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What should be louder?

post #1 of 16
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What should be 'louder' the volume of the output of the sound card or the speaker volume?
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Sunkissed Beauty
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post #2 of 16

It's up to you.  My speaker's volume knob is just about 1 foot too far out of my comfortable reach, so I keep my speaker volume relatively high so that I can control my volume in Windows.  However, I had to find a happy medium with my speaker's volume knob because I still want the ability to have super low volumes for when I don't want to disturb anyone else in the house and I also want to be able to go super loud.

 

So, if my speaker's volume knob were within very comfortable reach, then I don't know how I would have it set.  I guess I'd probably still have it set up this way because of how much easier it is to simply make a quick adjustment in Windows rather than lifting my arm and reaching for the volume knob.  I mean, all I have to do right now is click the speaker icon in the Notification Area and scroll my wheel up or down and then I'm done.  If I don't want to do that, then I have my keyboard macros.

 

I'm saying that I feel there is no right or wrong, but instead I say that it's whatever works best for you and is the most convenient and gives you all of the control that you want.  Like I said, I had to find a happy medium on my speaker volume so that I can do all of my adjusting in Windows and still get the full range that I want from super quiet to super loud.

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It's a computer!
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post #3 of 16
I keep both at half because I wasn't sure either - that's a good question, I'd like to know the answer too.
Unfortunately my headphones have nothing short of four volume knobs (for different channels, 5.1 surround), which is nothing short of a pain in the ass.

I have a feeling the output should be under 100% to avoid EMI from your PC components (if we are talking about sound cards here)
That really depends on how well-shielded your gear is though.

My hunch is just to keep each component under 80%-ish because EMI is usually more prominent at high volume.
Edited by Powermonkey500 - 10/17/12 at 7:22am
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powermonkey500 View Post

I keep both at half because I wasn't sure either - that's a good question, I'd like to know the answer too.
Unfortunately my headphones have nothing short of four volume knobs (for different channels, 5.1 surround), which is nothing short of a pain in the ass.

i always had source material loudest with amplifiers running as low as possible for minimal distortion.
post #5 of 16
maximum volume on sound card gives best sound quality for me. Speakers have a lot of noise if you put them at high volume.
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post #6 of 16

Just experiment and you will discover what is best for you and for your hardware (your system).  That is precisely what I did and that's precisely where I am at today.

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It's a computer!
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i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
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Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
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Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
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post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sisaroth View Post

maximum volume on sound card gives best sound quality for me. Speakers have a lot of noise if you put them at high volume.

Probably depends on your speakers...I know the junk I have will start to give a slight hiss at anything louder than about 50%. Though max volume on the things is so stinking loud. I don't understand why they would even make them that loud. The system was made by Creative and was cheap. They had to know that no one was going to be using these speakers with a 12 foot wire on the "rear" speakers in a giant room.

So I leave mine at 50% and control the volume in the OS...however, full volume in the OS plus 50% on the speakers are still enough to shake the walls in my house.
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post #8 of 16
I've always followed the rule of turning up the volume on whatever is closer to the source. I say that because basically all your speaker volume knob is doing is amplifying the input signal by increasing the gain of the built in amplifier. With amplification comes distortion (some systems have more distortion than others). Most sources such as a sound card or an audio receiver are simply taking the original signal and putting it out with minimal distortion at higher volumes.

Many times it doesn't really matter, as you're probably not going to be cranking the volume to a point where you would notice the distortion anyways. All I'm saying is if you follow this general rule of thumb, you should be optimal 99.99% of the time. If anyone has experienced a situation where they have proven the above to be innaccurate, please let me know.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Bump.

+REP to the guys.
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Sunkissed Beauty
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post #10 of 16
Technically, you want the signal to be as high as you can keep it until it reaches the amplifier to keep the noise level low, so volume in windows 100%
But then again an integrated sound card might even clip or start distorting more when the volume increases..

TBH I haven't heard any difference but I like to keep it at 100% as my volume knob is left of my keyboard smile.gif
    
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