I accidentally discovered while reading the setup instructions for MinimServer (my UNPN renderer of choice) that I could use its MinimStreamer package to stream all my 16-bit 44.1kHz CD rips as 24-bit WAV files to the streamers in my systems.
Had to give that a go. Simply add the instruction flac:wav24 to the stream.transcode value on the System page of the MinimServer properties. This setting pads out the 16-bit file with zeros to 24-bit length.
Pretty difficult to do a quick AB listening test with all the software restarting/hardward rebooting involved but from what I could tell the 24-bit WAVs were slightly more focused if less warm with a slightly unnerving treble quality yet immensely detailed. Hard to tell anything really as not one track would play all the way through as the server would stall, hiccup or skip.
I’ve had to give up on this promising experiment as delivering the files to the server as 24-bit WAVs it too unreliable. I guess this is because the QNAP doesn’t have the computing horsepower to run ffmpeg smoothly to keep the conversion flowing. What a pity…