Linux audiophiles, rejoice! PulseAudio 11.0 was announced with a few interesting changes that should dramatically improve sound handling on Linux.
Up until now, PulseAudio would only use two different sampling frequencies, usually 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz. That means it would downsample higher-rate content to one of those two frequencies. The new software allows for resampling to be disabled, so that content is played at its native sampling frequency.
It is possible to disable resampling by simply adding the avoid-resampling = yes line in the /etc/pulse/daemon.conf file if you have PulseAudio 11.0 installed. You can then check the sample rate being used by issuing the command pacmd list-sinks in a terminal (you will see a line similar to sample spec: s32le ch 2 44100 Hz, which will give you information on sample rate).
Before the advent of this version, one had to change the 48 kHz option in daemon.conf to 96 kHz or 192 kHz to get high-res content at native resolution, but that will no longer be necessary. It brings the Linux audio stack on par with that of other operating systems in this regard and it allows users to fully take advantage of hi-res devices such as the Topping D30 or Zorloo ZuperDAC.
PulseAudio 11.0 is currently available as source code on the project’s website and should soon be available as a package for all major distributions.