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Author Topic: Methods of output to an Audio Device  (Read 32126 times)

mojave

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Methods of output to an Audio Device
« on: November 13, 2013, 05:16:10 pm »

There are many methods of output to an audio device. I thought making a list might be helpful to those looking for a DAC or wanting to use multiple DACs.

An audio device is often called a soundcard or DAC. DAC stands for Digital to Analog Converter.

Internal Analog Output:
  • Motherboard - most modern motherboards have an audio device built in that outputs via 3.5mm stereo jacks
  • PCI/PCIe - These are sound cards that are inserted into the motherboard and have analog output. They have either 3.5mm stereo jacks or RCA jacks.

Internal Digital Output
From the motherboard:
  • Thunderbolt - You can daisy chain up to six devices including hard drives and monitors. With 6 Lynx Aurora 16 TB's you have 96 output channels of 24 bit PCM up to 192 kHz.
  • S/PDIF - 2 channel 24 bit PCM up to 192 kHz
  • USB- audio devices are available from 2 - 32 channels of 24 or 32 bit PCM up to 192 kHz, can also be used for DSD
  • Firewire (IEEE 1394) - audio devices range from 2-16 channels of 24 bit PCM up to 192 kHz with the ability to daisy chain audio devices for more channels
  • Ethernet- you can use the ethernet output directly to a Focusrite RedNet DAC using Audinate's Dante Virtual Soundcard (DVS). It supports up to 32 channels of output at 96 kHz. For more channels or higher sample rate see the Ethernet PCIe card below.
  • Bluetooth - Bluetooth can be used as a wireless method of transmitting audio. You can get Bluetooth audio devices for playback.


From the video card:
  • HDMI - HDMI 1.4 supports up to 8 channels of 24 bit PCM at 192 kHz. HDMI 2.0 supports up to 32 channels of 24 bit PCM at 192 kHz with support for up to 1536 kHz audio.
  • DisplayPort - supports up to 8 channels of 24 bit PCM at 192 kHz.

Internal PCIe Digital Output:
  • AES3 (also called AES/EBU) - A single PCIe AES card can output up to 16 channels of 24-bit PCM at 192 kHz. Multiple cards can be installed in a computer for up to 128 channels of output. Requires an external DAC or DACs that accept AES input. Distance from the computer to the DAC can be up to 500 ft
  • S/PDIF - some soundcards have S/PDIF output
  • MADI (Multi-channel Audio Digital Interface or AES10) - A MADI card can support up to 128 channels of 24-bit 48 kHz audio or 32 channels of 24-bit 192 kHz audio. Multiple cards can be installed in a computer for up to 192 channels of output. Output to the DAC is via fiber optic so the the DAC is electrically isolated. Requires an external DAC or DACs that accept MADI input. Distance from the computer to the DAC can be up to 2 km.
  • Ethernet - The Focusrite Rednet PCIe card supports 128 channels of 24 bit PCM at 192 kHz. A Focusrite Rednet DAC is required.
  • ADAT Lightpipe - ADAT carries 8 channels of 24-bit PCM at 48 kHz. Some audio devices link channels to carry up to 192 kHz audio.


Other:
  • I2S - Some DACs use an I2S connection directly from the computer.


Secondary audio devices:
Most audio devices with both digital and analog outputs and ASIO drivers (PCIe, USB or Firewire audio devices) can present itself via the ASIO driver as having more channels than it has analog outputs. You can route the extra channels out using S/PDIF or ADAT to another DAC. Because the clock information is carried by the ADAT, you could probably use the 2nd DAC for more channels in a multi-channel system.
Example:  JRiver can be set for 16 channels of output to the Steinberg UR824. The UR824 can be connected to the Steinberg MR816x via ADAT. The UR824 will play 8 channels of the output and the MR816x will play the other 8 channels.

Edit June 17, 2014:  Added Thunderbolt
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mwillems

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2013, 05:32:11 pm »

Secondary audio devices:
A USB or Firewire audio device can present itself via the ASIO driver as having more channels than it has analog outputs. You can route the extra channels out using S/PDIF or ADAT to another DAC. Because the clock information is carried by the ADAT, you could probably use the 2nd DAC for more channels in a multi-channel system.
Example:  JRiver can be set for 16 channels of output to the Steinberg UR824. The UR824 can be connected to the Steinberg MR816x via ADAT. The UR824 will play 8 channels of the output and the MR816x will play the other 8 channels.


This whole post is super helpful, and I think folks will get a lot of use out of this.  Thanks for taking the time  ;D

One thing I wanted to add to the text above: some internal soundcards with both analog and digital outputs also present more channels in ASIO than they have analog outputs, and the extra channels can be routed to the digital outs in the same way (i.e. it's not a phenomenon limited to USB or firewire external interfaces).

I once used an M-audio PCI card with stereo analog and stereo SPDIF outputs as a "4 channel" ASIO output, by sending the digital signal to an external DAC (with an SPDIF input).  As you say, because the SPDIF signal carried the clock, the second DAC stayed in sync (mostly).  
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mojave

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2013, 08:50:34 am »

Thanks for the comments. I changed the first post. I also plan on including a list of some hardware options for each output method with prices.
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mwillems

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2013, 09:18:55 am »

Thanks for the comments. I changed the first post. I also plan on including a list of some hardware options for each output method with prices.

Cool.  Let me know if you need any examples (especially in the internal soundcard category).  I've owned about four different internal soundcards that are still in production (some of which supported simultaneous analog and digital output and some of which didn't).  The card I mentioned in my prior post is the M-Audio Delta 192 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829121008), which is a PCI card (not PCI-E) and retails for about $100.  It has some nice features, but I'd hesitate to recommend it due to longstanding (and, given the age of the design, unlikely to be resolved) driver/firmware issues on modern MoBos and/or OS's.
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Arindelle

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2013, 01:53:34 pm »

nice summary ... learned something here. thanks
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themassacre

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2013, 05:07:09 pm »

Hello all,
New to the site and new to figuring out how best to set up a music server on an old computer that I have kicking around.  I would like to set up the software (JRiver), download about 1,000 cd's, get the best quality sound card for audiophile playback, and then hook up the system to my Bryston SP2 Preamp so I can sit back and listen to the best possible sound through my high fidelity system.

I also have an OPPO BDP-105 Blue Ray Player so I have a DAC in it and also one in the Bryston.

What do you recommend and can you provide a easy to follow how to do summary for me?

Thank you all.
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ronkupper

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2014, 10:47:40 pm »

This should be pinned!
Thanks Mojave!
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mojave

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2014, 11:38:21 am »

I added Thunderbolt to the Internal Digital Output section. My Lynx Aurora 16 Thunderbolt should be here in a couple of weeks.
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bugeyed

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2014, 06:17:39 pm »

Nice post! This will be a lot of help to many.
One note, DAC stands for Digital to Analogue Converter, not Digital to Audio Converter.

Cheers,
kev
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mojave

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2014, 12:12:21 pm »

Nice post! This will be a lot of help to many.
One note, DAC stands for Digital to Analogue Converter, not Digital to Audio Converter.

Cheers,
kev
Thanks. I can't believe someone didn't catch that error sooner.  :) I did change the spelling to the "correct" version of analog.   ;D
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InflatableMouse

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2014, 11:27:32 am »

Nice article Mojave!

Quote
USB- audio devices are available from 2 - 32 channels of 24 or 32 bit PCM up to 192 kHz, can also be used for DSD

Some USB devices are accepting up to 384 kHz. The Teac UD-501 DAC for instance.
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Bccc1

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2014, 02:24:09 am »

  • USB- audio devices are available from 2 - 32 channels of 24 or 32 bit PCM up to 192 kHz, can also be used for DSD

With USB3 more channels are possible: The RME Madiface XT can be connected via USB 3.0 and deliver 196 ins and 198 outs, 192 of them via MADI. For better latency you can use PCIe with a Molex E-PCIe standard cable.
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PMEYRANT

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2014, 02:51:42 pm »

I have acquired a DAC Wadia 321 and installed the driver from WADIA internet site.
I have tested JRiver with no improvement that I could hear between my computer using Cinnamon silver usb cable and my 25 year old cd Micromega Optic as transport connected with a Transparent digital cable to the Wadia DAC.
So I downloaded Jplay (a reported source of sound improvment) and followed the instructions but did not found the possibility to select Jplay because instead of "Asio", "Wadia (Asio)" is the device indicated without possibility to select Jplay in device settings.

How should I proceed to have Jplay functionning with the Wadia DAC and JRiver ?
 
Thanks in advance for your help.
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JimH

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2014, 02:55:08 pm »

Jplay is not supported.  It doesn't do anything.
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prerich

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2015, 11:46:54 am »

Working on getting my USB/Thunderbolt Motu 16A!!!!  ;D
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Juniorjbl

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2015, 01:43:52 pm »

FINALLY!!! :)

An interface that will work with my intended output scenario! (I think)

The MOTU 24Ao!!  ;D

I need multiple channels so I can run EQ/Xovers to run a fully active 7.1 surround system. 6 for LCR 8 for surrounds 2 for LFE (2 types of subs and extra for expansion).

Do you fellas think this will be a good unit to use with JR?

Thanks
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mojave

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2015, 02:44:25 pm »

FINALLY!!! :)

An interface that will work with my intended output scenario! (I think)

The MOTU 24Ao!!  ;D

I need multiple channels so I can run EQ/Xovers to run a fully active 7.1 surround system. 6 for LCR 8 for surrounds 2 for LFE (2 types of subs).

Do you fellas think this will be a good unit to use with JR?

Thanks
Yes, a friend is using JRiver and the MOTU 24ao with 14 channels for his theater and 2 more channels for the Deck Zone. He may use some remaining channels for some outside speakers by his basketball hoop.

You can read my review of the MOTU 1248 which will be mostly the same except it includes inputs.

I'm taking my 1248 to Rocky Mountain Audio Fest this next week and using it in the JRiver room.
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Juniorjbl

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2015, 04:11:41 pm »

Yes, a friend is using JRiver and the MOTU 24ao with 14 channels for his theater and 2 more channels for the Deck Zone. He may use some remaining channels for some outside speakers by his basketball hoop.

You can read my review of the MOTU 1248 which will be mostly the same except it includes inputs.

I'm taking my 1248 to Rocky Mountain Audio Fest this next week and using it in the JRiver room.

Awesome!! Do you know what room? I live in Denver and a buddy and I will be there on Saturday so I would like to stop by. :)
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mojave

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2015, 05:56:03 pm »

That's cool. We will be in room 2016. I'll show the MOTU and try to answer any questions you have.

You can read more details in the RMAF thread.
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kr4

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2015, 11:14:10 am »

First, to contribute another point.  I have been using v19 to stream MCH up to DXD to my 8-channel DACs, exaSound e28 via USB and NADAC+ via Ethernet (Ravenna). 

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ST

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2016, 07:43:44 pm »

.........
Example:  JRiver can be set for 16 channels of output to the Steinberg UR824. The UR824 can be connected to the Steinberg MR816x via ADAT. The UR824 will play 8 channels of the output and the MR816x will play the other 8 channels.

Edit June 17, 2014:  Added Thunderbolt

Hi Mojave,

Using the hardware described above,  is it possible to split each channel - 4 or more ways with JRiver? Each split channel would have its own VST plugin or convolution.

Thank you.

ST
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Willemh

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2018, 04:19:51 am »

Hallo Mojave, why can’t i play 16 bit flac files. 24 bit works wel. Ifi direct play the 16 bit file ( without  starting any program ) from my harddisk then iT play well. I have version 23 for mac and play via HDMI. Hope yup van help me.

Dank je wel alvast Willem.
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thecaretaker1

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2018, 03:54:21 pm »

I use a Chord 2Qute DAC using their Windows drivers, it works well with J River and can play 16/24/32bit up to 384kHz over USB
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nguezu

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2018, 11:58:43 am »

bonjour,

j'ai un problème de sortie de son.
Ma configuration est la suivante :
- windows 10
- jrmc 24
- carte EMU Pci 1010
- DAC Hegel H80
- Sortie ASIO

lorsque je suis en sortie 44.1 ou 48 je n'ai pas de son alors qu'en sortie 96 ou 192 pas de problèmes.
Je paramètre correctement la carte son et JRiver a chaque fois pour du 48, 96 ou du 192 mais pas moyen d'avoir du son en 48

Je ne comprend pas

quelqu'un peut il m'aider ?

Nguezu
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Keith Gray

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2021, 03:42:30 pm »

I have JRiver 26 on a Mojo Audio Deja Vu music server that is running Linux 4.15.0-112 low latency that is connected through a USB cable to an external DAC.
I can play music off the J River home page but not getting any sound. Where in the menu do I select output to the DAC?
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2021, 03:55:25 pm »

Tools menu > Options... in the Options window, Audio > Audio Device and there's a dropdown menu there.
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Keith Gray

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2021, 06:14:48 pm »

 All good, I now have music. Thanks.
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BayensF

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2021, 11:22:43 am »

Thanks for this.

I am using TOSLINK from my Windows 10 PC to HYPEX FA123 Plate Amps. They accept PCM 24/96 maximum.
The AMD Windows 10 system is using Realtek Digital Output WASAPI, with the ASIO driver it fails all the time.
Setting the bitdepth to 24 bits provide a loud sound level with a setting of only 10 on the volume slider. Setting 24bit in a 32bit package needs a volume setting of 50 to have a similar sound level. Setting 24 bits will fail playing 32bits streams (SACD) conversions.

Does anyone know the best settings with MC being the volume controller (Internal Volume)

Many thanks in advance for your support.
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Dennis in FL

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Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2021, 06:06:08 am »

I play JRiver music through a USB DAC to my Marantz 6013.   I use "Pure Direct" to bypass the Audyssey room corrections.

So, today I'm changing the volume and the light bulb goes off.   This receiver has digital volume.   That means it takes the analog signal from my pricey DAC and changes it back to digital and then runs it through the receiver's DAC.

Am I correct?

I have digital to analog to digital to analog?    Argh !!!!
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mattkhan

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2021, 06:09:33 am »

I play JRiver music through a USB DAC to my Marantz 6013.   I use "Pure Direct" to bypass the Audyssey room corrections.

So, today I'm changing the volume and the light bulb goes off.   This receiver has digital volume.   That means it takes the analog signal from my pricey DAC and changes it back to digital and then runs it through the receiver's DAC.

Am I correct?

I have digital to analog to digital to analog?    Argh !!!!
most likely yes, there are devices with a pure analogue path but I doubt that is one of them.
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Dennis in FL

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2021, 10:09:49 am »

So my beautiful music coming from the expensive DAC is ruined in the receiver? 

I know when I turned off Audyssey with "Pure Direct" the music sounded much better.    Now - I am wondering if I also have digital volume control.    My volume knob on the Marantz doesn't have a travel stop.  It can be turned  to infinity in either direction.   

Which makes me shudder to think my analog output from my DAC is converted back to digital.   How awful!!!

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dericchan1

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #31 on: August 24, 2021, 01:03:13 pm »

Hello everyone, first time posting here. I have been using jriver Mc 27, been searching the forum for a long time but didn’t seem to find the answer to my question. Please help!!!

I recently ordered a ifi neo idsd dac which has both xlr and dac outputs. I intend to set up my 2.1 system as follows:

1) PC with jriver Mc 27 through USB to DAC
2) Dac xlr out to amplifier out to my monitor audio silver tower speakers
3) Dac rca out to subwoofer LFE

Will jriver be able to identify 6 channels so I can upmix the output to 2.1 and create a LFE channel so I can use the subwoofer and room correction settings or JRiver will identify only 4 channels (L and R) so I can not set crossover frequency settings and LFE?

Look forward to any comments/advice on this.  Much appreciated

Thanks

Deric
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Dennis in FL

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Re: Methods of output to an Audio Device
« Reply #32 on: September 04, 2021, 08:26:03 am »

Are you doing volume control with the DAC?
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singletrackrod

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Setting up MC for a new DAC
« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2022, 01:22:38 pm »

Greetings,
I'm a newbie and this is my first post here, so please excuse my nativity. I am currently running MC25 on a ASUS desktop running Win 10 64 bit. Up until now I have been using an Emotiva XDA-2 via USB as my DAC. This week I am planning on installing a Pro-ject Pre Box S2 Digital [https://www.project-audio.com/en/product/pre-box-s2-digital] to replace the Emotiva. The Pro-ject DAC is capable of up to DSD512 (DSD1024), and PCM up to 32b/768kHz. I would like to know how to best configure MC to interact with new DAC.
Thank you for any suggestions in advance.
Rod
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