Derek - the key is how you setup Roon for your endpoint. I’ve specifically set Roon up to pass all volume control to the Brooklyn. So now if I try to adjust volume via Roon it says “Volume Control is Fixed” which is the desired setting as I don’t want Roon to control the volume.
My setup is a headless Mac Mini running Roon Server with direct USB to the Brooklyn. Music resides on a Synology NAS that like the Mac Mini is hard wired to the router.
I’m able to do all volume adjustment directly on the Brooklyn. I’m also able to change settings on the Brooklyn between Digital and Analog volume control. It all works flawlessly. I’m listening right now.
Ahh I understand. You’re looking for Roon to control volume all the way to the pre-amp portion of your DAC/Preamp combo. I misread completely - i.e. Roon passing all volume control to the end device and not controlling volume at the end point. Sorry for the confusion.
What the OP is talking about is called USB HID volume control. Not all DACs support it. The Brooklyn does not - I asked Michal from Mytek about this a few times and confirmed it does not. He said it was feasible to add via firmware but that was a long time ago and I don’t see any sign of it. This was the one single thing stopping me from buying the Brooklyn, and the Ayre Codex as well for that matter. My understanding is that this is a capability of all Sabre DAC chips - but not all companies enable or implement it. I have no idea why it is SO useful…
You might find this thread I started on the CA forum useful:
USB HID volume control is (from my somewhat limited understanding) the system whereby the DAC can communicate simple playback control commands to the computer software player - and vice versa - over the USB connection. What this means in practice is that, amongst other things:
The DAC buttons and infrared remote control can control the play/pause, stop, and skip/rewind of the software player itself, such as iTunes, Audirvana, etc
In the other direction, the computer software player can control the output volume of the DAC itself when force max volume/disable volume is set on the software player.
Note that this is different than the computer varying the volume that it sends to the DAC. With USB HID volume control the computer can output unmodified full volume all the time, it is the DAC that controls the output volume (just remotely controlled by the computer).
Thanks, it’s my pet annoyance I don’t understand either. Having USB HID volume control enables a bunch of nice functionality, like controlling the volume of the DAC itself via for example the volume slider of iTunes/Audirvana/Roon etc, or even over wifi from the Remote app on an iPhone/iPad etc. If your DAC has a display you can watch the DAC volume numbers go up/down in real time.
After looking into this a bit further as it is a feature that I am very much interested in, it turns out that my DAC is fully supported!
I have a Naim DAC-V1 and if you connect Roon via the USB input you can control the main volume on the DAC by using the volume control in Roon once you have selected the ‘Use Device Controls’ option in Roon and the ‘PC Volume’ option within the DAC.
You can also set the DAC up with a reduced maximum volume so that if you accidentally output a high volume setting from Roon it will not blow your speakers.
I found the Audioquest Dragonfly red implements the volume control feature of the Sabre chip, and it now offers MQA decoding. Another one is the Exasound DAC when paired with their PlayPoint streamer. Auralic Altair integrates their streamer and DAC into one box, and volume can be controlled by Roon, and would expect their Polaris does the same. I wish the combination of their Vega/Aries DAC and streamer had the same functionality. I’m looking for other options too, and interested in hearing about more DAC’s offering volume control at different price points. Cheers.
The PS Audio Directstream DAC supports Roon volume control over the Bridge II network addon, but I have not tried it with the USB input. I’ve also had mixed results when using it without a preamp. It’s sounded pretty good directly driving one of my amps (Air Tight ATM-1s), but a little flat and lifeless with a few others (Hypex NC400 mono blocks and the Benchmark AHB2).
Update: I finally updated SonicOS to v2.5 on my microRendu and the USB volume control now works with the Brooklyn (which was also recently updated to the most recent v2.36 – although this update alone did not make USB volume work with Roon).
I think you can always control DAC volume from Roon with DSP, but you want the “Use Device controls” because that makes Roon send the volume to the DAC so the DAC internally handles the volume. If done correctly in the DAC, this can be done virtually without any loss of SQ if its build into the DAC chip itself (volume is just voltage, so the DAC chip can just output lower voltage without loss of digital precision/bits).
Using DSP to handle the volume lowers the “bits”, for example a low volume on a CD quality 16 bit stream will be less than 16 bits in actual resolution. Having said that, your ears “bits” will also be lower since you hear details worse at lower volume, but still.
Have you had any progress with trying to match the volume On roon with the Brooklyn DAC?
I’m having the same problem, surely there’s a way to display the volume displaying on the Brooklyn to display exactly the same in Roon?