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Thread: "Bit Perfect" Linux Output?

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    Default "Bit Perfect" Linux Output?

    I do have Roon Labs on my Mac, and the Tidal app on Windows allows bit-perfect output on that platform, but find myself most of the time using my preferred OS, Linux. I use multiple distros but my main ones are Ubuntu, Slackware and sometimes an Arch offshoot.

    I have so far not figured out how to get bit-perfect output into my external USB DAC, meaning that the OS would not attempt to tinker with the recorded data. No volume adjustment, adjustment of bit rate or manipulation in any form, before outputting it to the DAC. I do have volume set to 100% but still get the impression the output data is being manipulated and adjusted. This is of FLAC files archived on my hard drive, but also with supposedly Hi-Res streaming from Qobuz and Tidal. With the streaming services my DAC generally reports 44K 20bit input regardless of what Qobuz reports as their bitrate. I do adjust the volume using the volume pot of the integrated amplifier that the DAC outputs to.

    I installed Ubuntu Studio today to see if it behaved any differently but as best as I can tell, it is still the same. This is an Ubuntu variant that is targeted at media creators rather than consumers, but I was hoping it would also address the latter.

    Any help and advice with setting this up would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by haziz; Jan-31-2021 at 17:02.

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    Quote Originally Posted by haziz View Post
    I do have Roon Labs on my Mac, and the Tidal app on Windows allows bit-perfect output on that platform, but find myself most of the time using my preferred OS, Linux. I use multiple distros but my main ones are Ubuntu, Slackware and sometimes an Arch offshoot.

    I have so far not figured out how to get bit-perfect output into my external USB DAC, meaning that the OS would not attempt to tinker with the recorded data. No volume adjustment, adjustment of bit rate or manipulation in any form, before outputting it to the DAC. I do have volume set to 100% but still get the impression the output data is being manipulated and adjusted. This is of FLAC files archived on my hard drive, but also with supposedly Hi-Res streaming from Qobuz and Tidal. With the streaming services my DAC generally reports 44K 20bit input regardless of what Qobuz reports as their bitrate. I do adjust the volume using the volume pot of the integrated amplifier that the DAC outputs to.

    I installed Ubuntu Studio today to see if it behaved any differently but as best as I can tell, it is still the same. This is an Ubuntu variant that is targeted at media creators rather than consumers, but I was hoping it would also address the latter.

    Any help and advice with setting this up would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
    Insufficient information. You're using Ubuntu (of one sort or another), so that means PulseAudio, so that means no, you have zero control over most things, to be honest.

    That doesn't mean you don't have 'bit perfect audio', though. It just means we need to define what you want and what you would declare to be bit-perfect.

    My short answer is: ALSA. Get rid of PulseAudio (an exercise best left to the brave reader) and simply use Alsa direct. That means if your terminal wants to go 'ping' as an audio stream is playing, it can't and it will hang in consequence etc (there's a reason PulseAudio took over!). But if you want metal-to-the-DAC, you need to ditch PulseAudio and go ALSA.

    That's a trivial answer, though. It's much more complicated than that. But that's for starters.

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