I got the Tone2 this week, and it sounds great! I run it through Ropieee with Roon and it is seamless.
The only thing that I am missing is Volume Control from Roon. I set the the volume control to “Device Volume” and the volume control still shows as “Volume control is fixed”. I use it with RCA, and amp volume control is a pain in my setup. Is there anything I can do to enable the volume control?
The reason I ask is, I also have the Tone1 Board and with the “Device Volume” setting, I was able to control the volume through Roon. Should there be a firmware change of some sort to enable volume control in Tone2 as I believe the chipset is very similar to Tone1? This would really make this complete! Any tips to enable volume control on Tone2 with Roon is appreciated.
Yeah. I have both the Tone1 and Tone2 Pro as well. It seems that for the Tone2 Pro, the decision was to only allow volume control using the dial, but perhaps this will change with future firmware updates.
For now, you can try using DSP volume. I’m not a huge fan since this seems to double the CPU usage on my little RPi endpoints (all of the dithering and level calculations happen on the endpoint to reduce latency).
Thanks for the tip, I was hoping not to use the DSP volume, due to the degradation of the quality.
Just to add more, I installed Volumio as they support Tidal connect now. Volumio is able to only set Software volume as expected currently with Tone2 and the hardware volume option is not available.
The interesting thing with Volumio with Tone2 is when I play a MQA track from Tidal Connect (Volumio on Raspberry Pi) with software volume, at full 100% volume, Tone2 ringlight glows Blue indicating MQA decode. When I reduce the volume on Volumio/Tidal Connect, playing a MQA track glows Yellow on tone2 indicating PCM playback, probably because the MQA bits have been changed by volume DSP.
I really hope there will be a firmware update to enable hardware volume for use with RaspberryPi apps (Roon/Volumio etc) This would be awesome and will make it complete for folks who use the Tone2 through these apps. I believe this was done to Tone1, and even if it is a sperate firmware would be great.
I just received the Tone 2 Pro, and was surprised that it doesn’t support hardware volume control for the RCA outputs. I stream using Volumio and a Raspberry Pi, then to the DAC, and on into the amp with very inconvenient gain control. I’d really like to use Volumio’s software volume control to control the Tone 2 Pro’s hardware volume. I can set Volumio up to use software volume control, but then MQA doesn’t work.
I wish one of the Khadas team would comment on this topic. Volumio supports bit perfect hardware volume control, I’ve used it that way with a Dragonfly red. If only a firmware upgrade would make this possible on the Tone 2 using the RCA outputs I would be a very happy camper. This DAC is amazing in all other respects.
Firstly, we set the RCA volume to maximum and had it fixed for maximum possible performance, as our team assumed the main use case would be an RCA connection to an external amplifier; in most cases the external amplifier has its own volume control.
Secondly, we can indeed modify the firmware to control the RCA volume using the volume knob (rotary encoder), but that volume would be digital volume, not hardware volume (analog volume), because hardware volume requires hardware support (which is not built into Tone2 Pro).
The request here is to control the RCA volume through USB HID (hardware volume control over USB), so that applications such as Roon, Volumio etc can control the hardware volume remotely without being near the DAC.
Seems like software volume through these apps degrades MQA currently. With the Tone1 board, I was able to control hardware volume over USB which was really nice.
Is USB hardware control possible through a firmware update or not due to the internal hardware? Maybe a separate firmware update for people who use it with raspberryPi applications and who do not use the DAC with headphones nor want rotary volume control? This would make it perfect to use with Roon, Volumio etc.
Hi, I mean to say that we control the headphone (analog) volumes (3.5mm and 4.4mm) via the volume knob (rotary encoder), so the RCA output’s (digital) volume may also controlled this way. I use the DAC registers 15-16 via I2C to change the volume. You can see the datasheet below about the registers. This has nothing to do with USB.
Without hardware support for analog volume, having the RCA outputs at fixed level seems like the right call to me. If folks want to drive active speakers from the DAC, I guess they could use a 3.5mm or 4.4mm to RCA/XLR adapter from the headphone outputs. In this arrangement, I can see how HID control of the headphone volume might be nice. Not sure if that’s possible with this implementation. Even so, I’d keep the RCAs at fixed level. My 2¢
If you lower the volume in Windows(software volume control) with the DAC connected via USB, typically it will lower the volume of the input signal to the Tone or Tone 2 Pro, and that will lower the volume of all Tone or Tone 2 Pro outputs.
Some are wanting programs/apps to be able to control the volume of the DAC itself via the DAC’s hardware and not by reducing the DAC’s input level.
At least that is my understanding.
I think this is exactly what we’re looking for- Volumio or Roon can use “hardware volume control” to adjust the registers in the DSP. This way, the input stream isn’t effected, and things like MQA decoding will still work. It is very convenient to stream from a phone or tablet to a headless streamer, and have that USB output drive the DAC. With hardware volume control, we can then adjust the volume of the music playing without having to walk across the room and turn the volume knob. This is great for lazy people like me!
Hi, let me clarify again with regards to enabling volume control of the RCA output via the volume knob (rotary encoder):
For the best audio performance, we must first fix the hardware volume of the buffer amplifier to maximum. This will cause the hardware volumes for both the RCA output and 3.5 / 4.4mm headphone outputs to be fixed at maximum.
We can then use the volume knob to adjust the digital volume of the DAC only. This means that all volume control will be done digitally, whilst the hardware volume is fixed at 100%. In this way, the volume knob will control the digital volumes of both the RCA output and 3.5 / 4.4mm headphones simultaneously.
It is likely that users won’t be able to tell the difference between hardware and digital volumes, assuming that they set their PC’s digital volume (via the USB-C cable) to 100% as well.