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Looking to buying a budget/cheap DAC unit from Amazon. One that actually has a volume control. For ones that have a volume knob, does that mean it amplifies the sound going into your headphones at all? I bought one recently that didn't have a volume control knob on it and it was a fixed volume level. I couldn't even adjust it using the TV controls and it was terrible that I couldn'tcrank up the volume. Do the ones with volume control act as at least somewhat of an amp when hooked up and set correctly? Or is the top volume level just the same as it would be if it were a fixed volume DAC unit? And the volume control function just allows you to reduce the sound from the standard fixed level from the optical cable? Need help to make a decision. Thanks

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The cheapest DACs that come to my mind which feature digital volume control are the following:

1) Topping D50s ($185 at the Drop but beware of the wait time, $249 MSRP). It does not have a volume knob, but you can either move the tiny joy stick up and down or use the remote to change the volume digitally.

2) Topping E30 ($129 MSRP everywhere) It neither has a volume knob nor a joy stick like the D50s but you can use the remote control to change the volume digitally.

The E30 recently came out. It is newer model and cheaper than the D50s, but does not have bluetooth unlike the D50s, and use the latest AKM4493 chip. The D50s uses a late model ESS9038 chip.
 

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For ones that have a volume knob, does that mean it amplifies the sound going into your headphones at all? - NO

And the volume control function just allows you to reduce the sound from the standard fixed level from the optical cable? - YES
If you want an all-in-one device (DAC+AMP) so you could change and increase the volume sent to your headphone, get the Topping DX3 Pro ($219 MSRP) or FiiO K5 Pro ($169 MSRP). Or buy separate DAC and HP Amp and don't worry about DACs with volume control. Lots of choices if you buy them separately.
 

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If you want an all-in-one device (DAC+AMP) so you could change and increase the volume sent to your headphone, get the Topping DX3 Pro ($219 MSRP) or FiiO K5 Pro ($169 MSRP). Or buy separate DAC and HP Amp and don't worry about DACs with volume control. Lots of choices if you buy them separately.
Cheap?
 

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How are you playing your music, ie what interface do you go to to select and play your music, TV, computer, phone or ??? and what system are you hearing your music, ie TV, speakers connected to an AVR, speakers connected to your computer

Once we know these items we can better guide you to what you want
 
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