Effects of Roon Headroom Management

I’m a lazy person. Is there any reason I shouldn’t use Headroom Management as a volume control?

Specifically, do settings in the range of -3 to -18 dB have any effect on sound quality? (If it matters, I’m running Roon Core on a recent MacBookAir through a Mytek Liberty DAC through C-J pre and amp to Kef LS50s.)

Thanks much.

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I’m lazier than most and I don’t use Headroom Management for volume control because it’s too much hassle to open up and change.

I use an IR network thingy to control the analog volume on my preamp from a tablet.

If I wanted to use a digital volume control the best would be a device based control, but if that isn’t available, Roon’s 64 bit DSP volume control. These are accessible using settings in Device Setup/Volume Control Mode.

Roon’s DSP volume control is bypass at 100% so I would set my physical controls to normal listening level and run it at 100% ordinarily. Use it to temporarily lower the volume. Like any digital volume control it will truncate bit depth eventually so best not to listen at, say, 50% DSP volume.

So far as I know Headroom Management uses the same DSP engine as DSP Volume Control.

Thanks, Andrew.

Somehow I have the idea that DSP volume is inferior to Headroom Management because of where it comes in the signal path. Do you know anything about that?

No I don’t sorry. Let’s ask @brian whether there is any difference between them.

If you stack DSP processing in Roon with a DSP volume control, you’ll end up dithering twice.

But–if you are doing no other DSP and just want a volume control, there isn’t much of a difference between headroom adjustment and Roon’s DSP volume implementation. DSP volume is doing essentially the same thing as headroom adjustment. Same approach + precision, but slightly different code because of where it is placed in the chain.

DSP Volume control gets the “high quality” designation as more of an editorial license–generally a DSP volume in the endpoint is a “smell” that indicates two volume controls in the system, and marking it that way discourages people from doing that kind of thing.

Thanks, guys.

Just to make sure I understand: I can use either DSP volume or Headroom Management to control volume with no impact on sound quality, so long as I don’t use them simultaneously?

Thanks again.

Interesting read! What about volume leveling then? Does this alter the sound quality? I have volume leveling enabled in combination with a DSP room convolution filter.

What impact does Volume levelling have

And what impact of the level set, I am at max as far as I know, am I making a rod for my own back

To me it robs the music of something…along the lines of what’s been described in the thread re DSP, but in my experience it’s not unique to Roon. I only use volume leveling when using Roon radio, which basically means I’m playing music while focused on other things.

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I use volume levelling on my non critical systems only, in the bedrooms and kitchen as it stops me having to change the volume all the time.

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I also found that roon volume levelling compromised sound quality - sufficiently so that I won’t use it even though I’d really like to. The greater the volume reduction, the greater the issue. This is from an audiophile viewpoint - such differences are probably objectively small, but some people notice it more than others. When this was raised on a thread months back, unfortunately the roon team didn’t appear to think there was a problem to be solved.

I think the same applies to any of the volume functions and I also noticed it to a lesser extent on roon’s PEQ, so could well affect all DSP, but it was the volume levelling that I did most testing on. I haven’t tried again on recent releases.

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I’ve also experimented with digital volume controls, and I too have subjectively found them a bit whiffy, even with controls like upsampling to 24-bit beforehand.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the main technical difference between an analogue and digital volume control is that the analogue control also lowers the volume of everything, including the noise floor.

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