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A (better sounding?) alternative to Foobar2000 -OR- A musing in the realm of bit-perfect streaming - Page 5

post #61 of 341
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by reiserFS View Post

Why not just use foobar2k then, it bypasses the Windows Mixer as well when using WASAPI. Sorry, but I call nonsense on "audio players sound different!".

 


I do use foobar2k! I've been using it for ages, (to the annoyance of all my college friends who are like wtf is this music thing?? when they try to play music off my laptop. hahaha) I love Foobar, its a rock solid program, especially considering the breadth of things it can do. However, to me, Stealthaudio Play simply has a better sound. A more musical sound. Again, i can't describe it, and i'm trying to get the program easy enough to use (autohotkey time!) that i can have a friend run a DBT for me, to add more 'proof'. But i don't care which is better. Its not a contest, its about the possibility of betterness (especiallt, as i said earlier, when it comes to digital music's capabilities). Isn't that one of the main goals of our music loving hobby? Its not about superiority and some kind of advanced correctness above others. I'm simply curious.

 

If you guys could stick to providing possibilities, rather than pointlessly arguing, I think everyone could learn alot more. Otherwise there's not much point for the thread.

post #62 of 341
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post

 

No, I haven't...OTOH the K601 is not exactly high-end, is it? if the trebles are not HD-sounding(ouuuh ), they'll work as a bottleneck and color whatever you could feed it.

 

 

1) I can only say that I used the cryoparts TWcu wire in quad braid, and it made my DT770/600Ω really ugly sounding...distorted bass, dead trebles. It was on the stx soundcard btw...maybe a bad combination, can't really tell. But cables do matter.

 

Sometimes I like to plug my phone directly my DAC RCA output to get a good idea of the opamps coloring(when I roll them), and I've found different adapters(0.5ft length) to sound way different too...and odly enough, the worst sounding was a Monster haha.

 

2) You can mux FLAC in MKV and use Reclock to play it in bit-perfect WASAPI/KS, as DirectShow cannot be made bit-perfect on Vista/W7(unlike XP when all its sliders are maxed out): http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=49350&view=findpost&p=522247

 

With regard to the 600 ohm 770 on the STX soundcard, of course that's going to affect the frequency response of the headphone, that soundcard has nowhere near enough power to drive 600 ohms effectively - no headroom at all. You should try testing out the cable with a Burson HA-160 that can drive pretty much anything easily. I wouldn't suggest a tube amp because the harmonic distortion will colour the sound in any case (by design as Shike said).

 

I have a series of interconnects I've tried as well but I just can't notice a difference that isn't attributable to anything else. The only time I've noticed a difference in quality of sound is shielding - my mobile phone interference seems to rip though cheap RCA cables in comparison to the shielded Van De Huls which makes sense.

 

I think the problem is you're assuming that your hearing is infallible and not prone to placebo/confirmation bias effects - which mine is as well; I've found my HD25s to sound 'different' only on some days with my HD600 cable. The next day I do an A/B comparison however it sounds the same. It can really depend on your frame of mind and even the positioning of the actual headphone! The problem is that we aren't able to replicate something like Tyll's headphone measurement laboratory in a home setting. This is the only way we can actually say with reliability whether the cable makes a difference. As far as I'm aware Tyll hasn't yet conducted or found anything that confirms cables make a difference.


To me cables are more an aesthetic upgrade than anything else - and some offer the shielding if you really need it, geometry provided or otherwise.

 

I've been speaking with some Physics students here at Oxford, and they have assured me that there is not going to be an audible difference between OCC copper or silver, because they have already reached a level of conductance that is 'transparent'. They reiterated what I mentioned above - that shielding is going to make the main difference in terms of making the sonic background 'blacker' in that there will be less noise from interference of different kinds (depending on the method of shielding).

 

To be honest, our ears are by their nature not consistently reliable in the first place so we need to default to something like Tyll's setup to try and confirm what we're hearing.

post #63 of 341

well, when I put back the stock cable on the 770, the FR was perfect again...My very own -unverified- belief is that the manufacturers tune the driver FR depending on the cable. Play god trying whatever cable and fear the consequences. It was pretty clear to me that this snake-oil TWcu wire wasn't meant to be used on my combo at all, where the stock wire was perfectly fine. Copper is copper, and shouldn't cost the same as platinum anyway.

 

But when plugging my phone directly to the DAC output using a short cable, I did hear -not subtle- differences between a shiny copper chinese RCA cable and a tarnished copper Monster...and Monster doesn't talk about the purity of the copper used in this cable anywhere

 

I am well aware that the human ear is a poor measuring tool, but I've worked as a musician and a sound engineer long enough to know when my ears are up to the task IMHO.

 

and I don't really agree that the more shielded a cable the better, and neither would Larry: http://www.headphile.com/page4.html

Full shielding isn't necessarily the best sounding cable though, but neither are soundcards! It's a trade-off for you to decide… Noise shielding or better signal.

 

and Tyll's measurements are utterly pointless to me, because of the middle ear/pinna resonances/impedance and HRTF...that are different from one individual to the other.


Edited by leeperry - 5/27/10 at 10:04am
post #64 of 341
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post

well, when I put back the stock cable on the 770, the FR was perfect again...My very own -unverified- belief is that the manufacturers tune the driver FR depending on the cable. Play god trying whatever cable and fear the consequences. It was pretty clear to me that this snake-oil TWcu wire wasn't meant to be used on my combo at all, where the stock wire was perfectly fine. Copper is copper, and shouldn't cost the same as platinum anyway.

 

But when plugging my phone directly to the DAC output using a short cable, I did hear -not subtle- differences between a shiny copper chinese RCA cable and a tarnished copper Monster...and Monster doesn't talk about the purity of the copper used in this cable anywhere

 

I am well aware that the human ear is a poor measuring tool, but I've worked as a musician and a sound engineer long enough to know when my ears are up to the task IMHO.

 

and I don't really agree that the more shielded a cable the better, and neither would Larry: http://www.headphile.com/page4.html


Quoting Larry on shielding is nothing more than subjective/anecdotal - he just says it's not necessarily 'the best sounding' but doesn't explicate. JPS Labs would disagree with Larry (see their Aluminata cable - ridiculously expensive for what is merely one of the better shielded cables - but very effectively shielded to all frequencies). Additionally, scientifically the less interference the truer the signal, so I don't understand your argument here...

 

Additionally it seems that the 'tarnished copper' monster cable would possibly be damaged with regard to its ability to properly carry sound depending on how it was soldered because of the problems caused by the oxide layer which is not conductive. The comparison to the new cable is a bit disingenuous because obviously the new cable isn't damaged...

 

Also, "My very own -unverified- belief is that the manufacturers tune the driver FR depending on the cable" - this would require a scientific understanding of how the cable affects the sound of the drivers, of which there is no empirical proof, so I'm going to have to call nonsense on that. Feel free to direct me to a research paper on driver design being influence by OCC silver as opposed to OCC copper (for example). The engineers who design the drivers and choose the cable aren't trained in subjective listening so much as acoustic physics - they'd be using models similar too but way more expensive/accurate than Tyll's.

 

Furthermore, "and Tyll's measurements are utterly pointless to me, because of the middle ear/pinna resonances/impedance and HRTF...that are different from one individual to the other." Actually if there was a difference in cables his model would still pick it up and his dummy is moulded like the human ear. Are you suggesting that your outer ear has to be a specific shape to hear the difference in cables? This is ridiculous. Ironically this actually suggests headphone placement is what you're hearing, rather than cable replacement.

 

I don't mean to attack your belief that cables make a difference (although I am of the opinion that a properly constructed one will sound exactly the same as the next) - I'm just suggesting there are tens if not hundreds of other factors that could be making the difference.

post #65 of 341

well, that's the sad thing..neither that chinese OEM cable or the Monster were new...they were actually quite old, like a few years...yet the monster doesn't look as shiny as the chinese cable. Strangely the former sounds much clearer than the latter.

 

Oh sure, cables don't make a difference and the ppl who pay for recabling are credule and clueless to the utmost? Maybe you won't find anything to say about frequency response on headphones once I quote Mr Griesinger? www.davidgriesinger.com/headphones.htm

the coupling of high frequencies to the eardrum varies greatly among individuals.  It is influenced by the volume of the concha, the diameter and geometry of the ear canal, the eardrum impedance and other factors.  Lacking probe microphone measurements at the eardrum, the best way to equalize a headphone is by listening.

 I rest my case that headroom's FR graphs are meaningless and misleading to say the least...for the very reasons Mr Griesinger just explained. Check his homepage, He was Harman-Kardon/Lexicon's main DSP engineer and does lectures about audio processing.

 

Well, I've heard opamps and cables change the soundstage and the tightness of the sound...yet, it doesn't show up in RMAA...do you trust RMMA more than your ears?

 

in RMAA, LM4562 and NE5532 look identical...IRL they are night and day. Same goes for cables....tough to accept, I know.

post #66 of 341

Quote:

Originally Posted by leeperry View Post

 

No, I haven't...OTOH the K601 is not exactly high-end, is it? if the trebles are not HD-sounding(ouuuh ), they'll work as a bottleneck and color whatever you could feed it.


You've insulted the hearing of those that DON'T hear what you hear various times in this thread with passive aggressive side comments (even a child could hear the difference, etc), furthermore you try to bring the "resolution" (such a false term) of equipment into this.

 

So yes, yes you have.

 

The K601 measures flat, has below 1% THD, and decays in line with other reference grade headphones.  They're a very damning headphone.  You can argue you don't like the sound, but that doesn't contradict the performance of it.

 

As for HRTF, do they compensate for your hearing at concerts?  I'd think not - the job of a transducer is to reproduce, nothing more and nothing less.

 

Also, once again, the Benchmark DACs use NE5532 chips and many love the sound.

 

 

Also, yes, I trust RMAA more than my ears (actually, my perception).  Audio memory sucks and is easily swayed on everyone honestly - there's tons of studies into the psychology of it all.

post #67 of 341

@leeperry:

 

Firstly let me talk about the Monster cable, if I understand correctly, what you're saying is that because you saw that one was 'shiny' and the other wasn't, you expected one to sound different, and when you tested it, they did sound different. To me, this seems like confirmation bias, but of course I can't be sure without running a DBT. Additionally, have you compared the construction of the cables to each other to check for faults and differences in shielding? The cables being old, could have developed some structural or physical faults such as the chemical reaction that results in oxidation of the copper or have dodgy solder. You should double check this especially with the monster cable by the sound of it.

 

With regard to your headphone frequency response anecdote, unfortunately you're twisting my words. I completely accept that the shape of the ear affects the way frequencies are heard and I don't really understand how on earth you have logically connected this to cable's affecting the sound of other gear.

 

What I am however saying that a *change* in the sonic signature that potentially could be introduced by a cable should be able to be heard by the microphone dummy used in Tyll's set-up or Sennheiser's driver design set-up. The shape of the ear is uniform in both cases, so it should pick up a difference (if there is one) when the cables are changed! Just because the ears aren't 'human' doesn't mean they can't detect changes in sonic signature/frequency response on the same if not a more accurate level. But there is no change found when replacing the cable!

 

You seem to be saying that because the model has a non-human ear (which is designed to mimic the 'average' shape of the ear) it can't pick up differences in cabling. This just doesn't make sense. If the shape of the ear is kept the same, and a different cable is used, and the headphones are positioned exactly the same way, and there is no change in everything from FR to square wave then there is no difference...

 

With regard to trusting RMAA more than my ears - yes, in fact, I do, depending on the parameters of the test. If the test remains *consistent* and is done in a thorough manner according to the scientific method then I have no reason to doubt it. My ears on the other hand are victim to change, because they are flesh and blood not metal and circuit, and worse still victim to psychological change as well.

 

Surely you cannot be so blind to the power of the subconscious and the fallibility of the body?

 

Additionally, one little thing that annoys me is your tone - things like "Oh sure...." and "tough to accept, I know' in the context you use them in are patronising and offensive. I don't appreciate that and I hope you can keep your emotions out of a rational discussion.

post #68 of 341
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
Oh sure, cables don't make a difference and the ppl who pay for recabling are credule and clueless to the utmost?


I have paid for recabling numerous times as I've said. I never found it to make anything more than an aesthetic statement. I am currently using Lilknight's OCC Vampire copper on my HD600s over the stock cable simply because it seems to be in a configuration that offers better *shielding* and of course, looks great.

 

Further, suggesting that I am saying people who pay for recabling (like I have myself!!!) are "clueless to the utmost" is such a great distortion of what I'm trying to say that it borders on fantasy. All I am saying is that those who hear a difference in cabling are going to be hearing either distinctly better shielding, different headphone placement (as you said, reflections on the ears do make a difference), or the other numerous psychological phenomena associated with acoustic memory (amongst many other possibilities).

 

I think Shike and I are suggesting a similar phenomena is occurring here (to be more on topic) in the realm of bitperfect players. I am of course, open to empirical evidence proving otherwise.

post #69 of 341
Originally Posted by Draca View Post

I am of course, open to empirical evidence proving otherwise.

 

that's as good as it's gonna get: http://www.phasure.com/index.php?topic=692.0;all

 

and many ppl also love cPlay: http://www.cicsmemoryplayer.com/index.php?n=CPlay.SoftwareInducedJitter

 

even a 11yo girl can DBT XXHighend from foobar: http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/pcaudio/messages/2/21586.html

 

but I forgot that jitter doesn't exist(nor it is audible, of course)...and that all the ppl who claim an audible improvement using the Hiface and/or XXHighend/cPlay are delusional


Edited by leeperry - 5/27/10 at 12:55pm
post #70 of 341

Foobar2000 WASAPI sounds...well...muddier to me in comparison to StealthAudioPlayer WASAPI. I have no idea if this is placebo or not, but this is what I hear. I gotta convince the wife to help me do a blind listening test now heh.

post #71 of 341
Thread Starter 

Well! I did part one of a two part double blind test. Two parts, because i want to do it again with 3 plays, one on speakers to register details to note, and then the two players blind on headphones, cause there was a tough feeling to get away from upon being able to identify bits the second time around. Nonetheless, out of eight tracks, I chose the minimalist player 5 times and Foobar 3. More intriguing was the differences between the two, and what qualified better. For some songs, the differences were truly pronounced. Others, the sound was quite similar. In the end, really, it was more a preference test than a quality test, save for perhaps the factors of soundstage and some small sibilance. Foobar seemed to present a more direct crispness, but a lesser soundstage and overall presence, perhaps because the various elements of the track seemed to meld together. However, this was not exactly the case in all the songs, for instance in Taylor, by Jack Johnson, the opening riff was much more 'crisp' in the minimalist audio player, but the vocals were smoother in Foobar. Which was the opposite sort of feeling than for This Unfolds, in which the bass hits were snappy in Foobar, but warm and tight in the minimalist player. I am left a little stumped, and i guess with more to do. And further in the idea that rather than better, there is simply a difference, and it lies in preference. Then again, some of these differences may pertain to the accuracy of the original recording, and thus in the strictest of 'audiophile' definitions, is 'better'. More info tommorrow, with a detailed DBT.

post #72 of 341

Someone mentioned, in another thread, you should do 10-20 tests, not the 8 you did.  If you look at it, you only technically chose the minimalist once more than Foobar..

post #73 of 341
Thread Starter 

indeed. tomorrow will be much more throrough.

post #74 of 341
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post

 

that's as good as it's gonna get: http://www.phasure.com/index.php?topic=692.0;all

 

and many ppl also love cPlay: http://www.cicsmemoryplayer.com/index.php?n=CPlay.SoftwareInducedJitter

 

even a 11yo girl can DBT XXHighend from foobar: http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/pcaudio/messages/2/21586.html

 

but I forgot that jitter doesn't exist(nor it is audible, of course)...and that all the ppl who claim an audible improvement using the Hiface and/or XXHighend/cPlay are delusional


 

Please see here:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/493152/low-jitter-usb-dan-lavry-michael-goodman-adaptive-asynchronous

 

Where you are claiming the jitter is coming from is somewhat delusional! 

 

Its not software that is really the issue unless as I mentioned (and Steve from Empirical Audio confirmed) in that interrupt latency or scheduler issues will cause drop outs, not small subtle variances due to jitter.  The jitter, at least with an async USB connection, is at the conversion side (the internal clock, buffer, and D/A chipset).

 

So the idea that you are going to hear differences between two pieces of software (provided they are bit-perfect, you are not using any equalizer or mixer settings) I find hard to believe.

post #75 of 341
Originally Posted by Trogdor View Post

Where you are claiming the jitter is coming from is somewhat delusional! 

 

Good! now compare Reclock and foobar in WASAPI exclusive, and tell me that they sound perfectly identical to you

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