TIDAL volume level is so high it requires headroom to be enabled

This problem has continued since I first installed Roon.

On all other sources I can “normalize” the master contents volume level to be within a reasonable range for the rest of my system and by DAC/ADC (Lynx HILO). This isn’t possible with TIDAL and when I play anything from this source I have to turn on Roon’s headroom management with a -6dB reduction to keep from overdriving my DAC. This makes it impossible to incorporate TITAL content into play lists/queues that contain my other content. It is always my preference to have Roon do as little processing/alteration of my content as possible so I do not like using the headroom management and would be very resistant to having to use the DSP volume leveling to solve this problem. It would be nice if there was a way to have headroom as an option just for TIDAL content.

If you want me to test this - does TIDAL have some reference titles that contain test tones at calibrated 0 db settings? I have such content on CD. This would let us measure TIDAL levels and Roon’s output definitely. My standard setup for 44K and 48K content is to upsample it to 192x24 resolution. For CD’s, I import the content into Vinyl Studio and then output the tracks in 24x192 format (space is a non issue for me).

I’ll try anything you want to work on this issue. Thanks.

I find that volume leveling eliminates the need for headroom management.

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I’m sure it does, but I want the absolute minimum processing of my master content - and volume leveling is an intrusive process which would be applied to all my content, 99percent of which is 192x24 high res masters from vinyl that require no processing at all from Roon, just bit perfect playback. That the way I want to keep it.

I understand your concerns, but even in a totally analog system volume must be controlled to avoid distortion.

Hi Alfred,

I found this Test Tone Album in Tidal, but I haven’t checked to make certain it is available in Roon.

Are you upsampling Tidal content in the Lynx or just playing it at original resolution ?

What settings do you have in Device Settings for the Lynx HILO as regards Volume Control Settings and Set Max Volume ? Can you post a screenshot of your Device Settings General and Playback tabs ?

I have a couple of questions here:

  • When i play Tidal or local music on a non volume leveled system here I have no problems at all. This is all straight through with no volume adjustments until I get to my amp.

So based upon the above, I assume you are doing some re-leveling of your local copies as you rip them? This is somewhat equivalent of using the roon volume control but shouldn’t really be necessary and isn’t really optimal. (Maybe I’m confused here).

Can you give us a run down of your system and which outputs are going to where. As your DAC is “Studio grade” the output levels can be hot. I notice in the review for this DAC that they are actually adjustable between 0db and 24db and comes stock at 10db. I wonder if you are not overloading the DAC but the input stage of your amp/poweramp/monitors. It should probably be set to 0db for consumer grade amps

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FWIW, I ran into a similar problem a few years back, where the output from my Mytek Stereo192 DSD DAC — another “pro”-oriented box — was too hot for the inputs on my AVR. Rather than open the Mytek’s case and fiddle with jumpers, I used a couple of inline attenuators, which worked pretty well until I moved beyond the AVR.

Here’s an example of the kind of attenuators I’m talking about, but there’s a range of balanced and unbalanced ones available at different price points:

It does look like these line outputs are configurable from the interface, So i would just get the levels right from there.

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Pasted below is the info you requested - in addition the DSP setting for the Lynx HILO. Nothing but Headroom and Sample Conversion is enabled (ever). Not playing any DSD content so all those setting are currently meaningless for me. As is shown, I am upsampling TIDAL Content in Roon so when it is output it is in the Lynx HILO’s native 24x192 format mode. The HILO will play the content at any resolution up to 24x192 (included DSD), but since I have Roon available to me I chose to make all output from Roon to my HILO 24x192 for simplicity.

The Lynx is setup to use consumer trim level settings +4dBV input load trim control and Line Out Trim is set to +6dBV. For input trim smaller numbers produce MORE gain, For output trim, larger numbers produce more gain. The Lynx HILO is doing no volume control other than the input/output trim settings. Its analog output goes to a Ayre analog preamp where I control volume. I believe the input trim is not relevant to Roon (it is used to match up with the input to the Lynx from my Channel D Seta Phono Preamp on the recording side to send vinyl phono data to Vinyl Studio (running on the same computer as Roon). It is the output trim where the USB digital input to the Lynx gets converted to analog that is relevant. At one point I did have some clipping on some content (not TIDAL yet), but reduced the Line Out Trim from Pro(+18dBu) to the current level - this has eliminated any clipping. Even with TIDAL I’m not saying I’m getting clipping (have not really checked for this), but I get such an increase in the volume level that I cannot mix TIDAL content with my other content.

Multichannel is downmix as needed (not doing any multichannel)

When I rip vinyl, I do no adjustment for levels - ripped vinyl is my “standard”. If I incorporated CD content into Roon, I first import it to Vinyl Studio (which I use to rip vinyl), then output the tracks as AIFF 24x192 format. When you output the track you can normalize the volume (a range of 12db is available) and I reduce all CD’s volume by 12db so it matches up with the volume level of my ripped vinyl This effectively upsamples the standard CD once in batch mode form which it can be played bit perfect without any processing. Storage capacity is a non issue, I have more than I will ever use. I am not overloading the Ayre Preamp - it has a calibrated range of volume from 0 to 66. Most stuff I listen to is at a Ayre volume setting of 40-50 - Direct feed to it from my 4K Sony TV runs at a volume of 32-42 (concerts maybe up to 50-52). If anything, I am driving it at a lower level than is optimum, since most suggest you run the preamp at its middle setting (33) for most listening. I’ve played with the Lynx HILO’s settings and I can set it to have a lower output, put I just have to turn up the preamp to get the same gain. The issue I was getting originally, was the digital input to the Lynx’s Line Output DAC was over driving the DAC with some content based on the trim levels I had configured (I had it setup to produce a much higher output - pro level). I changed the trim to consumer level (highest consumer level) and have gotten no clipping since. There is a BIG difference between the lowest PRO output setting and he highest Consumer setting (not particularly well documented by Lynx on how all this works).

My issue with TIDAL is not clipping, but an increase in volume so significant I cannot mix TIDAL content with my other stuff.

I checked TITAL through Roon and the Denon Technical Test CD is available - I think I have the same CD in my library. Later today with I have a chance, I’ll try playing the physical CD, measuring the volume on my Lynx (digital metering up to 0 dB) and do the same with TIDAL - I can use the headroom in Roon to see if the actual signal is actually over 0 dB or not (metering simply peaks at 0 dB and you cannot tell if it is over 0 dB and clipped or not). Will let you know the results. Thanks.

Tested output levels from my test tone CD (1000hz, 0 db, no volume normalization done to this content) and the same from a selection from Tidal. Output levels at my DAC are the same, meaning to me at least that Tidal’s content is normalized (or naturally) the same as a CD (which makes sense). This is not causing clipping, just annoyance since I have set up all my other content (including my CD’s that I have added to Roon) to have a level that is about 6-12 db lower than a CD. Without the ability to do headroom control specifically for Tidal content, or for content at its data rate I cannot mix the Tidal content with my other content because the volume level is so much higher. For now, I’ll just use Tidal as a separate source for which I have to turn on headroom management (or manually lower my preamps volume control). Not a huge deal, just annoying. Its nice to know exactly what Tidal is doing so this exercise has been very helpful. Thanks.


Makes sense. I couldn’t see any issue in Roon arising from your screenshots.

I understand you would have preferred not to use it, but if it’s any consolation @brian is quite happy with the current headroom volume control in Roon. I haven’t tried the attenuator solution but my instinct would be to make this adjustment digitally.

I wonder if it’s possible to define two inputs to the DAC and use the API to switch it according to content. I don’t know enough about the API to say.

Not possible as far as I know. I have no issue with the headroom control DSP with Roon, just prefer to have as little real time processing being done to the signal while it is playing as possible. I cannot hear any issues with any of the DSP Roon processing, just prefer not to enable any of it unless I have to use it. Thanks for the help