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Windows 10 sound and sample settings

  1. DenverW
    Good afternoon sound gurus! Unfortunately my forum search for this topic didn't really turn up anything, although it seems like such a simple thing.

    In windows 10, what would be the recommended audio device settings? For example, even if your DAC can sample up to 96 hz or greater, would the preferred setting for most music still be 44.1? I assume 24 bit over 16 bit.

    Would you want to change the settings if listening to Flac files vs mp3, or just not worry about it? What about using spotify premium on high settings?

    Finally, what about during HD or 1080p video playback? Just curious what the general consensus is, after reading a few different schools of thought.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts and advice :)
  2. buke9
    You can set it for what your dac will do and that is fine. Most programs will set it for what it will do also so it really doesn’t matter which you do.
  3. Roseval
    Almost all audio is 2 channel PCM with 16 bits samples and a 44.1 kHz sample rate.
    Setting Win to 44.1 is a good practice.
    Bit depth as high as your DAC allows for (24 , sometimes 32). Padding a 16 bit sample with 8 zero bits won’t do any harm at all.

    These are file formats. They are all decoded to PCM first and that is most of the time aforementioned 16/44.1

    You might look for a media player like MusicBee or Foobar.
    They support WASAPI in exclusive mode.
    This allows for automatic sample rate switching as you bypass the win mixer.
    Maybe this link is of use: http://www.thewelltemperedcomputer.com/SW/Windows/Win7/AudioPanel.htm
    PointyFox likes this.
  4. DenverW
    Using foobar my dac remains at the sample rate set through windows, which is currently 24 bit 44.1.

    I assume I am missing a foobar setting to get it to change things. Something along the lines of ‘let this program assume control’ or whatnot.
  5. Roseval
  6. DenverW

    Installed! I would like to say I’m hearing a difference in source quality but...possible placebo. I am not seeing my dac switch to show a different signal when I’m playing 44.1 vs a higher rate.
  7. Roseval
  8. tomb
    It's very likely you're hearing a difference. Wasapi communicates through the music player directly to the audio driver, bypassing the OS sound interface. If you don't run Foobar in the exclusive mode, in fact, you may experience more dropouts. The higher quality is worth the hassle, though.
  9. Roseval
    No, it depends
    All Win audio uses WASAPI.
    In shared mode the Win mixer is involved (know as DS)
    In exclusive mode, the mixer is bypassed.
    As DenverW doesn't see sample rate switching, it is highly likely he is using DS hence no audible improvements.
  10. tomb
    Technically, you're correct. I missed the point that he wasn't seeing the sample rate change.

    However, I believe exclusive mode with basic 44.1 yields noticeable improvements. That's what I was trying to say. The WASAPI driver is a sound improvement all by itself, as long as you ensure that Windows DirectSound is not involved.

    In my experience, Foobar does not really respect the Exclusive mode, but it does bypass DirectSound when using a WASAPI driver. I don't really know what Foobar is actually doing in this scenario, but it has resulted in dropouts with me using the WASAPI driver. It's almost like Foobar is running "exclusively," but only until something else interrupts it (which is counter to the idea of exclusivity). It's one of the reasons I switched to MusicBee. With MusicBee, exclusivity is straightforward. Unless you kill MusicBee, sound will not work through any other program. Some programs will not even run.
  11. Roseval
    That is my experience as well and exactly how exclusive mode should work.
    If you can play 2 streams simultaneously it is not exclusive mode. Period.

    Likewise if you don't have automatic sample rate switching. it is not exclusive mode (when using a USB DAC, discrete sound card might simply be not WASAPI compatible).

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