Are you sure it isn't supported? I had this exact same model Nuc ordered from Jriver that was running Linux. I had no problems running 192/24 using the direct connection with ALSA. In fact, it was padding everything to 192/32. I returned it to Jriver because I'm not comfortable with Linux.
While running Windows 10 on my new Nuc (though the same 6cay model as the one I returned), I can't even get a clean 24 bits on 96/24. Jriver software says it is playing back at 192/16 because there aren't enough bits. It sounds more like an operating system thing. I can get 96/24 padded, which implies, I think, that it can't get a clean 24 bits even on 96 or 88.2 khz.
Are you saying t he Nuc isn't capable of 24 bits at all, because I'm pretty sure I got that, and more in Linux?
When I go into Sound properties in Windows it shows my default Marantz receiver and it says it supports 16 and 24 bits and all the way through 192khz - but there are no check boxes for any of the combinations for me to try (I can't even select cd sound, 44.1/16). It just says it is supported.
Thanks for any additional help/insight you can give.
Thank you very much for your prompt reply, zonk.
The 192/24 format will not be supported by this model of NUC. In the following link, you will find the Technical Product Specifications for this specific NUC. On page 3, "Specification Changes or Clarifications" section, on September 2017 this feature was removed from this document since it is not supported by the NUC: https://www.intel.com/content/dam/support/us/en/documents/mini-pcs/nuc-kits/NUC6CAYS_NUC6CAYH_TechProdSpec.pdf
Please bear in mind as well that Windows® 10 is the only Operating System Supported by your unit.
So this is frustrating. I just had this same model Nuc running Linux which supported 192/24 and 96/24 using ALSA.
Is it possible that an older version of this model with a different type board supported these formats?
Also, after reading that document you attached, does this mean this Nuc doesn't even support 96/24?
Is so, do you gave any Nuc kits that do support 192/24 via hdmi (or toslink)?
Thank you very much for your reply, zonk.
Indeed, as per the Technical Product Specifications of the NUC, the 96/24 format is not supported as well. You can double check our NUCs specifications by clicking here, you can double check the sound format on the datasheet of it and you can select the one that better accommodates for you.
You guys @ intel (all of you: developers + support) should be ashamed!
You SELL something as capable of supporting PCM bitstreams of 24bit@192kHz, and then repeatedly downgrade the specs, and now come and tell us that such devices aren't capable not even of 24bit@96kHz.
This is absolute *b.s.*.
Such devices ARE indeed capable of such PCM bitrates on Windows 10!
It's your latest device drivers that have removed such capabilities.
For reasons unknown, rather than provide improvements, your "device drivers updates" remove capabilities...
So, in case you are not informed, please note that any such NUC can sustain bitstreams of 24bit@192kHz (under Windows 10 as well) by just installing an OLD version of your own "Intel Audio Driver", as I detailed here.
And as I clarified in the same thread, even the very basic and general purpose "High Definition Audio Device" driver supplied by Microsoft with each and every WINDOWS installation does provide support for PCM 24bit@196kHz and, obviously, this also works just fine on your "Intel NUCs" as on any other system.
So please, rather than telling people what your *downgraded specs* now say, at least point them to an existing and effective workaround/solution for such a LIMITATION that is imposed by your own "Intel Audio Driver", not by Windows, nor by the hardware itself.
I repeat: on such NUCs 24bit@192kHz PCM works perfectly (even under Windows 10!) when using the old version 6.16 of your own "Intel Audio Driver", or even the basic/generic "High Definition Audio Device" driver provided by MS.
It's about time someone @Intel understands that nowadays 24bit audio is not an esoteric option, but rather the de-facto audio standard (nobody cares about 16bit audio anymore!). You SHOULD provide support for 24bit@192kHz OUT OF THE BOX (as it was promised in the original specs!), without people having to waste time looking for workarounds (while even being mislead by Intel on this very same forum), then searching and installing old Intel drivers, and getting mad again once your most recent (and meaningless) Intel driver update gets automatically installed.
And you know why you should really take care of this?
Because support for 8 channels of 24bit@192kHz PCM was part of the original HDMI 1.0 specification...!
Guess what year was that?
And you guys still come and tell us that such bitrates cannot be achieved (FALSE!), quoting your latest *downgraded* specs?
I'm not surprised you didn't really get any help/solution from Intel: they're too busy downgrading their specs, rather than fixing issues or suggesting workarounds for what their specs originally promised and never delivered.
The problem in your case is that having the "latest" Intel driver installed won't help, at least as far as the "Intel Display Audio" driver is involved.
You can stream 24bit@192kHz PCM via HDMI by installing the 6.16 version of that driver (or even the generic "Microsoft High Definition Audio" driver provided with Windows) instead of the latest version.
Please note: you can still have the latest HD Graphics package installed, but the "display audio" component should be replaced with good old version 6.16 (or the generic MS equivalent) for any meaningful 24bit PCM to work...
You can find some hints here.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for reaching out. This won't surprise you at all, but after having success with your thread (rolling back to an old driver) - I was able to get all my sample rates through hdmi. Since then, I bought a new preamp that doesn't have hdmi so I was back at square one with an optical missing 88.2 as an option. Well I thought I'd check old drivers the same way for the high def audio device - lo and behold, I found a driver from 2015 that allowed all the sample rates the "new" driver can't handle. Working beautifully! It should, obviously, never come to this but thank goodness for the internet and individuals willing turn every stone looking for a solution - and finding one where Intel chooses not to....emphasis on "chooses".
Still boggles the mind that they chose to roll back performance that is on that device.
Now my only problem is trying to find a similar fix for usb audio - it is the same issue - the generic driver is missing support for 88.2. Any ideas?
Anyway, thanks for checking in and please let's keep on them and make sure the support their products the right way.
I'm glad to hear that rolling back to the old driver solved the issue, and allowed you to stream PCM @ 24bit*192kHz.
And I'm also glad to hear that, following a similar approach, you were able to solve the issue with the optical connection.
I was aware of your other thread ("NUC6CAYS high definition audio problem") and I actually had the feeling that you may have resorted to buying such a preamp to bypass the HDMI pass-through problem. That's the reason why I was so harsh in my rant against Intel above: they should have told you from the very beginning how you could achieve such bitrates via HDMI by rolling back the old driver (or using the generic MS equivalent). They could have warned you that such a workaround was not officially supported, or whatever else; yet they should have provided such a clue from the very beginning, and that's one month ago!
Instead they didn't provide any hint, and just told you that, whatever the original specs of such NUC promised, those specs had been repeatedly revised, and according to their latest revision it's absolutely normal and acceptable that in 2018 such a piece of equipment (with HDMI 2.0) is NOT even capable of supporting a PCM bitstream @ 24bit*96kHz. Isn't it ridiculous?
As for the USB/HD Audio issue, I'll leave it to Intel to provide whatever official feedback they have (if any) in the related thread, and I'll take advantage of this conversion here just to give you a few hints and ideas (I have a different NUC, and I don't have an external DAC/Preamplifier connected via USB: so I'm not sure that any of the following will actually help you).
First of all, my assumption (judging from the specs+photographs of the back panel) is that your DAC/Preamp has a very basic USB 2.0 input: as far as I'm aware of, all such equipment doesn't really need anything more than that to support HD audio bitstrams (24bit*192kHz stereo equates to a bitrate of just 9,216 kbps that is comfortably within the capabilities of USB 2.0).
On the other hand, if I'm correct, your NUC only expose USB 3.0 ports... but please note that, according to spec, it should also have a couple of internal headers for USB 2.0 directly on the board.
So, if this is actually the scenario you are dealing with, you currently have a normal USB2 cable connecting one of the USB3 ports on your NUC to the USB2 input on your DAC/Preamp. And of course your NUC USB3 ports are probably driven by an Intel specific driver...
Hence, one thing you may want to try is to select such driver in "Device Manager", choose "Update Driver", then "Browse my computer for driver software" and finally "Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer"...
If you happen to find any other suitable driver there (not from Intel) you may want to give it a try.
It's possible that if there's a generic MS/Windows driver this may easily solve the issue (it may not take advantage of the specific architecture, and thus put slightly more load on the CPU, but if it solves the problem, why not?).
The other thing you may want to try is to use the very basic USB2 connections available on the board and see if they'll do the job: you can locate such USB2 headers at pag.15 of the TPS.
Being older technology, hopefully Intel has stopped messing around with their drivers long time ago, well before they entered their current approach of cutting features (and specs) whenever something doesn't appear to work as expected... Plus, you will get a very basic, simple and consolidated USB2 to USB2 connection (so there's less chance the Intel driver is messed up to cope with backward compatibility issues, as their USB3 driver probably is, having to provide both USB3 capabilities and USB2+1 compability/support...).
Please note that according to the description at pag.22 regarding those USB2 headers "one port is reserved for an M.2 2230 Module"... whatever that means, and however it applies to your case, you should still have at least ONE USB2 header available.
So just get your hands on something like this for just a few bucks: at first glance, it seems to fit the USB2 header description provided at pag.42 of the Intel specs (please verify yourself).
Plug it in, connect a USB cable to your Preamp/DAC and see if a basic connection via good old USB2 solves the problem.
Once again, you probably have a double chance of getting this to work: using the specific driver provided by Intel, or the generic MS/Windows driver. The latter drivers are widely tested and are supposed to work with a lot of different systems and architectures: so while they may not be very efficient, they really should be pretty reliable.
If one way or the other such a basic USB2 to USB2 connection does work, as I assume you don't want to drill or mess around your NUC case, you may want to check here: I didn't look carefully, but I assume they have a suitable "lid" for your NUC to expose the USB2 ports in an elegant way (and as they write at the top of the page, just contact those guy if you don't find - or you are unsure - of what you actually need).
Of course, if you think that exposing such additional USB2 ports may be a "plus" anyway, you can skip the preliminary test with a simple (and cheaper) header-cable, and just purchase directly an appropriate USB2 "lid" that has surely been tested to be compliant with your NUC.
I really hope some of the above helps.
And of course, if it does, please let everybody know: I guess there may be people with other USB DACs having exactly the same kind of problems you reported...