Dazed & Confused

Listening to mostly jazz, solo instruments and vocals I find my Martin Logan Spire hybrids to sound awesome, but recently I was listening to some both "Busy" 90’s rock and classical (lots of instruments playing loudly together) and I find the music starts to sound garbled and annoying (to bright), so much so, I turn it off.
I was wondering if you all might have some suggestions on some speakers that would be a little more forgiving with busy/loud music that I could possibly switch over to when listening to different types of music. That is unless I can find speakers that can handle all styles of music, then I would consider taking the hit ($$$) on selling the Spires.

Without getting into room size and dynamics, lets just call it a standard room, I was also looking for something more efficient. The Spires need a huge amount of power (and volume) to sound good. Looking more for something I can listen to loud but also still enjoy the music at a much lower volume if that’s at all possible. Neutral and not to bright.
Living in the sticks, I can’t just jump in the car to go demo speakers. Only once, in the past, did I purchase a set of speakers online and unheard, going solely on the sales person’s recommendations. I learned the hard way to never do that again!

Equipment now: Coda CSiB integrated amp with W4S 2v2 SE Dac running Roon Nucleus.

I also wanted to mention that the Spires have phenomenal base, so much so I sold the 2 subs I was originally using with them. Floor standers and bookshelfs have come along way in SQ these days, but if I need to purchase another set of subs the budget is starting to dwindle.

No vinyl or CD’s, just Tidal.

$3,000 - $5000 budget, new or newer demos.

Thanks for any suggestions or advice you may have to offer!

If you want a better zeroed in answer then room size is very important. Let us know?
HA, have you done any room treatments? what is your power source like? the garbled sound you described could be many things including the recordings. I owned ML's for over ten years and agree they are power hungry but never recall them sounding "bright" I only stream now and use an integrated with a one box streamer -dac. You will get many more responses if you can give more specifics on your set up such as Martini suggested. Good luck.
  1. Room is 17' wide by 12' deep but opens to the large kitchen behind. 9' ceiling in listen area stepping up to 8' in the kitchen.
Looking at the photos linked to above, and also at the photo in your system description thread which shows the speakers, my suspicion is that the major contributors to the problem are:

1) The listening chairs are too far off center, assuming you don’t relocate them when listening.
2) The speakers are too close together. It appears that there is not much more than five feet between them, while the listening distance is significantly greater than that.

I would expect that moving the speakers further apart and listening from a centered position would result in much better separation of multiple instruments and much less of the garbling you referred to.

-- Al

Almarg, I agree with your assessment plus a lot of very hard surfaces there. I set my SL3 Martin Logans about 9 feet apart and toed slightly inward. the OP’s gear is top notice and I suspect it’s the room’s sonic character or once again, the recordings that are causing the "brightness and congestion" at higher volumes. One thing about ML's I experienced. They are fairly beamy with a very small but focused sweet spot and aren't so great for off center listening. Of course the newest models may not have the beamy issue anymore but I don't know.
High-amp, I looked at your room. The problem with ML's is that curved diaphragm. As the diaphragm moves forward it tightens. As it moves back it gets loose. In other words it is not linear. The harder you push it the more it distorts and you have the power to push it well past linearity. 
You also have enough power to drive just about anything. 
The two speakers that come to mind are the Sound Labs 545 and the Magneplanar 3.7i. Remembering that you listen mostly to jazz and voice.
Both these speakers alone are admittedly not real rockers. If you want to blow your doors off and are not as sound quality critical Klipsch Cornwall 4's would do fine but they would also look sort of boring in your room.
If you wanted to blow your doors off and remain at a high level of sound quality you would put at least two good subwoofers under the Sound Labs which will give you another 10 dB. Adding subs to the Maggies does not add much in term of output. The other nice part about the Sound Labs is that they are indestructible. The Maggie tweeter is the absolute best on the market but it is a bit fragile. Maggie has a great tweeter replacement program. If you know how to use a screw driver you can have a new tweeter in in three days. Music won't blow them but stuff like lightening and needle drops might. Other than the tweeter Maggies are indestructible. If you really like ESL clarity and detail the Sound Labs are for you.
These ML's were originally purchase for another home and sounded just fine. That home was remodeled around the speakers. That remodel was all about hard surfaces, which unlike most speakers the ML's are very adaptable too and sounded very good (yes, they were further apart)

The location of the Spires in the present home is far from perfect but, for now, it is what it is. I wasn't really looking to make them sound better (maybe in the next house?) I was thinking to augment them with something that would sound better in this particular situation. From what I have read not all speakers do all things. ML's are great for clarity in the mids and are unforgiving (regardless of placement) with poor quality recordings (as tuberisit previously mentioned). Looking for either something to get me by (and sounds good with R&R)with a  little more efficiency so as not to play them so loud. Or something to completely replace the ML's that will satisfy all the requirements. Something more unforgiven to room placement at this residence and any future digs. 

& BTW, the chairs in the photo are for watching TV. When I want to listen to music I have my Ikea Poang chair to plop down in the middle of the vise. 

Thanks for your comments!
Thanks mijostyn, 

The SL 545's look great, but even if I sold my speakers they are way over my budget.
And both the SL's and the Maggies are a little "Majestic" as suggested. 

I suggest you look into Tannoy speakers. I built a custom pair, using 12" HPD Dual Concentric drivers. Take a look online to see what is available in your price range. They will have great bass, and they are relatively efficient at 93-94 db sensitivity.

Best of luck, regards,
Quick update. Move the Spires to 7' on center. Played YES, Close to the Edge first track and when the vocals come in at the 4 minute mark, ouch. Then when the organs starts up at 13.03 I gotta turn it off (or at lease way down). Just shrills. On to Led Zepplin  House of the Holy - 2nd track The Rain Song sounds absolutely beautiful until the 5 minute mark, more shrill (although not as bad as YES). Track 7 Quarter sounds great, the song itself is just not to "Busy". Not sure about the recording quality,
listening to Tidal 96 kHz 24 bit. Maybe it's just my ears...

No high-amp I do not think it is your ears. I know all those cuts intimately.
You have a rising response in the upper midrange. I would guess it is the interaction with your room. Hang a rug behind your system rack and run a line of acoustic tile on both sides of the fireplace.   https://www.parts-express.com/sonic-barrier-fwp122-studio-acoustic-foam-wedge-panel-12-x-12-x-2-black-12-pack--260-547   If you have any control over frequency response drop the treble 6 dB at 20 kHz. Push the MLs another foot apart. Another solution would be room control. Check out Anthem.
Even with room treatment ML's are going to get harsh when you push them hard. They are really are not for people who like to listen over 90 dB. As for easy to live with dynamic speakers check out Sonus Faber Sonetto 8's 
Though those two albums were recorded at about the same time I would expect the Yes to sound better than the Zep.  That has been my experience with those two bands FWIW.
In my book nothing should ever sound as shrill as you described.
Room acoustics. :)

I find poor rooms sound much better at low volumes than high.  Room acoustics help the room sound great at all volumes.
Post removed 
All great input, much thanks you all. 

I purchased electrostatics without doing enough research and was pushed hard by a sales person at the time. With the same music (played on a tube amp), the ML's sounded better (with the same song, can't remember what it was) compared to Vienna Acoustic Baby Grands and Focal 1028's, although the ML's were also 2 1/2 times, so they must be better, right?

I would still like to venture into some smaller conventional speakers to place behind on either side of the Spires, just to play with. Again, difficult to audition equipment in my area, but from reading multitudes of threads here some contenders might be Klipsch Forte III (everyone says they are good for rock). Spendor 7, Kef R700, Zu Audio Omens, there are multitude of others. 

And yes ,I know it's only my ears that can decide, but even if I drove to the city (Seattle being the closest) many of the speakers that are discussed on Audiogon don't seem to be available in the area.

I did like Dan's suggestion of Tannoys. How did you "Build" a manufacture's speaker? I'm a hands-on guy, sounds like a challenge.

Hello high-amp,

 I just moved and my music room went from 20x20 with a low textured ceiling to a 13x15 room with an 8’ ceiling. The new room is about to drive me nuts. I’m getting the same shrill on tunes I’ve listened to many many times.  Both rooms have/had treatments and carpeted floors. 
I’ll be watching this thread with great interest.

All the best.

Some questions that are unrelated to speakers, but depending on the answers might be related to the problem:

1) Is the connection between the DAC and the Coda integrated amp balanced or unbalanced? It appears that the amp has an unbalanced input impedance of 50K, but a balanced input impedance of only 1K. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the DAC would have major sonic problems driving 1K, especially at high volume.

2) What do you have the DAC’s volume control set to? When it is set to max it outputs **very** high signal levels (5.2 volts unbalanced and 10.5 volts balanced, when the audio data is at "full scale"), and I wouldn’t be surprised if those levels could over-drive a circuit stage in the amp that is "ahead" of the amp’s volume control, such that significant distortion occurs on musical peaks. On the other hand, though, using a low setting of the DAC’s volume control might degrade its sonics somewhat. If you already haven’t done so, experimenting with various settings of the DAC’s volume control may be in order.

3) It appears that three versions of the amp exist, V1 (150/300 W for 8 and 4 ohms, respectively); V2 (250/500 W); V3 (400/800 W). Which is yours?

-- Al
Post removed 
Again thanks to all for your answers to my query.

I will check or the Sonus Faber Sonetto 8's thanks mijostyn 

Interesting observation steakster (like mine medium rare) I'm hopping the "Room" is short term, but I think it's time to change to conventional speakers, more forgiving (I think?)

Thank you Eric_S for even chiming in, I'm honored. At this point, I just don't want to spend a bunch of time and money on room acoustics if I'm moving. Most likely, where ever I'm going, the room will be very different again.

Hey Al, (or should I say "Sherlock?) you really have an eye for detail  
1. I have balanced connections between my DAC & amp.
2. The W4S DAC volume is set to maximum, which is 65.
3. Long story short, after a little factory rework, the amp is rated at V 2.5
300/600 W

And Jim, I'm just as curoius as you!

I also wanted to mention I did purchase a USB mic and downloaded the REW room correction software and I'm afraid this was way over my head. Just a laymen here not an electrical (or sound) engineer, so I returned the mic and deleted the soft ware. Trying to stick with the KISS theory as much as I can...

+1 almarg! Definitely turn down the DAC's volume! Especially since you are using balanced outputs. That's way too much input voltage for the amp (most amps reach full output with about 2 volts!).
1. I have balanced connections between my DAC & amp.
2. The W4S DAC volume is set to maximum, which is 65.

Either or both of those factors could very conceivably be the entire cause of the problem, IMO, given the 1K balanced input impedance of the amp and the 10.5 volt maximum balanced output of the DAC. And if so, changing speakers will of course not help. Definitely try using RCA interconnects, and definitely try lower volume settings on the DAC.

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al

Thank you Al, you have really dug deep into this. Thank you to everyone else as well. I don't have time today, but tomorrow I will play with the DAC volume as suggested. You have also sparked some other trouble shooting ideas for me. Some that will take me a while to figure out as I will have to purchase a few CD's first. I will report back on my findings. 
Any further speaker recommendations are greatly appreciated as well regardless. I will eventually downsizing my system with a pending residential move next year at which point the ML's will to large for my intentions. 

The Sonus Faber Sonetto VIII's list price is above your budget, but I note this seller has a pair of demos for sale that might be closely priced to your top end.



Upon first look at the room picture, I exclaimed "Oh my God!"

the Spires have phenomenal bass
in that room! 

Cover the TV. Add something to the right wall to reduced reflections. While the minimalist shelving has nice esthetics, it's a disaster for reflections. I didn't do the math, but the wall/ ceiling corners could be a problem.

Sensitivity: 91 dB/2.3 Volts/Meter.
Seems like the amp should drive to S T U N [110+db @ 3m] unless it is giving up into:

Nominal Impedance: 4 Ohms (0.8 Ohms at 20 kHz)
The bottom end impedance is  50-100x 20k. I've never been a fan of amplifiers with so many output devices per channel. Transistors are non-linear devices and into a complex load with 20 devices per channel, unless the devices and driver circuitry are extremely well selected, things can get ugly in a hurry.

Perhaps with the subs in the previous install, rolling the low end made life easier for the amp.

What speaker cables? Perhaps the amp does not like the ESL/cable load?
Boy, you are all great! Getting a little technical in some aspects ("never been a fan of amplifiers with so many output devices per channel"),
 but love all great the feedback. Been reading AF for years with never really participating, glad now that I finally have!

Hey ieales, OK, you talked me into, now a new amp (suggestions for something without so many output devices), but I do have to figure this speaker thing out first! Especially if I'm moving on from the ML's.

At one time I had some decent XLO speaker cables (along with some other good power cables and IC's) but had a few personal issues arise so the first thing to go was the "Jewelry" 
Right now just running Blue Jeans Belden 5000.

Oh so temping - https://salon1audio.com/product/sonus-faber-sonetto-viii-new/ and my wife would go out of her mind being offered in white. Already designing our new digs, wherever that may be? It'll be all-white.

I once purchased a pair of speaker without hearing them, promised I would never do it again! 

"Played YES, Close to the Edge first track and when the vocals come in at the 4 minute mark, ouch. Then when the organs starts up at 13.03 I gotta turn it off (or at lease way down)."

"I get up, I get down..." Epic, at max volume. Almost a religious experience.

That album will only sound  a little "better" on really nice systems. There are articles that mention CTTE isn't a "reference" recording.  I've played a very clean original press of that album in STELLAR setups. It's only a litle more controlled, but still a busy mess. I haven't heard a file or CD sound more convincing, either.

It's one of my favorite Yes albums. Even on the "best", it's only a little more controlled on the complex busy sections. 

Better to just enjoy the music. You have fine equipment.  As mentioned speaker placement and room tuning do wonders.
@tablejockey I agree that CTTE is one of the worst recordings. I remember buying the LP when it was first released and could barely listen to it. It was so harsh and brittle that you can compare it to nails on a chalkboard.
Point well taken on the recording gents.

 Anything you can recommend that is that's as an "Religious Experience" (luv it)/ busy that would be good to put a system to the test?
 Love Emerson, Lake & Palmer as well, but I think all their recordings may not be so great either

Just a side note on YES, got me to thinking. They were the first real concert I saw when I was 15 years old (first was Paul Revere & the raiders in more of a theater like setting). Triple bill: The Eagles, Edgar Winter featuring Rick Derringer both opening acts for YES.
 Cost for ticket, are you ready for this...$4! 
After the supercharged, high energy show of watching EW/RD who followed the Eagles, everyone was ready to sleep when YES finally played, oh so mellow. 
Then there was ELP with the quadraphonic set up in a large stadium type venue...Ah, the good old days.
suggestions for something without so many output devices
My tastes tend to tube amplifiers. I would never presume to recommend. The BJ 5000 is decent garden variety speaker cable and should not cause any issues with most well designed amplifiers.

I would council buying performance and not jewelry. Given 4 amplifiers, 4 sets of cables and 4 pair of speakers, one will have 64 combinations, not one of which will be accurate and all will be flawed in several areas.

The secret to a satisfying system is knowing the flaws you can tolerate and those you can’t. In my case, I don’t really care a hoot about frequency response but can’t abide incoherent time response. ESLs, Maggies, and aligned dynamics are my cup of tea. Not much of a fan of anything ported as the very low end is always indistinct. YMMV!

AND, I’m not a fan of multi woofer tall, vertical front skinny boxes. IMO, time performance suffers badly. A 2 or 3 way with single woofer and a pair of subs [with delay, variable XO freq, multiple XO slope choices and continuous phase control] gives a more coherent low end... everything else being equal.

In the end, it is the system which is the ± of the cumulative device flaws that matters.

Buy in haste, regret at leisure.
Eloquently spoke ieales, my apologies for the "jewelry" slang, wrong choice of words.

I would love to get into tubes, I always feared the maintenance aspect. Most of my life has been work, eat and sleep (with little of the later). Just wanted the reliability of SS when I did have a chance to listen to some music. 

Life will eventually taper down with retirement in the not to distant future but the cash flow follow the same path. With a change of equipment in mind this may possibly be the last kick at the cat and I truly want to get it right. I don't want to spend my golden years in "Regret"

That said, I'm assuming if I go with tubes (Prima Luna looks interesting and there is a dealer not to far away). I may want to look at different speakers than previously discussed here. For example, Zu Audio speakers seem to be rated to match well.

With this in mind, I would look again to the wealth of knowledge from you all here who contribute to this forum.

Could you share with me your set up or are we getting to far off track and I should start a new thread? 

I will be working on my system tomorrow afternoon with all the great suggestions that have been given here and report back as soon as possible! 

Hello hi-amp,

Was thinking Dynaudio Countour S5.4 or 60 Series would probably be an excellent choice in combo with your room and components. An amazing buy for the money.
I am heading to a dealer for Dynaudio (among others) just outside of Seattle on December 21st. I will definitely check them out. 
What are your thoughts on running them with tubes?
You might want to bring your amp and also the music that you thought came across  too bright to see how they like each other. I have a feeling you like what you hear:)

Hi all.

This was the manufactures response to your suggestion Al:

“The DAC has hot outputs that may be too much for your integrated. I would suggest a level of 55 and if that is still too much then go RCA at that level.”

I tried RCA and what I got was a lower volume and a little less detail (lackluster sound ) than with balanced connections. Definitely a little brighter, but in a nice sort of way. I turned the volume down to 55 (from 65) as the manufacturer suggested and have left it at that for now. Any comments?

Regarding room treatment /speaker placement, I have the speakers at  7’ foot centers which  made a positive difference compared to 5’ centers. I may go more, but my speaker cables aren’t long enough. Because I have my equipment off to one side, my cable is already 20” in length, which is pretty long in my opinion. I have no problem going longer, what do you all think? If I do, I’d be happy to upgrade the Belden 5000 and am open to suggestion please, (ieales?)

Erik, mijostvn1, tuberis: I recently purchased some custom cut acoustic panels to place behind the speakers, which are 2 1/2’ from the back wall (ML suggests 2 – 3’) but with increasing the distance between them the panels no longer fit due to the suspended shelving on the back wall.

This house, nor the last, never had a dedicated music room. Being smaller homes and with a family, my listening rooms had to be multi-functional.

I know this room is far from being acoustically perfect but this one reason I purchased Martin Logans. From the research done I found them advertised to the most forgiving speaker as far as being affected by hard surfaces and room dimensions. As long as they are not to close to the back wall and now knowing not to close together, they sound pretty good.

Yes, there is definitely a tight sweet spot. I use the ML flashlight method mostly and try to compromise that 1/3 panel reflection between the chair I listen to on the same level of the speakers (which is a bit to close) and the barstool up the kitchen, the one on the left in the photo, which is pretty close to the center.

I think the biggest problem has been the issue of poor recordings, a lot of fantastic advice has been given and my system sounds better because of it but with garbage in and getting garbage out really seems to be the moral of the story here!

By the way northbeach/mijostyn1, Salon 1 offered up the SF Sonetto’s at $4,500 for the pair, oh so tempting! Using restraint coupled with a pending move in the near future I may just wait to see where I’m going before changing out any gear.

The Dynaudio Contour 6.0 piques my interest bluemartini as does the Walsh Ohm f917025. So many options with nowhere to test drive any of them.

ieales, would you care to share with me your system? As in what tube equipment, speakers and cables you run?

Lastly, would anyone here recommend the Egglestonworks Emma Evo speaker, they are priced around $5,500 a pair. There is a post noted earlier this year but most comments relate to their upper, more costly lines, not their Emmas.

This was the manufactures response to your suggestion Al:

“The DAC has hot outputs that may be too much for your integrated. I would suggest a level of 55 and if that is still too much then go RCA at that level.”

I tried RCA and what I got was a lower volume and a little less detail (lackluster sound ) than with balanced connections. Definitely a little brighter, but in a nice sort of way. I turned the volume down to 55 (from 65) as the manufacturer suggested and have left it at that for now. Any comments?

Hi Paul,

I would also ask W4S how much sonic degradation they would expect, if any, when the DAC is asked to drive a balanced load impedance of 1K.

If their answer is that audibly significant degradation is likely to result then I would continue to use RCA interconnections, in which case the DAC is presented with a vastly more benign 50K load impedance, as I had indicated. And I would look elsewhere for the cause of the lackluster sound quality you referred to. It’s usually best, IMO, to try to determine and address the root cause of an issue rather than compensating for it by introducing a different issue.

On the other hand, if they feel that 1K would be no problem for the particular DAC, perhaps it would be best to return to the balanced cables and turn the DAC’s volume control down a bit further.

Of course, another variable in all of this is the relative sonic quality of the balanced vs. unbalanced interface circuits of the two components, which can probably be determined only by listening (if a 1K load is suitable for the DAC).

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al

OK, thanks Al. I will ask.
 I have noticed W4S isn't so great with responding but I will try.
Would anybody else on this forum possibly know the answer to your questions?
Hello High-amp

Humm I've been looking to buy a pair of Spires for awhile, but always run into the issue of shipping across country. Most sellers want local pickup. Another concern I have is my VAC PA 80 80 amp set in triode mode. Will it have enough juice to drive the  ML I also have a SVS ultra 13 sub that would possibly lighten the load. From my research placement is critical for the ML and struggle somewhat playing recordings like AC/DC at high db levels : )  Salk makes amazing speakers, I've heard very good things about Dynaudio and Paradigm reference speakers 
Good luck in your endeavour 

Al, W4S never got back to me with more than their original response being: “The DAC has hot outputs that may be too much for your integrated. I would suggest a level of 55 and if that is still too much then go RCA at that level.”So I'm guessing if there were any further concerns they would have responded further. The best sound for me is with the DAC at full volume, running the balance cables.

Hey jrwaudio,

At the end of the day, it seems my whole issue stemmed from a couple of poorly recorded CD's and a few minor tweaks here and there. Things could be made to even sound better but fortunately, the ML’s are very forgiving to hard surfaces, they just need a little room to breathe which I have found out thanks to the members here.

My wife and I originally demoed the Spires at our local dealer with a PrimaLuna integrated amp rated at 34wpc which seemed to power the ML’s just fine and sounded sweet. Tubes sounded better than the SS amp I have now, I just wanted the reliably of SS at the time.

My wife was influential in the decision to purchase the Spires, we actually went 2 ½ times over our budget in purchasing them. We really thought they sounded unbelievable compare to others, 2 ½ times so, and still do.

Being the first of ML’s CLX I think t ML really went all out with the Spires as far as to build quality and sound reproduction.

After reading your comments I played AC/DC Back in Black and it sounded great, the Spires can rock just as well as they play jazz. B7B is probably a much better recording than that of the YES, Close to the Edge CD as per my original posted complaint here.

  I am changing residences next year, where ever I go I'm sure my listening room will be much smaller, so still on the lookout for something more efficient and definitely a bit smaller with possibly consideration of going with tubes.

I am very happy with my Spires and think they sound amazing regardless of the room they are in now. I know they will be difficult to replace with my budget in mind, so always open to members' suggestions here!

ML really stepped up the quality of their Electrostatic loudspeakers when they moved to the Paradigm manufacturing facility in Mississauga Ontario, Canada  I have heard the fit and finish is top notch.  I'm suprized that 35 watts didn't have an issue driving the Spires as that was a concern of mine as I think they can dip down to 2 ohms. My VAC amp has 2/4/8 ohm taps so maybe not a issue for me. My music room is over my garage, so If I set up the ML about two feet off the wall ( I have lots if room on the sides)  I would be 10 feet from the speakers. Do you think that's tight for the spires,? I've downsized not too long ago and had to sell my Dunlavy SC lll and my Inner Sound Isis speakers
So now I have a speakers that have a built in sub
that do double duty, home theater and two channel. They have great dynamic range, but lack the inner detail and spaciousness that the ML can bring.  So my hunt continues. With your search you have so many choices for high quality, good sounding speakers. There are lots of online vendors that will let you try their speakers at home for thirty days. Maybe an option once you narrow down your search. Good luck ! If you like I can suggest some speaker that I've consider, from book shelfs to floorstand 
High-Amp, I think you are on the right track with your DAC volume.
Just this week I saw Paul McGowan of PSA audio imploring viewers to ALWAYS turn DACs up all the way and leave the volume control to the pre-amp. He said that the only way to get undistorted output from a DAC is by running it at 100%, anything less is asking for distortion...the lower the DAC volume, the greater the distortion.
I would have to guess there are some exceptions, but your ear is still the the final judge.

Here is a link to the YT video. If you don't want to have to wade through his off topic rambling about losing weight, he gets on-topic at 3:12.

Still with me Al?

W4S finally got back to me with this response:

" So a 1k load is quite ridiculous really, not sure why they would release something like that but surely don't drive that single-ended. Running balanced will drive it and whatever degradation would be common to both phases so likely to cancel out. I can test a DAC to see how it handles it if you wish but I suspect it would be fine".

I'm afraid all this technical lingo is above me, could I please trouble you to comment on this response? Is the fact they "suspect it would be fine" acceptable in your mind?
Just this week I saw Paul McGowan of PSA audio imploring viewers to ALWAYS turn DACs up all the way and leave the volume control to the pre-amp.
However Paul’s DACs (and the vast majority of others) do not put out maximum voltages anything like 10.5 balanced and 5.2 unbalanced, as the OP’s DAC does. Which can certainly cause problems for some preamps and integrated amps, ranging from having to set their volume controls too low (where depending on the specific design the resolution of volume changes may become too coarse and channel balance may suffer); to some degree of sonic degradation; to outright overload and severe distortion.

The very different and more conventional specs on Paul’s DirectStream DAC:

Output level, low: 0.282 VRMS Balanced; 0.141 VRMS Single Ended
Output level, high, maximum: 2.818 VRMS Balanced; 1.414 VRMS Single Ended

Also, there are a number of very different approaches to volume control implementation that are used by various DACs, which have differing susceptibilities to sonic degradation at settings that are below max.

As is usual in audio, it all depends :-)

-- Al