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Is volume normalizing via replaygain on a DAP an important feature to you?

Poll Results: Is volume leveling via replaygain on a DAP important to you?

 
  • 52% (18)
    Yes. I frequently listen to playlists, genre categories, and/or multiple albums by the same artists, and normalizing the volume using replaygain is important to me.
  • 5% (2)
    Yes (other)
  • 20% (7)
    No. I frequently listen to playlists, genre categories, and/or multiple albums by the same artists, but normalizing volume using replaygain is not important to me.
  • 17% (6)
    No. I listen to mostly albums and am indifferent to replaygain support.
  • 2% (1)
    What is replaygain?
34 Total Votes  
post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I've been looking forward to the release of the new FiiO X3 because I feel it would be awesome to have a good portable DAP with a good headphone amp built in. So far the reviews look good: http://www.head-fi.org/t/671656/fiio-x3-review

However, there is no replaygain support. This is important to me because I usually listen to playlists or a specific genre or the entire library, and almost never whole albums. It is annoying to have to frequently change the volume because of the different volume levels of recordings, and especially to be blasted in the ear after listening to a particularly quiet song with the volume turned up, and then the next song is some modern recording where the dynamics have been compressed and the recording level is up very high. This is particularly a problem when walking around, working out in the gym, or doing other things that require my attention where I just want the player to play without needing attention.

Now I have a Note G2 phone, Android tablets, Windows desktop, Windows laptop, an HTPC, a Sansa Clip+--volume normalizing via replaygain is available for all of them. In fact, it seems hard to find mainstream DAP sources that the feature is not available, either natively or by installing a different media player. Other than my car receiver, every player I have used in the last five years has this feature. Yet "audiophile" products seem to be ignoring what is now a basic feature (e.g. Cowon and Colorfly).

So I thought a poll would be useful to see if I am in the minority or not.

Thoughts? Disagreements? Discussion of replaygain merits or pitfalls?
post #2 of 10

I think it is a very important feature. I almost never shuffle all, unless it is a low capacity player. Occasionally, I'll throw a bunch of stuff in a folder, and shuffle that folder....for example, I have a work mix in a folder.  Most of the time, though, if I decide not to choose a certain album,  I  shuffle one artist/band's entire catalog. I can't do any shuffling on my Cowon player though...no Replaygain.

 

Also, I like to know how much volume to expect when I start my listening session....just look at the volume setting, and I know what to expect, regardless of what I choose to listen to that day.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
I do the same thing with artists, too. And sometimes I make my own greatest playlists for artists. Sometimes I shuffle those lists, or I just let it play in the track title order.

And then it's not just moving around and doing other things that is problem. When doing serious listening at night, and I have my eyes closed getting into the music, significant changes in volume level interrupt the immersion experience.

Now I wonder if maybe it's more difficult to implement 0.1 discrimination in level changes to match the replaygain's setting. But even if a volume normalizer could round (or even truncate) the replaygain to the nearest whole number and implement the level changes then, that would still be a big help.
post #4 of 10

I am surprised to learn that the X3 will not support this arguably essential feature in a music player. Perhaps it requires a special chip or licensing? If not, hopefully they will implement it in a future firmware update. 

 

It may not be a feature that would prevent me from giving the X3 a try, but finding out that it doesn't have it adds a reason to hesitate towards putting in a pre-order at this point.
 

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post



Now I wonder if maybe it's more difficult to implement 0.1 discrimination in level changes to match the replaygain's setting. But even if a volume normalizer could round (or even truncate) the replaygain to the nearest whole number and implement the level changes then, that would still be a big help.

 

A while back when I had a Zune HD, and I was shuffling more often, I used MP3Gain on any files I loaded on the player. It was a bit of a hassle.....I made duplicate files to run that process over, just in case something did go wrong, but it seemed to work fairly well.  It's a lot of extra hassle though, and as the name suggests, you're limited to MP3, which would be out of the question for some people here. http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/faq.php

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achmedisdead View Post

A while back when I had a Zune HD, and I was shuffling more often, I used MP3Gain on any files I loaded on the player. It was a bit of a hassle.....I made duplicate files to run that process over, just in case something did go wrong, but it seemed to work fairly well.  It's a lot of extra hassle though, and as the name suggests, you're limited to MP3, which would be out of the question for some people here. http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/faq.php

I use Media Monkey (I've used it forever), and I can have it make new flacs or mp3s from my flacs with the volume leveled based on replaygain. It's just a checkbox when ripping a playlist or selection of files in the media library. So a hassle if I only wanted to transfer my flacs to the X3, although I imagine I will probably rip to 320K mp3s for portable use (I'd rather put more files on the player than to have the extra tiny bit of SQ).

However, it doesn't solve the problem for normalizing mp3 files that I have. I would imagine that decoding and re-encoding the mp3s to level the volume could reduce the audio quality.
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Yes, I agree completely. The X3 is a great DAP, the only thing missing is the ReplayGain support. I hope they add it in via a firmware update.
 
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I've been looking forward to the release of the new FiiO X3 because I feel it would be awesome to have a good portable DAP with a good headphone amp built in. So far the reviews look good: http://www.head-fi.org/t/671656/fiio-x3-review

However, there is no replaygain support. This is important to me because I usually listen to playlists or a specific genre or the entire library, and almost never whole albums. It is annoying to have to frequently change the volume because of the different volume levels of recordings, and especially to be blasted in the ear after listening to a particularly quiet song with the volume turned up, and then the next song is some modern recording where the dynamics have been compressed and the recording level is up very high. This is particularly a problem when walking around, working out in the gym, or doing other things that require my attention where I just want the player to play without needing attention.

Now I have a Note G2 phone, Android tablets, Windows desktop, Windows laptop, an HTPC, a Sansa Clip+--volume normalizing via replaygain is available for all of them. In fact, it seems hard to find mainstream DAP sources that the feature is not available, either natively or by installing a different media player. Other than my car receiver, every player I have used in the last five years has this feature. Yet "audiophile" products seem to be ignoring what is now a basic feature (e.g. Cowon and Colorfly).

So I thought a poll would be useful to see if I am in the minority or not.

Thoughts? Disagreements? Discussion of replaygain merits or pitfalls?
post #8 of 10

You can use a product like foobar2000 (on a PC) or ReplayGain Scan (on a Mac) to have the MP3/Flac file analyzed and replay gain for the track and album embedded as tags in the existing file. This doesn't change the audio quality nor does it require re-recording. With the tags set, it will allow players like the Sandisk Sansa Clip+ to play all songs at the same loudness level. Unfortunately the FiiO X3 does not yet support this but hopefully it will soon by a firmware upgrade.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


I use Media Monkey (I've used it forever), and I can have it make new flacs or mp3s from my flacs with the volume leveled based on replaygain. It's just a checkbox when ripping a playlist or selection of files in the media library. So a hassle if I only wanted to transfer my flacs to the X3, although I imagine I will probably rip to 320K mp3s for portable use (I'd rather put more files on the player than to have the extra tiny bit of SQ).

However, it doesn't solve the problem for normalizing mp3 files that I have. I would imagine that decoding and re-encoding the mp3s to level the volume could reduce the audio quality.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffAustin View Post

You can use a product like foobar2000 (on a PC) or ReplayGain Scan (on a Mac) to have the MP3/Flac file analyzed and replay gain for the track and album embedded as tags in the existing file. This doesn't change the audio quality nor does it require re-recording. With the tags set, it will allow players like the Sandisk Sansa Clip+ to play all songs at the same loudness level. Unfortunately the FiiO X3 does not yet support this but hopefully it will soon by a firmware upgrade.

Right. Media Monkey does that as well, and I have it set to automatic volume leveling (it volume levels any new mp3/flac added to its library that does not have the replaygain tag set).
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Just to update this thread. I got the DX50 now that Rockbox is stable for it, and the DX50 is currently $199 on Amazon. Yay! Replay gain on an audiophile DAP! What a novel concept! wink.gif
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