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I was skeptical, but ASIO made a huge difference - Page 5

post #61 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by nor_spoon View Post
Does this apply to foobar as well? I have it set up with ASIO in output, and chose my Echo Mia soundcard under ASIO Virtual Devices. I am pretty sure I am running ASIO by doing this, but I am able to control the volume from the slider inside foobar.
Sorry, turns out that for some soundcards, when you move the sliders in the kmixer, it will actually change the hardware amplification level. So even though the audio signal isn't going through kmixer, because the hardware amplifier applies to the overall output volume, the volume may still change.
post #62 of 74
I use ASIO primarily because with DS in Vista (on my laptop... YMMV) I get quick dropouts sometimes when I switch between programs/applications.

I used to think that I could hear a difference between ASIO and DS, but I think it must have been placebo effect... can't hear anything now...

Also, I use ASIO2KS over ASIO4all not because of sound quality differences (none that I can hear), but because I could hear intermittent popping sounds with ASIO4all. No problem whatsoever with ASIO2KS. Works perfectly and sounds fantastic.
post #63 of 74
Select speakers in your computer audio control panel. Then when you select ASIO in Foobar for your output then foobar will use ASIO and the rest of your audio wont interfere with Foobar and ASIO. Might help with the clicks and pops. Worked for me. I also reduced the buffers as much as possible, but that may depend on your computer. If your computer is trying to use the same device that you use for music then it will cause problems. See if that helps. Foobar decides what device (in your case ASIO) to use as an output, not your audio settings in your control panel.
post #64 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0dhi View Post
Sorry, turns out that for some soundcards, when you move the sliders in the kmixer, it will actually change the hardware amplification level. So even though the audio signal isn't going through kmixer, because the hardware amplifier applies to the overall output volume, the volume may still change.
A complete and utter guess, but is volume amplification this:

Quiet :100101011100

Louder :100101011100

Rather than changing data.
post #65 of 74
My set-up:

Dell Inspiron Laptop -> Vista -> Foobar2000 -> USB -> Max'd HeadRoom Desktop w/ DAC -> RS-1.

In my set-up, ASIO definitely made a difference. The song I use to test distortion is Kanye West - Good Morning at 320 kbps (I found a lesser effect when I had a lower quality version). Normally, there is a lot of distortion on the bass hits. With ASIO, there is none...with the sound set-up I describe below, though. If there is someone that is trying to see if it helps, find a song with a good amount of bass in it like what I use, but perhaps different set-ups differ.

Also, slightly on topic, I run my amp on high gain (I have high, medium, and low) and on full volume. I turn the foobar volume to about -35db. For some reason, the sound is much better compared to medium gain and no changes to the volume in foobar. It seems when I send in the lowest volume I can to my amp, there is much less distortion. Thoughts or similar experiences? I thought ASIO bypasses everything in my computer that can degrade it's signal, thus it shouldn't matter, or am I not looking at it correctly? And also, reading through this thread, should the volume control in foobar playback work while running ASIO? I'm assuming yes, since the sound quality does change.

Thanks.
post #66 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by xFih2 View Post
It seems when I send in the lowest volume I can to my amp, there is much less distortion. Thoughts or similar experiences?
Huh, that's weird... it's the exact opposite for me. Super distorted signal if I get too low, and much cleaner, with noticeably better basic impact, when I put the volume higher.

Past ~60%, though, I can't hear much of a difference, so I usually keep it at about 2/3 to 3/4, so that I can have some leeway with the volume without having to reach over to my amp.
post #67 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chri5peed View Post
A complete and utter guess, but is volume amplification this:

Quiet :100101011100

Louder :100101011100

Rather than changing data.
Exactly.
post #68 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0dhi View Post
Exactly.
It should be that way. My brain would certainly agree, but my ears say something else and I've been struggling with it. My understanding is that when the audio output is digital the windows volume slider is nothing but an attenuator and should have no impact on audio quality, but I definitely hear something. As volume is increased in windows the sound becomes harser and more "canned".... whereas if I set it low and use my amp to compensate for the low volume it sounds smoother. I've scoured the net but there is no discussion on this.

On the subject of ASIO, I too was skeptical. Placebo is a powerful effect, but I definitely hear an improvement. My main issue with using the computer as a music server is the digital files do not sound the same to my ears as the same track played back in the disc drive. There is a slight but perceptible grain and harshness in the upper frequencies that was causing fatigue. I was hoping ASIO would solve this. I'm not certain it did, but what it DID do was introduce a large and immediately noticable improvement in separation and imaging that I totally wasn't expecting. Especially since I just upgraded to a new external DAC and was already enjoying the current level of performance from my rig.

It seems like there is so much double talk and contradiction on these subjects it's impossible to know what's right. But, ASIO4ALL has made me a believer in the fact that kmixer is definitely doing something detrimental to the audio stream before it makes it to any outboard electronics. The improvement in imaging is huge, akin to a DAC upgrade. I think the tonal balance of vocals shifted in a direction I don't care for, but jury's still out on that one. Regardless, I'm a believer now that it does something.
post #69 of 74
It is a fact plenty of music alters, usually for the better at higher volumes.

The GS1000 is famed as a low-volume headphone.


Iron Maiden for most of their career haven't been extreme metal. I've seen them live 3 times, w/Pantera & Sepultura for two of the times. They're much heavier bands than Maiden, but in a near-deafening concert scenario theres nothing in it.


My D2 w/ESW9s is almost a different player, going from 20-25 in the volume stakes. Unfortunately about 20 is my comfort level.
post #70 of 74
It is highly improbable that any of you can hear the effect of kmixer. There are a number of RMAA comparisons at Hydrogenaudio - the distortion is slight and well below the threshold of hearing.

At least this placebo doesn't cost anything
post #71 of 74
Funny it can easily and loudly be heard with the udial clip.
post #72 of 74
Udial is deliberately as far from a representative sample as is possible, and clips/distorts to some extent with almost any resampling or processing. What you said is true; it is also irrelevant.
post #73 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xcalibur255 View Post
It should be that way. My brain would certainly agree, but my ears say something else and I've been struggling with it. My understanding is that when the audio output is digital the windows volume slider is nothing but an attenuator and should have no impact on audio quality, but I definitely hear something. As volume is increased in windows the sound becomes harser and more "canned".... whereas if I set it low and use my amp to compensate for the low volume it sounds smoother. I've scoured the net but there is no discussion on this.

On the subject of ASIO, I too was skeptical. Placebo is a powerful effect, but I definitely hear an improvement. My main issue with using the computer as a music server is the digital files do not sound the same to my ears as the same track played back in the disc drive. There is a slight but perceptible grain and harshness in the upper frequencies that was causing fatigue. I was hoping ASIO would solve this. I'm not certain it did, but what it DID do was introduce a large and immediately noticable improvement in separation and imaging that I totally wasn't expecting. Especially since I just upgraded to a new external DAC and was already enjoying the current level of performance from my rig.

It seems like there is so much double talk and contradiction on these subjects it's impossible to know what's right. But, ASIO4ALL has made me a believer in the fact that kmixer is definitely doing something detrimental to the audio stream before it makes it to any outboard electronics. The improvement in imaging is huge, akin to a DAC upgrade. I think the tonal balance of vocals shifted in a direction I don't care for, but jury's still out on that one. Regardless, I'm a believer now that it does something.
That post was referring to the scenario where audio wasn't actually going through the kmixer (by using ASIO etc) but changing the sliders could still cause changes in volume. Ofcourse, if your sound card implementation is such that changing the kmixer sliders changes the analog amplification level in your soundcard, distortion will increase as you raise the volume (as it does when you raise the volume on your amp). That could account for the harshness you hear.
post #74 of 74
FWIW I just spent 4 hours recovering from a complete system meltdown from jacking around with ASIO. Fortunately I had a backup system in place.

If you run XP and use a Creative Audigy ZS and Winamp be very careful.
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