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Author Topic: Benchmark DAC2 won't bypass system volume? System volume still works?  (Read 5137 times)

schugh

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Why is it for the Benchmark DAC2, the Windows System volume isn't bypassed using either ASIO or WASPI?
I have all settings set correctly (exclusive mode, all DSP disabled etc).

When using my Chord Hugo DAC on the other hand, the system volume is indeed bypassed.
I would have expected the same with the Benchmark DAC2.

This is similar to another thread I found where the person said the benchmark always indicated 24 bit playback for 16 bit files.
They also found out they had to set the windows system volume to 100%. The same happens with me also.

I guess I just want to understand why the system volume isn't bypassed for the Benchmark DAC2 and it is for the Chord Hugo.
Is it just a difference in hardware and driver implementations?

Thanks,

-- Sanjay
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6233638

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Re: Benchmark DAC2 and DSD bitstreaming and maximum device volume?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2014, 03:50:31 am »

You can't bitstream at anything less than 100% volume.
Try using ASIO output.
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Vincent Kars

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Re: Benchmark DAC2 and DSD bitstreaming and maximum device volume?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2014, 07:09:53 am »

Normally we play PCM audio.
You have  samples (16 or 24 bits).
If you apply volume control, you multiply the sample by e.g. 0.5 and reduce the volume by halve.
DSD is single bit, you cannot multiply it because it is either 1 or 0.
DSD only comes to life when you feed it to a noise shaper.
That’s the "problem" with pure DSD, you cannot edit it.
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schugh

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Re: Benchmark DAC2 and DSD bitstreaming and maximum device volume?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2014, 01:12:33 pm »

But I thought if we use WASAPI and exclusive mode the Windows Volume/mixer is bypassed? Is that not the case?

My Chord Hugo DAC for example also using WASAPI bypasses the windows volume control. I can even mute the windows volume setting for the DAC but I still get playback. With the Benchmark DAC2, that is not the case.

I'm just trying to understand why the Windows volume control isn't bypassed. I always thought it was supposed to be bypassed.
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Vincent Kars

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Re: Benchmark DAC2 and DSD bitstreaming and maximum device volume?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2014, 01:18:07 pm »

Probably a zone specific setting
For each audio device you can set the volume to Application/internal/system or disabled.
Check if you have set both to the same
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schugh

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Re: Benchmark DAC2 and DSD bitstreaming and maximum device volume?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2014, 02:51:50 pm »

Probably a zone specific setting
For each audio device you can set the volume to Application/internal/system or disabled.
Check if you have set both to the same

I always have volume set to disabled in MC. It is disabled for both DACs.
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schugh

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Re: Benchmark DAC2 and DSD bitstreaming and maximum device volume?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2014, 05:51:39 pm »

It also doesn't seem to matter if I use internal volume or application volume.
The windows volume control is never bypassed and if don't have it at 100% I don't get bit-perfect playback.

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JimH

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Re: Benchmark DAC2 and DSD bitstreaming and maximum device volume?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2014, 05:54:25 pm »

If you use bitstreaming, you must use the volume control on the DAC or receiver. 
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schugh

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Re: Benchmark DAC2 and DSD bitstreaming and maximum device volume?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2014, 06:31:09 pm »

If you use bitstreaming, you must use the volume control on the DAC or receiver. 

I think I understand that. When the Windows system volume is at 100% I am using the volume on the DAC.
But it doesn't explain to me why the Windows system volume is not bypassed.
That is what I am trying to understand. I thought it is supposed to be bypassed.

Note, as I mentioned, with my Chord Hugo, the Windows System volume is bypassed as I would expect.
But with the Benchmark DAC2, it is not.
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schugh

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Re: Benchmark DAC2 and DSD bitstreaming and maximum device volume?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2014, 11:52:15 pm »

Even in the wiki it says:

"WASAPI is a hardware communication system in Vista, Windows 7, and newer. When used in exclusive mode, the Windows system mixer is bypassed."

I assume by mixer we also mean volume?

So how come it's not bypassed for the Benchmark DAC2?
It is just differences in asio driver implementations and maybe wasapi is similar depending on hardware?
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6233638

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Re: Benchmark DAC2 won't bypass system volume? System volume still works?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2014, 06:50:25 am »

I'll do some testing later today, I have one of these DACs.
I believe that bypassing the mixer is optional? I know that ASIO mode is non-exclusive in their driver for example.
 
I don't normally use WASAPI with it though—I send all system audio to another device, and audio from Media Center to it via ASIO.
That said, there have been some problems using ASIO recently, but Matt says its the driver at fault—though I'm not sure why it would suddenly be an issue now after more than a year of use.
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6233638

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Re: Benchmark DAC2 won't bypass system volume? System volume still works?
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2014, 09:47:56 am »

Did you turn on the "enable volume control when bitstreaming" option?
 
Because the system volume should be set to 100% at the start of playback and volume control disabled in Media Center when bitstreaming DSD.
 
Even when enabling this option and adjusting the volume, or changing it externally via the system mixer, I just get silence when bitstreaming DSD and adjusting the system volume, not static.
 
 
For what it's worth, I normally convert DSD to PCM rather than bitstreaming, since it allows you to use Volume Leveling and other DSP.
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schugh

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Re: Benchmark DAC2 won't bypass system volume? System volume still works?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2014, 09:50:26 am »

I'd fielded the question to Benchmark. They did get back to me.
But unfortunately they didn't really answer the question I was asking. They keep saying to just set the volume to 100%. But I already know that.
Seems no one is really answering the question I am asking.
That is simple. Using WASAPI why does one dac bypass the system volume and the other does not?

Could it that the in the other DACs driver implementation it is setting the system volume to 100% internally somewhere which is invisible to the user.

-- Sanjay

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6233638

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Re: Benchmark DAC2 won't bypass system volume? System volume still works?
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2014, 10:10:28 am »

I'd fielded the question to Benchmark. They did get back to me.
But unfortunately they didn't really answer the question I was asking. They keep saying to just set the volume to 100%. But I already know that.
Seems no one is really answering the question I am asking.
That is simple. Using WASAPI why does one dac bypass the system volume and the other does not?

Could it that the in the other DACs driver implementation it is setting the system volume to 100% internally somewhere which is invisible to the user.
It's very likely that it is up to the device or USB receiver whether it ignores the volume control or not.
 
The DAC2 does not seem to ignore the system volume control, even in exclusive mode.
Its ASIO driver also operates in a non-exclusive manner too, where audio sent to the WDM driver will also play at the same time as ASIO if the sample rate matches.
 
This is why I don't use the DAC2's WDM device at all (it's normally disabled) and send all system audio to another sound device, which is then connected to the DAC2 via an optical cable.
This provides two advantages:
 
1. There will never be a conflict between Media Center (or other exclusive apps) and system audio.
Many games will crash immediately if you try to launch them while MC has exclusive control over the audio device for example.
 
2. It means that both Media Center and system audio can play at the same time to separate inputs on the DAC. (D1 and USB, so that they are next to each other)
This lets me quickly switch back and forth rather than having to stop playback to release the device - which often requires that the other application, such as a web browser, be restarted too.
 
 
What I'd like to see from Benchmark would be an updated driver where we can control the DAC's internal volume via the PC, rather than using the remote.
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