Volume control thru Roon 1.3

Hi all. Quick questions…

Did a search on the topic but not sure the info I was reading was current or relevant, soooooooooooo:

I am running Roon 1.3 as follows:

Macbook pro (control) —> Mac mini (server) -----> USB cable -----> Dac ------> Integrated amp

My integrated amp does not have a remote control for volume or otherwise. I use Tidal pretty much exclusively for music.

What are the sound quality implications of controlling volume from Roon? How could I minimize or eliminate negative effects of software volume control?


I use a DragonFly Red as DAC connected directly to my computer. The DragonFly has built in high quality volume handling and takes volume information from Windows when running in exclusive mode. Basically that means that all volume handling is done in the DAC (Window sends full volume digital stream to the DAC, together with current Window volume).

This is the optimal way to handle volume when the DAC has good volume handling, since the volume is likely adjusted as part of the D/A process and has no loss of sound quality.

If your DAC don’t have good volume handling (or none at all), then use the “DSP volume” setting in Roon (the DAC should obviously always be run in exclusive mode, we don’t want Windows to mucking around with the digital stream).

Thanks for the input!

I am using a DAC with volume control right now (LH Labs Pulse Infinity). I do have Roon set to fixed volume and I can control the volume via the DAC remote control. I am now wondering ---- if I am using the dac to control the volume----- am I somehow using the pre amp functionality of the dac rather than pre amp stage of my integrated amp? It would seem clear if I was outputting to straight up power amps rather than an integrated but I can’t seem to get my mind around the schematics of the data flow…

The DAC will adjust the volume of the analog output (which is basically voltage), and send that to the amp. You could run the DAC as fixed volume also and control volume on the amp, or as you do now control the volume on the DAC and run the amp as fixed volume. I am not sure what will give the best result though.

Generally speaking, adjusting volume on digital stream lowers the resolution, so maybe the best would be to run the DAC at a high output and control volume on the amp. But thats not always true for DACs with high quality volume handling.

Have youe tried it yourself allready? If yes, did you hear any loss in quality? If not, just use it and forget about it, it’s as simple as that. Don’t let anybody else tell you that it can’t sound good because of (often totally wrong) assumptions while they have not even tried it themselves.

I have been using the DAC’s volume control for a while now and I have to say, within the small range of adjustment that I normally use it, I can’t hear any difference between using it and the volume control on my integrated. Thanks for the comments!