Best place to set volume

March 5, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple set of rules and guidelines for audiophiles to follow?

Do this and get that?

I’ve tried my best, in the Audiophile’s Guide, to get as close as possible to that standard. Do this and get that works in the Guide because you’re part of a process that involves feedback. Your ears tell you if you’re getting close and then the Guide explains what to do if you’re not.

What we don’t have is a simple set of “switches”.

Do this and get that instructions that work without feedback and tweaks are rare. For example, where’s the best place to set the volume level in a digital audio system? DAC at 100%? Computer at 100%. Preamp in the mix or not?

The problem with saying one way or the other is the right way is that it depends. Yes, it depends. It depends on what kind of equipment you have. It depends on the synergy of the system.

A preamp in the chain is the right way to go but only if the preamp is of a certain quality.

How do you know if it has the right quality?

The right place to set the volume or the best cable to use is dependent on a set of variables and without identifying the proper variables it’s difficult to answer.

The best place to set the volume depends on the system.

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