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Genelec 8020B + Gustard X16 XLR . Best way to regulate Volume?


New Member
Jul 13, 2021
Hi there , my current desktop set up is : Genelec 8020 B active monitors connected by XLR lynx cables to a Gustard X16 . I also have a topping L30 headphone amp / pre which is connected to the Gustards rca out . I don't really want to keep unplugging cables but the output from the dac straight into the genelecs is pretty hot . To give a pleasant moderate volume while working i'm using only 25% volume on the genelecs and still - 27 db on the dac volume. If i set speaker volumes to 50% your looking at somewhere around - 50db on the dac.

Which is going to be the best way to regulate the volume ? There's no way i can set the dac volume output to max , i'm assuming there is a certain power output sweet spot on the genelecs where they work best .

Previously i used XLR from genelecs to rca on the topping L30 and used the pre setting to regulate the volume , but that means unplugging every time i used headphones and i figured running speakers straight to the dac would be preferable : fewer devices in the chain the better.

Is it acceptable to run the Gustard at low outputs from -25 to -50 db or should i be getting a passive XLR Attenuator volume control ? I'm really only interested in audible differences rather than just measured differences that i won't be able to hear.


Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Jun 16, 2020
It's mostly a matter of noise. Play a silent track on your DAC, set it to 0 dB. Now twist the gain knob on the Genelec. Do you hear any hiss? If so, is it constant at any gain level? If so, it doesn't matter what you choose and the digital volume control will be inaudible. If the hiss is different, choose the gain setting that gives you the best possible gain and the least amount of acceptable hiss.

At -50 dB you still have 16 bit's of resolution left, that should still be plenty for normal listening conditions.


Senior Member
Dec 14, 2019
Perhaps overkill, but I'd suggest a Topping Pre90 preamp. That's what I use with my X16. It can be configured to output to XLR, RCA, or both. Amir tested it and found it to be transparent…basically the same SINAD numbers as the X16.
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