There is really no right answer to this.In basic terms, Just enjoy the music and dont worry if you have your volume knob set at the right position for the cleanest sound.
I agree. I could only move the Tempest's knob up to 9:30 or so ..
Agreed - volume knob setting depends on the GAIN of the amp. LESS gain HIGER volume knob setting.
But to get the best sound & performance of the music,
, higher volume setting the BETTER, IME. So volume knob set at 2:00 o'clock sounds much much better than at 9:00 o'clock.
Why? Too much gain of the preamp will overload the preamp & mess up the sound. The music sounds like compressed particularly at high level dynamics.
Plus setting the volume too low, say 9:00 o'clock, the music signal has to go thru too much series resistance inside the volume control. This will affect the music in case it was a lousy volume pot.
So many many get the wrong idea that volume knob setting lower, the music will be better. They just don't understand the function of a volume control - to reduce the volume in order NOT to overload the amp & to blow the loudspeakers.
Given the gain of amp not too HIGH, less volume reduction is needed & less restriction will be applied to the music signals, better will the music will sound & better performance will be perceived byour ears. This is my years of listening experience high vs low volume knob setting at the SAME SPLs.
When the volume knob is set too low, it only shows the gain of the amp is too high. Not a good sign at all, musically.
FYI, I purposedly design/built a tube phonostage+passive linestage of LOWEST gain possible (ALL brandname phono-preamps get way too much gain for best musc effect, IME). For LP playing, the volume setting is around 1:00 o'clock for pop/rock musics & around 3:00-4:00 o'clock for clasical music.
Read my lips, my friends. The music sounds so open so dynamic so airy, proving the iea of lower gain better music is right. It puts many many brandname phono-preamps, regardless of price, to shame, musically.