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Setting volumes on monitors with digital input.

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Setting volumes on monitors with digital input.

Postby Kayvon » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:10 pm

I'm just in the market for some new monitor speakers and I was just wondering about the Digidesign RM series digital input.

If you're using the digital input is there no way of adjusting the volume without losing bit depth (Is that the right term?) apart from using the gain trims on the back?

I.E. to adjust the volume, if you bring the master fader down in your DAW you're gonna suffer from a reduced "quality"* of signal vs if you get round the back and actually reset the trims?

Or am I missing something here? Perhaps the drop in signal "quality"* is negligible?

Cheers for any replies.

*Not sure of the correct terminology here
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Re: Setting volumes on monitors with digital input.

Postby Kayvon » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:38 pm

Bump

Anyone know/use the digital inputs on (any brand of) monitors & would care to chime in on how setting volumes works?
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Re: Setting volumes on monitors with digital input.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:58 pm

Kayvon wrote:I'm just in the market for some new monitor speakers and I was just wondering about the Digidesign RM series digital input.

The RM series has been discontinued...

If you're using the digital input is there no way of adjusting the volume without losing bit depth (Is that the right term?) apart from using the gain trims on the back?

You control the volume digitally in the same way you did analogely. Turning the level down compromises the signal-noise performance and turning it up reduces the headroom and risks clipping -- just as the same actions do with an analogue signal path. 'Resolution' remains unaffected provided the gain control calulations are properly dithered.

I.E. to adjust the volume, if you bring the master fader down in your DAW you're gonna suffer from a reduced "quality"* of signal vs if you get round the back and actually reset the trims?

The 'reduced quality' is only that the average signal level is moved closer to the noise floor, so the overall signal-noise performance is reduced slightly. In most cases that won't be audible given a sensible gain structure.

Personally, I'm not a fan of digital inputs to montiors becuase of the difficulty of optimising the gain structure and the risk of computer madness causing very nasty full-level noises with little ability to do much about it! I much prefer to have an analogue volume knob close to hand!

However, if you want to go down the digital input route you can. The aim is for a -20dBFS rms noise signal to generate the appropriate acoustic reference level in your room, and that will either require a digital monitor controller to set the appropriate monitor gain, or a level trimmer in the speaker itself (if provided). Whatever, the acoustic alignment level trimmer and monitor level controls should be separate from the DAW's master output fader.

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Re: Setting volumes on monitors with digital input.

Postby John Willett » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:49 pm

I think the new Neumann KH120D will have a remote control for volume level.

However, I agree with Hugh - when I bought my ME-Geithain RL906, I had the option of getting the version with the digital input.

However, good DACs are not cheap and the version with the digital input was almost £1,000 more expensive. :shock:

So I went for the analogue version and a good monitor controller with integrated DAC.
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Re: Setting volumes on monitors with digital input.

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:00 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:You control the volume digitally in the same way you did analogely.

Love it! :bouncy:


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Re: Setting volumes on monitors with digital input.

Postby Kayvon » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:31 pm

Hi Hugh,

Thanks for the reply. Tells me what I need to know.

I was under the impression the recent (since the Mackie big knob?) home studio monitor controller popularity was in part due to the issue I was (badly) trying to explain i.e. reduced digital resolution.

Still fancy a secondhand pair of those digidesign monitors so I can cost effectively get my hands/ears on this ATL technology but I was trying to circumvent one more AD/DA stage. Will read reviews again to see whether or not it's still worth it.

Cheers.
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