Is 12.5 db of preamp gain too much ?

Recently I changed my interconnect wire from SE to balance.
I found that the music will be too loud if I set the volume more than 2 steps. Even though it's reasonable since I set the voulme to 5-6 step when I used SE connection(6.5db gain).

My system are:
Rega planet CD
Theta DS basic III DAC
Audio research LS-15 Preamp
Krell KSA-150 poweramp
ProAC Studio200 speaker
They are connected by Nordost blue heaven XLR wires.

I'm curious that 12.5db(12.5 db balance; 6.5db SE) is not a big number. How come the result surprise me ?

I remembered that someone complained Audible Illusion M3A has the same problem in their stepped voulme control, but I never see any complains in LS-15.

Any comment ?


It all depends on the sensitivity of your amp. If the input sensitivity is on the order of .5 volts +/- you would use up your volume control pretty quick. If your amp has in input sensitivity of 1.5v +/- you'd have lots more flexibility. Unless you were having noise problems from your interconnect I'd suggest you go back to single ended wire. If you were, you might contact ARC and see if they have some type of mod that can be made to reduce gain - they do have this on may models - if fact on the old SP 10 and 11's they have it on the front of the unit as a dial or a switch. As a last resort, you could buy some in line attenuators to reduce the gain see by the amp.
I checked the SPEC of my Krell and see a 6db more gain between XLR and SE. That means I got a 6.5db + 6db = 12.5db more after I connected XLR wire between preamp and power amp. I would like to see the difference between 2 setup after my balance wire been brake in. It seems my pre/power amp are designed for balance. Hopefully balance is better in my system.