Can't adjust volume for USB DAC or DisplayPort speakers

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by Aetles, Oct 1, 2015.

  1. Aetles macrumors regular

    Aetles

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    #1
    After upgrading to El Capitan I've lost the ability to adjust the volume of some of my connected speakers. Both the built in speakers in my display, connected through DisplayPort, and my DAC connected through USB.

    I do get sound out, I just can't adjust the volume under System Preferences -> Sound -> Output (it says "The selected device has no output control"). However I can adjust volume for internal speakers and also a Logitech USB headset. (That USB headset though, does not work reliable since the upgrade.)

    I've tried…
    …rebooting my MacBook Pro
    …resetting NVRAM
    …connect USB DAC directly to MacBook Pro
    …sudo killall coreaudiod
    …using Audio MIDI Setup
    …rebooting into safe mode
    but so far no success.

    I assume this has to do with El Capitan since it worked without issues in Yosemite yesterday, but I'm not sure. I know that similar kind of problems have occurred before with upgrades to Yosemite and even Lion. But I've also seen scattered reports of some audio issues in El Capitan, especially when connected through USB and HDMI.

    I've also seen reports saying this is how it is supposed to work but, that you should not have software output control on external sound cards like USB DACs. But since I've always been able to do this before I think it is a regression if it is done by design.

    Anyone else having the same issues?
     
  2. Aetles thread starter macrumors regular

    Aetles

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    #2
    Upgraded to 10.11.2 and still no volume control for my USB DAC och my display speakers. I'm beginning to suspect that Apple just removed this support in El Capitan.
     
  3. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    #3
    Displayport speakers have always not had volume control for me.
     
  4. Aetles thread starter macrumors regular

    Aetles

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    #4
    Hmm, I thought I had volume control i Yosemite for them as well, but I'm not entirely sure. My display speakers are so crappy I would never use them anyway :)

    But I am sure about the USB DAC. I've seen numerous threads about this in Apple Support Community, like this one.
     
  5. kazibole macrumors member

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    #5
    Generally with digital sources (where often devices have their own volume control) you cannot control the volume from OS X. Workarounds are to use products like Soundflower, Sound Siphon, Boom, etc. I was not able to get Soundflower to work in El Capitan, but Sound Siphon worked just fine: http://staticz.com/add-keyboard-volume-controls/
     
  6. fisherking macrumors 603

    fisherking

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    #6
    i've never seen an usb audio interface or DAC (i've used a number of interfaces, but currently work at home with a DAC) that had the OS volume control as an option... you can use the slider in itunes (for example), but of course, you'd need other options for the web, etc)..
     
  7. Aetles thread starter macrumors regular

    Aetles

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    #7
    I've always been able to do this with my DAC in previous version of OS X. As has numerous other, based on all the posts in Apple forums.
     
  8. fisherking macrumors 603

    fisherking

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    #8
    which DAC? and is there a driver to install/update?
     
  9. Aetles, Dec 10, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015

    Aetles thread starter macrumors regular

    Aetles

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    #9
    Well, then you have not tried the Pro-Ject USB DAC with Burr-Brown Japan PCM2702 chip, apparently :)

    Yes, that's what I am doing right now, but the problem is that I have to adjust every app and web site individually (iTunes, Spotify, Skype, YouTube, Vimeo etc) and the ones I can't adjust will use full volume. This is so much worse experience that just using the volume buttons on my keyboard.

    My external speakers unfortunately have the volume control on the sub, which I've hidden away, so I really want to keep that volume control at my preferred max volume and then adjust digitally. I know some people say it's better quality to alway output 100 percent and only adjust on speakers, but I've never had a problem with the quality in that regard.
     
  10. Aetles thread starter macrumors regular

    Aetles

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    #10
    Pro-Ject USB DAC with Burr-Brown Japan PCM2702 chip. I never had to use a driver, it worked out of the box in Yosemite (and still does, except for volume control).
     
  11. fisherking macrumors 603

    fisherking

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    #11
    if it were me...i'd contact project-audio and ask them about this (that it's worked with the OS volume controls until 10.11)...
     
  12. Aetles thread starter macrumors regular

    Aetles

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    #12
    Yeah, I've been thinking about that, but I was kind of hoping that this way a pure bug that Apple introduced in El Capitan. I mean, it's not like new versions of OS X haven't had its share of new bugs as well… *cough* discoveryd *cough* :)
     
  13. fisherking macrumors 603

    fisherking

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    #13
    my dac (a humble nuforce uDac3) works fine here, as in yosemite (but never had OS control for volume). my scarlett 2i2...same thing. the fact that the OS allowed you volume control before, and now doesn't...SIP thing? either way, seems that the manufacturer should have some insight (and hopefully, a fix)...
     
  14. Aetles thread starter macrumors regular

    Aetles

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    #14
    I've been thinking about testing that theory myself, I could boot into recovery mode and disable SIP and see if the volume control is back (although my bet would be that it wont be back).

    It seems like it maybe was an anomaly that the volume control worked in the first place with this particular DAC, but it was a very good anomaly for me in that case. :)
     
  15. fisherking macrumors 603

    fisherking

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    #15
    that's what i think too, but...there has to be some science behind it. ideally, whatever made it work previously could happen again. but...what was that? o_O i'd still talk to the manufacturer. is there a driver?? otherwise, if there's nothing to install, i doubt disabling then re-enabling SIP will make a difference. but easy enough to try that.

    also...test user account? make a 'virgin' admin account, and see if it works any differently.

    good luck! :cool:
     
  16. Aetles, Feb 5, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016

    Aetles thread starter macrumors regular

    Aetles

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    #16
    Forgot to report back on this. I disabled SIP but that did not resolve anything, so we can rule that out at least.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 5, 2016 ---
    You were right, it was the same thing for me, I remembered it wrong. I installed Yosemite (10.10.5) on an external HD and booted from it, just to check. Indeed there were no volume controls for my monitor speakers connected through DisplayPort.

    But the volume control for my DAC, my main issue, was back. So this is a clear regression (from my point of view) between Yosemite and El Capitan.

    Yosemite:
    Skärmavbild 2015-12-22 kl. 18.08.47.png
    El Capitan:
    Skärmavbild 2015-12-22 kl. 19.25.10.png
    (Sorry for the Swedish, it says "The selected device has no output control".)
     
  17. fisherking, Feb 5, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016

    fisherking macrumors 603

    fisherking

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    #17
    considering the way my DAC has always worked, and the usb audio interfaces (focusrite, NI) i've used have worked...i suspect that yours was working incorrectly in yosemite, and that's been fixed in el capitan. not what you want to hear, but, in my experience, the audio interfaces override the volume control on the mac. again, talk to project-audio. or...perhaps there's a third-party app that would give you back control (not sure what that is...). good luck!
    --- Post Merged, Feb 5, 2016 ---
    so...10 minutes after my previous post, i'm reading the new MacLife magazine...and there's an ad for an app called "volume mixer for mac", which may (or may not) help; there's a 15-day free trial. http://www.volumemixer-app.com if u try it, let us know if it does the trick...
     
  18. Aetles thread starter macrumors regular

    Aetles

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    #18
    Yes, I am aware that this might be the case, others have argued the same, and that would explain why this has not been "fixed" since the release of El Capitan. Although, as a user and from my perspective, it is a clear regression since the previous behavior – and AFAIK it could been the case in all previous versions of OS X – was much more user friendly.

    If I would have known this would become an issue I would have bought another DAC with built in volume control.

    Thanks, I'll look into it!
     
  19. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    #19
    My workaround was to buy a high quality 3.5mm volume knob that included volume control. Was about $20.
     
  20. fisherking macrumors 603

    fisherking

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    #20
    a knob?? where does it go?? the DAC connects to usb, then to speakers (or headphones). are you putting it between the DAC and the speakers??
     
  21. Aetles thread starter macrumors regular

    Aetles

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    #21
    I've tried Volume Mixer for Mac now and so far I'm very happy! :) Thanks for the tip, fisherking!

    I had some issues installing the beta (you have to restart and Volume Mixer wouldn't quit, then my Mac hanged after reboot) but now that it is running it seems to be working as advertised. I can once again use my beloved volume buttons on my keyboard to adjust the output volume when using my DAC. This is for all intent and purpose exactly the behavior I wanted back!

    I'll wait the trial period to see if I discover any drawbacks or serious bugs, then I'll buy it. One could argue that it shouldn't be the case that you have to buy additional software to compensate for features removed by Apple (even if the El Capitan is the correct way, I'll see it as feature removal). But really, I'm just happy that we have great third party developers that can help us, and it is definitely worth my money!
     
  22. fisherking macrumors 603

    fisherking

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    #22
    glad that (hopefully) works out!
     
  23. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    #23
    I got this: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TMTW6JI

    Yeah, it goes between the DAC and speakers. Audio quality doesn't seem to be affected, but I'm not an audiophile by any means.

    So my setup is:
    Displayport monitor with audio out>volume knob>headphones
     
  24. fisherking macrumors 603

    fisherking

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    #24
    seems the OP has a solution (see above). meanwhile...whatever works!
     
  25. Aetles thread starter macrumors regular

    Aetles

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    #25
    Well, I'll be damned but it seems like this issue is fixed in Sierra!

    I stayed on El Capitan until Sierra 10.12.2 was release yesterday, so I don't know if this got fixed in 10.12.0, 10.12.1 or 10.12.2. I have a faint memory of trying 10.12.0 (booting from an USB stick) and that the volume control still didn't work, but I'm not sure about that.

    Anyway, unless this is a fluke I am very happy that Apple reversed the wrong-doing (IMHO) in El Capitan and returned the ability to volume control my USB-DAC.
    Skärmavbild 2016-12-14 kl. 22.15.35.png
    (Yes, the screenshot is Swedish, but I just wanted to show the difference between this and the old screenshot from El Capitan.)
     

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