Very low volume from Optical Line Out

  • 14 November 2013
  • 11 replies
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I have a ZP90 connected via "Coax/Digital Line Out" to my DAC/Amplifier in my living room.

I would like to be able to adjust the volume from my Sonos Controllers/APs. Thus, I have the Output level for the "line-out" set to "Variable".

However, with this setting the volume of the output is very, very low. I have to turn the amp up to almost full volume to reach a "normal" level.

If I switch to "Fixed" level on the Line out volume, the level is fine - but then I can only adjust volume on the amplifier, not on the Sonos controllers.

Dose anybody have a solution?

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11 replies

Userlevel 1
I have a ZP90 connected via "Optical Line Out" to my DAC/Amplifier in my living room.

I would like to be able to adjust the volume from my Sonos Controllers/APs. Thus, I have the Output level for the "line-out" set to "Variable".

However, with this setting the volume of the output is very, very low. I have to turn the amp up to almost full volume to reach a "normal" level.

If I switch to "Fixed" level on the Line out volume, the level is fine - but then I can only adjust volume on the amplifier, not on the Sonos controllers.

Dose anybody have a solution?


Yes, turn it up! Fixed volume is simply FULL volume, if the output from the Connect is too low turn the volume up! I really don't understand the problem, surely the volume control is self-explanatory?
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The volume is so low that even when the Amp is at almost full volume, the sound is barely at mid level volume.

Thus, it is not really possible to play at high volume and even at mid/normal level, the amp is working at the very top of the range with risk of sound distortion/overrun
Userlevel 1
The volume is so low that even when the Amp is at almost full volume, the sound is barely at mid level volume.

No, I mean turn it up on the Sonos controller, that's what you want isn't it?

Or do you mean when the Connect is set to variable that even with the Sonos volume at Full it's still too quiet but when you set the Connect volume to Fixed it's ok?
This is the classic "dueling volumes" dilemma. When set to "Fixed", the output level is 100%, which makes the volume range of 0-100% on the amplifier work fine. Conversely, in order to make the 0-100% volume range on the "Variable" level work fine, the amplifier level has to be at (or as close as possible) to 100%, or the level will always be low. The only solution is to preset the amplifier close to 100% (many digital receiver/amps allow volume presets for each source setting), or use the "Fixed" setting/amp volume method.
Colombus,

These are digital outputs. At Fixed or 100% volume the 16-bit samples are reproduced as they were in the original material, without scaling.
Userlevel 2
The recommended setting for the pre-amp volume is "reference" or 0 db, not necessarily the maximum. Many AVRs read out the volume in dbs but some don't.
Colombus,

It is not the position of the volume control that causes distortion, it is the power delivered by the amplifier. If there is zero input, setting the volume controls at maximum will cause zero distortion because the there is no output from the amplifier. For a very high output analog source 1/4 volume might force the amplifier into overload. The digital domain is different because numbers have a maximum value. For example, if we are using a two digit decimal system, "99" is the maximum output.

As is the case for a SONOS CONNECT, it is easy to arrange that maximum output on a digital system is not distorted. As jgatie notes, maximum volume on a CONNECT results in an identical bit stream as setting CONNECT to "Fixed". The maximum output from CONNECT will drive any amplifier that you are likely to encounter to full output. (A few 40's and 50's tube units might struggle.)

Don't be afraid to run CONNECT at maximum volume. As a practical matter you should set your amplifier volume control such that, when switching from source to source, CONNECT's volume will be similar to other sources, then run CONNECT's volume control as high as necessary.

Some amplifiers have offer an input level sensitivity adjustment on each input. If available, you could use these adjustments to normalize the levels as you switch from source to source.
Same problem here with very low volume from Connect on Onkyo TX-SR508. I wouldn't mind setting the variable volume of the sonos very high in the app, but the issue is that I am using the connect together with a Play 3 in the kitchen.

Now to match the volume I have to set the connect quite high, so the volume sliders for the connect and play 3 are 'out of sync'. Now every time I change the overall volume I have to readjust one of the sliders to match the volume of the other one. Obviously this is quite annoying.

Guess I'll have to go looking for a variable pre-amp (if that even exists) to put between sonos and amplifier.
Eh? Your amplifier has its own volume control! Set the sliders in Sonos to the same level (if that really matters to you), and then change the amp volume so that it matches the play:3's output level. Then just change the group volume in Sonos and don't touch the amps volume, they should stay roughly matched.
BjornTM,

The optical output is either a bit-perfect, unscaled copy of the decoded music data -- when Fixed or at 100% -- or it's simply scaled by the Sonos volume control. There's no possible internal change which could be made by Sonos. At Fixed/100% it's already at full scale.

As for the volume sliders when grouped, they do in fact move in tandem and maintain their relationship with one another when you adjust the group volume. I suggest you experiment.
same here. its very annoying. im using a cheap soundbar. its a insignia one...and it has this same issue. i returned it b/c i was like hmmm...must be the soundbar. but nope. they gave me a new one and same thing.

i can hear the music coming out the soundbar....and its very very low...and then all of a sudden the volum will go up to the normal volume. then it will go back down.