1 OS Specific Information
Each OS has differing requirements and limitations, in most cases these are due to the capabilities of the drivers available for each OS.
For detailed information on Windows OS settings see Windows Settings for AudioEngine
1.1.1 AMD GPU
If using WASAPI do not use the Realtek HD Audio drivers as they do not work with the event driven mode XBMC uses for WASAPI. To use WASAPI you must use the AMD High Definition Audio drivers.
The Realtek HD Audio drivers will however work with the Directsound mode.
1.1.2 Intel GPU
To support HD Audio on Windows the Intel Management Engine Interface driver must be installed, it's this driver that provides the HDCP DRM necessary for the HD Audio formats to works. If this driver is not installed then the HD formats will be missing from the Supported Formats tab.
In order to verify you have the Intel Management Engine Interface driver installed, follow the relevant step at Blu-Ray* Disc Playback with Intel® HD Graphics FAQ
1.2.1 AMD GPU fglrx Driver Limitations
The AMD fglrx drivers on Linux limit the number of real audio channels to 2.0, this only provides enough bandwidth for LPCM 2.0, DTS (5.1) and AC3 (5.1) and so HD audio is NOT possible on Linux for AMD GPU's and that "Output stereo to all speakers" must be disabled. Further to this the fglrx drivers limit HDMI audio to a 48Khz sample rate however 96KHz is possible on SPDIF.
When using AMD HDMI to an AVR then use the "AVR (no HD Audio)" settings.
1.2.2 Intel GPU HD Audio
HD Audio on Intel SandyBridge & IvyBridge systems require a patch from Intel to be included within the kernel, Linux 3.7 and higher include this patch as standard. In addition modification to system files maybe required in order to get the HDMI audio working.
For more detail on the required Linux modifications see Intel Linux Modifications for HD Audio
2 GUI Settings
2.1 Audio Output GUI
AE brings several new settings to the graphical user interface (GUI) as well as to advancedsettings.xml.
| This allows you to tell XBMC about the type of connection to the audio equipment so it can set the available GUI options appropriately, in addition it tells XBMC the LPCM capabilities of the connection.
|Analog:||Disables all the "capable receiver" options for passthrough and allows multi-channel LPCM to be pass to a soundcard.
|Optical/Coax:||This enables the selection of the Dolby Digital and DTS capable receiver options and limits the output of LPCM to 2 channels. :
|HDMI:||This enables all the capable receiver options, so in addition to what's available for Optical/Coax, TrueHD, DTS-HD and Multichannel LPCM capable receiver options are now selectable, in addition there is no limit on how LPCM is passed.|
|Speaker Configuration||Select your physical speaker layout.
|Boost volume level on downmix||Boosts AC3 streams that have been downmixed to 2 channels|
|Output stereo to all speakers||This upmixes 2 channel stereo sources to what specified by the Speaker Configuration so audio is output on all speakers|
|Dolby Digital (AC3) capable receiver||Select this option if your receiver is capable of decoding AC3 streams.
|DTS capable receiver||Select this option if your receiver is capable of decoding DTS streams.|
|AAC capable receiver||Select this option if your receiver is capable of decoding AAC streams.
|MultiChannel LPCM capable receiver||Select this option if your receiver is capable of decoding LPCM streams.|
|TrueHD capable receiver||Select this option if your receiver is capable of decoding TrueHD streams.|
|DTS-HD capable receiver||Select this option if your receiver is capable of decoding DTS-HD streams.|
|Audio output device||This is the device(s) you use to play LPCM or audio decoded by XBMC such as mp3's and FLAC.
|Passthrough output device||This device you use to play the encoded formats, these are any of the formats checked above in the "capable receiver" options.|
|Play GUI sounds||This sets how interface sounds are handled such as when navigating the menus, select from Never, Only when playback stopped, or Always.|
2.2 Audio Output Settings Guide
Depending on how your equipment is connected together you'll need to adjust the audio setting.
|XBMC Settings||PC Speakers
|TV||AVR SPDIF||AVR HDMI
(no HD Audio) ★
(Transcode to AC3)
|Boost volume level on downmix||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled|
|Output stereo to all speakers||Disabled||Disabled||Disabled||Disabled||Disabled||Disabled||Disabled|
|Dolby Digital (AC3) capable receiver||N/A||N/A||N/A||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled|
|DTS capable receiver||N/A||N/A||N/A||Enabled||Enabled||Enabled||Disabled|
|AAC capable receiver||N/A||N/A||N/A||Disabled||Disabled||Disabled||Disabled|
|MultiChannel LPCM capable receiver||N/A||N/A||N/A||Disabled||Enabled||Enabled||Disabled|
|TrueHD capable receiver||N/A||N/A||N/A||Disabled||Disabled||Enabled||Disabled|
|DTS-HD capable receiver||N/A||N/A||N/A||Disabled||Disabled||Enabled||Disabled|
|Linux / OSX - Output Device Settings|
|Audio output device||Speakers||Speakers||SPDIF/HDMI||SPDIF||HDMI||HDMI||SPDIF|
|Passthrough output device||N/A||N/A||N/A||SPDIF||HDMI||HDMI||SPDIF|
|Windows - Output Device Settings|
|Audio output device ★★||WASAPI/Directsound - Speakers||WASAPI/Directsound - Speakers||WASAPI/Directsound - SPDIF/HDMI||WASAPI/Directsound - SPDIF||WASAPI/Directsound - HDMI||WASAPI - HDMI||WASAPI/Directsound - SPDIF|
|Passthrough output device ★★||N/A||N/A||N/A||WASAPI/Directsound - SPDIF||WASAPI/Directsound - HDMI||WASAPI - HDMI||WASAPI/Directsound - SPDIF|
★ Where AVR has HDMI inputs but can't decode HD audio
★★ WASAPI offers best quality if connected to an AVR or DAC but may not always work, and Directsound offers better compatibility and should work in just about all equipment configurations. The only time WASAPI must be used is when trying to passthrough HD audio.
3 Advanced settings
It is possible to modify certain settings of the AudioEngine via advancedsettings.xml. These settings are explained here: Advancedsettings.xml/audio