Question Optical Audio Volume Levels

Mar 31, 2019
Hi there, I'm new to the tread and posting for the first time.

I use a pair of Vanatoo Transparent Zero's in a home entertainment setup, connected to a TV via fixed level optical audio (itself connected to a Caavo box/ HDMI switcher). Given the fixed input level I need to use the Vanatoo or Caavo remote to control volume, though the volume adjusts in large increments, too large for accurate control. It seems that this is a design and control limitation or quirk built in to the speaker system itself.

Is there any way to simply attenuate overall volume using an optical audio input? If the overall volume was reduced by 50% or so, even with the overly large adjustment increments it would be easier to set it more accurately. I've considered using an external DAC with remote if necessary (that hopefully has better volume control). Can anyone recommend a reasonably affordable one with remote and optical input? Or potentially a DAC with HDMI input and video pass-through?

I want to stick with the optical input vs analog for the superior sound quality of the built-in or stand-alone DAC. The TV's internal DAC produces noticeably poor audio quality.

Thank you!
You can't attenuate digital audio. It doesn't have volume. It's just numbers.
Does the Caavo remote adjust volume on the box or does it control the TV?
I think you will need to get an external DAC with remote volume control built in. HDMI inputs are not that common on two channel DACs and may not support CEC so you would have to use the DAC remote anyway.
Optical and HDMI-ARC sound the same so if you can't use ARC there's no reason to spend more to get HDMI.
Mar 31, 2019
Thanks americanaudiophile. I've been wondering if there is some type of external device/ dongle/ box to set volume in the digital domain, though seems there's not, and as you mention a DAC with remote is likely the best option. Unfortunately the Caavo box doesn't have an internal volume control and adjusts TV volume via IR. It's a bit baffling to me why there isn't one (maybe just cost-cutting?) as it would be a universal solution to these these type of issues and volume settings could be shown via the on screen UI.

Have any recommendations or can you direct me to a thread for good low-medium priced DAC's? I'm finding cheap $25 options on Amazon, though surely you get what you pay for in terms of sound quality? Or I'm finding multi-hundred dollar options that are more than I'd like to spend.

Most lower price DACs don't come with an IR remote. I suspect that even the cheap Amazon ones will be better than the TV.
If you can find an used AVR with preamp outputs or a AV preamp-processor that would not be expensive (especially if you get one without HDMI) and would work well.
An old Marantz AVR (they sound pretty good) would likely be around $100 and sound quite good. You could eventually upgrade to passive speakers too.
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