DAC Settings

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Revision as of 09:44, 9 September 2013 by Johnt (talk | contribs) (Recommended Settings (DAC's with direct USB or S/PDIF connection))

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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.

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.
  • PS Audio PWD
  • Arcam RDAC
  • HRT Music Streamer II

More Information

Related topic: Audiophile Info

Related topic: Audio Output Modes