For the record, I received some solid advice in another forum discussion that improves a studio’s functionality when employing hardware volume controllers: Attach your hardware controllers to your sound card’s volume faders and leave the volume in all audio applications at 0 dB.
This has a few benefits: First, any dithering is performed by your sound card - not your audio applications - and should therefore provide the highest monitoring accuracy. Second, with your sound card as final gatekeeper of the system, rogue applications and Windows anomalies can’t sneak sounds through at full volume. Your sound card becomes a firewall of sorts.
On the downside, you lose the volume controls in your audio applications. And, most hardware volume controllers are relative - there’s no indication of absolute volume level, unless perhaps it provides a System Tray indicator of volume levels. [Mine does not. I have to open the mixer application from the System Tray to see where volume faders on all 16 channels are.]
Nonetheless, I’ve been using this setup for about a month now and am thrilled with it. No more random jolts of Windows system sounds when the OS decides to send something through the wrong set of speakers.
I hope this is helpful.