Audio settings

Playback

 

You choose the playback device yoiu want to be used by default.

I set the onboard speakers to default and mute them.
In the media player I select the outboard DAC.

As all other applications use the default playback device, no more system sounds at full blast over the audio!

Configure

In the Sound panel, choose your playback device and click Configure.

The options available depend on the capabilities of the playback device

Check if the Audio Channels matches your setup.

Test if speakers and the channels match by clicking the speaker icons.

In this case , a DAC, I have have Full Range checked.

Sounds

You can put it off in case you don't like a full blast e-mail notification over your stereo.

System Sound

General

The general tab allows you to change the description and the icon.

No, using an Icon of a very expensive DAC won't affect sound quality.

 

Properties in this tab gives you information about the driver.

Often a third party driver comes with your sound card.
It might be that this driver is not an improvement as far as sound quality is concerned, compared with the default Win7 HD audio driver.
A simple way to try:

Source: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=60928

Levels

You can adjust volume and the balance.

If you are using digital output like USB or SPDIF and prefer analogue volume control, set both volume and balance to 100 to eliminate any impact of the digital volume control.

Enhancements

I belong to those silly purist who think the greatest enhancement is to disable all enhancements.

Advanced

 

By default Win runs in shared mode.

This allows for mixing e.g. you watch a video but like to hear a notification when an email comes in.

Mixing can only be done when both audio streams have the same bit-depth and sample rate.

Hence all audio streams are mixed and if needed resampled, to the settings in this panel.

 

Mixing means converting to float, mix, dither, convert back to integer.

Set the bit depth to the max supported by your DAC.

Today almost all DAC support 24 or even 32 bit.

24 bit dither is at -144 dBFS, you simply won't hear this as it is way below the noise floor of your gear.

Adding 8 bits to a 16 bit recording won't affect sound quality of course.

 

Set the sample rate to what is common.

This is 44.1 kHz most of the time.

Using this setting is probably undistinguishable from "exclusive" as long as you play CD quality.

 

Allow applications to take exclusive control should be checked if you plan to use WASAPI in exclusive mode.

Give exclusive mode applications priority might save you a couple of dropouts.

Spatial sound

Spatial Sound

Never bothered to try this.