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Should I control PC volume or AMP volume

Wharfedale Evo 4.2

Vijay_s

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I connected my NORGE 1000 AMP to PC but I am confused whether to control volume from PC or control it from AMP. I use foobar200 to play the music.
My fear is that if my kid turn the Knob to max does it damage my speakers? Currently I use volume level 1 out of 10 when PC volume set to max.
 

moserw

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I connected my NORGE 1000 AMP to PC but I am confused whether to control volume from PC or control it from AMP. I use foobar200 to play the music.
My fear is that if my kid turn the Knob to max does it damage my speakers? Currently I use volume level 1 out of 10 when PC volume set to max.

I set the PC volume to a max of 50% and use the remote to control i.e. increase/decrease speaker volume. I've powered speakers so they have inbuilt amp. The 50% on the PC protects from going overboard even at 100% on the speaker volume. I increase the PC volume to 75% or so for partying, etc. where the noise levels have to be really high.
 

reju

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I would recommend to keep mid-level volume in your media player of the PC for undistorted sound. I guess if you have connected through line-out of PC, the system volume does affect the overall volume? Otherwise keep this also in mid-range.
 

spirovious

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I always keep vol of PC 100% so that amp vol is cut down & so the heat,power consumption & distortion are reduced.
 

marsilians

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I connected my NORGE 1000 AMP to PC but I am confused whether to control volume from PC or control it from AMP. I use foobar200 to play the music.
My fear is that if my kid turn the Knob to max does it damage my speakers? Currently I use volume level 1 out of 10 when PC volume set to max.

Not knowing which card you are using, i would up the PC volume till the point just below when you hear distortion. Then adjust the amp volume respectively.

You need as much of a gain and resolution on an input signal as possible to amplify it.
 

greenhorn

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agree with cranky. Lower the PC volume till its about 40%, and turn up the amp gain as high as possible, till the point at which the amp's residual noise is audible. then turn up the volume on the PC.

I'd say avoid adjusting the volume on the amp as much as possible, as it will lead to wear and tear of the amp's vol control pot. no such danger while using the PC's volume control.

If your sound source on your PC is one of them noisy onboards, you may not be able to push the levels on your amp much. check if the inputs on your mixer - mix, aux in, line in etc are all muted - they will all contribute to the noise.

If you are using foobar, use kernel streaming, and mute everything but master volume.
 

Vijay_s

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Thanks to all of you for your valuable reply, I use onboard intel HD audio, Based on your inputs i decided to keep PC volume to 50% and control AMP volume.
 

moserw

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Thanks to all of you for your valuable reply, I use onboard intel HD audio, Based on your inputs i decided to keep PC volume to 50% and control AMP volume.

Speakers should never go to 100% or else will get damaged. If you can go to 100% of the PC and ensure it will never go to 100% on the amp then go with 100% on the PC or as high as it will go without distortion.

Otherwise if there is chance/danger of going 100% with the amp (like kids, etc.) then a safer lock-in option of 50% or 75-80% max on the PC is better. That's my line of thinking and hence I keep at 50% or a max of 75-80% on the PC.
 

reju

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Given the above, I would recommend switching on the amp and PC, and keeping the amp volume as high as possible, such that no hiss is detectable on the output at all. The volume than then be controlled from the PC, leaving the amp volume fixed at this point. Yes you lose some resolution, but I think the amp would not be revealing enough to tell the difference...

Setting very high volume of AMP is very risky and not advisable, specially when you change input/ source on your amplifier, (it's difficult to be very cautious each time) the sudden burst can damage your speakers and your ears too.

Also, always lower volume of AMP before you stop playing the music or powering off the amp. Your speakers will stay in perfect shape then & last longer.

So it's ideal to keep PC volumes level around mid, or around a point where there it matches with volume from other sources. So then you don't get sudden bursts while switching inputs on your amp.
 

moserw

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Let me throw up one more point. What about the player volume?

In a PC setting there are basically 3 volume controls/settings. First is the player (for me cPlay and for svkndv Foobar) which has a volume control. Second is the PC h/w like Windows Sound Control or the Soundcards like Creative and Asus and finally the amplifier or in my case the powered speakers.

I've always put the player (cPlay, Foobar) at 100%, the soundcard (Creative, Asus) at generally the 75% mark and use the amp/powered speakers to turn on the system, shut it down, increase/decrease the volume i.e. generally change the volume depending on the music I'm listening to, my mood, human traffic in my room, etc. In this scenario the player and the system/soundcard settings never get touched/changed except when I'm trying to tweak or play around with the settings or maybe do room calibration if the speakers are moved. By and large only the powered speakers volume control is used and this was the scenario even when I used PC speakers like Altec Lansing, Creative, Klipsch, etc.
 

venkatcr

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To elaborate on what Cranky has said, let me point out a basic flaw in the connectivity methodology.

An Integrated amp such as the Norge has pre amp, and a power amp. All inputs are routed through the pre amp. A pre amp expects input from a CD, a tape or other devices, or what is called a line level signal.

The level of a line level signal is defined as a ratio, expressed in decibels, against a standard reference voltage. For our use, Decibel volts (dBV) is used.

The reference voltage for the decibel volt (0 dBV) is 1 VRMS, which is the voltage required to produce 1 milliwatt (mW) of power across a 1 kilohm (kOhm) load. The reference voltage for the decibel unloaded (0 dBu) is the voltage required to produce 1 mW of power across a 600 Ohms load (approximately 0.7746 VRMS).

The most common nominal level for consumer audio equipment is -10 dBV which has an amplitude of approximately 0.316 volts root mean square (VRMS). Professional audio though vary in strength between 1.2 VRMS to 1.5 VRMS.

When you connect a PC or an iPOD to the pre-amp of a integrated amplifier, you are not supplying line level output. What you are supplying is amplified output that can drive headphones or small speakers. This is usually at around 2v or more. Thus this connectivity, by its very nature, is overloading the preamp and will introduce distortion very early. Logically, the output from a PC or iPOD should go to a power amp that would be expecting 1 to 2v input, and can amplify the signal without any distortion.

Unfortunately, as Cranky has said, there is nothing much you can do with integrated amps that do no not have a separate input for power amplification. All you can do is to keep the input to the amp as low as possible so that you introduce least amount of distortion. The ideal levels can only be decided by trial and error.

Yesterday I connected the peramp Front L&R of a Yamaha 663 to the peramp input of a NAD 320. Distortion set in immediately even at 30dB. Fortunately the 320 can be made to act as a pure power amp by removing the bridges in the rear. When I did this, the sound opened up immediately and was distortion free even at 100dB. Of course when you use the 320 as a power amp, you use only the external preamp (in this case the Yamaha 663) for volume control.

Ideally you should use a power amplifier for any signal that is not a line level signal.

Cheers
 

cooltoad

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Google search didn't throw any solution. So did a seach here and got plenty of information. Thanks to Cranky and all the other members.
 

alpha1

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To elaborate on what Cranky has said, let me point out a basic flaw in the connectivity methodology.

An Integrated amp such as the Norge has pre amp, and a power amp. All inputs are routed through the pre amp. A pre amp expects input from a CD, a tape or other devices, or what is called a line level signal.

The level of a line level signal is defined as a ratio, expressed in decibels, against a standard reference voltage. For our use, Decibel volts (dBV) is used.

The reference voltage for the decibel volt (0 dBV) is 1 VRMS, which is the voltage required to produce 1 milliwatt (mW) of power across a 1 kilohm (kOhm) load. The reference voltage for the decibel unloaded (0 dBu) is the voltage required to produce 1 mW of power across a 600 Ohms load (approximately 0.7746 VRMS).

The most common nominal level for consumer audio equipment is -10 dBV which has an amplitude of approximately 0.316 volts root mean square (VRMS). Professional audio though vary in strength between 1.2 VRMS to 1.5 VRMS.

When you connect a PC or an iPOD to the pre-amp of a integrated amplifier, you are not supplying line level output. What you are supplying is amplified output that can drive headphones or small speakers. This is usually at around 2v or more. Thus this connectivity, by its very nature, is overloading the preamp and will introduce distortion very early. Logically, the output from a PC or iPOD should go to a power amp that would be expecting 1 to 2v input, and can amplify the signal without any distortion.

Unfortunately, as Cranky has said, there is nothing much you can do with integrated amps that do no not have a separate input for power amplification. All you can do is to keep the input to the amp as low as possible so that you introduce least amount of distortion. The ideal levels can only be decided by trial and error.

Yesterday I connected the peramp Front L&R of a Yamaha 663 to the peramp input of a NAD 320. Distortion set in immediately even at 30dB. Fortunately the 320 can be made to act as a pure power amp by removing the bridges in the rear. When I did this, the sound opened up immediately and was distortion free even at 100dB. Of course when you use the 320 as a power amp, you use only the external preamp (in this case the Yamaha 663) for volume control.

Ideally you should use a power amplifier for any signal that is not a line level signal.

Cheers
Thanks for those details.

However what about using the speaker port of soundcard (old creative SBLive)?
In my sound card there are two ports - one for speakers (where it assumes that speakers will come with its own amplification/power), and the other one is headphone port - which is what you have covered.
There used to be one for line out also, but after installing the kXdriver, it seems that line port is used for some other purpose (rear speakers).

Is this speaker port at line level?
 
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Logically, the output from a PC or iPOD should go to a power amp that would be expecting 1 to 2v input, and can amplify the signal without any distortion.

Unfortunately, as Cranky has said, there is nothing much you can do with integrated amps that do no not have a separate input for power amplification. All you can do is to keep the input to the amp as low as possible so that you introduce least amount of distortion. The ideal levels can only be decided by trial and error.
I have Marantz PM7001 which can act as a power amp as well. So when I connect a PC output, its better to connect to the power amp direct input?
 

kaushik

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A carefully designed stepped attenuator can help in avoiding problems with carbon pot (if there)in the preamps.

Is there a low cost way to prevent preamp overloading by pc speaker out, resistive dropper etc?

on other good solution,specially if it is a laptop, is using a hotaudio DAC (ebay)that has RCA outs matched to line level output.
 
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