Understanding Linux Audio better

I own two sets of wired earphones. One of them is quite inexpensive and serves me well for video chats and similar situations; I keep it hooked into my laptop’s 3.5mm jack at all times. It only cost $6. The other set are decent in-ear monitors. I did a lot of research before buying them for $26, and the audio quality is comparable to $80-90 ones, according to audiophile reviews, paired with a $12 USB C to 3.5mm DAC. The DAC can handle audio up to 32-bit/384kHz.I have a system that is dual booted with Windows 11 and EndeavourOS with KDE. I am still confused with the audio settings on Linux.

These audio options are available in the KDE audio system settings.

  • Headphones (KM-HIFI-384KHZ Analog Audio)

  • Headphones (Family 17h/19h HD Audio controller Speaker + Headphones)

  • Navi 10 HDMI Audio

  • Renoir Radeon High Definition Audio Controller

Out of these four options, the first one only appears when I connect my DAC to USB C and it has 8 audio profiles to select from:

  • Analog Stereo Output + Mono Input

  • Analog Stereo Output

  • Digital Stereo (IEC958) Stereo Output + Mono Input

  • Digital Stereo (IEC958) Stereo Output

  • Digital Surround 5.1 (IEC958/AC3) Stereo Output + Mono Input

  • Digital Surround 5.1 (IEC958/AC3) Stereo Output

  • Pro Audio

  • Mono Input

The second option I guess is what gets defaulted if I am using Laptop speakers or 3.5mm jack. It has got couple of profiles

  • Play HiFi quality music

  • Pro Audio

The last two options just have Pro Audio as their profile.

With so many profile options and no straightforward way to achieve the best possible audio experience, this has become really perplexing for me. On the Windows side, I just had two options: whether I wanted audio for the Speaker, 3.5mm, or USB-C DAC, and whether I wanted to click through the bitrate/sampling frequency list allowed by each output method.

Can somebody please clarify and distil these terminology and audio engineering jargons and provide settings to extract the best quality audio from my DAC specifically? I have a few HiRes and HiFi FLAC files that I want to enjoy in their entirety.

System Info

The output for pactl info | grep 'Server Name' for my system is
Server Name: PulseAudio (on PipeWire 0.3.69)

Operating System: Arch Linux ( I swear it’s endeavour, i just removed eos-hooks)
KDE Plasma Version: 5.27.4
KDE Frameworks Version: 5.105.0
Qt Version: 5.15.9
Kernel Version: 6.2.12-arch1-1 (64-bit)
Graphics Platform: Wayland
Processors: 12 × AMD Ryzen 5 5600H with Radeon Graphics
Memory: 15.0 GiB of RAM
Graphics Processor: AMD Radeon Graphics
Manufacturer: HP
Product Name: Victus by HP Laptop 16-e0xxx

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Found some helpful resources. Linking them here for future readers:

Changing Bit Depth and Sampling Rate in Pipewire:

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