Audiophile Playback

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Notes: This is very work in progress stuff, feel welcome to edit and correct :) (Discuss in Talk:Audiophile Playback#)

This settings are meant for HD audio playback at 24bit depth and 96000Hz frequency. So there's no need to change anything default if your audio sources have standard CD quality.


defaults.pcm.!rate_converter "samplerate_best"	
defaults.pcm.dmix.!rate 96000	
defaults.pcm.dmix.!format S24_LE

An exclamation sign causes a previous definition to be overridden. This syntax can be used with any configuration file assignment.

Dmix is enabled as default for soundcards which do not support hardware mixing.


Since Pulseaudio server is not intended to deliver high quality streams for the sake of usability, it is recommended to just not install it.

resample-method = src-sinc-medium-quality
default-sample-format = s24le
default-sample-rate = 96000

SRC resampling algorithm is very cpu intensive. Setting it to medium quality should work better.


List of linux-friendly audiophile sound cards

Audiotrak Prodigy HD2

Checking actual output parameters

Check the contents of /proc/asound/cardX/pcmYp/subZ/hw_params, where X, Y, and Z are numbers depending on your system. In order to find this file, execute the following command while playing some sound:
find /proc/asound/ -name hw_params | xargs -I FILE grep -v -l "closed" FILE | grep '/proc/asound/card./pcm.p/sub./hw_params'
Indeed, there exist a hw_params file for each sound input/ouput subsystem whose content is either "closed" if unused, or the actual format of the played sound.

Here is an example of an hw_param contents for a stereo 96kHz / 24bits:

format: S32_LE
subformat: STD
channels: 2
rate: 96000 (96000/1)
period_size: 9000
buffer_size: 288000

More info available in the alsa documentation