Is it a good idea to use both DSP volume and analog volume in the same signal chain?

I understand that large attenuation with DSP volume can degrade the signal (especially the bit depth). On the other hand, I do want the flexibility of using the Roon Remote to adjust volume, so I set the analog volume control (resistor ladder) of my integrated amp to -20db and use DSP for further attenuation, usually another -15db.

I -20db for vinyl and -30db for digital. This way, I will not have to keep adjusting the volume on my amp. I am also planning to use REW for room correction, so “bit perfect” is unattainable anyway.

Is this a good plan? Or is it silly? :slight_smile:

Pretty much what I do. Turn on volume levelling too and you might find you (almost) never have to adjust anything…

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You are right that it can technically degrade the sound, but the upscaling to 64 bit floating point that Roon does creates a bunch of empty space that acts like a buffer against signal degradation. I think as long as it sounds fine to you, then there is not problem.

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Yes, I also turned on Volume Leveling (auto). Roon is awesome.

I even gave up on DSD for the speakers. I bet room correction makes a (far) larger impact.

In my current setup I use both. rooDial controls Roon (the 64bit digital volume) and the base loudness is set on the volume knob of my DAC. A very nice way to do it!

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I also wonder if the digital volume control (device volume) on a DAC with 32-bit or 48-bit data paths will be better than the Roon DSP volume.

Probably not, but easy enough to try. What kit are we talking about?

How can less mathematical precision get you better results - seems unlikely to me, but you’re free to try and use whatever pleases you…

Potentially if the DAC is using leedh processing, because it ‘eliminates rounding errors’, but unlikely at high bit depths. Maybe.

If I listen very, very carefully I hear a perceived degradation of sound quality with Roon’s volume control or volume leveling. Most times I don’t listen that carefully.

People raise concerns with sound degradation with both digital and analog volume control. What to do? Panic!

So I run everything at 100% and wear my winter hat, adjust the volume by adjusting the ear muffs.


I am using a headphone amp (analog volume only) as a makeshift DAC for now, but I am shopping for a new DAC so I can use my headphones again.

I am looking at the Topping D70s/D90 and the Schiit Modius. The Modius does not have volume control at all but is a lot cheaper. If I will never miss digital volume control I might just go with the Schiit. :slight_smile:

I know any difference (IF any) will not be audible anyway. Just curious.

I say try using both to get the sound you like. If you don’t like what it does, only you can tell.

I have all solid state gear and my speakers are very efficient, so I use a combination of analog and digital volume controls. I have -15dB Rothwell XLR attenuators from DAC to integrated. Then I adjust the DAC’s digital volume between 0 and -10dB and have Roon Volume Leveling (-18LUFS, which probably averages -3dB) and Headroom Adjustment at -3dB. This allows me to turn my integrated analog volume pot up more (up to 12 o’clock), which sounds better to me when I give it more juice.

To be honest, the in-line analog attenuators make the most impact on the sound, but I have grown to like what they do to the sound. If I don’t want them in the chain, it is easy to switch on the fly because my DAC has so many different ways to connect to my integrated. I have the following different paths and can switch to any of them using my integrated’s remote depending on if I am looking for a specific sound:

  • RCA interconnects with -5dB Rothwell in-line attenuators
  • RCA interconnects with no attenuation
  • XLR interconnects with -15dB Rothwell in-line attenuators

In any case I doubt I can hear the difference.

However, putting more computational load on the Pi endpoint can theoretically cause degradation. My Pi 4 (with Flirc case) is in a cabinet with poor ventilation. I don’t want it to overheat. Or perhaps I should just put it somewhere else.

Honestly, unless DSP is repeatedly applied without regard to rounding errors I doubt precision matters that much.