to soft-clip before it hits a hard limit. But 0dB in analog is defined as a voltage or wattage and most circuits have tons of headroom over 0dB (however 0dB is defined for the particular situation). If your analog device has VU meters, it can usually go way over 0dB.
 
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vaclav

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Thank you all very much for your input! I increased the volume with every reply, and now I'm at -0 dB, so I guess this topic can be closed :D

Take care

Vaclav
 
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