Optical Digital Out level control

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by akm3, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #1
    I about blew my ears out today when I hooked a pair of Roland DS-50 digital monitors to the optical output of my Macbook Pro.

    I couldn't mute or control the volume. This is obviously intentional but is there a way around it? I have to turn up or down each speaker (which has an integrated amp) separately, on the back of each of them.
     
  2. RemarkabLee macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    #2
    The way around it would be to connect via analog (using standard cables) and control the volume using the normal mac keys - thus leaving your monitors to a set level. Not the best SQ (if you could possible tell, probably not) but a work around for your convenience.
     
  3. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #3
    Attenuation of a digital signal will reduce signal quality, in the case of SPDIF you've only got 16 bits to describe the waveform. Cut the volume and you're loosing detail, so usually it is best to do attenuation in the analog domain.

    I would look for a high quality external preamp if you really want to use the optical digital out off your notebook. My favorite one is the Sony EP9ES, they can be found on eBay for ~$100 used, have a high quality digitally-controlled analog attenuator, multiple optical and coxial inputs, and surround sound processing on the side.
     
  4. RemarkabLee macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    #4
    Seems rather an expensive solution to me!

    To the OP - if you're only connecting the Macbook to speakers and that's it, just go with my solution and go straight to analog.

    If you need to daisy chain the digital solution, go with FX120's idea or something similar.
     
  5. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #5
    It's cheap compared to other D/A's of it's quality. The thing orignally retailed for $750 when it was new 8 years ago...
     

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