The conclusion of digital volume regulation

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Rutger
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The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by Rutger »

I think its interesting to know what the conclusion of the quality of using digital volumecontrol in DS or DSM is.

Is it as good as analog volume regulation or is it even better ? Is a good analog attenuation better sounding ?

My own conclusion is that all digital manipulation of the source material are worsening the sound, and thats also the case with digital volume controls. When doing my own recordings using Logic Pro X or audacity with a Mac, even a simple normalisation done in 64 bit floating point puts a digital soundfingerprint over the music, which starts to sound slightly synthetic.

Whats the conclusion on this forum ?
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by Defender »

the same conclusion as yours
Linn is simply lying about the quality of the digital volume control. However that doesn’t mean that all are unhappy with the digital volume control because they don’t realize it as they don't or can't compare it to a good analog one.
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by lejonklou »

Rutger wrote: 2023-09-09 05:19 My own conclusion is that all digital manipulation of the source material are worsening the sound, and thats also the case with digital volume controls.
Hi Rutger!

We concluded the same thing when working on project Källa. One of its most important qualities is how the data flows in a harmonious stream, all the way from the streaming service to the conversion to analogue, with a minimal amount of manipulation, no oversampling and no buffers that are pumping up and down in size.

Each of these add, as you say, a synthetic character to the music. On the surface it sounds pretty, but the groove is missing. Part of the thrill is lost.
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by Øyvind I »

As with everything, things are more difficult than they appear - even the question.
For the DSM (Akurate including ADSM/2 and Majik including MDSM/3) Linn recognized that the digital volume control was insufficiently developed and hence the user were given the option in Konfig (or newer web based via Linn account) to select do digitize analog signal or not. Hence two circuits.
General consus on web is that analogue was better and this is also the case in my view. The old digital volume control makes the music flat and boring. It's a big difference in my view. I'm generally not to enthusiastic about SO but have managed to get it working in one room such that its just as engaging but only "clearer" and more defined than without - but only for streaming. When using my LP12 the limitations in digital volume control is is so great that it becomes "clear" but the tune and life is removed. (Majik LP12 with Lingo 1, ADSM/2, Majik 6100 and active M109)
That's for older technology from around 2011 for the above products.

Newer version (Katalyst and Organic) has different technology and everything is digitized and I find these products clearly better than the old versions.
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by Matteo »

Øyvind I wrote: 2023-09-10 10:09 As with everything, things are more difficult than they appear - even the question.
For the DSM (Akurate including ADSM/2 and Majik including MDSM/3) Linn recognized that the digital volume control was insufficiently developed and hence the user were given the option in Konfig (or newer web based via Linn account) to select do digitize analog signal or not. Hence two circuits.
General consus on web is that analogue was better and this is also the case in my view. The old digital volume control makes the music flat and boring. It's a big difference in my view. I'm generally not to enthusiastic about SO but have managed to get it working in one room such that its just as engaging but only "clearer" and more defined than without - but only for streaming. When using my LP12 the limitations in digital volume control is is so great that it becomes "clear" but the tune and life is removed. (Majik LP12 with Lingo 1, ADSM/2, Majik 6100 and active M109)
That's for older technology from around 2011 for the above products.

Newer version (Katalyst and Organic) has different technology and everything is digitized and I find these products clearly better than the old versions.
My experience was quite similar but ... finally I sold my DSM/3 and came back to a good analogue pre-amp
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by Kalle05 »

Øyvind I wrote: 2023-09-10 10:09 As with everything, things are more difficult than they appear - even the question.
For the DSM (Akurate including ADSM/2 and Majik including MDSM/3) Linn recognized that the digital volume control was insufficiently developed and hence the user were given the option in Konfig (or newer web based via Linn account) to select do digitize analog signal or not. Hence two circuits.
General consus on web is that analogue was better and this is also the case in my view. The old digital volume control makes the music flat and boring. It's a big difference in my view. I'm generally not to enthusiastic about SO but have managed to get it working in one room such that its just as engaging but only "clearer" and more defined than without - but only for streaming. When using my LP12 the limitations in digital volume control is is so great that it becomes "clear" but the tune and life is removed. (Majik LP12 with Lingo 1, ADSM/2, Majik 6100 and active M109)
That's for older technology from around 2011 for the above products.

Newer version (Katalyst and Organic) has different technology and everything is digitized and I find these products clearly better than the old versions.
I asked Linn helpline about this some time ago, below is there answer
"The digital features allows analogue signals to be digitised to allow Space optimisation to be applied to them. The volume control is completely digital. There is no option to make it an analogue volume control."
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by ThomasOK »

I have yet to hear a DVC that is as musical, engaging and rhythmic as a good analog preamp. Even the latest KDSM with the Organic DAC, while it is better than the predecessors, still is more musical to me through a KK and significantly more so through Sagatun Monos or even a Giella ∏.

While Linn's DVC has gotten better with each new DAC design (which in itself is interesting since they have been describing it as lossless for some time) it still hasn't reached the level musically of the best analog. Since Gilad recently said that making the system better is not about PRaT and musicality (not an exact quote but I can't find the actual one) but just about lowering noise and distortion perhaps this is not surprising.
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by Zee9 »

I’ve never been able to prove it but something about the DVC bothers me. I’ve just sold my mdsm/3 and need to replace the preamp in the bedroom. The rest of the system is tundra 2.2 Tarandus and Kan II’s. Which my wife will never let me sell as she thinks that’s a perfect pairing. The speakers are 2” from the wall which also gives her space to use them for her online yoga classes.

Someone just mentioned an akurate kontrol in a recent post as a Great preamp but I can’t seem to find that thread. I’m on the verge of buying a pre 2010 Akurate Kontrol and was wondering if that had a DVC as well or is it considered an analog amp with dacs for the digital inputs.

Has anyone tried an akurate Kontrol (The 5.1 older casing version) as a preamp for a tundra?
1. LP12/Selekt/TS 2.5/kabers+RelT7i
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by Tendaberry »

Zee9 wrote: 2023-09-12 21:49Has anyone tried an akurate Kontrol (The 5.1 older casing version) as a preamp for a tundra?
That is basically an Exotik preamp, which really isn't the best Linn preamp... I'm quite sure it doesn't have a DVC, but do you really need all that surround decoding etc.?
Wouldn't a Giella ∏ or Superkikkin make more sense (besides sounding better)?
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by matthias »

Tendaberry wrote: 2023-09-13 10:01 Wouldn't a Giella ∏ or Superkikkin make more sense (besides sounding better)?
+1
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by tokenbrit »

Zee9 wrote: 2023-09-12 21:49


Someone just mentioned an akurate kontrol in a recent post as a Great preamp but I can’t seem to find that thread. I’m on the verge of buying a pre 2010 Akurate Kontrol and was wondering if that had a DVC as well or is it considered an analog amp with dacs for the digital inputs.

Has anyone tried an akurate Kontrol (The 5.1 older casing version) as a preamp for a tundra?
Decent yes, great no, and that was pre 2010 - analog + dac, not dvc, iirc.

I’d imagine there’s quite a few better alternatives to a 15 year old (complex) preamp & dac, especially with a Tundra, unless you need all that a 5.1 Akurate Kontrol does.

I went from AK + 4200 to Tundra, then to Monos… AK was ok; don’t think it let the Tundra(s) sing musically. Looking back it didn’t have the warmth of earlier Linn like a Kairn, but had a bit of a musically veiled presentation - more about precision than communication. Didn’t compare AK to original Sagatun, but Sagatun Monos beat Klimax Kontrol, so you can draw a conclusion from that ;)

i don’t recall the AK dac being anything special and Linn kept improving what was in their DS, so that wouldn’t be a selling point for me.

Since you have / like Lejonklou electronics, why not a Sagatun, or one of Tendaberry’s suggestions... Alternatively trade the Tundra towards a Boazu
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by matthias »

tokenbrit wrote: 2023-09-13 19:36 Alternatively trade the Tundra towards a Boazu
+1,
btw on the Hexagon Audio homepage is the Boazu 2 announced.
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by tokenbrit »

Zee9 wrote: 2023-09-12 21:49 ... I’ve just sold my mdsm/3 and need to replace the preamp in the bedroom. The rest of the system is tundra 2.2 Tarandus and Kan II’s…
What are you planning to use as the source(s)?
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by Zee9 »

tokenbrit wrote: 2023-09-14 14:52
Zee9 wrote: 2023-09-12 21:49 ... I’ve just sold my mdsm/3 and need to replace the preamp in the bedroom. The rest of the system is tundra 2.2 Tarandus and Kan II’s…
What are you planning to use as the source(s)?
For now just a wiim mini till I can find the streamer I want. Ideally a KSH for my main system and then move the select DSM to the bedroom.
1. LP12/Selekt/TS 2.5/kabers+RelT7i
2. WiiM/modi3+/TS 2.2/Kan II
3. Genki/Kairn/5105/Kabers
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by sktn77a »

The logical conclusion to this discussion is that a simple potentiometer between source and power amplifier would give the best sound. Several posts and reviews on various fora have claimed otherwise (ie that an active preamp produces a better sound than the simple potentiometer). Numerous explanations for these findings were put forward - impedance matching, buffering, etc.

So which is best...... a simple potentiometer, an active analog gain/attenuation stage, a digital gain/attenuation stage?

(Now, where's the popcorn and beer?)
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by matthias »

sktn77a wrote: 2023-09-16 01:53 So which is best...... a simple potentiometer, an active analog gain/attenuation stage, a digital gain/attenuation stage?
Please read this...

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6067&p=69706&hilit=preamp#p69706

...and the following posts
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by Defender »

sktn77a wrote: 2023-09-16 01:53 The logical conclusion to this discussion is that a simple potentiometer between source and power amplifier would give the best sound. Several posts and reviews on various fora have claimed otherwise (ie that an active preamp produces a better sound than the simple potentiometer). Numerous explanations for these findings were put forward - impedance matching, buffering, etc.

So which is best...... a simple potentiometer, an active analog gain/attenuation stage, a digital gain/attenuation stage?

(Now, where's the popcorn and beer?)
passive volume control (potentiometer) robbs the soul out of the music
digital VC does the same
… both sound detailed so it might fool many people

best is a decent analog pre amp

but it can be not generalized we are speaking about what is the best without consideration of money
If you look at lower levels or midrange solutions it might be that things are different.
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by beck »

I think changing patterns of vibration are playing tricks on us all. Therefore opinions differ.

(It does not help either that we all listen differently.)

The very smallest change of anything in my setup creates a new “sound” and a different portrayal of the music (when using my digital source).
Playing cd’s…………
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by lejonklou »

sktn77a wrote: 2023-09-16 01:53 So which is best...... a simple potentiometer, an active analog gain/attenuation stage, a digital gain/attenuation stage?
This is a great question and a rabbit hole I went down in 2007 (analogue options) and again in 2017 (digital volume). As a result, I ended up with just a volume control (Kikkin) in 2008 when my intention was to make an entire pre amp.

In my opinion, analogue volume needs to be an active circuit to perform really well. The reasons are impedance matching and filtering. But active circuitry can add bad things, so lots of care must be taken when designing it.

We did many versions of a digital volume control on Källa and at times we were optimistic. But every time we sat down to compare with a Sagatun, we concluded that we just can't released it with a digital volume. People who use it won't know what they're missing.
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by neonmeatedream »

I don't think im qualified enough to speak at great length on this, but when i moved from my Kisto to an ADSM 3 i was expecting fireworks. The sound was definitely different as opposed to better.

The ADSM lent a very precise dimension to the music, which with some types of production can be quite thrilling and exciting. With other types of music it seemed to lose its flow, still good, but less engaging than the Kisto.

I'm in no hurry to change the ADSM, but I would love to try a KK or a Sagatun in the mix just to see.

However, system is currently in storage and has been for over a year. To say its saddens me deeply, is an understatement.
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by Mitmu »

I can 100% 'confirm' the DVC as Linn is using is in term of musical performance a big killer unfortunately, but when you have never tried you really don't know this, as I did.

I had a ADSM/3-Katalyst hooked to a Tundra 2.5 for the better part of 3 years and loved it from the first moment, came from a MDSM/3, so this was a big upgrade. I had a small step to a Linn Exakt system, AEDSM + Majik Exaktbox and Majik Isobarik's, but after about a month I only used the system to listed to the sound of the TV or maybe 1 or 2 songs, not listening to music any more, for me not engaging, and actually a bit boring, the fun was gone, so sold all and traded the Exaktbox for a Tundra 2.5 as a blind gamble, and boy did it pay off.

After this, I was really happy with my system, but then the Kalla came out and I asked Marco for a demo. Since my ADSM would be obsolete in this system using the Kalla, Marco supplied me with a Giella 1.2 and a Kikkin for testing as a volume control which I did not have.... To have a benchmark for this test, I hooked the Kikkin in my system with the ADSM/3 and was blown away immediately, all that I never knew I missed regarding musicality in my system suddenly was there.... adding the Giella and Kalla just made everything better, so the choice in the end was not that hard, after 15 years I would not have a Linn component in my system anymore... So far I have been using the Kikkin which Marco lend me until the Superkikkin would be available and I can't wait, my system so far will be complete (would not dare to test the TM3 haha)

So I am a bit disappointed with Linn and the use of a DVC actually, since it is a good option but not the best, and for the price of Linn components these days I was shocked a 10 year old Kikkin would make it so much better....
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Re: The conclusion of digital volume regulation

Post by Kalle05 »

I tried this at my old budget system, i have a Linn Majik DS-I (DSM without hdmi),
bought an old Majik-I integrated amplifier (manufactured 1997) and then i
disabled the amp and preamp in the Majik DS-I, connected the Majik-I and the
difference is so big that i could not believe it first, i can´t describe it more than it
now is more natural sounding and the music and the feeling is a 100% better.
With Majik DS-I amp in use it was flat and lifeless, the feeling of the music was not there.
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