Directstream DAC with Exposure 5010 Preamp volume


I have Directstream DAC and i use it with Exposure 5010 Preamp. Should I put the DAC volume to 100 and set the preamp to low volume or is it better to go with something like 75 on DAC and higher on the preamp?

Does it matter at all?

Thanks in advance!

I prefer the DS to be at about 82 on the volume setting, though often I just run it at 100.

It does matter, though how much it matters depends on how much you like the sonic character of your preamp, and whether you want to “set it and forget it” or not.

In the upper range of the DSD’s volume control, there is relatively little sonic penalty for running it at any given volume, and potentially much to be gained (haha) sonically by finding your preamp’s sweet spot. Certain sources and types of music may also benefit from different settings, as they can vary in level quite a bit.


“[R]relatively little sonic penalty for running it at any given volume.”


There is zero penalty.

Well - that has been argued at length elsewhere. Not sure that it is zero, but even if it IS non-zero, it is at least many orders of magnitude less than the differences to be had by twisting the preamp’s volume control.

I do not recall any arguments, merely questions as to how the DSD handles volume. The volume control is lossless.

Of course, how the output level happens to mate with other equipment may vary, such as your example above referencing finding a preamp’s sweet spot. Users accordingly have preferences in how they address gain staging.

I used the word “relatively” to avoid argument. That clearly didn’t work ; ).

I don’t see the DSD volume control setting as an issue, and I suspect those who felt they could hear differences in it were hearing differences from other things, like the preamp.

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Polite discussion is not argument. :slight_smile:

I also believe people are hearing other differences.

Hi - which power amp are you using? And how do you like the 5010 preamp?

Thanks in advance!


I’m using Exposure XM monoblocks and they sound superb with my 5010 preamp and B&W 805D3 :slight_smile:


I have a 3010S2 CD and preamp; may need to try XM9s in place of my XXVIII (28). But also thinking of a pair of 3010S2 monos . . .

Try it a number of ways and see if you find a manner that you like more than others. It’s so system dependent–it can even be I think OS dependent in the DSD (I enjoyed a lower volume before Windom, full volume with Windom, but that may be just my system–the key is to experiment).