volume control problem

I previously posted 'mixing old and new components.' I now have a system set up consisting of a Creek DAC 60 and CD 60, and Audio Research LS3 amplifier, a McCormack DNA-1 power drive and B&W CDM7NTC speakers. When I attempt to play a CD, the volume is earsplittingly loud and changing settings (gain dial, mute vs operate) on the amplifier has no effect on the volume. This problem is not addressed in the Audio Research manual as far as I can see.

Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas about what the problem could be?
It is not a problem at all but the design of the components that you have chosen. The DNA-1 has relatively high gain for a power amp due to Steve McCormacks belief that these amps should be compatible with the passive preamps that he forwarded at the time. The B&Ws are fairly sensitive and the preamp adds a fair amount of gain to the equation. I am not familiar with the Creek gear, but it sounds like it also has a hefty output. Best advice, if you wish to continue with this set-up is to call Audio Research and see if they can reduce the gain somewhat. Otherwise, it's off to a preamp or amp with less gain.
I'm probably just too dense, but are you saying that the volume control on the LS3 has no effect on sound level? Are you sure that you aren't connecting the LS3 "tape out" instead of the "pre-amp outputs" to the DNA-1? I'm obviously missing something in the description. Good luck.
I think that Viridian hit it on the head. As such, the potentiometer ( volume control ) on the ARC probably tracks so fast that Vrathke ( and a lot of others in similar situations ) probably ends up with "all or nothing" when trying to adjust the gain of the system.

I would first contact ARC and see if there is a simple way for you ( or them ) to change the gain characteristics of the preamp. This IS a common problem when running a tubed preamp and an SS power amp, so a smart manufacturer "should" take this into consideration when designing / building a product. I don't know if your ARC is capable of such a "quick & dirty" top of mod, but if not, there is another way to do this without having to ship your gear anywhere or even get inside of it at home.

I don't know how well these will work, but Harrison Labs makes some in-line attenuators that should do the job. I don't know how they will affect the sound though, so you are on your own in that respect. I would try going to Parts Express and selecting Harrison Labs in their "Quick search" under manufacturers to see what they have available. As you'll see, there is a wide variety of attenuation levels available these simple to use devices. Figure out how much you want to drop the signal down and purchase the appropriate pad. The more range that you want on your volume control, the greater the attenuation ( higher dB figure ) you should select. Since Parts Express is very liberal with their return policy, you could even buy a couple different attenuators of various levels and simply keep the ones that you like best and return the others. Just be careful to save the packaging and not scuff them up.

Hope this helps... Sean
I think he's also saying that the mute switch has no effect.
If that's the case, then something is wrong with the preamp.
The mute on my LS5 completely disengages the outputs so I
would guess that's the same setup on the LS3. Regardless of
gain and regardless of volume setting the mute setting
should completely shut down the sound. Is it possible this
LS3 has been modded for some type of "direct" volume/mute
bypass for HT use?

Nothing better to do during a blizzard then listen to music
and cruise the 'gon... ;-)