Fixed or variable outputs - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-19-2009, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
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"variable outputs are almost always not as good as fixed ones" Is this a true statement? If so why. If not, why not?

What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got little save pitiful, portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-19-2009, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by eljr View Post

"variable outputs are almost always not as good as fixed ones" Is this a true statement? If so why. If not, why not?

As hedged, it is true. Many players do volume attenuation in the digital domain and actually reduce resolution as they throw away data. This is not good. OTOH, there are more sophisticated digital attenuators as well as analog attenuators in some devices that are just fine.

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post #3 of 11 Old 06-19-2009, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

As hedged, it is true. Many players do volume attenuation in the digital domain and actually reduce resolution as they throw away data. This is not good. OTOH, there are more sophisticated digital attenuators as well as analog attenuators in some devices that are just fine.

Thanks for the reply, would you think a McIntosh Cd player would likely fall into the latter catagory?

What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got little save pitiful, portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-19-2009, 11:31 AM
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Are you using any type of pre-amp? If so, I don't see any need to use the variable outputs.
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post #5 of 11 Old 06-19-2009, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I use the variable outputs direct to the power amps but that is besides the point, my questions are as stated.

Someone suggested that a preamp if used with a particular CD player would be preferable as it would make the sound more "musical". My understanding has always been that the sign of a good preamp is it's transparency. Hence why would one need a pre amp if a CD player has a quality pre built in?

In other words I am challenging the fact that an external preamp will add "warmth" and that if it does, it shouldn't unless you want it to.

What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got little save pitiful, portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-19-2009, 12:47 PM
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I see. I compared my old pre-amp to the CD players variable output, although it was a 1989 Sony player that used a motorized analog volume control. I could never tell any difference with or without the pre. I imagine different pre's, especially tubes, would have different results.
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post #7 of 11 Old 06-19-2009, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljr View Post

Thanks for the reply, would you think a McIntosh Cd player would likely fall into the latter catagory?

Dunno. Ask MAC how they do it or search out reviews with tech info.

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Originally Posted by WilliamZX11 View Post

I see. I compared my old pre-amp to the CD players variable output, although it was a 1989 Sony player that used a motorized analog volume control. I could never tell any difference with or without the pre. I imagine different pre's, especially tubes, would have different results.

Note: ".......used a motorized analog volume control."

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post #8 of 11 Old 06-19-2009, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post


Note: ".......used a motorized analog volume control."



I still use my Sony CD player. 5 DSP settings. No digital outputs, and it uses a motorized analog volume control output (or fixed outputs). Memory remembers the volume control setting for each CD!
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-19-2009, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post


Note: ".......used a motorized analog volume control."

I believe I did note that.
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-24-2009, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

As hedged, it is true. Many players do volume attenuation in the digital domain and actually reduce resolution as they throw away data. This is not good.

This ignores the fact that as a practical matter, volume attenuation in the analog domain also reduces resolution because it reduces the signal and makes its amplitude that much closer to the noise floor.

On balance, the noise floor in a digital system can be made as low as is desired by increasing the data word length. In the analog domain, you are pretty well stuck with the resolution limits imposed by the laws of physics.

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OTOH, there are more sophisticated digital attenuators as well as analog attenuators in some devices that are just fine.

Often the worst resolution losses in real world systems happen after the digital signal is converted back to analog.
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post #11 of 11 Old 06-24-2009, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljr View Post

"variable outputs are almost always not as good as fixed ones" Is this a true statement? If so why. If not, why not?

This is a question that can't have just one answer because it does not say enough about the operational sitaution.

For example, consider a device with a 24 bit digital output that of course implements attenuation in the digital domain.

Compare that to your typical piece of equipment with fixed output driving an amplifier or receiver that uses an analog volume control.

The variable output wins and not by just a little!
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