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XXHighEnd player for Vista and XP better than foobar?

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 
I'm an enthusiastic computer-as-source user and currently use iTunes and foobar for playback with ALAC files. My main music playback PC is a Vista machine with an RME HDSP 9632 sound card. Digital output through AES/EBU is sent to a Chord DAC64 DAC. The machine is silenced and the music files are stored on a server in another room. I usually listen through foobar ASIO with the Secret Rabbit Code resampler set at 176.4 kHz.

I recently came across a new software audio player called XXHighEnd. I think it is impressive that someone is spending time and energy developing an "audiophile player." The developer's site is forum-based, at www.phasure.com. There's a demo available for download, the one I'm using is Model 0.9d.

The XXHighEnd player is available for Vista and XP and seems to work only with WAV files for now. I ripped a new WAV using Exact Audio Copy of one of my favorite songs, "New Favorite" by Alison Krauss and Union Station. Then I selected "Engine #3" and checked the "UpSmp" checkbox, which also automatically ticks the "Double" checkbox. I found the WAV file, hit play, and my jaw dropped open.

I thought that I was already maximizing my playback chain with foobar and the SRC resampler. My Chord DAC64 accepts the 176.4 signal, which I believe is similar to the matching Chord Blu transport's input through the dual BNC.

The XXHighEnd player, upsampling to 88.2 kHz, seems to sound smoother, richer, more vivid and more detailed than the foobar configuration.

Am I imagining the better sound? I hope so, because I really don't want to re-rip all my CDs into WAV files, but I doubt it. Also, WAV files are double the size of lossless and don't support tagging.

I'm going to rip some more WAV and compare them to the ALAC library. I originally chose ALAC over FLAC because I also use Mac computers. Yes, I've compared FLAC and ALAC with foobar and found them to sound the same.

Here's a screenshot of XXHighEnd playing the "New Favorite" WAV. I've also included the RME HDSP Settings control window to show the 88.2 kHz signal.

If this player is for real, and supports ALAC files, I will be very happy.

post #2 of 72
Looks like a really interesting player, but if it won't support FLAC or ALAC I don't think I will start using it for a while. My TB HDD is getting pretty stuffed already and I just don't like using WAV if there is an alternative.
post #3 of 72
Thread Starter 
Yes, I agree any player needs to support lossless formats or else people won't use it.

I've put my money where my mouth is (or keyboard) and paid the 72 euro licensing fee. It seems a bit steep, but isn't much when compared with the Accuphase DP500 CD player I've been looking at.

As it is now, the XXHighEnd player is very rudimentary. It lacks so many features it's impossible to begin listing them. The one thing it does very well is play WAV files that sound very good through my RME sound card and DAC.
post #4 of 72
Elephas,

I just ran into this thread, and I want to thank you for your support.

Since I'm here anyway ... set your Hammerfall to a buffersize of 3ms with 88K2 sample rate.
Also, when you use normal 44K1 (untick the Double checkbox) you should use 1.5ms. What I'd really like to know tough, is whether 0.7ms then works for you as well (my Fireface800 doesn't go lower than 1.5ms and that still works fine).

On the FLAC (or ALAC) matter : This is about on the top of my prio list. On the very top though is the solution for the tracknames with diacritical marks in them, which is a tough job to solve.
The "on the fly" conversion from FLAC (etc.) also won't be all that easy, because doing that the normal way influences the soundquality, and it really shouldn't. For that matter, XXHighEnd is about real audiophile playback and not about "functionality" in the first place. Of course functionality is needed just the same, but it comes in second place (and I hope you appreciate that
).

Thank you,
Peter
post #5 of 72
Thread Starter 
Hi Peter, good to see you here.

0.7ms works fine for me.

I agree and do appreciate sound quality as the highest priority, but also hope you won't leave too much functionality out.

After listening and comparing XXHighEnd with foobar and iTunes, I like the way it sounds enough to add a dedicated 250gb drive to store WAV files.

I'm planning to do a lot of WAV ripping with EAC or dBpoweramp.

I and my ears thank you for creating and working on this player.
post #6 of 72
As ever, beware of placebo caused by expectations. Which is why I have several Fireface 800's / PC's I can call on. If upsampling has to be used (I don't since the DAC upsamples to DSD on my main system) I use the upsampling option built into j.River Media Center. $40.
post #7 of 72
sounds gd
post #8 of 72
Would love to try XXHighEnd, but FLAC support is a must ...
post #9 of 72
I carefully compared it to the latest version of Foobar2000 and didn't notice any differences between the two (other than XXHighEnd having an interface I'm not too crazy about, timing out after a few minutes, and not supporting FLAC). This didn't seem right, so I asked my wife to do a bit of blind testing for me so I could get an unbiased comparison. I've found that her ears are more sensitive than mine, and she is unbiased (she could care less about FLAC, WAV, Foobar2000, etc.).

She didn't detect any difference between the latest version of Foobar2000 playing FLAC files and XXHighEnd playing WAV files.

So, a two-for-one special: To her ears, WAV sounds the same as FLAC, and Foobar2000 sounds the same as XXHighEnd. Which is as one might expect, considering that the sound is coming from the DAC, not the software running on the computer (or the format of the lossless data that the sound comes from). Amazing!
post #10 of 72
Looks interesting, but lack of FLAC support means that I'm not even willing to give this a try. WAV is simply out of the question for me. I'll be interested in seeing if/when lossless support is added. Until then, good luck!
post #11 of 72

update

Well by now FLAC and normal MP3 files are supported and there are many more functions available. XXHighEnd has developed quiet a bit.
So if you're prio is on sound quality you'd better try it.

I was stunned from the first moment on and have it activated for some while now.

ps:even 24Bit palyback is supported by now (Linn records etc)

best regards Ava
post #12 of 72
Bumpety-bump. The new version sounds fantastic.
post #13 of 72
I still don't get it, how is it possible to improve on foobar2000? What does it do that can possibly degrade sound quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by foobar2000 FAQ
Does foobar2000 sound better than other players?

No. Most of “sound quality differences” people “hear” are placebo effect (at least with real music), as actual differences in produced sound data are below their noise floor (1 or 2 last bits in 16bit samples). foobar2000 has sound processing features such as software resampling or 24bit output on new high-end soundcards, but most of the other mainstream players are capable of doing the same by now.
post #14 of 72
If any audio player sounds different to Foobar[bit perfect] then it has to be changing the bits.
I hope you enjoy Highend as it has a nice highend price.
If it will pass through spdif,feed a DTS track into an AVR,should be interesting.
post #15 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitor Machado View Post
I still don't get it, how is it possible to improve on foobar2000? What does it do that can possibly degrade sound quality?
it adds some slight reverb and some heavy EQ...it's clearly audible, and Peter talked about it on computeraudiophile.com

he made the player of his dreams, and yes...many mastering packages like Ozone4 allow you to add reverb to beef up the SS.

it does sound better, until you get bored of the added color I guess....but well, many ppl love this player! not like there's anything wrong paying for a DSP plugin.
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