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I want to upgrade my HT system with a new receiver. I have read about models such as the Sony ES, Harman Kardon, Pioneer Elite to find component video switching and the latest audio processing.


On my present volume control my useful range is typically the bottom 5% of the knob's rotation. Which receivers have the most sensible use of the volume or useful pre-amp input trims?

Edit: Thanks for everyone comments. I now have a new volume control working over the full range of motion in dB increments as Sushi described below. Big improvement. Thanks again to all.
 

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Most of the receivers today have electronic stepped volume controls that increase in (more or less) 1 dB increments. These allow very precise, easily manageable control of the volume levels with barely noticeable changes in volume with each press of the remote button. You should find that you have 40 to 50 "clicks" between barely audible background levels and the loudest listening levels.


If anything, the volume controls may be a little "slow" in response. I've set up two macros on my remote -- one to increase the volume 10 dB and one to decrease it 10 dB. This provides a nice one-button "soft mute" for commercials and the like when playing the system fairly loud.
 

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Most receivers today have 80 to 100 "1 dB steps". Mine has 100 steps, if I recall.


I only used the number 40 because that's the total number of steps (out of 80 to 100) that you are likely to use. My assumption is that you don't listen very often at 116 dB, so you won't be using 10 to 20 of the steps at the upper extreme of the range. And, the bottom 30 or so steps are simply inaudible.


On my system, a setting of -60 would be quiet background music during dinner (peaks of 45 dB). A setting of -20 is very loud (peaks of 105 dB). There are 40 equal steps in between. It takes 3 steps for a noticeable change in volume.
 

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Triggered by raderblip's question (thanks!), I just discovered an interesting and possibly nifty behavior of the volume control knob of my Pioneer 45TX.


When you are turning the knob from "---" (completely off) upward, it will step as follows: ---, -80, -76, -72, -68, -64, -60, -59, -58 ... [1-dB step all the way] ... +10, +11, +12. However, when you are turning the knob downward, it will allow you to set it at every 1-dB step between -80 and +12.


You do not see this behavior when you control the volume from the remote. It always steps by 1 dB between -80 and +12.


So, the volume control knob (but not the remote) is direction-dependent. Interesting, isn't it?
 
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