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.
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
- Audio Device
- If you 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.
- 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 (DAC's connected via DLNA over network)
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 server...".
- 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.
- 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
- Audio Research DAC8. Install Audio Research's DAC8 drivers (ASIO) on the PC, and select ASIO in MC15, then select the DAC8.
- Proton USB DAC from Wavelength
- Ayre QB-9 DAC
- DACmagic on Interact.
- PS Audio PWD
- Arcam RDAC
- M2Tech Hiface (May require an older driver.
- HRT Music Streamer II
- e18 DAC from exasound.
Related topic: Audiophile Info
Related topic: Audio Output Modes