Volume leveling and DSP

I am still on trail with Roon. I like the volum leveling feature but the output volume is too quiet for me. I’m also using other devices(CD, vinyl, Spotify over airplay), all default volume is higher than leveled Roon output. I expect to get a louder output so I try to adjust the volume back in DSP. However I found the result very disappointing. The sound become very tight after the process. The Tidal HiFi sound is even worse than Apple Music on Apple TV.

I am running Roon Core on symbology DS716+II. This might caused the problem as it is a very slow computer. Endpoint is microRendu.

The quality drop is expected but I don’t expect it to be this obvious.

There are at least 3 locations in DSP where you can address a low volume. Headroom management, procedural EQ and speaker setup all offer a volume gain. There is even some flexibility in the order of applying volume gain in DSP.
Since these filters are processed in 64 bit, it is hard to understand why a volume decrease (by volume leveling) with a subsequent volume increase in the same realm would lead to a flatter sound


Volume leveling operates by reducing volume. So, your options are to turn up the master volume to compensate or to turn off volume leveling. Using DSP to boost the volume – probably into digital clipping – is not a wise option.

Your other sources are not subject to volume leveling. That is why they are louder.


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Yes, that’s what I was thinking. It might not be the DSP quality, but clipping. I understand I should adjust volume on the hardware if I use leveling, but I’m just too lazy.

I’m running Acourate which is 4db down when it’s enabled. I like to switch to MQA for comparison which means I have to disable DSP. Is there any way to use volume leveling rather than a manual adjustment? If so how?

In theory, since the volume control is done in 64bit, this shouldn’t happen. But it’s a destructive processing, maybe my computer(NAS) isn’t power enough?

The volume leveling often quite the music by 5-13dB, I set gain to +10dB to compensate and match other system. The result is unsatisfying and obivous. I just turned it off.

I would not do a +10db gain… you are just gonna get major clipping happening. If you don’t want to just turn your amp volume knob up, IMO just turn it off.

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Yeah. But if volume leveling descreased volume by 12db, will gain +10db cause clipping? Trying to understand the algorithm here.

Are you also upsampling? That needs to be in the equation. The only time I use volume leveling is if I’m just using random play. So you may get hot remasters or older masters which are vastly different. But trying to level match all your sources isn’t really gonna happen… at least in my case (vinyl, cd, DAC, tape, Apple TV) all have difference to various degree and that’s what the volume knob is for. :slight_smile:

You said volume leveling attenuated 5-13 dB. Well, for those tracks/albums attenuated just 5 dB, what would you expect a 10 dB gain to do? Not drive them into digital clipping? That makes no logical sense. A 5 dB attenuation and a 10 dB gain could combine for 5 dB digitally clipped peaks.


I use a Broadlink Mini infrared controller and associated app on the iPad to control my analog pre-amp volume control and avoid these issues.

That looks interesting. I’ve got the Harmony Touch remote.

It’s probably a lot quicker, the iPad app takes time to link up and volume is two touches in; not good for “emergency volume situations”. (She cannae take anymore Cap’n !)

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Not upsampling. But any way, as you said, we have an knob for the control so it’s not a too big issue. I’m just too lazy. Isn’t volume leveling designed for lazy people though?

The track I tested was attenuated -15db by volume leveling. +10dB should not cause clipping I think?

For other music Roon identified as quite where it only applied -5dB attenuation, what I tried to find out is how that’s determined. If they are quiet enough then +5dB gain might not result in clipping. Also Roon app do have a clipping indicater(red), it’s not reporting clipping.

Yeah. But that sounds like another remote. :smile:

I really hope there is an amplifier who can sense input volume and align everything. Laziness drives innovation. :wink:

I think it’s main purpose is for shuffle play not for laziness :slight_smile:

What’s wrong with shuffle play? You need to adjust volume for every track. Volume leveling intends to solve that issue.
Lazier person like me don’t want to touch the remote/knob ever. :stuck_out_tongue:

That’s why I use it.