Directstream at 100 or at 50


In my system (BAT tube preamp and amp), no question that the preamp sound is better for me than direct from Directsteam to amp. I have a question:

The volume control on my preamp goes from 0 to 100. I can run the Directstream at 100 and the preamp at 20 or the directstream at 50 and the preamp at 75. I know it doesn’t matter to the output from the directstream whether i set it at 100 or 50 but is there an optimal amount to allow through to the preamp? Is it better to have the preamp volume setting lower or higher or is there an optimal amount?? I know with an amp you like to leave as much headroom as possible for congested passages. Does the same hold true for a preamp or doesn’t it matter?


Try it both ways, if you can’t hear a difference does it really matter?

Some prefer that their preamps be at about 3/4 full volume assuming that that’s near the preamp’s unity gain. It depends on the preamp whether this is a good rule of thumb or not. I’ve never worried about it.

Tho the DirectStream doesn’t loose any bits in the volume control, it still has an analog noise floor. So all other things being equal a higher volume setting has a higher signal to noise ratio. So does the preamp or the DirectStream have a lower noise floor?

Personally for normal listening I run the DirectStream at about 100 and my preamp at 1 - 20 out of 110.

One other item: if you find that you are running the DirectStream’s volume at 66 or lower all of the time, consider using the DirectStream’s analog 20dB attenuator (the “Filter” button on the remote) and having the volume 40 points higher (each tick on the DirectStream is 1/2 dB.)