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 network connected DAC's (i.e. DLNA) vs. directly connected DAC's (i.e. USB, S/PDIF).

Recommended Settings (USB or S/PDIF connected DAC's)

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

Options > Playback > Audio > Output Mode

Media Center Windows
You will need to select the best audio output mode for your device in Options > Audio.
With Media Center Windows version 15 and above, use "WASAPI - Event Style".
With older versions of Media Center Windows, use "WASAPI".
Note that some DACs listed below offer native ASIO drivers that may be better than WASAPI.
Media Center Mac
Use "Core Audio".

Options > Playback > Audio > Output mode settings...

Media Center Windows
Inside "Output mode settings..." for WASAPI, use the following settings:
Open device for exclusive access: Checked
Present 24-bit data in a 32-bit package: Unchecked
Buffering: 100ms (assuming WASAPI - Event Style). If you hear audio hiccups or drop-outs, increase this size.

DSP Studio > Output Format

You will also need to choose the output format using DSP Studio. These settings are recommended:

Bitdepth: 24-bit (most DACS prefer and even require 24-bit input)

Channels: Source number of channels

Sample rate: Depends (with an outboard DAC, try "Source sample rate")

Recommended Settings for Network Connected DAC's

Known to Work With

  • 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

Related topic: Audiophile Info

Related topic: Audio Output Modes