How to select preamp gain

April 26, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

3 comments on “How to select preamp gain”

  1. Great answer as usual Paul.

    I have a DirectStream DAC which is directly connected to my EC Nemo monoblocks. The Nemo’s (I presume ‘sensitivity’) is listed in the spec sheet as ‘input level for rated output’ with a value of 1V. I use the default (unattenuated) gain setting on the DAC which seems to be the better setting for the Nemos. I typically listen at volume settings on the DAC from around 40 up to about 70, depending on the source material (mainly PCM and DSD files). I also use a software ‘player’ (VLC) in conjunction with a DVB USB dongle for digital TV and radio broadcasts. This operates at full output level and I typically listen at a volume level of around 40 on the DAC when VLC is the source.

    The attenuated gain setting on the DAC seems to be too low as I found that even setting the DAC volume to 100 did not produce an adequate listening level most of the time.

  2. I have to look at the Music Cast app on my iPhone, when I’m listening to music via my Yamaha WXC-50 music streamer preamp.
    Having the volume sat at 75 or 80 even, sounds a bit too loud to me.
    And so, it’s around 40 45 or 50 is where I’ll run it at.
    But if I have my volume sat to 50, I’m putting out about 50 to 55MV.
    Which translates to about 100 to 150kohms.
    My Jolida JD-1000P, can go all the way up to 20,000 ohms with a 3V input.
    But I never pushed it that hard.

  3. Obvious next question:
    What is best voltage to input the preamp. My Qutest DAC had options of 1,2 or 3 volts.
    I’ve tried all three and don’t seem to hear much different. LoFi me?

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