Midwest Audio Fest

It’s that time audio enthusiasts! Registration for the 2019 Speaker Design Competition is now open! Visit for details and to list your speaker project. We are excited to see all returning participants, and look forward to meeting some new designers this year, as well! Be sure your plans include a visit to the Parts Express Tent Sale for the lowest prices of the year, and the Audio Swap Meet where you can buy and trade with other audio fans. We hope to see you this summer! Vivian and Jill
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Dumb question: PC/Digital volume

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  • #16
    Here's how I see it. Reference levels are 105db peaks at listening position. A really quiet room is going to have a baseline noise floor of 40db. This leaves 65db of effective dynamic range.

    12 bit audio is more than capable of satisfying listening in that situation. Someone correct me if my math is wrong. The situation is somewhat different with headphones.


    • #17
      No matter how fancy the algorithm is, no matter how clean your source is, and no matter what kind of initial SNR you've got, you still always want to do your amplification as early in the signal chain as possible. When you amplify your signal, you also amplify your noise floor. Very simplistically (and assuming linear behavior), if you set the source to 100% and your amplifier adds a little gain, the proper signal sounds good (including whatever noise is encoded in the signal) and whatever noise floor is inherent in your system only gets reproduced very quietly. If you set the source to 10% and turn your amplifier up to compensate, you get basically the same peak information, and whatever noise is captured in the original signal is also reproduced about the same... but now any little source of noise in your equipment is getting amplified 10x. Your SNR drops if you amplify later.

      Doing things differently may very well be "good enough", particularly if you have good equipment. In some cases you might not even be able to measure a difference. But it's still safer to increase gain as early as possible.