Just started using Audirvana which is a software company founded in 2011 and located in France which has become the reference solution for professionals and enthusiasts who expect uncompromised digital music playback. If you use an external DAC like the iFi ZEN, this software will talk to it directly and program it to sense the difference between WAV, FLAC, Mp3, and DSD files as noted by the change in the sensor color that surrounds the volume control. The digital-to-analog converter, or DAC, transforms the signal from digital to analog before transmitting it to the speakers. It is a critical element of your system that plays a major role in overall audio quality and optimizing the interaction between the source and DAC is also crucial. Audirvana always transmits a “ready-to-play” audio stream, i.e. a PCM (or DSD) stream already decoded, that takes into account the characteristics of your DAC and reduces the tasks to be performed at speaker level. Today most DACs internally work at very high frequencies and low bit depth, and this conversion implies upsampling. Since the processing power of your computer is much higher than the built-in capability of the DAC, it can run more sophisticated and demanding upsampling algorithms (SoX) within Audirvana, and feed your DAC with a signal containing more accurate data thus facilitating the interpolation calculation.
After I got it set up and had it catalog all of my Hi-Resolution files, I plugged in the HiFiMan HE-400i Planar headphones - what an amazing sound!!! Pure and clean would be the best way to summarize it. Herbie Hancock’s “Headhunters” as a DSD album was simply AMAZING! Check out Weather Report’s “Heavy Weather” and Steely Dan’s “Gaucho” for a test later today.