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I have a question about how to play back iTrax 24bit/96kHz 5.1 WAV/PCM files...


I understand that these files can be played back by software like foobar2k and winamp in 5.1 surround, without compromising the quality of the recording. Am I correct?


What about the hardware needed for a true high-end playback? Internal PCI and PCIe soundcards (like Creative X-Fi, etc.) are not really high-end playback devices. They are meant for the ordinary PC users, for gaming and casual film and music playback one small speaker-systems. They are not meant for 5.1 music playback in a truly high-end system... I guess it would be possible to use pro. equipment, but most of these are usually made for recording and mixing. That way you end up paying for hardware capabilities the are not necessary for audio only playback. Also, this makes the playback system more complex. Am I correct?


So what other options are there for 5.1 playback?


I am wondering if it would be possible to perhaps use 3 x stereo USB-DACS (like the Ayre QB-9 or the Benchmark DAC1 USB) to play back 5.1 PCM files? Is this at all possible? If yes, how would it be handled in the software? How would the hardware and software handle three identical DACs connected at the same time?


Another option similar option would be 3 x M2Tech HiFace USB->S/Pdif converters ( http://www.m2tech.biz/products.html ). Each of them connected to an ordinary stereo DAC. This seems to be a solution that can handle everything from redbook to 24bit/192kHz stereo and 5.1 surround. What do you think? Also, could something like this be used for Blu-ray playback as well?
 

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You might want to check over in the HTPC forum for playback equipment and software information.


I have downloaded WMA LOSSLESS files from iTrax (very pleased with the result) and FLAC files from another vendor (with mixed results). I use Windows Media Player for playback of most files and WinAmp for the few FLAC files I own. I have come to prefer WMA LOSSLESS for multi channel downloads.


My HTPC includes the ASUS Xonar Slim soundcard. Supports multichannel via HDMI to my receiver. Receiver is set for "multi channel in". Works perfect! Also supports pass through of the high rez BD codecs.


I hope this helps.


Marcus
 
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