Rockbox Ports are now being developed for various digital audio players!
I thought everything in digital domain will not lose detail and clarity.
Because the pre-cut is applied in the digital domain you lose the dynamic range by lowering the volume using pre-cut. This practically means that the quantization noise will be louder. If I remember it correctly 6 dB corresponds approximately to 1 bit of digital resolution thus by applying -24 dB you would have a digital resolution of 12 bits instead of the original 16 bits.
Most codecs operate with an accuracy at or above 24 bits, so the bits that get shaved away in the precut will probably not be audible in the output anyway.
Finally, I found the answers what I am looking for! http://www.wolfsonmicro.com/products/WM8983http://www.wolfsonmicro.com/uploads/documents/en/WM8983.pdfIt turns out that Wolfson DAC chip (WM8983) on my iPod Video 80GB uses 24-bit sampling in both its ADC and DAC filters. I am not sure about other iPods/players but this seems to indicate that way. Now I can set pre-cut to its lowest lvl (-24db) and enjoy hi-fi pure sound delivered from my iPod @ 0db volume.
I'm still looking the answer for this question though: What sampling is used by Rockbox to deliver sound output on its final stage to Wolfson chip? Does Rockbox digitally downsample it from 32-bit back to 16-bit or 24-bit?
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