Differences in volume

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by MikeFrank, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. MikeFrank

    MikeFrank AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I am pretty new to the amp/receiver/speakers community, and I have a question I hope doesn't embarrass me too much.

    I have 2 receivers right now. One is a Pioneer SX-650. The other is a Marantz 2230. I don't need to play them both super loud, but when I do turn up the volume, I notice the Pioneer can go much louder much more quickly. For example, turning the volume on the Pioneer to about 25% on the volume knob, is about as loud as putting the Marantz to about 50% on its volume knob. For testing purposes I have played both receivers through a pair of Klipsch SF2 speakers.

    I don't know enough about watts and power and their impact on volume. Could one of you good people explain this simply? I am trying to determine if this is an expected result from these 2 receivers, or if the Marantz has some sort of problem that might be affecting the volume.
     
  2. danrclem

    danrclem Super Member

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    Different volume pot designs can have different amounts of output power at the same position. Since these receivers are close in output power I'd think that is the case here but it would be good if somebody with actual experience with both receivers would post and verify or refute this.
     
  3. patate91

    patate91 Well-Known Member

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    For what I understand a volume pot is a resistor. As stated above they can be created with different values.

    Also the source impedance(resistance) will have an impact in the "resistance chain".
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  4. Bodyblue

    Bodyblue AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have a bunch of different vintage receivers, all between 20 and 75 watts and each one is different on how much gain the volume pot uses. My Marantz 2220B usually needs no more than about to the 10 oclock position to get loud. My Sony STR 5800SD has a lot more power at around 55 watts but to get to the same SPL as the Marantz it needs to go to the 12 position.

    A good question and the answer is that different manufacturers design differing levels on the pots. It is rather hard to directly compare but there is some difference. Modern cars have "drive by wire" throttles and car makers often set the throttle to open more quickly (even though the accelerator is only pushed in a little) so the car seems like it has more power. My wife's 2013 Scion Xb has a throttle like that and it took some time to get used to it so we could drive it smoothly........when we first got it a few months ago if felt like somebody smacked it in the ass when taking off. Her PT Cruiser Turbo that had a lot more power needed a longer push on the gas pedal to get going.
     
  5. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

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    The pioneer VR is 100kΩ the marantz is 250kΩ. If the signal going into these volume controls are the same the Pio will rocket up the volume compared to the Mar.

    Maybe Pio wanted folks to think this one is powerful, look how loud it is at 9:00 while the Mar needs to be at 12:00. This has nothing to do with power and I prefer the more adjustable low volume opportunities of the Mar because you can set the lower volume more easily.

    When cranked up the pio might max out at 1:00 and the mar at 4:00 but that might bring in more noise. Tradeoffs the designers figure out when the make these things.

    Bottom line is the position of the volume control has absolutely nothing to do with the overall power of the unit and shouldn't be used to pick a more powerful unit.
     
  6. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

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    This is matter of net gain, not power. Power is simply the upper limit.

    Gain is a matter of output to input ratio. When you have higher net gain then you get more output for any given input (within the capability of the amp, of course).
     
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  7. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

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    I like those that increase more gradually, myself. Some of those pots track best in the middle, rather than toward the extremes. Seems wasteful to be near full output at 9 o'clock, as seems to be the case with some, and the extra useful rotation provides for more precise volume settings when listening at low levels, ime. Some pots track much better than others.
     
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  8. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

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    Yup, but it sure makes for a good impression that you have a really powerful setup.

    I run into it frequently in discussions involving AVR/HT receiver. People coming from vintage gear don't understand having to turn the volume knob a full revolution or more in some case to get loud. They are use to the walls shaking at "3", so they fear something is not right and hard to convince them just to turn the knob more.
     
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  9. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

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    Lets also not forget that source level plays a part too.

    Even with two identical receivers/amps if one is receiving a stronger signal from the source it will be louder at any given volume setting relative to the other.
     
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  10. woodj

    woodj Super Member

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    I would not expect sameness here any more I would expect an accelerator in one model car to to be like another.
     
  11. patate91

    patate91 Well-Known Member

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    Here's a picture of a certain model, it helps to understand what's happening inside.

    Stereo-Stepped-Attenuator.jpg
     
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  12. MikeFrank

    MikeFrank AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    You guys are absolutely the best. Thank you everyone for the clear explanations. I was worried as well that if I wanted to get a bit louder with the Marantz, that turning it up past 12 o'clock would result in more of a strain on the receiver (or more specifically the power parts) because I have read those units have semi-delicate power supplies that are prone to needing replacement.
     
  13. patate91

    patate91 Well-Known Member

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    If your pushing your amp to much you'll hear distortion.
     
  14. MikeFrank

    MikeFrank AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  15. ev13wt

    ev13wt Super Member

    But no highs. :shrug: :)
     
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  16. E-Stat

    E-Stat Super Member

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    Like Musichal, I prefer linear to log taper profiles.
     
  17. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

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    But wouldn't linear get loud fast compared to log taper? Inverse log will be even faster to loud.
     
  18. twiiii

    twiiii Super Member

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    Its like comparing a Golden Delicious to a Mcintosh Apple. They may both be apples and they may both be nutritious, but they are very different, just like your receivers.
     
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  19. E-Stat

    E-Stat Super Member

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    If your gain structure isn't well matched, that might be the case.

    I prefer using controls with precise, fixed steps. For years, I used a DACT attenutor box between CDP and power amp. My last two Audio Research preamps offer linear steps. In the first two cases, the gain control was usually set between 1:00 and 3:00 for maximum output. The current SP20 uses a microprocessor based control where I still have plenty of latitude at the bottom starting with an almost whisper.
     
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