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Xbox Series X support for external DACs

flyzipper

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Since Microsoft decided to drop the optical output, some users of that platform have been curious to know whether USB audio has been added.

It hasn't.

I received a new Series X today and spent some time confirming USB audio does not work on my Series X using a miniDSP 2x4HD as the test device.

There's no option to select the DAC for output in Audio settings, and no option to add a new Device in that section.

Two options for connecting a DAC at this time:
  1. HDMI optical extractor (HDMI to HDMI pass-through, with an optical output for extracted 2-channel audio)
    (BUT... big but right now... HDMI 2.1 speeds aren't supported by the current offerings)
  2. Connect Series X via HDMI to a TV which has an optical output for audio (this works currently)
 
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flyzipper

flyzipper

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Adding some links for reference.

It appears to be a cash grab by Microsoft...

Any officially licensed Xbox One accessory that connects to your console wired or wirelessly via USB works on Xbox Series X|S.
( source - https://support.xbox.com/en-US/help/hardware-network/console/xbox-series-x-faq )

One example of a USB-connected audio device is the Astro Gaming's MixAmp Pro TR...
( source - https://blog.astrogaming.com/2020/09/xbox-series-x-and-playstation-5-compatibility/ )

Even though Astro's product page for this item currently states it doesn't work on the Series X, I suspect they'll be updating their site to reflect the added compatibility. A friend who owns the MixAmp Pro TR reported that it does indeed work via USB on the Series X after a firmware update.
 

Clockwork

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Not surprised as the whole reason they got rid of optical output was to save a few $$. Thankfully I happen to have a astro mixamp laying around here somewhere so I will definitely be setting that up. Any possibility that they will release a firmware update in the future if enough people push for it?
 

wrigglycheese

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  1. Connect Series X via HDMI to a TV which has an optical output for audio (this works currently)

OMG does this really work ???? I thought it would end up using my HDTV as the DAC ?

I have my Series X connected via HDMI to my Sony HDTV and the optical out connected to nothing... Yet. Headphones plugged straight into controller :(:(:(

I have a DAC and AMP would i be better using the optical out of my HDTV straight into my external DAC then DAC to AMP ?
 
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flyzipper

flyzipper

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OMG does this really work ???? I thought it would end up using my HDTV as the DAC ?

I have my Series X connected via HDMI to my Sony HDTV and the optical out connected to nothing... Yet. Headphones plugged straight into controller :(:(:(

I have a DAC and AMP would i be better using the optical out of my HDTV straight into my external DAC then DAC to AMP ?

If you connect your DAC to your TV's optical output, there will be a setting in your TV's audio setup menu to enable digital audio out, and your external DAC is doing the conversion to analog. Sounds like you already have everything needed to test, so you've got nothing to lose. :)
 

wrigglycheese

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If you connect your DAC to your TV's optical output, there will be a setting in your TV's audio setup menu to enable digital audio out, and your external DAC is doing the conversion to analog. Sounds like you already have everything needed to test, so you've got nothing to lose. :)

Thank you very much Sir
 

jmaz87

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Late to the party, and new to the community.
long story short I can confirm everything works fine via optical as it should. Series X is in livingroom on a LG CX and Series S is in office on a cheap samsung. both work fine via PCM

that's really my question. should I have Xbox audio set to uncompressed stereo? then TV input set to PCM output to optical
it was initially on dolby or something and the sound was something awful i was afraid i would blow something.
will DAC only accept PCM via optical?

also noticed needing more volume w/ optical--e30--atom amp vs my office setup usb--atom stack (waiting for L30 arriving tomorrow) i could move atom dac out there to confirm but i'm lazy

anyway hi everyone!
 

Thomas_bati

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I am regretting the times when I was playing with the PC. Anyway, can someone tell his experience with the optical output of the TV? Is there any audio delay? Problems with dolby atmos for headphones?
 

jmaz87

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Don't understand your comment about PC but as I stated above both new Xbox consoles set to PCM work fine via TV optical out. No delay that I can perceive but again this is with TV & Xbox set to PCM stereo so no dolby or surround via optical.

That said Dolby is basically un-usable due to the noticable delay, thats via optical on my Samsung tv to Samsung sound bar or my LGCX via ARC to another samsung soundbar... setting either setup to PCM like I do for Headphones is the ONLY way i've managed to get synced audio from both series X and series S.

so I just leave both consoles on PCM Stereo since I usually use a headphone anyway and sound bars are just for casual stuff like twitch that doesn't support 5.1 anyway.

bottom line is the best eARC supporting receivers available don't even fully support series X so dolby isn't really viable atm.
 

Thomas_bati

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Don't understand your comment about PC but as I stated above both new Xbox consoles set to PCM work fine via TV optical out. No delay that I can perceive but again this is with TV & Xbox set to PCM stereo so no dolby or surround via optical.

That said Dolby is basically un-usable due to the noticable delay, thats via optical on my Samsung tv to Samsung sound bar or my LGCX via ARC to another samsung soundbar... setting either setup to PCM like I do for Headphones is the ONLY way i've managed to get synced audio from both series X and series S.

so I just leave both consoles on PCM Stereo since I usually use a headphone anyway and sound bars are just for casual stuff like twitch that doesn't support 5.1 anyway.

bottom line is the best eARC supporting receivers available don't even fully support series X so dolby isn't really viable atm.
Because I am unhappy that I no longer have the connection options offered by the PC. unfortunately I had to adapt to playing with the Xbox and the sofa . On the other hand, I hate the fact that there are these limits. it is absurd to remove the optical input and not give the option via USB.
 

Tenfilip

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Because I am unhappy that I no longer have the connection options offered by the PC. unfortunately I had to adapt to playing with the Xbox and the sofa . On the other hand, I hate the fact that there are these limits. it is absurd to remove the optical input and not give the option via USB.
Well, I'm stuck on a similar issue, tbh. I was shocked that they dont even offer BT headphones support. This is just bad.
 

TonyJZX

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I'm coming in late at this but does it really matter? I have hdmi going out of my ps4 (obviously)_ and that goes into a digital surround preamp and all the usual stuff...

I think Microsoft as a software company to be much better as supporting their h/w than Sony... eg. Sony just added 1,440p...

So I would expect any dac that works under Windows should work under Xbox.
 
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flyzipper

flyzipper

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I'm coming in late at this but does it really matter? I have hdmi going out of my ps4 (obviously)_ and that goes into a digital surround preamp and all the usual stuff...

So I would expect any dac that works under Windows should work under Xbox.
It matters to those of us who game at a desk with a monitor and don't want AV receiver taking up space.

Your expectation is understandable, but incorrect -- only devices that have gone through their licensing process work with the Xbox Series X.
 

carat

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It matters to those of us who game at a desk with a monitor and don't want AV receiver taking up space.
I find it absurd that Microsoft provides other desktop-friendly features such as 1440p and Mouse/Keyboard support, but not USB audio. If they removed the TOSLINK connector, the least they could do is offer a (hideously overpriced) official USB-to-TOSLINK adapter. But no, almost 2 years later and the only thing resembling a USB audio solution is the buggy, noisy Astro MixAmp.

This is by far the thing I like least about my Xbox Series X, and why it never quite feels 100% like an upgrade over my One X.
 

garbulky

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Big let down for me, just spend an hour figuring out the same thing. Unfortunately I do not like using audio extractors as it creates input lag. Also my monitor does not have optical output. My day is ruined and my disappointment is immesurable
I use an audio extractor and had no input lag I could discern. But then again, I'm not an avid gamer.
 

Misguided

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Hi. This is something I've been looking into and it is very frustrating, I recently bought a pair of Hifiman Sundaras for music and movies but decided to use them for gaming as the improvement in sound over my Arctis Steelseries One Wireless (Xbox Version) is huge I have to plug a splitter into my controller, a lapel mic into one end of the splitter, a line out to my Topping NX4 DSD DAC / Amp into the other end of the Splitter then another wire from my Topping NX4 DSD to my Hifiman Sundaras.

I can ditch the Topping NX4 DSD but I have to crank the volume up on the controller to get a decent sound and I prefer using the Topping controls to adjust volume.

I game using a monitor so there's no optical output to use and I'm not sure I would take that approach if I were gaming on my TV as I don't think the HDMI to TV then optical to DAC would pass through the Headphone Surround Sound (currently using DTS X Spacial).

I am curious about using the Astro A40 mix amp so there aren't so many cables attached to my controller but this would cost around £100 and if there isn't a improvement in sound quality then it isn't worth it. I'm curious if anyone has tried to compare the sound quality of the Astro Mix Amp compared to plugging straight into their controller. Anyone tried this or read anything about it or has anyone measured the audio quality coming out of the controller?

I considered an audio extractor to optical but I have concerns about lag as I play a lot of PVP shooters.

I am pretty happy with DTS X Spacial and after listening to some comparison videos on You Tube I believe it is one of the better Headphone Surround Sound option available so I don't want another surround sound solution just better audio than I'm getting from the 3.5mm out on the controller.

I may spend some money on a V Moda Boom Mic which replaces your headphone lead with a lead with a built in mic just to make things a bit tidier but I would need to ditch the Topping NX4 DSD which means cranking up the volume on the controller or buying a different set of headphones and I love my Sundaras. Also it's not really needed as the lapel mic I currently use (Zalman ZMIIC 1) clips onto your headphone lead which makes it pretty tidy and it costs less than £10.
 

carat

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I am curious about using the Astro A40 mix amp so there aren't so many cables attached to my controller but this would cost around £100 and if there isn't a improvement in sound quality then it isn't worth it. I'm curious if anyone has tried to compare the sound quality of the Astro Mix Amp compared to plugging straight into their controller. Anyone tried this or read anything about it or has anyone measured the audio quality coming out of the controller?

I had the Astro MixAmp Pro TR (which is the same as what's bundled with the A40). It's a nice concept but as a dac and headphone amp it's atrocious. I sent mine back within days. You might as well stick with the controller if you don't need the mixer/streaming features of the mixamp. Also, the Xbox Series implementation is half broken anyway. My friend also had the MixAmp and she was happy with it on her Xbox One (she's not picky about the sound like me) via optical, but as soon as she switched to an Xbox Series and was forced to use it via USB with the new firmware she started having issues with it. Amazon and the subreddits are full of people complaining about MixAmp flakiness with the Series consoles, such as having to constantly disconnect and reconnect the USB to solve low volume issues.

I considered an audio extractor to optical but I have concerns about lag as I play a lot of PVP shooters.
During my research I could find no measurements for latency on any audio extractors. There was a bunch of anecdotes saying it was negligible, and the rare anecdote claiming it wasn't, but no numbers. Astro claims that their audio extractor has negligible latency, but again, no numbers. Extremely frustrating. I would have been OK with a small amount of added latency, but losing VRR was the deal-breaker. The HDFury VRRoom is the only device that can extract HDMI audio and pass VRR. It claims <1ms latency but it costs more than the Xbox Series X and only passes HDMI 2.1 VRR (not FreeSync).
 
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