Volume matched inputs on a preamp?

I'm not quite sure how to ask this - but I'm wondering if there are any preamps that allow you to set the volume by the input so you can volume-match one input to the others.  So many DACs have different output levels, it's hard to compare them.  If you could set the gain by each input to volume match all the inputs - that would be a lot of fun.  Yes, I send digital signals from a single source to different DACs and like to switch between them to see how they may differ.  Tube or solid state doesn't matter, but I'm guessing it'd be easier with a solid state preamp.

Multiple google searches for key words did not turn anything up.  



Sure, Simaudio’s upper end pre’s allow that, there are many that level match. You’ll have to do a search to find the ones that have that feature set.

@marlin38 Hi, What you're looking for is a pre-amp with adjustable gain on each input. I believe some Pass Labs pre-amps had this feature.

Ditch those DACs, Go Vinyl, go Vintage

My McIntosh preamps (prior SS C28, current Tube mx110z) have 3 adjustable inputs. But only one line level, AUX, the others are Phono 1 and Phono 2, both have RIAA eq in their circuit.

Tandberg TR-2080 let me adjust 2 phonos and a tape input I think.

In all cases, it involves 'extra' potentiometers in the circuit, not a purist favorite. Option to use for comparison, and then bypass filters, tone controls became popular to have but eliminate in-line controls, ascertain if you can hear any difference. Several pieces I have owned with 'bypass', or 'video circuits out' or 'display lighting' out, I don't hear any difference.

My old Levinson No. 32 allowed gain levels to be set for each input.  It even allowed other settings, such as left-right balance on phono input to be programmed apart from the system balance (most cartridges do not have identical channel output).  I believe the BAT and VTL linestages also have this feature.

I am not sure about the newer models, but I know BAT's older preamps allowed you to set relative volume level for each input.

My Audia Flight integrated allows me to set the gain and balance for each input.

Naim’s NAC112 and 112x and Nait 5 do this but they’re possibly their least exciting  amps. I had a Nait 5 but only for a month before trading it. Some people like them I’ve heard.

Oooh.  I think I like that Pallene.  Sounds like it's kinda new, so I doubt there's one out there on the used market.

Thanks all!

Placing variable control on each channel, so that you can adjust them on the fly (so to speak), puts yet another variable resistor (=crap linearity and noise) in the signal path, so a two-edged sword. using two resistors you can do a very clean version, but its fixed. I am borderline on a rampage about DAC manufacturers who totally ignore the convention that stood for like 80 years - line level is nominal 1V rms. Most now are 2-2/12 (150% off!). Some thetas are like 5 vol,ts rms. Insane and overload some inputs.  Guys, Zero dB = 1Vrms. Period. End. :-)  sorry, rant off.

Anyway, long story short, if you have two DACs that you want to even the inputs from, use two resistors (per channel, a voltage divider) either at the pre in or at the output of one of the DACs. To figure out the % drop, measure the output of the two dacs using a test tone (available on the internet, play from your PC USB) and measure the analog output level of each. Voila, you know the difference.


I have a "franken Theta" - part theta and part my on design that is pretty excellent. So i soldered the resistors in its output to cut it by 66%. Much better.


Oh, the two resistors are stupid low distortion compared to everything else and maybe 10X better than the best rotary potentiometers. Its why i have switched to metal film voltage dividers for all my volume control, period. By making them dual mono i can toss the balance out the window too. revelatory in transparency.


A great advance courtesy of 1940s military convention :-)




Its not listed on the Aesthetix web page but it is the preamp out the Mimus

the base model starts around 5K you can add phono and Dac at any time 

Audio Research Ref 6 allows you to set and retain volume on the remote for each input.  A facility I paid for but do not use. Like most of us, I like to put the music on and adjust the volume to suit the programme, my mood, the time of daya, other people in the house and myriad other factors.

verify with AESthetix which models have that nice feature


from MIMAS manual

Setup Input The individual Input Setup options are: o Enable/Disable the currently selected Input. o Adjusting the input level to match that of other inputs. o Selecting an Input(s) to be used for Home Theater Bypass. o Naming an enabled Input. o Selecting advanced Home Theater Bypass options. At any time that a sub menu is displayed, pressing the Input button (Enter on the remote) will advance to the next parameter. Pressing the left and/or right side of the front panel lens (UP/DOWN buttons on the remote) will edit the displayed parameter value. When Naming an Input or setting advanced Home Theater bypass options, the DISPLAY button is used to enter these sub menus first. In these cases, the Display LED will be illuminated. In all sub menus except NAME, the Mute feature is active. The factory settings for each Line Input Name are Inp1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, TT 1, TT 2 for the two Phono Inputs and D1-5 for the 5 Digital Inputs. The instructions in this section will edit Inp1. Note: When editing Input specific parameters, the name of the Line input to be edited will be SETA1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. The Phono Inputs will be P1 and P2, and D1-5 for the Digital Inputs. * * * Input On/Off The factory default setting for each Input is ON. From the Main menu, to set whether an Input is active or not, press the SETUP button. Press the left or right side of the Display (UP/DOWN buttons on the remote) to select SETAx, where x = the Line input to be edited. In this example, SETA1. Press the INPUT button (Enter on the remote) once. Press the left or right side of the Display (UP/DOWN buttons on the remote) to turn the Input On or Off. Press the SETUP button to exit and return to the Main menu. Input Level The factory default is 0. Line level sources may have different output levels. To streamline this, the Mimas allows the user to adjust any Input level to match that of other sources. The range is –12 to + 12. To change the offset of Input 1, from the Main menu press the SETUP button. Press the left or right side of the Display to select SET1. Press the INPUT button twice so that the display reads LVL. Use the left or right side of the Display (UP/DOWN buttons on the remote) to select the desired value. If the source is playing, the user will hear

I went a different way and use a Drawmer MC2.1 which allows this sort of level control.