1. Welcome to the new MacRumors forums. See our announcement and read our FAQ

Operating System volume vs Speaker volume

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by monkeybagel, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502a


    I was wondering how others adjust their volume in the operating system, application, and speakers. Since they can be all over the map and achieve the desired volume, what is optimal? I am guessing that if the applications (i.e. iTunes) is a maximum volume and the computer is a maximum volume and the speakers do the attenuation, it would be a more ideal scenario as the built in "loudness" would occur on some speaker amplifiers and adjust accordingly at low volume, increasing the bass, etc. If the computer is turned down and the speakers are turned up, it seems to put the speakers above this "loudness" curve and takes out a lot of the bass.

    What are others thoughts on this?

  2. macrumors 65816


    Use the speakers as the attenuator. Since the computer is the source, it would benefit the signal-chain for it to send as much information digitally to the speakers as possible.
  3. macrumors G4

    You will get the best sound if you run the digital computer controls to 100% and use analog volume controls on the speaker's built-in amplifier.

    THe reason is the digital signal has a fixed number of bits and it works out that a digital volume control has to reduce the number of bits, reducing the dynamic range at the same time. This is physics and logic, not something that can be corrected with engineering so it applies to the most expensive and cheapest systems.

    This is the theory at least, will you hear the difference? Maybe not because we don't seem to care if music played very softly has good dynamic range.

    Also practically we can't leave all the digital controls at 100% So the best thing is to reduce the volume on the amplifier to the point where the system volume is generally kept fairly high
  4. Guest

    Although what you say above is correct, the specialized advice from a number of DAC manufacturers (like Nuforce) is to follow the "lowest noise rule", while the main control is performed via the amplifier/speaker itself - and yes, all digital knobs (iTunes, System Volume, Audirvana etc.) should be at 100% at all times.

  5. macrumors 6502a


    Thanks for the response. That's what I was thinking but I wanted to get others input on the subject.

    With that said, I wonder if iTunes volume control makes the exact same adjustment as the system master volume does...

Share This Page