Would you recommend using the volume control in Roon or through my PS Audio PWD MKII? With the DAC, as you lower the volume you start losing bit resolution but using its remote is more convenient that the manual method of the preamp. Does the volume control on Roon impact the bit resolution sent to the DAC?
When you adjust the volume slider in Roon and exclusive mode is enabled, the volume slider in Roon sends volume commands to the driver. If the signal path light is purple in Roon, we are sending bit-perfect data to the driver. Roon does not currently contain a software volume control implementation of its own.
What each driver does with those volume commands is up to the manufacturer. Ideally, the driver would tell the DAC to implement volume control in the analog domain, or in a part of the DAC’s signal processing path that doesn’t adversely affect resolution.
In the real world, not all drivers or DACs do the same thing. Some of them appear to lose bit-perfect behavior when the volume is adjusted, and some of them seem to maintain it. In some cases, this varies based on configuration done on the DAC (example: I have a DAC here that has a setting for “digital” vs “analog” volume. The digital volume is not bit-perfect, the analog one is).
Essentially, Roon is doing the best we can to give the right stuff to the driver: bit-perfect data + an out-of-band volume command, but – what the driver author and DAC manufacturer do with it further down stream can vary from situation to situation.
@brian I will show my lack of knowledge but I can’t find a signal path light yet only tell it is “purple”. Where would I look for this as I could not locate any help function in Roon.
I did post a question to PS Audio on their Facebook page asking the question about where best to control volume for the PWD MKII, Roon or the PWD but I haven’t seen a reply yet.
Okay, I got it now. the purple surrounds the light just to the right of “Chameleon / Herbie Hancock”.
When I click on that I get the Source file resolution and the Output, which in my case is “Direct (WASAPI Exclusive Mode)”