Let me recite a bit of background before I get to the issue at hand:
I have a stereo setup that uses a MiniDSP digital crossover driving a biamped setup into a set of Klipsch cornerhorns. This is a very sensitive (1w gives 105 dB) setup and a few watts will shake windows, a bit more will take pictures from walls.
I have used this arrangement for years, front ended by an old school analog preamplifier which sourced a CD player, FM tuner, reel to reel deck and a turntable.
The CD player quit, and this, together with the advent of a decent RPi-based music player has moved me to replace the main source of music content with an RPi-based system. I use a Hifiberry Digi+, because I can drive digital to the MiniDSP, and save conversion of analog till the last possible moment: right at the amps.
Here’s the issue:
I found that the MiniDSP, when configured in analog input mode (to accept the line level analog output of my preamplifier) would enable me to play as loudly as I had before, when the system was ALL analog.
The move to digital direct drive:
When I went RPi and Volumio, I chose the Hifiberry Digi+ because it had toslink and SPDIF, and was reputed to have outstandingly low jitter.
However, I find that the resulting system, while it sounds quite good (and I find a clearly noticeable difference in quality, especially in the bass region, by using SPDIF vs. Toslink- go figure), this system does not play as loud as before. Not nearly as loud. I have the MiniDSP set for full on input, and I have the Volumio set for 100%, and while this is loud, it is simply light years away from what this same system was able to do before. Musical impressions are that, in general, then quality is very high, and the noise floor as low as I have ever heard it (and with an all horn system, if there’s noise anywhere in the chain, I hear it). But the dynamics seem to be a bit compressed. I correlate this with a much lower overall volume ceiling.
I am going to post this on the MiniDSP forum, too, to see if I have missed a setup parameter somewhere, either in the MiniDSP or the Volumio.
Any feedback would be welcome!!