Samplerate: 192000Hz

All the FLAC and high bitrate hi-fi testing? Right now I’m listening to a 192000Hz FLAC:

# play *flac

Alanis Morissette - 01. Eight Easy Steps.flac:

File Size: 106M Bit Rate: 4.92M
Encoding: FLAC Info: Purchased from
Channels: 2 @ 24-bit Track: 1 of 10
Samplerate: 192000Hz Album: So-Called Chaos
Replaygain: off Artist: Alanis Morissette
Duration: 00:02:52.37 Title: Eight Easy Steps

In:100% 00:02:52.37 [00:00:00.00] Out:33.1M [ | ] Hd:1.7 Clip:0

on a last-gen Retina MacBook Pro 15″ under (you guessed it from the quote above, right?) (T2) Linux.

To play such high bitrates one needs to change system settings, on macOS X in the /Applications/Utilities/Audio MIDI (default system mixing rate is 44100 Hz - and why is that not a) automatic and b) at least in the general system’s sound preferences?), and unter Linux I tweaked the ALSA settings in /usr/share/alsa/alsa.conf:

defaults.pcm.dmix.rate 192000

The default max mixing frequency on Linux was 48000 (and no, no pulseaudio whatever system deamon for me - I want working audio, …).

Some observations: macOS’s maximum samplerate is 96000Hz on this machine, while Linux allows the maximum supported by the HDA Intel PCH and the Cirrus Logic CS4208 DAC:

/# grep rate /proc/asound/card0/pcm0p/sub0/hw_params
rate: 192000 (192000/1)

Not that 192000 Hz would be too useful on this consumer codec and headphone amp, …

As Apple does not natively support FLAC files and I do not like to clutter my system with too much alien software I did the macOS side testing with VLC (video lan client). Interestingly this combination resulted in some frizzeling in some FLAC songs - not even high bit rate ones.

For example this “standard” 44.1 kHz file resulted in some clearly (for me) audible frizzeling distortion in some vocal segments, like around 1:20m to 1:50m. The file played cleanly in my direct T2 Linux ALSA setup:

File Size: 48.5M Bit Rate: 1.62M
Encoding: FLAC Info: Purchased from
Channels: 2 @ 24-bit Track: 1 of 1
Samplerate: 44100Hz Album: Empire
Replaygain: off Artist: Shakira
Duration: 00:03:59.35 Title: Empire

And re: pulseaudio or other system sound daemons: what exactly is the point when the ALSA dmix plugin can mix multiple streams together?

Needless to say the Mac UI stuff crashed on me (and why not,? Designed by Apple in Cupertino and #peakbugs, right?):

What to take away? Linux and open source stability and precision is currently unparalleled, things just work in the year of the Linux Desktop #13. Even if you purchase such “higher quality music audio file” system settings and software combinations can still mess up the bits.

And damn can music sound great on quality equipment, e.g. a vintage Sony MDR-7506. Obviously not thru Beats or a Lightning connector adapter thingi.

Your mileage may vary, and I hope you learned something … :-)

PS: A Microsoft Surface 3 (with Realtek ALC288, sigh!) only shows up to 48000 Hz on Linux / ALSA.

Update: Obviously as user-friendly as Apple is with their vendor-lockin tactics neither macOS nor iOS supports such high-quality losss-less FLAC files. While I primarily used iPhones the last 10 years I also got a Nexus 5 for Android development and testing. Turns out Android (stock 6.0.1, last update as published by Google) default Music Player supports FLAC and plays those files, … except the 192000 Hz one for which is pops up: Music playback error. Couldn’t play the track you requested. :-/

And damn is the Android music apps’s font and album artwork use pretty. Why the heck do I still endure this iOS 10 UI madness:

Nexus 5 audio quality is also indistinguishable from the Retina MacBook Pro headphone amp using my professional studio monitor Sony MDR-7506.

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