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I need someone to share that audio knowledge
#1
kind of embarrassed to asked as I feel I should know the answer, but unless I ask, I can't learn...

why is the audio playback level different when switching sources on my devialet? I have it set so the output level is -40.0 on the Devialet when selecting a new source, but depending on the source, I may have to increase the volume to -15 to -20 (Apple TV air playing Tidal or Apple Music from iPad app) on one source vs -30 (on my CD player) to be at the same dB "normal" listening level.

the ATV connected via the Toslink needs the Devialet cranked up the most (-15 to -20 for normal listening). the CD player connected via "Analog line outputs" (-25) are next, and then the same CD player connected via Digital coax (-30) requires the least amount of gain increase to be at my normal listening level. 

is it the devialet input or the devices output that is driving the "loudness"?
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#2
I'm pretty sure it's just different output levels on the different sources. There might also be differences in the type of source. Unfortunately there's no way of having each input level set individually. That might change with the new configurator.
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#3
You've mentioned a combination of digital and analog signal sources. Things are different with analog sources to what happens with digital sources.

Let's take analog first. Your CD player analog output varies in level based on the levels encoded in the digital data on the CD. When that signal reaches your Devialet your converts it back to digital and creates a new digital signal with volume level data created by comparing the moment to moment voltage level of the analog signal to the voltage level required to drive the amp's analog input to peak level. You can adjust the input sensitivity for the analog inputs in the Configurator to match the peak output level of your CD player (check it's specs). If you set the Devialet's input sensitivity too low, music will play louder and you'll drive the amp into clipping on the loudest passages, if you set the input sensitivity level too high, music will be softer, possibly too soft, because peak output from the player won't be able to drive the amp to peak output. Since the level of output you get with the analog input depends on the analog signal level from your CD player, it's unlikely to match the volume level from the CD player's digital output which is determined by the mastering level chosen by the engineer who mastered the CD. You should expect to hear differences in level between those 2 inputs.

When it comes to digital inputs, the volume level of the music is encoded in the digital data so a digital signal with a given level encoded should sound the same level from all digital inputs because the DAC in the Devialet tells the other stages in the amp how loud the input level is and that level is set in the digital data which isn't affected by the input you use on the amp. If you're getting different levels from different inputs with the same music content then the difference has to be due to different volume levels in the incoming data streams. That could be a result of something such as different masterings of the same music (a new, remastered version vs an older mastering done by a different engineer, for example) or because some digital signal processing is being applied in the source component which is changing the volume level data in its digital output.

Finally, music isn't mastered to a reference or standard level so different engineers master their releases differently. Some like to set the output high, some like to leave a bit of headroom and that material will sound softer than music mastered at a higher level. You can loudness of music at a given volume level setting on your amp to vary from record to record, often by quite a bit.
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Brisbane, Qld, Australia
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#4
(31-Dec-2018, 02:06)David A Wrote: ...If you set the Devialet's input sensitivity too lowhigh, music will play louder and you'll drive the amp into clipping on the loudest passages, if you set the  input sensitivity level too highlow, music will be softer, possibly too soft...

Minor correction highlighted (based on the normal definition of sensitivity).  For the avoidance of doubt: when using the configurator, higher numbers in the "max input level" field correspond to lower sensitivity and vice versa.
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#5
Thanks all for the input so far...

David, to your statement:

“You can adjust the input sensitivity for the analog inputs in the Configurator to match the peak output level of your CD player (check it's specs).”

What data in the specs would this look like? I have an oppo bdp-203

From their specs, I found the following related to audio characteristics , it states:

Audio Characteristics** Frequency: 20Hz - 48kHz (±0.2dB), 20Hz - 96kHz (-4dB ˜ +0.05dB)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >112dB (A-weighted, Unmute)
THD+N: < 0.001% (1kHz at 0dBFS, 20kHz LPF)
Crosstalk: < -103dB (A-weighted)

I could not find anything that specifically mentioned “peak output level” except for brightness levels of the dvds hdr quality.

I will keep trying to find this data as it’s a very common player, and I will even try to reach out to oppo support. They have closed production but hopefully have some support left.
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#6
I've got an Oppo 203 in my A/V system, as well as an Oppo 105. I just checked the specs for the 203 and it isn't shown but I'm positive this info was included in the specs for the 105 which I used with my Devialet for a while before I went totally server based but I can't find my manual for the 105 so I can't see what the specification was called.

Oppo support should be able to tell you. Output levels from players are usually around the 2.0 to 2.2V level. If I remember correctly the figure for my 105 is 2.2V but even if I'm right it may not be the same for the 203 given that they have very different DAC chips and circuits.
Antipodes DS, Devilalet Expert 140 Pro CI, Focal Sopra 2, PS Audio P12, AQ Vodka ethernet, Kimber Select speaker cables, Shunyata Alpha NR and Delta EF power cables power cables, Grand Prix Audio Monaco rack, RealTRAPS acoustic treatment.

Brisbane, Qld, Australia
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#7
The manual for my Oppo 105 under Analogue Audio Characteristics states:
Output Level: 2.1 Vrms (RCA) or 4.2 Vrms (XLR) at 0dBFS.
The online manual for the 205 under Analogue Audio Characteristics (Stereo Audio Outputs) states:
2.1±0.2Vrms. (XLR) 4.2±0.4Vrms Dynamic Range: > 120dB Crosstalk: > 118dB)

There is no such information listed for the 203, but it’s probably around the same figure.
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#8
Thanks guys. If I don’t hear back from oppo in the next few days, I will try the 2.1 setting.
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#9
Oppo support confirmed that it is the same 2.1 Vrms for the rca connection on the 203.
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#10
OK, set the input sensitivity of your analog input to 2.1V.

There is one other thing you should do, however, and that is to go into the Audio Processing Setup settings for the Oppo which control analog output except for Dynamic Range Control which also affects HDMI audio output.. The first item in that menu is Output Volume" which affects the level of the analog audio output. The default setting is Variable which allows the volume control on the Oppo remote to control volume. Instead set it to Fixed which disables volume control in the Oppo and sets the analog output level to maximum which ensures your maximum output level will be 2.1V. I suspect you may still notice a difference in level between the analog and digital outputs from the Oppo but setting the Output Volume setting to Fixed should minimise the difference.
Antipodes DS, Devilalet Expert 140 Pro CI, Focal Sopra 2, PS Audio P12, AQ Vodka ethernet, Kimber Select speaker cables, Shunyata Alpha NR and Delta EF power cables power cables, Grand Prix Audio Monaco rack, RealTRAPS acoustic treatment.

Brisbane, Qld, Australia
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