Since getting the Raspberry Pi I have been spending more time with XBMC (the open source media center system) so was interested to see that XBMC’s audio engine is getting a complete re-write.  The new engine brings high-definition audo to XBMC, it handles the decoding and transcoding for DTS-MA, TrueHD and 23 bit audio. Also mp3 should sound better as there is dithering built in to reduce quantization noise.

You can try the new audio system in the nightly builds and there is a wiki for the topic.

Details from the blog

Features of AE include:

support for DTS-MA / Dolby TrueHD Bluray formats
support for 24-bit and floating-point audio at up to 384,000hz
mixing of all streams including GUI sounds even when transcoding audio
start-up enumeration of hardware audio devices and their capablities with log output
bitstreaming support in PAPlayer (XBMC’s music player)
upmixing of stereo to full channel layout
tighter syncing of A/V streams
floating-point processing of audio
24-bit and floating-point decoding/handling of mp3
full support for ReplayGain
built-in sample-rate conversion and transcoding

Planned Features for upcoming AE releases:

rules-based decisions for output formats based on hardware capabilites
a range of DSP’s (digital signal processors) including headphone head-related transfer function processing, DRC (dynamic range compression), low-pass filtering for subs and an equalizer function
custom channel-mixing/mapping for up and downmixing

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