Controlling System Volume when connected to a DAC?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mcomp112, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. mcomp112 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2017
    #1
    Hi all. Any advice on how to control system volume when connected to a DAC via USB?

    I recently upgraded my audio setup and, while everything sounds great, MacOS seems to be disabling system volume control when I'm connected to the DAC. I have to use the volume control on the DAC to alter volume instead of the usual keyboard shortcuts.

    I didn't have this issue with my previous speakers that also ran via USB (B&W MM-1) so I'm assuming there's got to be some settings fix or perhaps another app that could control system volume.

    Anyone with any experience with this issue? All help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. rawweb macrumors 6502a

    rawweb

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    #2
    So I've been using high end professional DAC's with Mac's for over 15 years...volume control for me has always been on the external device itself. That's how it's supposed to work...and how I want it to work, frankly.

    I've only known OS X to control volume from internal speakers or the computer audio out ports. Not sure how the old MM-1 of yours worked. They must have leveraged drivers or something.
     
  3. mcomp112 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 1, 2017
    #3
  4. treekram macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Location:
    Honolulu HI
    #4
    At least some USB DAC's allow an OS to control volume in the DAC. Regarding the article you linked, if the OS you had volume control with the MM-1 is the same one (and at the same update level) you're using now which doesn't have volume control with the DAC, then the problem is not the OS.

    It may be that your DAC doesn't support volume control over USB or that something in the implementation is not right - either on the DAC end or the Apple end. I have an older (probably 8 years old), cheaper (maybe $100 at the time) where the volume control does appear in the latest version of El Capitan - but it doesn't affect the volume. (This behavior is the same in a Snow Leopard Mac I have so I don't think it's an El Capitan issue.)

    The thing about volume control is that you really want it to be done in analog, not digitally. The MM-1 almost certainly did the volume control in the analog, not the digital. Cheaper DAC's may not do analog volume control because it will require additional electronics to do so. Check with the DAC manufacturer and see if they have analog volume control and if they support controlling it via USB, and if they do, if there are known issues with using it with whatever Mac OS version you're using. It maybe that the DAC volume control is digital and because of that, they chose not to support volume control via USB.
     
  5. rawweb macrumors 6502a

    rawweb

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    #5
    This is also what I've always understood or been told to be the case. The main reason audiophiles go external is for maximum quality and control over audio.

    I think this thread may be misplaced as it's less of a "MacBook Pro" concern, more hardware or OS related.
     
  6. vddobrev macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2016
    Location:
    Haskovo, Bulgaria
    #6
    You cannot. As far as I know in an all digital connection, volume can be controlled only at the DAC/receiver.
     

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