Originally Posted by apodaca
I get what you are saying and Outlaw mentioned this as well and yet I can get 100 dB peaks with my NAD preamp driving the same amplifier using the same source. Even an Anthem receiver could do the same with internal amplifier stage.
Maybe Outlaw 975 has problem with input gain if there is such a thing for PCM vs DTS ?. At any rate, I set -20 at 80 dB but will double check.
I have a 975 here, but the system is packed for a house move. In the past, I took note that a volume setting of -28 gave me 75 dB, at the MLP. My speakers are claimed to be 86 dB (2 dB more than yours). With your speakers, I would need to set to -26, and to get to 80 dB, it would be -21. If you get 80 dB at -20, it looks like your unit is working the same as mine, FWIW.
If I raise dB on speaker level menu then the max volume available is also reduced by the same amount weird but true. Not very friendly for low sensitivity speakers.
That is correct. Like most AVRs and pre-pros, the gain trims and volume controls are all done by the same gain element. It's just a table of offsets that defines the gain trims. Others may do a better job of masking that interaction by sectioning off 12-15 dB of the control range for the trims.
I agree the 975 does not have a lot of reserve gain on tap. In my case, I do not play music very loud, 60-70 dB, 80 when rambunctious, so it has not been an issue. And indeed older CDs were "printed" quieter than newer ones. I have 2 different versions of Brothers in Arms, and I looked at both of them in Adobe Audition. Both have peaks reaching full scale, so in order for the newer, louder one to sound louder, the average was increased while the peaks were truncated. Yes, they used some fancy DSP processor to do it to avoid clipping (which is not the case on a lot of CDs
), but the percussive snap is just not the same. So the new on is on the shelf, and the old one is on the server. My point is that it may well be the case that your amps are being well exercised, but for much less of the time (lower average loudness with higher peak-to-average ratio). Small consolation, I suppose.
Last point: the 975 has a pretty low noise level. Adding gain in the output stage will raise that. The Marantz 7702 had higher gain, but I had to install 10 dB attenuators on the outputs to keep the hiss/buzz below audibility in my quiet room. Now that takes away from the headroom!