Parasound HCA- Do you crank the volume levels in the Back?

I have an HCA 1200ii and there are right and left level knobs on the back. Do you guys recommend just having them all the way up? Or 12:00? Something else? I’ve had them all the way up for a long time but honestly forgot about them. Now I’m curious what the preferred setting would be for power amps with output gains.

Thanks!

Comments

  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,109
    They aren’t volume knobs and are used to set gain adjustments. I usually run them at full unless there is serious gain in front of the amp.

    Consider gain as a tool to allow you to use more or less of the volume control as needed.
  • imsjryimsjry Posts: 114
    DSkip wrote: »
    They aren’t volume knobs and are used to set gain adjustments. I usually run them at full unless there is serious gain in front of the amp.

    Consider gain as a tool to allow you to use more or less of the volume control as needed.

    Got it. And i do notice that my Preamp doesn't need much volume at all to shake the walls. So is there any sonic advantage to finding a particular balance between the two to give the ability to open up the Preamp volume more?
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 42,660
    Yes, the noise floor. With nothing playing, amp gain at max turn the volume control up while listening to the tweeters. Note the volume control position when you hear noticeable hiss from the tweeters. Report back the position.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk

  • imsjryimsjry Posts: 114
    I start hearing hiss with the dial around 9 or 10 O’Clock but that’s with my ear right against the speaker.
  • chumliechumlie Posts: 8,602
    Mine are all the way up.
  • aiconnaiconn Registered User Posts: 212
  • muncybobmuncybob Posts: 2,129
    Would you get different results between different ouputs?...such as phono vs. cd?
    Yep, my name really is Bob.
    Parasound HCA1500, Dynaco PAS4, Denon DP1200 w/Shure V15 Type V and Jico SAS stylus, Oppo BDP93, Marantz UD7007, modded Polk SDA 2B.
  • imsjryimsjry Posts: 114
    edited October 2
    muncybob wrote: »
    Would you get different results between different ouputs?...such as phono vs. cd?

    On any source, the Preamp gives some hiss starting around 9/10 o’clock. I should add I have a small living room and have never once had the Preamp volume come close to that high. That’s why I’m wondering if I should lower the Parasound gains to allow me to use more volume control on the Preamp (Yamaha CX-1).

    Post edited by imsjry on
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,471
    It's really just a convenience feature intended originally for custom installers back in the 1990s but it's been continued because it's useful in some situations. Parasound recommends running their amps at full gain under normal conditions. The adjustable gain function is there in case the amp output and preamp output don't match well in a system. It's perfectly acceptable to reduce the gain on the amp to get more precise control on the preamp's volume control. There's really no right or wrong way to use the functionality. There is one consistent truth though, and that is the amp does not produce any more or less power capability if the gain controls are adjusted.

    An example of the usefulness is this. I have a tube preamp that can be adjusted internally for either 12, 16, or 20 dB output gain. The lowest setting is too low with an HCA-1500 set to max gain and I would have to crank the volume knob on the preamp in increments that are too broad. It'll work but it takes too long to adjust the volume using the remote control without it being annoying. The 20 dB output is too high and produces a noise floor that is too high with the amp set to maximum gain as well as making the volume control on the preamp too sensitive to remote control inputs. I could attenuate the amp to get around the problem. But, the 16 dB setting is just right. If I only had the choice of the 20 dB output on the preamp, I would have no choice but to lower the gain on the amp to get both better sound quality and more precise control on the volume knob.
    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A23 amp; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 Preamp; Classe Model 25 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Oppo 105D; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio Power Director; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Parasound JC2BP and A21; Sony 48" 4K TV; Wyred4Sound DAC 2; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; MIT S3 cables
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 42,660
    imsjry wrote: »
    I start hearing hiss with the dial around 9 or 10 O’Clock but that’s with my ear right against the speaker.

    Try dialing back the gain a bit to see if you get more use out of the volume control before the hiss becomes audible.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk

  • imsjryimsjry Posts: 114
    I ended up scaling back the gain on the Parasound to be able to have more headroom with the volume on my Pre. Can't say there is any audible difference but just seems like you would ideally want to be able to open up the Preamp volume a bit more.
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