Audio Midi rate

I listen 99.9% of the time to Tidal from my Mac Mini into my new Directstream dac. What setting in audio midi should I use for the DS? As I understand it, Tidal HiFi is streamed at 16/44 resolution; should I use that, 24/192 as per the DS owner’s manual or some other rate?

Many thanks,


Howdy Bill,

I’d stick to 24/192 were I in your shoes. If you’re feeling adventurous you could do a quick shoot out between the different setting options, though I’m not sure I’d spend the time on that test.

The question you’re dealing with is kind of step 1 for Mac-based audio. If Audio MIDI Setup is even part of your thinking then you’re letting the CoreAudio system in macOS do things to your audio instead of passing the data directly out to your DAC.

“Do things” means sample rate conversion and mixing. For your 99% listening as described, my advice would be to set Audio MIDI to 44.1/24 so that the Mac is not doing upsampling. The DS DAC’s built in upsampling is way better.

Longer term you should look at a different workflow. For instance, if you use Roon or Audirvana they will grab “exclusive mode” use of the DAC and simply send the audio data directly to it rather than having macOS “do things”. Both Roon and Audirvana support Tidal streaming.

This is the info I’m seeking. But why not 44.1/16 in this case? And why does PS Audio recommend 24/192 in the manual?

Thanks again,


Good questions.

Fixing the output rate to 16-bit only actually breaks some software and some DACs. Setting it to 24-bit doesn’t hurt. It’s just like having space to type 3-digit numbers when none of the values you want to send are greater than 99.

I don’t know why PS Audio wrote what they did. At a guess I’d say because upsampling from 44.1kHz to 192kHz in CoreAudio does less harm than having it downsample any high res tracks you have back to 44.1. But really… if you care about audio quality your first step is to stop using the Tidal app as your player software and switch to something that will send bit-perfect data to your DAC.

Edit: actually I should double-check that Tidal doesn’t support exclusive mode. I’ll be back…

Ha! I’m an idiot for making assumptions.

Tidal does support Exclusive Mode as an option when you select the DS DAC as its output device. Use that and just ignore Audio MIDI setup because it won’t have any role to play.


Terrific! I set Tidal to exclusive mode in its Sound Output settings, and PS Audio 2.0. Should bypass audio midi now.

Thanks so much!


Yes, just chiming in. This is exactly the right way to do this and I am not sure why Schroedster recommend using the Mac’s upsampler, something I would not recommend. I’ll see what he had in mind.

Generally you want to avoid the Mac (or Windows) upsampler which is why many of us install Bit Perfect or find a way to use exclusive mode.

Thanks, Paul - sounding wondrous!