Need Help to Understand Issue with Volume Control

I'm having an issue with the volume when I use my Classe CAP 101 integrated with a newly-purchased Sony HAP S1.  I hope someone can help me understand what is going on.  The Classe has 5 sets of RCA inputs (and one unbalanced set).  It's volume control has a range of 0-50 in half-steps.

I have a Sony CA70ES cd player that I have used for years with the Classe, connecting its Line Out to the Classe's Reg1 input with a pair of "upmarket" Radio Shack interconnects.  For as long as I have used it, my typical volume range is 16-22, depending on time of day, music, my mood, etc.  At my listening position, which is 7-8 feet from the speakers (Harbeth Monitor 30s), a sound meter app on my iPad reads roughly in the 50-62 db or so for that volume range.  According to Sony, the output voltage for the CA 70ES is 2 volts.

I connected of Line Out of my new Sony HAP S1 to the Classe Req2 input using a spare pair of very basic RCA interconnects.  (To be clear, I'm not using the Sony's internal amplifier, and its volume is set at "Min" or zero.)  To my surprise, the "usable" volume range for the HAP S1 reads on the Classe from 4.0 to 6.5, and most often at the lower end.  Lower than 4.0, and it's too soft; higher than 6.5, and it's way too loud.  According to Sony, the output voltage for the HAP S1 is 2.2 volts.

I think I lose a lot of flexibility in setting the volume when I use the HAP S1.  I've tried everything I can think of to try to figure this out. I scoured the internet without success.  I asked my dealer, but he had no clue.  I contacted Sony Support, which tried to duplicate the issue but could not, and therefore told me that the problem was not in the HAP S1.  I tried connecting the cd player to the Classe's Req2 and the HAP S1 to the amp's Req1, and I tried connecting the two sources to all the different inputs on the Classe, but I got the same results.  And, I tried switching the interconnects, using the basic RCA with the CA70ES and the "upmarket" interconnect with the HAP S1, but again the same results.

Can anyone provide some insight as to what is going on and what, if anything, I can do about it?  Thanks for reading and for your response.


If you determine that you need to stick some method of lowering the output into the line out of your Sony, I have a pair of the Rothwell attenuators that I could sell. Not trying to poach your thread, but the Rothwells are a bit expensive when you have to order them for the UK (which I did). I'm not currently using them. They were purchased to help equalize the output of a CD player and a phone stage that had a large difference. They work as advertised. I believe mine are the -10 db version, but I could double check if you are interested.
All great suggestions but just out of curiosity why try to essentially hookup two integrated amplifiers together. A stand alone music server would have been a better option. You are basically adding components in the audio path that can be avoided altogether.
Kalali, a reasonable question.  I bought the Sony HAP S1 because (a) reviewers and commentators praised its sound and ease of use, including its app for mobile devices; (b) I wanted a device  where the music "lives" in the machine, as contrasted to being streamed; (c) I got a good price (30% off list), which made it more desirable than its competitors in the same price range (e.g., Bluesound and Cocktail); (d) I'm not using the HAP's integrated amplifier currently, so it shouldn't add anything to the audio path;  and (e) at some point in the future, it can become part of a small second system because I can use its integrated amplifier.

By the way, it does really improve the sound of my music (which has all been ripped from 44.1/16 CDs).  Essentially, the music sounds much clearer than when I use the CD player as a source.  Instruments and voices sound better and more natural; the interior interplay is easier to hear.  The difference is significant and immediately noticeable.  My wife, who's never said anything about our equipment's sound previously, remarked that the music sounded better and that, in particular, singers sounded like they were in the room.  The overall quality still depends largely on the underlying recording: better recorded material sounds better than lesser-recorded stuff, but everything sounds better.
All fair points. Good to hear that the "stored" content sounds better than when played from the changer.