Audio Playback Options

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This is where you configure how Media Center should talk to your sound hardware, and set options related to sound playback.

  • Tools > Options > Audio
  • Player > Playback Options

There are also a variety of options which can be used to adjust things like:

Audio Device

This is where you select the Audio Device that you'd like Media Center to use for the selected Zone. You can also select from a variety of Audio Output Modes, and set special Device Settings for hardware compatibility.


DSP & Output Format

Opens the DSP Studio box, where you can set equalizer, effects, replay gain and output format settings for your output. See DSP Studio


This is the amount of decoded audio data that is retrieved ahead of playback. If you are on a slow network or use some other spotty source, you might increase this from the default of 6 seconds.

Play silence at startup for hardware synchronization

Some hardware requires a lead time from when a signal is delivered to when sound is produced. This option allows outputting leading silence so no actual sound is lost in these cases. Note that this option is only in effect in two cases - at the first playback after the program starts, and between tracks with different sample rates. This silence will not be played between tracks with the same sample rate.

Play files from memory instead of disk (not zone-specific)

This option loads an entire file into memory so that the disk is not accessed during playback. The memory buffer is capped at one gigabyte, and rolls as needed for extremely large files.

Track Change

Switch Tracks

This setting describes how the program sounds when it changes tracks.

  • Standard (gapped)

Adds the specified amount of silence between tracks.

  • Cross-fade

This blends the end of one track with the beginning of the next track. It makes track changes smooth - much like the transitions used in clubs and on radio stations.

  • Aggressive
For transitions between tracks when the first track reaches the end, both tracks are played at full volume (no fade) and the natural fade present in the music is heard. For a manual track change where the first track is somewhere in the middle of the song at track change time, the old track is faded out and the new track is played at full volume.
  • Smooth
The first track is faded out and the new track is faded in.
  • Gapless

Perfectly gapless output. No fading or other processing. Useful on classical and other recordings where track boundaries don't always occur during silence.

  • Gapped Fade

Provides a smooth transition when switching between tracks without any overlap of the two tracks. If the first track finishes naturally, there will be a small gap between tracks. If there is a manual track change where the first track is somewhere in the middle of the song at track change time, the old track will fade out, then a little silence will be heard, then the new track will begin.

Do not play silence

If this option is selected, the program skips long portions of silence during playback. This is quite useful for hidden tracks or tracks with a lot of leading or trailing silence. This option may not be a good choice for classical music or other genres that contain long, intentional pauses in the middle of songs.

Use gapless for sequential album tracks

This will override a selection of cross-fading or other between track modes and use gapless between any tracks from the same album with sequential track numbers. This way, an album will be heard exactly as the studio engineer intended while allowing cross-fading or other switch tracks modes for mixes.

Stop, Seek, & Skip


This setting affects how Media Center sounds when it changes position within a track.

  • Standard. The old material will stop completely, there will be a brief pause, and then the new material will begin.
  • Gapless. The end of the old material and the beginning of the new material are played with no gap.
  • Smooth. This blends the old and new material together (cross-fade). The duration of the blend affects how noticeable it will be.


This determines what happens when you select the stop button on the Player Window. You can have Media Center stop the file immediately or you can have the song fadeout.

Jump behavior

This allows control over how much to jump when seeking.

Alternate Mode Settings

Media Center saves two playback settings: a default and an alternate setting. Select this and set the options for the alternate setting. To use the alternate audio settings, set the option on this dialog or toggle with the keyboard shortcut Alt+M.


Note: Some of these options will only affect the playback of an Audio CD if you have "Use Digital Playback" selected under Tools > Options > CD. Some CD drives do not recognize digital playback. If you have a problem playing Audio CDs, try disabling this option.

Changes to many of the playback settings will not take effect until playback comes to a complete stop and is then restarted.