Not so many HiFi fans are using their Zidoo media players for music and use other mostly far more expensive players for high quality music playback often still in Stereo (2CH) but occasionally in Multichannel (MCH). Obviously recommended settings will be Zidoo specific but most of this post content is HiFi player model and brand neutral. Client/Server library/transcoding products like Roon, Emby, Jellyfin, Plex etc are specifically strong in search features and music library displays and playback. This topic is not about all that for now, but it may be added later as support for those is gradually added/improved. If SQ of Stereo music is the absolute key factor for you then price/performance of UHD3000 is excellent/incredible and good with Neo models. Thus far don't really see the Zidoo suggested fork in additional Music Player capabilities using Neo models specifically beyond the Front Panel features. HiFi media players always include an additional high quality DAC panel taking over the function of the integrated standard DAC of the SOC: X20 Pro, UHD2000, UHD3000, Neo S, Neo Alpha and Neo X are the Zidoo HiFi models (in order of audio DAC quality) released thus far. Made specific reports/reviews for the Zidoo UHD2000, UHD3000 and Neo X models which are all complementary to this general HiFi topic: UHD2000: http://forum.zidoo.tv/index.php?thr...ng-the-uhd2000-compared-to-z9s-usb-dac.78722/ UHD3000: http://forum.zidoo.tv/index.php?threads/practical-experiences-using-the-uhd3000.86061/ Neo X: http://forum.zidoo.tv/index.php?threads/practical-experiences-using-the-neo-x.89868/ HiFi players will at least play standard audio, HD Audio and also (some) exotic Audio formats: - Standard Audio: up to 16 bit 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz PCM - HD Audio: Up to 24-bit 176.4 kHz / 192 kHz PCM and up to DSD256 - Exotic Audio: up to 32-bit 768 kHz PCM and up to DSD1024 The exotic formats look impressive but it is very doubtful if they actually sound anything better. Mostly these just eat up more resources. Anything beyond PCM 24-bit is e.g. unrealistic as DAC's dealing with that simply can't be build yet. Even true 24-bit reproduction is still a real challenge today. Most DAC's are restricted to 2CH but DAC's also exist for 5.1/7.1/11.1 MCH music & HT audio. How do you hear the SQ difference on a good setup? The sound will be crispier The total sound stage will be perceived a lot closer to listening live (from left to right) You will be able to hear individual instruments and sense where they are a lot better You will enjoy music on lower volume levels with igual satisfaction It is not about the frequency spectrum. Any decent setup should be able to get that right. This guide is divided in chapters and is highly recommended for those both listening to pure 2CH and MCH combining an all in one Music setup with a Home Theater setup. Index: Chapter-1: Recommended Zidoo settings: Chapter-2: Zidoo Music Player specific peculiarities and need to know: Chapter-3: Truly enjoying MCH music playback! Chapter-4: SACD & DTS-CD formats and playback Chapter-5: DVD-Audio & BD Pure Audio formats and playback Chapter-6: Using alternative Music Player App's Chapter-7: Using Music Streamer App's Chapter-8: What about MQA? Chapter-9: Internal versus External USB DAC Chapter-10: How an excellent DAC build is recognized! Chapter-11: Client/Server applications like: ROON, JRiver, Plex, Emby and Jellyfin Recommendations are based on my own hands-on experiences using Z9X with an External DAC, UHD2000, UHD3000 and Neo X players. Bugs, problems, inconveniences and wishes are not to be commented in this post. There are enough other places for doing so. Comments, reactions, questions and corrections on its content are very welcome. Chapter-1: Recommended settings: Don't get confused as there are multiple places for Audio Settings which are all overlapping: - Home => Quick Setup - Zidoo Controller => Quick Settings - MP6 Setup => Decode When changed in one place they are changed accordingly in other menu's. The fact that they are grouped differently may cause some confusions at first. Quick Setup settings => Audio HDMI Output (only on some models): As needed for Video to work in all desired modes. HDMI Audio: RAW (in MCH HT mode) or LPCM2Channel (in 2CH Music mode) *1 SPDIF Audio: Mostly Off (=Close) Downmix for AC3: Off *4 Downmix for DTS: Off *4 Sampling rate control => Digital Output: Native sampling rate (=via HDMI/Internal DAC) Sampling rate control => DAC Output: Native sampling rate (=via External USB) USB Audio: Off (On when using an external DAC only) USB Audio => DSD mode: DoP (in combination with USB audio set to On) *2 Passthrough AMP compatibility mode: Off Quick Setup settings => DAC Audio (for HiFi models only) Source In: Toggle as desired *1 Filter properties PCM: Linear with fast roll-off *3 (HiFi and Neo models) Filter properties DSD: Low Pass at 47 KHz (Neo models only) DAC Volume: 0.0db (or calibrated to same music level using HDMI RAW which is -5.0db for me) *5 XLR port Polarity: Normal MP6 => Settings => Decode (all duplicates to using Quick Setup!) Digital Output: Native sampling rate (=via HDMI) DAC Output: Native sampling rate (=via external USB) DAC switch: As desired On/Off (=shortcut Internal DAC On/Off) Filter properties PCM: Linear with fast roll-off *3 (HiFi and Neo models) Filter properties DSD: Low Pass at 47 KHz (Neo models only) USB audio => DSD mode: DOP *2 *1 Using the player in 2CH mode using an Internal or External USB DAC this setting needs to be toggled too. Switching DAC On/Off then HDMI Audio will change RAW/LPCM2CH automatically. Toggling USB Audio On/Off won't do this and it needs to be done manually. The AMP input port needs to changed designated HDMI and Analog ports manually too. It may be convenient to use a remote facilitating macro's for this. Personally assigned the green remote button to switching DAC Audio (Off, Internal, External). A pop-up is produced and the DAC icon on the UHD3000 frontpanel will reflect the change. *2 Data to USB DAC's can be send either in Native DSD or DoP (DSD over PCM) formats. As many interfaces and drivers are designed for handling PCM only DoP was developed as a bypass. There is minimal overhead associated with DoP but overall it is more commonly supported. There is absolutely no impact on the sound reproduced with DoP as it is only a data container. If working with both methods then Native DSD may be selected. *3 Digital filters is a tough above all mathematical topic. The filters are needed to remove undesired side effects of Digital => Analog PCM conversions. The conversion produces secondary sounds in the inaudible spectrum but still can lead to fatigue and other undesired hearing effects for some persons. Specifically listening via headsets may reveal filter differences. The default filter has the lowest effect on the audible curve but experimenting with them may be a nice exercise (ES9038 has 7-filters but ES9068 has only 3). There are also simple Low Pass filters for DSD included by the SABRE DAC's (ES9038 Pro has 4 but ES9068 only 1) and are therefore only configurable with the Neo models. Expensive DAC's/AMP's typically use DSP (Digital Signal Processor) chip based proprietary digital filters. *4 You need these settings to be turned ON if your AMP/TV only supports original standard definition DD (=AC3) or DTS formats as used originally on e.g. DVD's. You may need it also if you are using S/PDIF as this interface does not provide the essential additional bandwidth for high definition DD and DTS versions like DTS-HD / DTS-X or Dolby True HD /Dolby Atmos. Warning 1: The setting will enforce the core/embedded part of advanced formats to be used which are mostly present but not always. MakeMKV e.g. may remove the Dolby Digital AC3 embedded backward compatibility part. Warning 2: Not all TV's support DTS even in SD format. *5 For HiFi models like UHD3000 and Neo series the internal DAC output volume will always react to the remote control volume buttons ignoring this setting. Using HDMI RAW will disable volume control for HDMI output but not for DAC Analog output (except last FW with gapless playback). This may be confusing at first.