Reducing volume in Windows Mixer = dimunition in SQ?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ken Woodrow, Feb 8, 2002.

  1. Ken Woodrow

    Ken Woodrow Stunt Coordinator

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    Does changing the volume of the soundcard's output in the Windows Mixer have any effect on the sound quality? Because it presumably involves digital attenuation, does it "bit shave" and reduce the amount of digital information going to an outboard processor through the S/PDIF output? Or is my understanding of this too simplistic?

    Thanks,

    Ken
     
  2. Jon_R

    Jon_R Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm a bit confused. Are you talking about sending a signal to say your receiver via an optical or coax cable? I have no idea how it would, within the bits, lower the volume. I know that when using my dvd decoder and the coax out, the volume control didn't do anything.
    Now, if all your stuff is somehow routed through your soundcard where it is then convertd to analog, where you could adjust the volume, that would be a different, and quite odd story.
    Honestly, I don't know.
    [​IMG]
    Don't you wish you had that 1 min back? I took it! [​IMG]
    Jon
     
  3. Ken Woodrow

    Ken Woodrow Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm routing digital audio out -- from the CD-ROM, .wavs stored on the hard drive, or DVDs -- from my sound card to my receiver via a coaxial S/PDIF connection. The surround decoding is accomplished in the receiver. My sound card is also capable of converting the digital signal to analog with 24/96 DACs, but that's not what I'm talking about in this instance.

    Adjusting the volume controls in the Windows mixer (Control Panel - Sounds and Audio Devices - Properties - Audio - Sound Playback - Volume Control - Wave) does seem to affect the volume of the S/PDIF out. Frankly, I'd like to know how it does this -- is it really attenuating the digital signal going to the receiver or is it affecting the playback level of record wave sounds internally somehow? If it is the latter, is it affecting sound quality?

    Thanks for taking a crack at my question.

    - Ken
     
  4. Hugh M

    Hugh M Second Unit

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    hmm, well to try and make some logic out of HOW it does this?

    --> how does the soundtrack on a DVD contain different levels of audio? same way I would assume right? seems like an OK thing to do.

    but, personally I always try and leave all ouputs at the optimum levels when feeding an amp, etc. so I leave the mixer all the way up. I do know that the 24/96 cards have alot of settings that may affect this as well.
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Ken,

    What card are you using? Card that are actually doing the processing in the pure digital realm are, in fact, shortening word length. It isn't a "shave", rather a complex math process to dither.

    Some card I've seen seem to modify everything into analog and then back to digital for SPDIF output (Creative Soundblaster cards do I'm pretty sure)-- so it's possible your card is doing a whole bunch of things.

    -Vince
     
  6. Ken Woodrow

    Ken Woodrow Stunt Coordinator

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    Vince:

    I'm using a M-Audio Delta 410 card with 8 channels of 24/96 DACs. I don't think that its converting to analog for volume control, but I could be wrong. The Delta cards have a Control Panel that lets you attenuate the digital signal going out of the card (adjustments from 0 to -42 db), but I am not referring to to those controls, but rather to the Windows Mixer controls that are part of the OS. Adjusting the Windows Mixer does lower the volume of the sound coming from the card, regardless of whether I'm using the analog or digital outs, but does not affect the Delta Control Panel settings. My guess is that its digitally adjusting the sound before it gets to the card, but I don't know for sure.

    I've settled on leaving the volume setting at full and adusting the volume on my receiver. But I'm still curious as to the effect on SQ . . . .

    Thanks for taking a crack at this.

    - Ken
     

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