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Newbie Question Regarding Volume Levelling?


New Member
Jun 29, 2023
Hi all, first post, hopefully not the last!

I have a Violectric V550 HP amp, being fed by a Schiit Modius. Sources to the Schiit are Toslink Airport Express, Coax Sonos Connect and Toslink Cyrus CD player.

My problem, admittedly clearly a first world one is; The CD player is bringing in a volume of at least +6dB, perhaps even as high as +12dB, compared to the streaming sources, necessitating juggling of the volume on my HP amp each time I use the CD, not a big problem, but can be annoying. I tried using the gain dip switches on the rear, but dropping gain by -6dB, in theory helped resolve the CD feed, but then necessitated increasing the volume for the other sources.

One solution of course is not to use the Modius, just use the DAC from the Cyrus, analogue out to a passive pre-amp and bring that into the HP amp, through unbalanced RCA. This has its own issues, as my other feeds are coming in through balanced XLR, which are +6dB higher than the RCA and rather defeats the purpose of an external DAC.

The Question; Is there a balanced DAC out there than can automatically volume level my inputs, before sending to my HP amp? Obviously there are plenty with a manual volume control, but as that would have to be adjusted for each source input, that would make me no better off than I am now.

Thoughts, ideas from the brains trust?



Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Feb 27, 2019
You could add a simple attenuator at the input of the amp used by the CD player. 10 dB attenuation should be fine. It just needs two resistors per channel and has no negative influence on sound quality.


Major Contributor
Jul 28, 2019
There is no solution on the DAC. Streaming services use form of normalisation to - 13~18 LUFS depending on service (and implementation), EBU R128 is - 23 LUFS, DSD is - 6 dB usually and so on. I gave up! Use laptop with JRiver as DSP for digital sources (can do the same for analog one's with deacent ADC) to ESS DAC with internal volume control and equal loudness normalisation from JRiver and with WDM driver of course. It works for me with remote app. I use EBU R128 on own sources and there is less of a difference (obviously) between those and streaming services with it. Even with best normalisation ever written up to date there will be a averaged loudness difference between sources to let's say 3~4 dB SPL. For example loudness war materials with low dynamic range, compressed and all will obviously be louder. A good and handy volume controls are your best friend along with deacent SPL meter.
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