DAC output & "unity gain"

Should I set the voltage output of a DAC to match the input sensitivity (+4dBu) of my active monitors?
I do have a DAC that keeps resolution with volume changes so I’ve been left wondering if more voltage than what the speakers are “expecting” to receive is detrimental or not.
The DAC’s max output is 3.4V.

So basically, are the monitors clipping somewhat if I keep the DAC at full volume?
1.228 / 3.4 is about 40% so I now keep the DAC at constant 40% volume and set the speakers’ volume to max via the plate amps to get the required volume…

Isn’t not obiding by monitors’ input sensitivity restrictions harmful?

Well… Do they “clip” if fed with more than about 1.228V, which is their input sensitivity?

Very simple question about input sensitivity matching…

i suspect there are no absolutes.
gain structure is vital. but…
i get it, i do. i just spent an hour lining up the level between drivers on my “science project” system (it’s not a science project, but that show i refer to it to my wife so she doesn’t complain that she can’t drive it).

when i finished it was nice and flat and sounded crap.

many figures quoted by manufactures are off anyway so best to try it and see :slight_smile:

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Well, yes, I can’t really know, right. Not without tools.
I certainly don’t have expensive tools for confirming if any “clipping” or other unwanted driver response is happening at higher than suggested voltages. If there is any such detriment, I guess I’d have to be able to discern in with my ears.

It is hard to determine really, because, it does sound more brash with max voltage and enough gain on the plate amps, but how could I ever be sure if it’s the drivers or my ears clipping? I have fairly small sensitive ears and they tend to clip long before most electronics. Heh.
What I mean by ears clipping is the sensation of too high a local pressure in the ear canal, a feeling of the ear “pushing back against” the excessive volume. Having my ears too full in this sense is the greatest contributor to detail being masked. I’d wager everyone suffers from personalized hearing sensitivity related nuisances but some people can crank the volume VERY hard before their hifi experience is ruined.
Glare, for me, is the worst enemy in this regard. Going even a bit over my “glare threshold” at moderately low levels easily ruins a listening experience. I guess the size of the ear and its dimensions (and one’s personal values of neural feedback, yada yada) give us our personal tolerances in this regard. Well, what else?

Anyway, this is ultimately about the issue of not being able to listen loud enough at all to gleam precise detail from high SPL sound… Unless the recording happens to be tailored just right for my ears - surprisingly, I can listen to Pomassl - Skeleton (the vinyl) at max volume without any strain and I couldn’t think of a heftier album, it’s mastered to be pure uranium/lead with a taste of beryllium. Franz Pomassl is a somewhat prominent audio researcher and lecturer at Vienna University, might explain why his mastering is easy on the ears. Hmmh.

…did I seriously bother to describe ear fatigue at such lengths?
Yep, I meant ear fatigue. Just so.

This is also about not being able to trust one’s ears in determining the presence or lack of certain qualities because the ears are just really picky eaters and our brains are dream machines that just so and so manage at handling a somewhat linearly constructed worldview.

I arrive at the conclusion that the issue of this topic isn’t solved without measuring devices and mathematics. Math would do in itself, but we can’t trust the specified nominal values, as mentioned. They sure as hell should be quite exact in an ideal world where manufacturers actually care about preserving the +0dB throughout!

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The desire for mega-measuring instrumentation is strong, but must be resisted :smiley:

Well let’s say it’s maybe superfluous to intricately measure audio gear that’s already been designed, unless it’s for a Stereophile article…
Ultraprecise tools are needed for the creator, I’m kind of one but definitely don’t have enough capital to build let alone measure my designs… But when I do, I’ll do it proper. Won’t even bother auditioning the designs with copper, because it’s mandatorily inferior to proper silver wiring. It kind of bothers me that companies tend to (apparently) audition their speakers with copper, then the consumer adds silver and finds it “bright”… Right, it’s not the silver’s fault, the speakers just might be “not so bright” with copper as how they were conceived and tested. The speakers are bright, not the silver.
So much misinformation about silver in general and such strong adjectives as “bright” thrown around… sigh…