DAC's with volume control question

it's been a while since i researched/purchased DAC's. grabbed a new PS Audio PWDII w/Bridge about 10 years ago and it has kept me happy for a long time. need a short term replacement (meaning inexpensive) and am looking for info regarding current DAC's that can be used stand alone without a preamp for volume control.  the PWDII had a shortcoming that would do "something bad" when operated below 50% volume. losing bits or something like that??. 

my question is .... has this issue been resolved in general? 10 years is alot of time in the digital realm and would like to know if modern technology has eliminated this problem with volume control/loss of sound quality.

have three on the list but see nothing disclosed regarding volume control short comings. is it safe to assume no such issues exist anymore? thus not even mentioned?

this is a temporary replacement. probably only 1-1.5 years. don't want to add a preamp so my list is limited to inexpensive options with preamp/volume control so far 

Peach Tree Decco125 SKY
Cambridge CNX V2
Cambridge 851N

seems the 851N might be more of what i need but am concerned about mid-fi integrated preamp hardware making things sound worse. the CNX V2 seems to be more like my PWDII and is preamp-ish with volume control. no real dedicated/integrated preamp hardware. the CXN V2 has me concerned about the volume control having shortcomings like my PWDII.

thanks in advance for any help/input


to be honest with you, i don’t have a solid, confident answer for you on this subject

early last year, i had a RME ADI2 dac in house, it did have built-in digital volume control, but i did not use/test that aspect of it (now i regret not doing so)... i just ran it at full volume to hear its sound quality compared to other dacs i was trying, which i assume is how it would sound best... overall it is a good sounding, feature packed (if complex) unit, and many headphone users love the unit... i sold it as i felt it had a very nice clean clear crisp sound, not too lean, but head to head against the chord dacs it did not image nearly as well and the chords were a little more refined - i do remember reading in its (huge) owners manual that they painfully engineered its digital volume control to sound very good - maybe this one is worth your trying... maybe you just pick up one used (they appear on AG or USAM reasonably frequently) at a decent price to try (~$800) - easy to resell - i think at that price the sound is very good and the volume control could work for you

since that time, i moved on to some more expensive dacs, with built in remote volume in the analog domain and they are great, i did not try other lower cost ones

separately, i would mention that when it comes to digital volume attenuation, one needs to leave behind the paradigm of traditional volume control where the ’comfortable’ setting is around halfway or so... with digital you would ideally match the output of dac such that it runs much closer to full output when playing music at your usual listening levels (or at least 80-90%), for the reasons i described earlier

finally - this short video is the best i have seen explaining digital volume control and the considerations therein ... hans really knows what he is talking about and presents his thoughts in a mature, humble way
I had a Bel Canto DAC3 in my system a while back and I couldn’t tell the difference using it as a preamp vs. my Bryston BP6, which was shocking to me.  The Gustard A22 might also be worth looking at as the guy at Soundnews.net found it to have a good preamp section.  Best of luck. 
jjss49: great video. had to watch three times but i now get the jist of it.....or somewhat understand the topic at a very rudimentary level. thank you!

djones51: thank you too. that's what i was looking/hoping to hear.....the volume control should work ok/decently without a noticeable degradation in sound.

understanding there are much better ways to get this done, i've decided to take the quickest/easiest path. 12-16 months is all i need to get outta this rig so i should be good. just ordered the 851N. should be here tomorrow. all in one plug n play box with tons of features for dirt cheap. will check back in and update the thread on my thoughts/findings.

will probably be posting many more stupid questions in about a year when i get into building a new/nicer system. hoping this emergency/quick system build will keep me happy until then. 

thanks to all 
+3 or 4 rme adi-2. Great dac and very transparent volume control. Love the basic treble and bass on the remote although is has 5 band PEQ that you can turn off and on as well. Actually its got so many damn features it gets a little confusing!! Normally stuff like this would be a gimmick but just icing on the cake for the rme. 
quick check in for those who might be interested. am 24 hours into my Cambridge 851N ownership. gotta say i'm definitely not thrilled but will give it chance to burn in a little an see what happens.

first off the volume control is OK at best. no where near as precise as i had hoped for. my PWDII was/is much better at volume adjustment/precision. especially at low volumes.

sound wise....it's a 7/10. not bad but certainly not as organic/smooth sounding as the 10 year old PWDII it replaced. exceptable for now but not hifi imho (probably shouldn't be hifi at this price point but i was hoping). the old saying you get what you paid for and the effort you put into it seems to be true at this point. couple days of research and $1500 is what i have invested. mediocre/ok sound is what i have now. 

have had differing experiences with "burn in" in numerous components over the years. sometimes i notice a big difference. other times near nothing/no improvement. lets just say i'm hoping "burn in" smooths out some of the rough edges here. if not??....i think i can make this work for a year or so.....but definitely not a long term keeper.

on the big plus side, the features and setup are fantastic and easy to use (again, coming from something 10 years old here). spent a few minutes setting it up and it's done. Cambridge app is kinda weak but still very user friendly and very quick/seemless. love having all the music access this box provides. radio and tidal hifi is very enjoyable even with average midfi sound

oh well....at least i have some music playing again.