Author Topic: audiophile mode  (Read 20199 times)

cooljazz

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How about an audiophile mode, that disables the fade in and out option and all kind of audio normalisation by default.

And maybe a "Audiophile Extreme Mode" that does all the things mentioned above + disables the volume bar too. Because every part of messing around with the volume means some distortion and limits the resolution of 24bit files. This even limits CD quality and compressed music given that the DAC works in 16bit mode.

A good and understandable explanation of what I mean can be found here:
http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/wiki/index.php/Digital_volume_control
Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 07:53:25 PM by cooljazz

Patearson

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Audiophile is Good Haedphone/Amp/Speakers + FLAC.

Disactivate the volume means that You are CRAZY  ;D

ma_t14

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Audiophile is Good Haedphone/Amp/Speakers + FLAC.

Disactivate the volume means that You are CRAZY  ;D

Yes it's true that first of all you need the right equipment to get the most out of your music and in my opinion this audiophile mode is just nitpicking. All you have to to do is to disable the options you don't want and that's it.

I never use the slider (always have it on max) and would not care if it was disabled but I don't consider myself CRAZY  :P

If you own an external DAC or some other sort of equipment that includes hardware volume control you just use that and don't have to worry about changing the volume within programs. And as was said by cooljazz there is some loss in quality when you use the software volume control

cooljazz

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Maybe I'm crazy ;D

Of course you can set all the settings manually. ma_t14 is absolutely right about this. But however, many people do not know that messing around with the volume sliders, using DirectSound, normalize volume , replay gain and all those functions, which are definitly nice to have, mean a degression in audio quality. And whatever equipment you have: better quality of the digital music signal will lead to better results in analog sound quality. And this before you face things like hardware jitter correction etc.

Music is all about feeling: And feeling also travels with sound quality. The "Audiophile Mode" would state that there is everything done in MusicBee what can be done to achieve the best sound quality. If you are not satisfied with the sound after that, you can look into new hardware :-). Because in reverse, you don't need to buy new hardware, if you don't have a perfect digital signal.

And after all, those who don't care about audioquality don't have to go into the "Audiophile mode". As everything this is only a suggestion to clarify things for all users connected with audioquality in MusicBee, which is the best Music Manager I know.

  
Last Edit: October 27, 2011, 11:22:38 PM by cooljazz

greenday1987

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Yeah but if you're unaware about something as basic as software volume control causing quality loss then you're not an audiophile and it would make no difference to you. If you are an audiophile then put the effort in and tweak your player how you want it and you needn't touch it again. I'm an archivist and rip all my CDs to FLAC using EAC which is the only proper way to do so. I can setup EAC in ~10mins now but when I first used it (around 5 years ago), it took me nearly an hour to get it correct. I put the effort in to learn and setup the program to get the results I want because I care. I only set it up once upon each OS install and then I don't think about it again. I think this is a similar situation imo
RIP OiNK


I've recently joined last.fm - http://www.last.fm/user/drjswho
Feel free to add me if you wish :)

EAC V1.0 beta 3 can be downloaded here
And a full guide on setting it up and ripping a CD can be here

gringojay

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I realy like the functionality of this software. But unfortunately it sounds not as good as others.

I hear music via Asio with a good digital-analog-converter. (benchmark dac1)
Compared to winamp the sound of ausiobee has a little less "resolutuion"  and sounds in general a little "deeper".
(No -  i dont need a therapist, i do listening and producing audio professionally:-)
I have turned off fade in/out and volumeadjustments ...

Is it possible to use the winamp Nullsoft decoder as workaround ?

Greetz!

ma_t14

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I realy like the functionality of this software. But unfortunately it sounds not as good as others.

I hear music via Asio with a good digital-analog-converter. (benchmark dac1)
Compared to winamp the sound of ausiobee has a little less "resolutuion"  and sounds in general a little "deeper".
(No -  i dont need a therapist, i do listening and producing audio professionally:-)
I have turned off fade in/out and volumeadjustments ...

Is it possible to use the winamp Nullsoft decoder as workaround ?

Greetz!

Just curious, what are you using your DAC1 with? Speakers/Headphones? Brand/Model?  :)
Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 02:14:10 PM by ma_t14

Steven

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In terms of decoding, if any decoder used doesnt produce the same binary output data then its broken (MB uses the BASS library and i can assure you its not broken).
In terms of device output for ASIO, MB will set the output sample rate to the same as the source music file if that sample rate is supported by the device. If it is then output should be bit-perfect if you have the volume at 100% and no equaliser/DSP.
I guess its possible that MB thinks the output sample rate is not supported and so is setting it to a default value, in which case the sound data would be resampled and lose some quality.
Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 02:47:19 PM by Steven

gringojay

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I use and realy love  :
Tempest Extreme 1 Preamplifier
http://www.odysseyaudio.com/products-tempest.html

two stratos mono extrem by  odysseyaudio
http://www.odysseyaudio.com/products-stratos-mono.html

triangle australe speaker
http://www.ultraaudio.com/equipment/triangle_stratos_australe.htm

and summercable ....

I have even done some little  acoustic optimization in the living room.
surprisingly - my wife is still here - puh!

cooljazz

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I also use a DAC1 Pre from Benchmark  ;)

I wrote an email to Benchmark asking to give MusicBee a test in terms of audio quality, distortion and bit-perfection.
I got an answer from an Application Manager at Benchmerk who said he wanted to try this soon.

Even if I'm pretty sure we will have the same answer Steve already gave us :D

@gringojay What ASIO driver do you use. I mean I have the feeling that Wasapi in MusicBee does a much better job than for example ASIO4ALL.

WASAPI used with MusicBee and the Benchmark Dac1 Pre doesn't produce any cracks whatsoever, however ASIO4All does it pretty often, no matter what settings I use. Even on different PC's.

Update 2.3.2012: Benchmark didn't get back in touch with me :-(
Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 12:55:14 AM by cooljazz

cooljazz

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Benchmark didn't get back in touch with me :-(
But I just had some free time to play around and did some audio comparison between Jriver Media Center and MusicBee using a Benchmark Dac1, Sennheiser HD800 and Wasapi output.

Somehow I feel Jriver Media Center does sound more natural and detailed. I know that this can be subjective. But I'm pretty sure its not because I had some friends listening blindly and they could tell the difference without knowing which player was used.

The Dac1 only accepts audio presented as 24bit. So could it be that MusicBee does some weird calculation when served with 16bit audio instead of simply adding zeros?
When using Jriver playing 16bit audio utilizing Wasapi it tells me to set the output bitrate to 24bit, otherwise audio couldn't be played.
MusicBee doesn't prompt anything.

So I'm not sure what could be the reason for this but only that MusicBee is not really bitperfect.
Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 12:58:34 AM by cooljazz

Steven

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musicbee (or more specifically the bass library) automatically uses the highest resolution bit depth for WASAPI, but there is an override in the Player preferences where you can set the bit depth to a specific bit depth.

For ASIO, make sure you have "use 32 bit output" ticked

If you are using MusicBee2 make sure you are using the latest patched version as the initial version released can use external codecs to play back some formats if you have video enabled.

I assume you were using the same lossless files (eg. FLAC) for your comparisons, that the output device supports the sample rate of the source file you were playing and had the volume set to 100% in both apps and you had no DSP effects enabled in both apps. Otherwise i would curious to know where you think the difference in sound you percieve is coming from.

Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 11:23:29 AM by Steven

cooljazz

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The difference is kind of hard to describe: Instruments just sound more natural, there is better placement on the stage.
MusicBee somehow doesn't sound as fluid as Jriver does... kind of less emotion, more static, less details. - No DSP Effect was used in either program. By default Jriver doesn't even have a working volume bar in Wasapi Event Style Mode.
However MusicBee performs better in any other aspect than this particular issue concerning audiophile grade quality. As posted above another user of the Benchmark Dac1 got a similar result.

So I tested it again today using a Arcam rdac and a pair of B&W P5: Same result, but not that heavy...

Maybe there are some others willing to put it to a test?

Steven

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of course others are welcome to test it but i am not going to take any action as i believe what you are hearing is subjective and from my point of view has no basis in facts ie. both apps should be sending exactly the same sound data to the device, unless the settings are somehow different.

kstuart

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Maybe there are some others willing to put it to a test?
WASAPI does not actually perform according to the theory.

Almost everyone who is an "audiophile" finds that ASIO sounds better, no matter what version of Windows is used.
Vista 32-bit No-Aero ; 1920x1080 display (HT PC) ; HRT Music Streamer II asynchronous USB DAC