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Playing Audio

The miniDSP SHD has a range of input sources and output connections. This section provides an overview of the basics so you can quickly get started with playing audio.

Connecting sources

The diagram below shows the audio sources that can be connected to the miniDSP SHD.

Connecting audio sources to the miniDSP SHD

Connecting audio sources to the miniDSP SHD

Note that the two pairs of analog inputs – RCA and XLR – are independent, and can both be connected at the same time. Select one of them from the front panel or with a remote control.

Connecting an amplifier and speakers

The diagram below illustrates a basic connection of a stereo amplifier and a pair of speakers to the miniDSP SHD. Since the default settings of the SHD route the input channels to output channels 1 and 2 with no crossovers active, you can make this connection for initial testing and listening.

Connecting a stereo amplifier and speakers to the miniDSP SHD

Connecting a stereo amplifier and speakers to the miniDSP SHD

The amplifier can be connected to either set of analog outputs – RCA and XLR – according to the type of input connectors that it has. Each set has the same audio signal, but the signal level on the XLR (balanced) outputs is double that of the RCA outputs (unbalanced).

If needed, both XLR and analog outputs can be connected, which can be useful in specific cases (such as connecting a subwoofer in parallel with the woofers in a two-way speaker).

Of course, more complex connections are possible using the additional outputs. In that case, the internal processing will need to be set up using the miniDSP Device Console. Refer to the Signal Flow and DSP Reference sections for details.

Warning

Ensure all equipment is powered off when making audio connections.

Warning

Before playing audio for the first time, turn the volume down using the front panel encoder. Increase it gradually after audio playback starts.

About USB Audio

The miniDSP SHD accepts stereo PCM audio at sample rates of 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192 kHz over USB. The same USB connector is used for playing USB Audio as well as for configuration and Dirac Live calibration.

To play USB Audio from a computer, use the supplied cable to connect the USB 2.0 (Type B) port of the miniDSP SHD to a free USB port on your computer. Alternatively, connect a network streamer to the USB port. For an example using the Raspberry Pi, see this application note on our website:

macOS

The miniDSP SHD is USB Audio compliant, so no drivers need to be installed to play audio on macOS. Open Audio MIDI Setup (in Applications->Utilities) and click on its name in the list on the left-hand side.

miniDSP SHD in macOS Audio MIDI Setup

Set sample rate

Click on the selector next to Format to bring up the sample rate and bit depth selector. Sample rates up to 192 kHz can be selected:

miniDSP SHD in macOS Audio MIDI Setup

Default audio device

To set the miniDSP SHD as the default audio output device, right-click and select "Use this device for sound output":

Set miniDSP SHD as default macOS output device

Note that individual audio playback apps may allow the miniDSP SHD to be selected for audio output independently of the system default. They may also control sample rate automatically.

USB Audio from SHD to computer

The miniDSP SHD sends its four output channels to the computer over USB. Click on the Input button in Audio MIDI Setup to see them. These can be used to monitor or record the output channels of the miniDSP SHD:

Output channels from miniDSP SHD to computer (macOS)

For an example application using this feature, see the app note Analog recording with miniDSP and ocenaudio on our website.

Tip

To avoid having macOS resample the outputs from the SHD, set the sample rate here to the DSP's internal sample rate: 48 kHz.

Windows 11

Note: to play USB audio from Windows, the miniDSP UAC2 driver package must be installed first.

Default audio device

To set the miniDSP SHD as the default audio output device, open the Settings app and navigate to the System -> Sound page. Select the SHD with the radio button:

Set miniDSP SHD as default Windows 11 output device

Set sample rate

To change the bit depth and sample rate, click on the rightward angle symbol >. Click the selector next to Format to pop up the sample rate menu. Sample rates up to 192 kHz can be selected:

Set miniDSP SHD sample rate in Windows 11

USB Audio from SHD to computer

The miniDSP SHD sends its four output channels to the computer over USB. These can be used to monitor or record the output channels after DSP processing:

Select miniDSP SHD as input to computer (Windows 11)

To avoid Windows resampling the outputs from the SHD, set the sample rate here to the DSP's internal sample rate: 48 kHz.

Output channels from miniDSP SHD to computer (Windows 11)

For an example application using this feature, see the app note Analog recording with miniDSP and ocenaudio on our website.

ASIO

If your audio application supports ASIO® audio drivers, we recommend selecting the miniDSP ASIO Driver in its settings. This typically allows the application to automatically change sample rate. For example, in JRiver Media Center:

Select miniDSP ASIO driver

miniDSP UAC2 control panel

The current settings of the miniDSP SHD can be viewed by opening the miniDSP UAC2 Control Panel from the Windows Start menu (under the miniDSP Ltd folder). This control panel allows you to view current settings. In addition, it can be used to set buffer size, although we recommend that you leave this setting at the default. If you are having an issue with inadequate output volume over USB playback, check the Volume tab.

miniDSP UAC2 control panel

To see the installed version of the UAC2 driver, use the About tab:

miniDSP UAC2 control panel version

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