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DDRC-22D - Volume Bypass or Default 3 months 3 weeks ago #60991

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I sent a support request to miniDSP and would like to know if others agree or disagree.  I think it would also apply to other hardware, such as the SHD Studio.

My request was as follows:
The DDRC-22D volume control is redundant given that it must be used with an external pre-amp.  I would expect that the vast majority of DDRC-22D users would utilize the volume control on their pre-amp as I do and have no need for volume control on the DDRC-22D.  Would miniDSP please consider adding an option on the plug-in to either bypass the volume control so that the output is always 0 dB or an option for the user to set a default turn-on volume ?  Every AVR or pre-amp I have owned allows for a default volume setting.  It is a nuisance to have to continually reset the volume to 0 dB when I turn my system on, especially given there is no volume display.

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DDRC-22D - Volume Bypass or Default 3 months 3 weeks ago #60993

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The DDRC-22D volume control is redundant given that it must be used with an external pre-amp.

That's actually not true. It doesn't have to be used with an external pre-amp.

Given the volume control is in the digital domain there is nothing for you to ask to be bypassed, although I understand you wanting it to remember the previous setting if switched off.

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DDRC-22D - Volume Bypass or Default 3 months 3 weeks ago #60994

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Could you provide an example of a complete system where the DDRC-22D would be the only hardware device with a volume control ?

By bypass, I mean no attenuation, which would typically be the 0 dB setting.  I don't see how it matters if the volume control is digital or analog.  Either way, it is attenuating the signal.

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DDRC-22D - Volume Bypass or Default 3 months 3 weeks ago #60995

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Could you provide an example of a complete system where the DDRC-22D would be the only hardware device with a volume control ?

Streamer or CD player → DDRC-22D → DAC → power amp → speakers (or it could be DAC → active speakers).

The distinction between digital and analogue volume control here is that setting the digital volume control on a miniDSP to 0 dB means it is doing precisely nothing, whereas setting zero gain on an analogue volume control still means there are additional and redundant components in the signal pathway that some may want to try to bypass. 

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DDRC-22D - Volume Bypass or Default 3 months 3 weeks ago #60996

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I did actually consider that specific arrangement but I think my situation is not that common in that I am integrating a 2-channel system within my HT.  I would have had to add something like an XLR splitter between the DAC and my power amplifier but then I realized I essentially had a splitter in my HT pre-amp but, of course, it also adds a volume control.  I believe a far more common dedicated 2-channel system will have either a stereo pre-amp/dac combined with a power amplifier or just an integrated amplifier and thus redundant volume control.  On top of that, the most common music source these days is a streamer and I am not aware of any streamers that do not have volume control.  My NAD M50.2 (Bluesound) streamer has digital volume control but then it also has the volume lock (bypass) feature that I would like to see in miniDSP hardware.

The bottom line, and I think you would agree, is that it is not an ideal to have multiple volume controls within a single system.  I do agree that having an extra digital control would be preferred to a second analog control but it still needs to be bypassable.  It just seems like a huge oversight that miniDSP does not offer a volume bypass on any of their hardware.

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DDRC-22D - Volume Bypass or Default 3 months 3 weeks ago #60999

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I did actually consider that specific arrangement but I think my situation is not that common in that I am integrating a 2-channel system within my HT.  I would have had to add something like an XLR splitter between the DAC and my power amplifier but then I realized I essentially had a splitter in my HT pre-amp but, of course, it also adds a volume control.  I believe a far more common dedicated 2-channel system will have either a stereo pre-amp/dac combined with a power amplifier or just an integrated amplifier and thus redundant volume control.  On top of that, the most common music source these days is a streamer and I am not aware of any streamers that do not have volume control.  My NAD M50.2 (Bluesound) streamer has digital volume control but then it also has the volume lock (bypass) feature that I would like to see in miniDSP hardware.

The bottom line, and I think you would agree, is that it is not an ideal to have multiple volume controls within a single system.  I do agree that having an extra digital control would be preferred to a second analog control but it still needs to be bypassable.  It just seems like a huge oversight that miniDSP does not offer a volume bypass on any of their hardware.

Sorry, you seem to be missing one of my key points. Setting the digital volume control to 0dB is 100% indistinguishable from there being no digital volume control option present. There is no additional requirement for any sort of 'bypass'. From what I can tell all you want is for it to default to 0 dB when the unit is switched on from fully off. Note that depending on the input signal there will be situations where some digital attenuation is required to prevent digital clipping caused by EQ boosts added by Driac Live or manually by the user. This can be done either using the master volume control or with an attenuation defined in the plugin though.

On the other points yes there are loads of systems where a analogue pre-amps are used in conjunction with miniDSP products. The only point I was making was that this wasn't essential as you'd suggested, and so there are situations where the volume control on the DDRC-22D will be beneficial.

For context I've used both a 2x4 HD and and SHD as 'pre-amps' in my system in terms of source selection and volume control. Doing so actually facilitates one of the key benefits of this type of miniDSP: proper subwoofer integration.

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DDRC-22D - Volume Bypass or Default 3 months 3 weeks ago #61001

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No, I understood your point but perhaps I was not clear that it is defaulting to some low volume and not even sure what that is because of the lack of a volume display.  The lack of a volume display is just one more reason I prefer to use my pre-amp for volume control.  I had hoped that setting the volume to 0 dB within the plug-in would retain the setting by default but it does not.  Every time I turn on the system, I need to blindly crank the volume knob until I think it is at 0dB.

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DDRC-22D - Volume Bypass or Default 3 months 3 weeks ago #61002

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No, I understood your point but perhaps I was not clear that it is defaulting to some low volume and not even sure what that is because of the lack of a volume display.  The lack of a volume display is just one more reason I prefer to use my pre-amp for volume control.  I had hoped that setting the volume to 0 dB within the plug-in would retain the setting by default but it does not.  Every time I turn on the system, I need to blindly crank the volume knob until I think it is at 0dB.

Oh yes, I absolutely get the frustration of not having a volume display. This and the lack of source selection indicator on my 2x4 HD was a major reason I replaced in with the SHD. The Flex models now offer a middle-ground option with a display.

Presumably if you didn't turn your DDRC-22D off it would retain the same volume setting? You can see what miniDSP support say but my guess is that it not switching on at 0dB is seen as a safely feature for those who do intend to use it to control volume. 

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DDRC-22D - Volume Bypass or Default 3 months 3 weeks ago #61004

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I almost went with the SHD Studio but it was more than I needed and more than I wanted to spend.  I looked at the Flex too but it only outputs 48 kHz.  I'm hoping some day there will be a DSP with room correction that simply matches the frequency and bit rate of the source material.  I probably should not say this here, but I'm hoping Audyssey comes out with a stand alone solution some day soon.  I think Audyssey is more user friendly versus Dirac and it now works really well with the roll out of their app and PC based versions.

I did hear back already from miniDSP and they were puzzled that the DDRC-22D was not retaining my volume setting but I'm not sure if they understood I was turning the system off (via a PDU).  It's all in my living room entertainment center with my home theater equipment and it would drive me nuts to see those blaring LED's at night, even though I have covered the LED's with a tinted tape.

I do agree that the volume setting defaulting to some relatively low volume may be a safety feature on their part and also due to how Dirac works with the volume calibration.  The irony is that the default max volume limit for Dirac is set so low that I had to max out the mic gain and then crank my pre-amp volume close to 0 dB to get an adequately loud pink noise test tone.  I finally determined that the best scenario is to override the master volume lock in the Dirac software and set it to 0 dB... that way I can set my pre-amp volume to a reasonable level somewhere between -30 and -20 dB.

In the end, I think miniDSP will have a more marketable product if they add some additional user control/options.  Something as simple as a default turn on volume would be huge for me in terms of useability and would be very helpful for those actually using the DDRC's volume control because at least they would know where they are starting.  All the Bluesound streaming devices have digital volume and the ability to lock/defeat the volume control.  It's puzzling that miniDSP did not add this capability with their SHD line.  I was close to purchasing the SHD Studio after it was introduced but ended up with a NAD M50.2 mainly due to the lack of a volume defeat feature on the SHD.

Anyway, I do thank you for your feedback.
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DDRC-22D - Volume Bypass or Default 3 months 3 weeks ago #61006

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In the end, I think miniDSP will have a more marketable product if they add some additional user control/options.  Something as simple as a default turn on volume would be huge for me in terms of useability and would be very helpful for those actually using the DDRC's volume control because at least they would know where they are starting.  All the Bluesound streaming devices have digital volume and the ability to lock/defeat the volume control.  It's puzzling that miniDSP did not add this capability with their SHD line.  I was close to purchasing the SHD Studio after it was introduced but ended up with a NAD M50.2 mainly due to the lack of a volume defeat feature on the SHD.

Fundamentally I think the SHD and SHD Studio are intended to be powered on 24/7 and taken in and out of standby as needed. This is how I use mine and doing so means it always retains the previous volume setting. The older models used more power in standby but the current (Neo3) SHDs use less than half a Watt I think, so there's no real benefit from turning them off.

I don't know what you mean by the final point in bold, which I thought I'd probably covered off above?

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DDRC-22D - Volume Bypass or Default 3 months 3 weeks ago #61007

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It's a specific setting to lock out (fix to max) the volume control on Bluesound products and I am sure most other streamers in the market.  It retains this setting even after cycling power.

There are other reasons to turn off the power besides energy savings.  I cited one in particular, the blazing LED lights.  Dimmability of the lights would be another nice option miniDSP could add but that might be limited by the current hardware.  I can partly or completely dim my NAD streamer.

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DDRC-22D - Volume Bypass or Default 3 months 3 weeks ago #61008

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It's a specific setting to lock out (fix to max) the volume control on Bluesound products and I am sure most other streamers in the market.  It retains this setting even after cycling power.

There are other reasons to turn off the power besides energy savings.  I cited one in particular, the blazing LED lights.  Dimmability of the lights would be another nice option miniDSP could add but that might be limited by the current hardware.  I can partly or completely dim my NAD streamer.

The power cycling aspect really is the only bit missing on miniDSPs on the volume front. Apart from this it would only be a pretty unusual use case where someone wanted 0 dB volume some of the time and much lower at others where there would be a meaningful difference between a button to toggle to this vs just changing the volume.

For what it's worth SHDs have no LEDs and the screen can fully switch off after a set time so when mine is playing music there is no light from it at all, and there is none in standby too of course.

In functionality terms I think the main advantage of SHDs over the NAD offerings is subwoofer integration, whereas I think the NADs have an edge in using BluOs rather than Volumio.

I think you realise but do bear in mind for your original request that the 22D is a fairly old product (released in 2014 I think). Just mentioning this as it makes performance changes less likely I think.

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