USB Volume too low

I’ve been using Volumio feeding an OPPO 105D by USB for a few years and it worked well.

I recently got an Emotiva XDA-3 and I connected the Volumio to it by USB and even with the volume set to 100% in the playback options, the volume needed on my amplifier is nearly full volume. For the headphones amp it is at full volume and is still not loud.

By comparison the audio signal coming in through an Optical input is much higher and doesn’t need anywhere near that high a volume.

I’ve tried all kinds of Playback settings and haven’t found a way to improve the volume I’m getting. I’m not sure if the issue is with the XDA-3 or I’m missing a setting.

Did/do both units feed the same preamp/amp? If yes, might be an issue with the Emotiva XDA-3.

Both models have similar output: 2.1 Vrms (OPPO) vs 2.0 Vrms (Emotiva), unless you were using balanced-out on the OPPO (output = 4.2 Vrms).
I looked out of curiosity, seems the Emotiva website and user manual for the XDA-3 lack specs on the headphone amp, which is odd.

Here’s some info on Vrms-matching between DAC-amp:

DAC Vrms

For the headphone amp volume, I’d read up on the model or contact Emotiva for more info.

I returned the XDA-3. It had a 30 day money back.

My Oppo 105D was working well as a pre-amp for my XPA2 Gen 2 driving Martin Logan Ethos speakers. I was using the XLR outputs of the OPPO even though it’s technically not balanced.

The irony was that the XDA-3 actually did the opposite of what I was expecting. I was thinking that it would have a better matched gain because it was an Emotiva DAC preamp, but the opposite was true.

In addition it has a PAINFULLY slow volume control. It’s seriously awful. When you combine the fact I had to completely max out the volume when running Volumio to get anywhere near decent volume, it was a problem.

Please keep in mind that the Optical input gave me perfectly acceptable volume levels. It was just the USB input that has issues. If that worked, I probably would have kept it.

FWIW I think anything supposed to function as a meaningful headphone amp, that doesn’t have clear and easily accessible basic specs, might not be ideal regardless of volume control options.

Not knowing your power amp (but now seeing you use power-hangry speakers), while some facet of USB implementation may be the bigger issue with the Emotiva, Vrms is worth considering in the future :wink:

I mentioned my amp. It’s the XPA2 Gen2 and it can drive my speakers to some very seriously ear bleeding volumes.

It runs 500Watts into 4ohms and has 29dB of gain.
The Ethos are rated at 4ohms but dip to less than half that.

Ha! Indeed you did mention the amp, you are right. However, was pre-coffee my time, that reply, so I suppose my wording “not knowing your amp” was technically correct, too - I can’t know what I don’t notice :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Yes, seems a brute of an amp you’re using. I too drive tall power-hangry speakers and appreciate the top of that chain is no place for a DAC doing quiet stuff for its USB-in. Unless your Emotiva was a faulty unit, really odd. Good thing on that return policy!

I considered trying to work with them in case it had a defect in the USB processing, but that incredibly slow volume control that made me desperately want a volume knob was enough to make me send it back.

It seems like such a simple thing to get so wrong.

So something like the Eversolo DMP-A6 with 5.2V XLR output level would actually drive louder per volume level and because it can take a 4Tb M.2 drive directly, I could transfer my music to that and use a single device as my music server, streamer, DAC and preamp.

Since it would be reading the music files directly, there shouldn’t be any possible issues with volume.

There is also a larger DMP-A8 that includes ARC which might be nice in the future that has 4.2V XLR output level similar to my Oppo 105D.

I may have gone down a dangerous path…

I might have a DMP-A8 in my future and repurpose my RasperryPi for something else.

Those are neat looking devices…
that I personally would not consider.

Oppo was the company to convince me of that. I jumped into the Sonica DAC in 2017 (I think it was…? Maybe ‘16, I forget).

Brilliant - similar all-in-one solution. The 2x bus-powered USB ports accepted at least 3-4TB drives each, and I got an 8TB Samsung SATA SSD to work, too (my music files are far in excess of 4TB).
There was a bit of glitch to the phone app after certain iOS updates; Oppo never really updated their software or firmware. Never mind - the occasional freeze / crash didn’t curb my enthusiasm.

Then their overseas parent company killed the CA lab about a year after my purchase. The Sonica app became high unstable then downright unusable (depending on the individual smart device being used). Connectivity for the unit was a real problem and eventually only possible via LAN attachment. Ultimately, I spent more time resetting the device and troubleshooting system freezes / crashes than I did listening to music.

It is still a great DAC, but even that’s not recognized by Volumio USB-in (I have not taken the time to reconnect the Oppo with the system to generate a log for inspection here, preferring to use “music time” for listening instead of troubleshooting that particular DAC). As an all-in-one, the Sonica has been truly obsolete since early/mid 2018. I can’t believe I stuck with it through half of last year until a friend asked me why I didn’t just use one of the RPi’s I had laying around, ha!

Anyway, those Eversolo units look promising. I’ve seen some similar Chinese versions in my neck of the woods, including one a couple years ago that offered 16TB of internal storage (!)
They seem to work great, but for me, they’re over-dependent on too many levels of company(ies) x hardware x software packages “playing nice together” through updates, so I lack faith in the possible ROI. A $2K unit better live a long time as a capable all-in-one to validate itself in this modern world of ~$100 great-testing DACs and inexpensive DIY streamers with abundant freeware. Stuff in the upstream zone is just evolving so quickly I prefer to keep with basic separates after getting a worst-case scenario of how AIO’s can go.

Mind you, mine is just an account of devil’s advocacy - I’m not trying to sway you. Those AIO units, for anyone willing to chance software interactions, hardware lifespan etc., that type of device can be a solid choice - especially if you use multiple streaming subscriptions more than your own file library (disclaimer: I only use my own files, no services streaming).

And yes, Vrms looks to be an easy solution in the case of both those Eversolo devices. Happy contemplating…! :wink:

Your comments all make sense. I wasn’t happy when OPPO closed down, but physical media is dying quickly with small nostalgic blips. I love how well it uprezzes my old DVD’s, but realistically I rarely use any physical media anymore.

I did read about some Android issues with the Eversolo DMP-A6 when it first arrived. I’m not in any great rush, but I do like the simplicity of having an all in one device like that. The A8 isn’t even released yet, and I would prefer not to pre-order a new product before it is sorted.

One other thing I’ve also noticed is that Eversolo is releasing new products very rapidly and how well they support products after the sale and update the software for them could suffer if they have a pile of products to support. OTOH, if they are sharing common software between them, it could be a good thing if new features are released.

It’s hard to tell. But I have a better idea what I would like next and I appreciate your pointing out the voltage difference which seems to be the big thing I missed.

Yep - I agree - hence that evolutionary rate of everything involved. It’s runaway-level IMO.

A few years ago I bought an SMSL Dp3 (before I was clued into how straightforward using a RPi was for small server purposes).
The Dp3 had the smartphone app I was after, but SMSL didn’t mention it wouldn’t work for iPhones. It had bus-powered USB input, but SMSL didn’t mention the limit was 4TB. The software overlapped some of SMSL’s other units from what I can tell, but overall the Dp3 was so wonky in trying to cover so many bases that it was very user unfriendly.
SMSL sold it for a year, maybe slightly more (or slightly less?). You can’t even find reviews of it online, it was so short-lived. Its glory was that of an increasingly typical small desktop AIO: Automatically In the Out-door :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

There’s something to be said for cheap server hardware and freeware to run it. That now said and repeated by me enough times, I hope you land what you’re after! :slightly_smiling_face:

In case you are curious, I ended up getting the DMP-A8.

It indexed my 4Tb M.2 drive of uncompressed and high res files very quickly and the music server software is very easy to use. The 6" touch display works well, as does the smart phone app for it.

The Streaming integration has been excellent as well. So far I have Spotify running at Very High 320kbps and it sounds very good. I’m considering trying out Tidal, just to see if I can hear a difference. That said it does sound like Tidal pays artists better etc… Of course with barely over 1% of the customers of Spotify, I’m not sure that amounts to much.

The DAC actually does sound warmer than the ESS Sabre I was using before and matches my analytical ML’s very well.

So far no regrets, and it really has made listening to music on my stereo convenient for me and my wife.

Good deal.

I don’t give much concern to sound quality of competing streaming platforms - most of them should be using licenses for the same digital or digitized version / master / remaster of a given song or album, which means any difference you hear among platforms should be negligible compared to sourcing different versions of said songs/albums.
Unfortunately, listening to different releases / masters / etc. of the same track is generally less of an option through streaming services vs. a personal collection. Maybe someday… (at which point I’ll consider using a streaming service).