I am using the DSJr volume control to drive my amplifier directly, and to my ears the sound is remarkably good. However, a well meaning friend tells me that any digital volume control will degrade the sound quality as compared to the traditional buffered preamp type control. Is his assertion correct?
Yes and no. Well-designed digital volume controls, like those on DirectStream products absolutely do not degrade performance. Not one iota.
Having said that, adding a preamplifier after the DAC - if it’s of a certain quality like a BHK - can be beneficial. Not because you’re no longer using the volume control in the DAC (you are) but because this addition of some preamps seems to enhance musical performance - a subject that remains a mystery to me.
I have been really happy with my DSJ. Superb sound quality at all volume levels driving my Bel Canto Ref600m monoblocks directly. I really appreciate the switchable gain level as well. I mostly use the low gain setting. My one nitpick is when adjusting volume with the supplied remote, there is no way to make large volume changes quickly. Say I was on volume level 30 from the night before and now I want to play music loudly at level 80, I’d have to press and hold the remote for something like 10 to 20 seconds. It would be great if the volume would speed up when you hold it down for longer. I thought I read somewhere that this could be addressed in the new OS. Will this feature be included in Huron? A second improvement (for my taste) would be for the remote to move one volume step for each individual press on the remote. That doesn’t’ seem to be the case currently. Overall, I’m really digging my DSJ.
Yes, Huron’s volume control is much more responsive. It doesn’t have the speed up feature, but by acting much faster (like the DS Sr) it’s much more useable.
I’m not sure my volume control is working the way it should with Roon. I finally got my internet network set up yesterday so instead of connecting my MacBook to the DSJ via optical cable, I can connect both components to the network via Ethernet. Yay! I was able to play music via Roon with this setup and everything seemed great except for the volume control. If I use the DSJ’s volume knob or the supplied remote to change the volume, they work as intended and the volume slider bar in Roon also adjusts accordingly. However, when I use Roon’s slider bar to adjust volume, it doesn’t cause the DSJ to actually go louder of softer. So I’m not really getting two-way volume communication between the DSJ and Roon. Is this not working as it should? @tedsmith
The issues resolved itself somehow. Perhaps due to powering devices in my system off and on. Whatever it was, I now have two way volume communication between Roon and my DSJ. Yay!