DAC Settings

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Media Center has industry leading support for high-end DACs (Digital to Analog Converters).

Note that the setup is completely different for directly connected DAC's (e.g. USB, S/PDIF) vs. network connected DAC's (e.g. DLNA over ethernet). Please use the appropriate section below for setup.

Contents

Recommended Settings (DAC's with direct USB or S/PDIF connection)

For the best quality playback with high-end DACs, use these recommended settings:

Tools > Options > Audio

If you have multiple playback zones configured, make sure you first select the zone for which you want to configure audio at the top of the dialog.

Media Center Windows 19
Audio Device
If your device has it's own driver installed, select it from the list. Otherwise the best option will normally be "High Definition Audio Device [WASAPI]". Find more information at Audio Output Modes.
Device settings
Open device for exclusive access: Checked
Disable event style: Unchecked (may need to enable this on some older devices if you have problems)
Maximize device volume during playback: Unchecked
Play a little silence on DoP stop: Unchecked (try enabling if you experience a 'click' sound on your DAC)
Bitdepth: Automatic
Buffering: 100ms (If you hear audio hiccups or drop-outs, increase this size)
Media Center Mac 18
Audio Output / Output mode:
Use "Core Audio".
Audio Output / Output mode settings...
Device: Choose your DAC device from the list.
Buffer size: Normally "Hardware default". Other settings may cause clicks or pops with some DAC's.
Open device with exclusive access: Checked
Channel offset: 0
Settings > DSP & output format...
You may also need to choose the output format using DSP Studio. These settings are recommended:
Sample rate: No change (if your DAC can't handle some sample rates, modify those to what it accepts)
Channels: Source number of channels (or downmix to '2 channels (stereo)' if desired)
More info here: Output Format
Settings > Bitstreaming
Normally set to "None". This let's Media Center package the original audio bits exactly how the DAC wants to receive them. More info here.

Recommended Settings (DAC's connected via DLNA over ethernet)

Make sure "Media Network" is enabled in Media Center

Go to Tools / Options / Media Network and verify that the option "Use Media Network to share this library..." is checked.
If it's not, check it. A configuration wizard will run:
- You may see a pop-up window with an access key - this is for use from other computers running Media Center and from Android and iPhone apps. You don't need to worry about it for your DAC setup.
- On the wizard page with "Configure DLNA server for your renderer" at the top, select the "Audiophile 24-bit DAC..." option.

Make sure there is a "Audiophile 24-bit DAC" DLNA server available in Media Center

Go to Tools / Options / Media Network and click on "Add or configure DLNA servers...".
If there is no "Audiophile..." option in the server list at the top, click the "Add..." button and select it from the choices.
When the "Audiophile 24-bit DAC" server is highlighted, you can configure the options in the lower window. Normally, you'll just be configuring the Audio section.
The "Mode:" should normally be "Specified output format".
The "Format:" should normally be set to "PCM 24 bit".
Under "Advanced" it should normally have "Stereo downmix" checked, and "Sample rate:" should be "Same as source".

Associate your DAC with the "Audiophile 24-bit DAC" server configured above

Find your DAC under "Playing Now" in the left tree view in Media Center. If you don't see it in the tree, wait a bit - sometimes it takes a bit for it to broadcast it's existence. If it still doesn't show up, try power-cycling the DAC.
Right-click on your DAC and select "Associate with DLNA Server".
Choose the "Audiophile 24-bit DAC" choice from the list.
Normally you shouldn't need to modify the items under "DLNA Controller Options".

More DLNA information here...

Known to Work With

This list is quite old, Media Center supports many many more devices.

  • Audio Research DAC8. Install Audio Research's DAC8 drivers (ASIO) on the PC, and select ASIO in MC15, then select the DAC8.
  • PS Audio PWD
  • Arcam RDAC
  • HRT Music Streamer II

More Information

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