There is a thread on another forum that claims the DirectStream digital attenuation lowers sound quality. Here is the thread link:
Here is a quote from one post:
“The DirectStreams (both Jr and Sr) are considerably noisier than most other DACs as a result of their single bit designs with digital switches in the output stage. This makes digital attenuation for the DirectStreams especially problematic as the available range is severely limited. The designer, Ted Smith openly acknowledges the issue and attempted to work around it by providing a relay that attenuates the outputs 20db by adding a shunt resistor to ground. Enabling the relay lowers both the signal and noise floor by 20db, while digital attenuation only lowers the signal. In practice, even the attenuator workaround wasn’t sufficient with my DirectStream Sr (6db quieter than the Jr) as more than a couple db of digital attenuation still degraded sound quality. I ended up using a number of passive preamps of varying quality, any of which were more competent than the digital attenuation. FWIW, Ted uses an external preamp himself.”
Are these posts off base?