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Foobar Vs. iTunes Sound Qualities

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I've been using iTunes for my computer audio; but, today I downloaded Foobar; and, playing music from the iTunes library, my perception is Foobar sounds better, by that I mean, it seems to be clearer than iTunes. I can discern instruments and lyrics, in addition to tighter bass from my sub. Is this just my imagination?

post #2 of 24

Are you using an external dac?

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

I'm using an X-FI HD for USB to S/PDIF Toslink input on Sony TA-E9000ES. Laptop is running Windows 7 with audio up-sampled to 24/96.

post #4 of 24

Interesting.  The two sound virtually the same to me, but I havn't tried them on full-sized speakers.

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

Yes, it is interesting. I was just looking for a program which could play flac files and I did not like Media Monkey's intuitiveness, so Foobar was just something else I thought I'd try out. Seems, it does sound better, and until now I thought it all sounded the same, 256k from computer or SACD direct. I really do seem to hear breadth not heard before. It's like a hit of equalization; yet, in both programs EQ is set flat. Bass is  more natural too. Foobar literature says Foobar does not sound better than other media players so I'm assuming there's something different in set parameters,  route, or up-sampling arena. So far, the song that really stands out is an iTunes ACC download, Edward Maya's, This Is My Life, extended mix.


Edited by sterling1 - 8/11/11 at 4:06am
post #6 of 24

If you include something like ASIO, I think you'll notice it'll sound even better. As for using Windows 7, with iTunes and Foobar, I think iTunes sounds a bit muddier while Foobar is more accurate.

post #7 of 24

I can't say for sure that iTunes vs Foobar without tweaking is better, but when I started using ASIO or WASAPI with Foobar I found it to be better, which makes sense because there is one less crappy filter in the way. But either way, whatever you find sounds better you should stick with.


Edited by ocelot2500 - 8/12/11 at 10:26pm
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ocelot2500 View Post

I can't say for sure that iTunes vs Foobar without tweaking is better, but when I started using ASIO or WASAPI with Foobar I found it to be better, which makes sense because there is one less crappy filter in the way. But either way, whatever you find sounds better you should stick with.



What's WASAPI? What's ASIO?

 

post #9 of 24

WASAPI - ASIO - Kernel Streaming . They're all kinda the same thing. Although, I think WASAPI sounds better with XP and ASIO is better with Win 7. KS... dunno. Haven't used it in a while.

post #10 of 24

While using DS (ie. NOT WASAPI/ASIO) and comparing the two, I think iTunes is slightly brighter/cold in the tonal balance (and more prone to distortion in the highs) and the bass is more tight (in an unrealistic way lacking in the very deep end) on iTunes while foobar have a little more fullbodied bass with just tiny bit warmer/more musical presentation, more accurate or natural highs (maybe less "metallic"/grainy) or whatever you'd describe it (ofc it'll depend on headphones which is more suited but still). To me foobar2000 easily sounds better and I'd use probably Winamp before iTunes (iTunes have the worst sound quality in my ears of those 3, haven't tried other ones besides WMP then).


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 8/13/11 at 8:48am
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

While using DS (ie. NOT WASAPI/ASIO) and comparing the two, I think iTunes is slightly brighter/cold in the tonal balance (and more prone to distortion in the highs) and the bass is more tight (in an unrealistic way lacking in the very deep end) on iTunes while foobar have a little more fullbodied bass with just tiny bit warmer/more musical presentation, more accurate or natural highs (maybe less "metallic"/grainy) or whatever you'd describe it (ofc it'll depend on headphones which is more suited but still). To me foobar2000 easily sounds better and I'd use probably Winamp before iTunes (iTunes have the worst sound quality in my ears of those 3, haven't tried other ones besides WMP then).


I don't know anything about WASAPI, that's to say, I don't understand the concept; but, it does seem to me music from my iTunes library sounds better, no matter what the file size or type, when played with Foobar rather than iTunes, in much the manner as you described your experience. BTW, my laptop is a DELL Inspiron 14 loaded with Windows 7. I'm using an X-FI HD for USB to S/PDIF input to Sony TA-E9000ES preamp. The digital input is up-sampled, somewhere in the computer, I don't know where, to 24/96. And my experience is as  heard with JBL L100t3's and JBL B380 sub-woofer. At any rate, I'm real happy, and am looking forward to downloading an HD tune or two from HD Tracks to see if such music is worth it.
 

 

post #12 of 24

http://www.foobar2000.org/FAQ

 

Quote:
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 #13 of 24
Thread Starter 

Since Foobar does not acknowledge sounding better, it makes me wonder if iTunes is perhaps just not set properly. For sure, my ears hear more details using Foobar, which is astonishing to me since until now I could not distinguish 256k material off the computer from the same material on SACD played from a Sony DVP-S9000ES. On some material the details revealed are not just subtle but quite dramatic..


Edited by sterling1 - 8/14/11 at 4:10am
post #14 of 24

A possible explanation:

In Win you set the bit depth and sample rate to be used by the audio device.

This is done by right click on the speaker icon > play back device.

Choose the playback device and check its properties.

 

iTunes on Win uses QuickTime.

In QT you can also set bit depth and sample rate.

If these settings don’t match the Win settings you effectively re-samples 2 times.

This might be pretty audible

post #15 of 24

Quote:

Originally Posted by J.Pocalypse View Post

Although, I think WASAPI sounds better with XP and ASIO is better with Win 7. KS... dunno. Haven't used it in a while.


 

There's no WASAPI in Win XP, you're probably thinking KS.

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