SGCD @ low volume levels still too loud

I have couple of days listened to my new SGCD - some critical, some background. I have to say I’m very impressed by it’s sound compared to Mytek Brooklyn. Both have their pros and cons and one that really bothers me is SGCD’s low volume levels - it’s too loud. For background music the volume is only 1-5 and for late night listening even level 1 is too much. Compared to Mytek Brooklyn there is like 10-15 more level steps between SGCD’s 0-1. I haven’t gone over 40 (really loud) so far and it goes up to 100 - for smaller concerts I think. :slight_smile:

One solution would be attenuators between XLR cables but I don’t wanna give up on sound quality. Second solution would be source volume level control, but I want to have it disabled for sound quality reasons. (Tried with inputs XLR, COAX, USB)

Is there any solution? Am I the only one? BTW, my SGCD has old buggy pic firmware, maybe it’s fixed/adjusted in newer firmware?

I have had recent good success with Rothwell XLR -10db attenuators. They are less than $100 and worth a shot if you have too much gain in your system. I don’t perceive any loss in SQ with the -10db’s though I did not like the -20’s in my system.

RCA ICs should cut the volume by half vs. XLR?

I have used the Rothwell’s with multiple setups and they do work as advertised and I have never heard any signal degradation but you can accomplish pretty much the same thing by trying SE cables. Any pair will do just to determine if the reduction in level is acceptable.

Great! I Googled little bit and found out these Rothwell’s use 1% metal-film resistors and I can solder these resistors into XLR interconnects like 90 bucks less. :slight_smile:


Could anyone recommend better resistors? is a good resource.
Caddock (, PRP (Precision Resistor Products - and Vishay come to mind off of the top of my head.
Precise is good, but you probably don’t need better than 0.1% (That’s what I use in the DS.) Low temperature coefficient is also important. I’d choose thin film metal (preferably not thick film, but think film is better than carbon, wire wound, etc…) Some people insist that non-magnetic is important, I have no direct experience about that.

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Thanks, I’ll check them out!

I learned from your post in another topic that you inserted the Rothwell attenuator between your BHK Pre and M700. I am glad it solved your tube gain noise issue. However, I am wondering how it worked, since the tube gain noise increases with the BHK Pre volume with or without the attenuator. Unless you are listening at a lower volume now? I am sure that I am missing some understanding here. Thanks.

The tube gain noise in the BHK pre is not the same as the signal gain noise from the source. The background BHK tube gain noise is not linear between volume 0 and 100; it increases steadily until a major volume click (25/53) and then reduces significantly. As you get above volume 53 and start going closer to 80 and then 100 you start to hear more and more of the source gain noise which is not the same as the BHK’s tube gain noise. The attenuators completely knock out the tube gain noise but if you increase the volume enough you’ll eventually hear the source gain noise as you would without the attenuators since the attenuators aren’t helping the source’s signal to noise ratio, that ratio and noise floor is controlled by the DAC.

If you don’t have very high sensitivity speakers this is likely an unnessary discussion. I connected some 86db/w speakers to my setup without attenuators and could not hear any of the artifacts of my many posts here unless my ear was nearly touching the speaker grill. When you have 105db/w horns that are practically megaphones these things become much more noticble.

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I did -20dB H-pad attenuator with Vishay/Dela 1% resistors and I don’t like them at all.

I used this calculator: with 600 Ohms. Volume went up from 15…20 to 30…40. Evening/late night listening is okay now but regular daytime listening went from very good to almost cheap receiver like sound. I think I need better precision resistors or maybe the schematic/values are not the best?

BTW, why does the SGCD have so much excessive gain with M700? They should be perfect match I think or maybe my 90dB speakers are too sensitive? I wish that the gain setting (-10dB/-15dB/-20dB) would be adjustable from the menu.

This is my only concern on ordering this combo. Is it the SGCD volume control/output or are the amps too sensitive @ around 1 volt takes you to the full 30 db gain of the amps, if I understand it correctly. I will have to use balanced connections as well. I don’t want to be limited to only low sensitivity speakers. And PS new speaker line (which I am interested in) is reported to have high sensitivity, another bad match ?

Perhaps you need to wait for “burn-in” - my experience is the better the quality of the resistor the more noticeable the changes as they tend towards steady state.

Okay I’ll wait and let them burn-in more, it’s only 10-15h for now.

It’s the SGCD in my opinion (I haven’t checked the specs). I had Mytek Brooklyn as a pre with M700’s and no gain issues. Mytek’s volume is like SGCD’s but backwards and background listening level was -60dB … -40dB. I’ve never gone over -20dB it’s too loud. With my DIY attenuator pads it’s almost the same now 30…60.

Guaranteed not to be a bad match. Not sure where this info is coming from. Is there something I can assist you with?

With 12 db of gain from the SGCD and an input sensitivity of 1 volt for the M700’s there is no mismatch at all. The numbers in the display are basically irrelevant except as a reference and not compatible to the display readings from another component unless the controls are identical and applied the same. If you are determined to get more travel on the volume control knob then either switch to SE cables or buy the Rothwell’s.

First thing I tried was a set of SE cables. They made very little to no difference. I used the numbers on the display as a example how little I had control over the volume compared to Mytek. Thanks for recommending these Rothwell’s but I think I’ll skip. Rothwell’s are absurdly overpriced. Neutrik XLR is about 4€ piece and good precise resistors costs only few cents to few bucks.

If I’m the only one with the SGCD/M700 excessive gain, maybe it’s related to other problems I have:

If the XLR’s are for convenience only as I suspect then you are right it would have no effect. Not sure in the grand scheme of the cost of your gear how you think 44 Euros is “absurdly overpriced.” I guess your time to try to make your own is not that valuable. I just decided to trust the guys who had been doing it for years and be done with it.

As to your other reference he didn’t say whether or not he bothered to turn the volume down or mute before making the switch.

Absurdly overpriced for me - especially if I can make them for a few bucks vs. buy for a 100 and wait couple of weeks. I have done all my cables, power supplies, input selectors, file transports etc by myself - I don’t know you but it’s my hobby and I enjoy every minute of it. And yes, I’m also saving everywhere I can to buy DSjr.

I also enjoy making my own cables. You get exactly what you want/need, you know they are made correctly, and it is satisfying to create something - even that which is so basic.

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