Advanced Audio Settings

The object of this Blog is to provide as much Information about the Audio Settings in Kodi/SPMC with out making it look like the Tech Specs. of an “Audiophiles” Sound System. I have to admit when I first looked in XBMC/Kodi, these options left me scratching my head. Thinking these are very complicated. Well they still do ! But once the different features and options were explained to me, it became quite easy. Understanding how to utilize these to enhance my use of Kodi/SPMC became a bit clearer. I certainly hope this article will do the same. Not just for those who have just started using Kodi, but for “veterans” as well who wish to know more about these settings. *Hint, if you make a mistake (and you will) when changing any settings, remember….Default is your friend. You can always start over. Need help? click here. The examples shown are Jarvis 16.1. I will also provide a brief description on how to find Audio Settings in Krypton 17.3, but they are 99.9 % the same configuration. The option descriptions will apply to both. There are two audio settings menus within Kodi/SPMC, where you can adjust the audio. Which as a result, can make things a little confusing, but that’s what we aim to explain here. Lets start with the first group of settings.

Locating Audio Settings

audio To access the Audio Settings in Jarvis 16.1, select Settings>System>Audio output, as shown in the above photo. The settings shown are from a PC, some of these will vary based on what device you have Kodi/SPMC installed in, normally it will be in the first 3 settings. Lets break this settings down to give you an idea what each one does and why. (hopefully)

Understanding Each Audio Setting

  • Audio output device- This is where we can select which one of the audio outputs from your computer you will be using. Depending on what you select here, some settings further down might be enabled or not.
  • Number of channels- If you’re using a digital audio connection, this represents the channels supported by the audio connection; if you’re using analog, it will represent the number of speakers your system is using.
  • Output configuration- This can be set to to Fixed, Optimized or Best Match…Fixed will be set by the value indicated in settings at all times. Optimized will be set at the start of playback and not change. Best Match will let you know if properties like sampling rate and speaker configuration will change during playback to match the source. Limit sampling rate If you set fixed output, this indicates the sampling rate. If you are using SPDIF, this is the maximum sampling rate. Stereo Upmix When enabled, it lets 2-channel audio be up mixed to the number of channels set in Kodi audio settings.
  • Normalize levels on downmix sometimes called Maintain original volume on downmix – This keeps the volume of the stream, at the cost of compressing dynamic range when enabled. When disabled, volume will be lower but the dynamic range will be maintained. Keep in mind the dynamic range is defined as the difference between the quietest and the loudest sounds in an audio source. So if the dialogue in movies is barely audible, enable this one.

Settings Part Two

  • Resample quality-  If you need to have audio sampled at a different rate than the source, this is the option you need to tweak. You can set it on Low, Medium and High.
  • Keep audio devices alive- This one set out the time audio devices will wait before entering a suspended state. It has Always (audio devices never suspended) and Off (audio devices always suspended) settings.
  • Play GUI sounds- This one set whether you hear the GUI sounds or not when browsing through the menus. Personally I click this off.
  • Enable passthrough- Here you can enable passthrough Kodi audio output for encoded audio formats(more about this in the next section)
  • Passthrough output device Here you will need to have enabled “pass through audio” & this allows you this lets you select the device you will use for audio playback of encoded formats. The formats you could use are selected via this very same menu, and depending on your device. Make sure you select a format compatible with your device to avoid slowness or freezes on your media. For example: Dolby Digital (AC3) capable receiver. Enable Dolby Digital Transcoding: (To be selected in case the audio output device only supports multichannel audio.) Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC3) capable receiver. DTS capable receiver. TrueHD capable receiver. DTS-HD capable receiver. Reset above settings to default: This is your friend if (when) you make a mistake.

Digital Audio Settings

audio Number of channels- Photo A If you’re using a digital audio connection, this represents the channels supported by the audio connection; if you’re using analog, it will represent the number of speakers your system is using. Audio output device> Photo B This is where we can select which one of the audio outputs from your computer(where this was taken from) or the Device you will be using. Depending on what you select here, some settings further down might be enabled or not. These settings may be different based on the Device you are using.

Audio Playback Settings

audio Just in case your not confused enough, here's the second group of settings found while watching a Movie/TV Show. Here's a brief description of what each option can do. Not all the settings found here will appear in your Kodi. These are dependent on what Skin you have installed. You can access the Audio Playback Settings by hitting the speaker icon in the bottom right corner of the screen during playback. The Audio Playback menu will now appear as shown in Photo B., here's a brief description of each option.
  1. Volume -Sets the volume.
  2. Volume amplification -Use the amplification in audio settings to adjust the volume of sources that are very quiet, even if you turn up the volume full blast.
  3.  Audio offset -This one is used when your video source & audio source seem to be out of sync. with this you can re-sync them up easily.
  4.  Audio stream Handy for media sources with multiple audio streams, you can choose from here which one you prefer to use. (Note: in the example shown in Photo A, the info about the stream shows it is 2.0. If there is nothing greater then this option will not be available as indicated in Photo B)
  5. 5.& 6. Stereo upmix, Enable passthrough These are the same as the ones you can set on the main Kodi audio settings. Make sure this is enabled if you have done so in the main Kodi settings.
  6. see above.
  7.  Enable subtitles.
  8. Subtitle offset.
  9.  Subtitle.
  10. Browse for subtitle. Are all for subtitle control. To Enable subtitles, sync subtitles, add subtitles or select from a selection of subtitles, depending on what subtitles Add-Ons you may have installed.
  11.  Set as default for all videos. Like it says…make these settings apply to all videos.

Krypton

audio As described earlier, Click System if using Jarvis Photo A. If Krypton 17.3 is your version- Select the Cog Icon in the Main Page, then System Setting. (Photo B.) Photo's C & D- show the options after you select or highlight Audio from the menu selection on the left side. Due to these settings being almost identical, please refer to the descriptions used earlier. audio This is just a simplified breakdown of the Kodi settings and is to be used as guide only.

IN CONCLUSION

“I'm Overwhelmed by All These settings”, You're not alone, so am I ! Consequently, knowing more about this Audio option at our disposal will only improve your listening pleasure. I don't pretend to know a lot about Audio settings, but using these settings as a guide has been educational. Mistakes were made as I changed settings, you will make some as well. I would recommend to those who wish to play about with these settings to document what each setting is prior to changing. You may find that one or two settings may be all you need to change to improve the Sound to your liking. p.s. Default option is your friend ! You can find this and many more helpful Blogs here at Ares Project Blog. Don't forget to join us in the Ares Project Forum, it's free !