Question on component impedance mismatch

Or, at least that what I think it is--a mismatch. I have a M900U Luxman amplifier fed by an Audio Research LS27 preamp which is fed from a  Bryston BDA2 DAC. The Audio Research has 3 gain levels and I use the lowest one. Still, when streaming sometimes position 2 or 3 on the ARC is too loud. 

I If I bought in-line attenuators, those little balanced plug in deals where would you place them? At the Preamplifier DAC input connections or the Amplifier input? Roughly what amount of attenuation would be reasonable? 

This is not such an issue when I am cranking the music up high, but when it's evening listening with my wife we've even had it on position 1. I think the volume knob goes up to 103!

I love the sound of my components, just would like a more reasonable volume adjustment.

Thanks for your comments.


Impedance?  I think you mean gain. I traded a pre that played around 35 for one that plays around 70.  I prefer the latter.

That said balanced attenuaters are only useful in an analog application, between the pre and power amps.


You're probably right, gain. I thought impedance somehow was part of the gain equation, but I stand corrected.

I just don't like how low I have to keep the volume knob and was thinking the attenuators would reduce the amount of gain. If that is not the case, can you think of another way, other than trading components to reduce the gain?


@61falcon In the specs, it states that the BDA2 is 2V output at RCA and 4V output at XLR. These are still pretty high values where standard line level can be 500mV. If you are using XLR, try swapping to RCA and see if that makes a difference. If the preamp is on a balanced standard, you should experience less gain (approx -3db) with RCA. 

I recently had this issue with a customer who was pairing their Hifi Rose DAC/streamer to a Margules I-240 integrated amplifier he ended up buying from me. Luckily we learned that though the Hifi Rose was set to 3000mV, output was configurable in 500mV increments in the setting screen. We got it down to 1000mV (1V) and the issues was resolved. 


There is a volume control and I forgot to employ it. I have a blue sound player that has the option for unadjustable volume, a factory default or variable. when I go to variable the gain is greatly reduced. What's funny is when in the variable volume mode, even at the loudest level, it has much less gain than when it is in the unadjustable volume level(?). 

I am glad to be able to resolve with this simple maneuver, but this raises another question: How is gain adjustable from the streamer when the only thing feeding my DAC is a coaxial digital signal? Less "amplitude" on the ones and zeros? I could understand if I were using the Bludsound internal DAC and then the RCA outs would be adjustable, but I'm not, I've got the external DAC.

Thank you all for your replies.