PW DAC MKII volume levels and preamps



I really like my PWDAC MKII but do find that I use volume levels of 40-50 quite often.

I know how important gain matching is and also losing resolution with a digital volume.

With the levels I use, should I be using a preamp?

What are your experiences?

A good preamp costs a lot of money :>)


At 50 any loss should not be audible to any but the absolutely most discerning ears listening to the quietest and most highly resolving systems possible. At 40 I think that few people should be able to hear any loss in quality and then probably only in an excellent system an in a critical listening mode. Below 40 I would ecpect losses to become more easily discernible and it is up to the listener ti determine how much it is and what it is worth to correct the problem. I would consider a passive attenuator as was discussed about two years ago. There are some that are quite good and cost a lot whole less than a preamp.

Other opinions are likely to differ from mine and I am curious to see what others say. Perhaps I will learn something.



During night i’m often listening between 23-32 and it’s still much better than using preamp (inside my integrated Electrocompaniet).

It seems the PWD really sounds best direct to amp. Maybe having costly high-end preamp would give better results but i do not possess one , so can’t comment :slight_smile:


I’m curious what the other experienced users’ answers are. I’ll be driving an amp directly from the PWDII and using its digital volume control. My concern is about losing “bits”/resolution in the music and had looked at passives (notably the Lightspeed attenuator) as an option. Going to hold off until I listen to this config myself (waiting on a cable to arrive) and reading the good advice of folks here on what is the best configuration with no loss of fidelity here.


…i recently sold my $16K+ preamp after hearing how much better my PWD MKII sounded when connected directly to my Chalice Audio ‘Grail’ mono block SETs. i use the volume control through my ipad and it works great.i listen anywhere from 50 - 90 depending on what i am listening to…