It’s almost completely system specific. My advice is to always have all of the remotes you need for all of your volumes at hand and let your subconscious slowly figure out which volume controls to use when. I suspect that for some there’s a completely different trade off during the noisy day and the quiet night (whether talking about auditory or electrical noise.) Similarly, when there’s too much volume, hiss, etc depends on your speakers and clearly on the time of day…
Using NOS Amperex in the BHK 250, and stock PSA tubes in the BHK preamp. Tried some Raytheon Baldwin tubes in the pre, and it’s kind of a mixed bag. Definitely smoother sounding, but seems to give up some extension in the frequency extremes, and the soundstage is less expensive.
I have gone back and forth on this issue many times and wind up leaving DS at 100 and then working with the BHK volume instead. FWIW. Your mileage with volume will vary.
Thanks Paul. I appreciate your insight.
Personally I think this is part of the fun with this hobby. We’ve got lots of recommendations and preferences from what I believe is a diverse and experienced group of users.
My take-away: Thoughtfully listen to your system with music and sources that you know, and adjust the components in your chain until you hear your personal ideal.
So after I tried both ways with BHK at 53, my listening level of DS would fall between 50 and 65 mostly. Then I went back to DS at 92 and Pre between 25 and 39 mostly. I like the sound of DS at 92! Did anyone else compare the two?
I am spending one more day, for a total of one week, listening to the BHK at above 53 and the DS at 50. I’ll be go back to DS at 93 on Saturday.
Good to know your thought, because my comparison is at a much shorter duration.
I may be slower on the uptake…
You guys must have more sensitive speakers than me. I have DSD at 92 and I listen well above 54 most nights. But then… I drinks a bit.
Focal Sopra 2 @ 91db.
Snap! My Beethoven Baby Grand SEs are also @91db - It has been so interesting to see the different volume levels coming through.
Hmm. Usher Dance Mini Twos @ 90 dB sensitivity–but at 4 ohms, driven by the 4 ohm tap of a tube amp.
Could be it.
Or I am actually deaf…
Yes, and I prefer lowering the DAC’s volume in order to keep the preamp’s volume above 52.
A 92 setting on the DAC and the BHK hovering in the mid 40’s to low 50’s seems to be the sweet spot for me.
Speaker efficiency and the amount of whiskey seems to be the contributing factors.
Since I also play a lot of vinyl, I tried to get the level about the same between the DAC and my turntable. This puts the DAC at about 72. Depending on what I am listening to (and whether the wife is home or not)-the BHK is usually in the upper 40’s to mid 50’s.
I tried the DAC at 92. This puts the BHK in the upper 20’s to mid 30’s, too low for the turntable. Its more of an issue if I forget to lower the BHK back down when it was set for the turntable.
I like not having to worry about switching the volume much between sources. Now, of course, with the discussion, I will have to play around with the DAC volume again.
Good thing I’m on vacation in two weeks.
Well, I just got back from 2 weeks’ vacation. so, it is time to jump back into the audiophile la-la land again.
DAC 90 and BHK 36 works best for me and without changing volume from vinyl to CD. Speakers are Sonus faber Olympica Nova III (90 dB)
I’ve tried pretty much every configuration, and I go with:
BHK Pre at or above 53…always. Just sounds better. On “good” nights, preamp volume is in the low-80’s, and it’s magical.
DS DAC output on “Low”
DS DAC volume anywhere from mid-80’s up to mid-90’s
I just like the sound of the DS DAC better with Low setting than I do with the High setting and the digital volume turned down. Don’t know if it makes sense that it should be any different, but to me I always prefer it using the attenuator.