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Latest Foobar2000 sounds MUCH better. WHY?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I realize that H-F is not the "official" Foobar2000 member's forum. The official forum exists at HydrogenAudio.org (HA). Unfortunately, HA warned me that if I posted this topic on their forum, it would in violation of their TOS#8 and would be subject to deletion unless, eg., I could offer some credible "scientific" basis -- eg., ABX -- for my query. I concur that I don't have credible "scientific" data to back up my query. And I do feel scientific data are important. But, as far as how precisely to keep the query HA-compliant ...well, I'm not sure how to proceed?!! So why bother posting at HA if the topic will be deleted by their mods ... right?

The issue is simple: I just upgraded my version of Foobar from 1.19 to (the latest) 1.29, in my Win XP Pro system (I use an Asus Xonar XT card) ... and I noted a HUGE improvement in sound quality. I've seen the Change Log on the official Foobar2000 site but still cannot determine what may have led to my admittedly subjective evaluation.
My original impetus for upgrading was totally unrelated to sonics ... specifically, I'd noted Foobar mysteriously begin maxing my CPU use. I tired a couple of things and then thought maybe upgrading to latest Foobar version may help. Subjective sonic change ( improvement ) was the LAST thing I was expecting as (based on myriad prev. Foobar updates), I had noticed NO sonic changes. But there the subjective improvement was after I opened the first music track ... just after v1.29 opened and began playback. And because I noticed the improvement right away, I qualify this improvement as more than subtle.

My question is simple: what developer-based change(s) (between v. 1.19 and 1.29) may have caused the subjective sonic improvement I noticed? E.g., better interface with Asus drivers, etc. 
FYI: In Foobar, for Output Device config., I don't use ASIO4AALL. I use  DS: Asus Xonar native drivers as the 192k re-sampling via Xonar Audio Center, sounds best, IME of course ;) Oh ... warning about stating that subjective also  .... at HA, it can get your thread/topic deleted. 

Thanks for reading and considering my "non-scientific" query!

post #2 of 8

As a basic test, you could install both versions, and create some short loopback recordings from the same track under the exact same conditions with both. If there is a "huge" difference, it should be possible to detect it on the audio output of your sound card. It could be something trivial, like increased loudness (which people generally perceive as "better" sound), even from simple mixer setting changes between testing the two versions of foobar2000. Or maybe some bug has been fixed that previously caused some unknown problem on your particular machine (especially since there was previously constant 100% CPU usage, which is not normal).

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post
 

As a basic test, you could install both versions, and create some short loopback recordings from the same track under the exact same conditions with both. If there is a "huge" difference, it should be possible to detect it on the audio output of your sound card. It could be something trivial, like increased loudness (which people generally perceive as "better" sound), even from simple mixer setting changes between testing the two versions of foobar2000. Or maybe some bug has been fixed that previously caused some unknown problem on your particular machine (especially since there was previously constant 100% CPU usage, which is not normal).

Thx for your reply.

 

No, I don't think it's any of that -- but it may be some coding change "accidentally"/serendipitously leading to better "timing", buffering/caching, etc. And that developer change may have been incorporated into the latest version for some non-SQ issue. I think the HA-card-carrying developers of F2K do not believe one audio player importantly (delectably) sounds better than another.

 

IAC ... I ruled out loudness with SPL meter. CPU use were non-issues for last two F2K updates (IAC, CPU use IME almost never correlates with important subjective SQ issues ... other than glitching).

 

To experiment, I may -- as you/others suggest -- revert back to a prev. F2K version .... if I ever de-lazy myself ;)

 

The important point IMHO being ... if a certain something was deliberately of accidentally tweaked to lead to the noted improvement, how much further can that same tweak ... uh ... well ... MORE tweaked?


Edited by alphaman - 9/24/13 at 4:01pm
post #4 of 8
Quote:

Originally Posted by alphaman View Post

 

No, I don't think it's any of that -- but it may be some coding change "accidentally"/serendipitously leading to better "timing", buffering/caching, etc.

 

Such changes should not have audible effects - let alone obvious large ones - if you do not have broken/very low quality hardware. That is, other than fixing skipping and other obvious buffering artifacts.

 

It would be interesting to see some loopback recordings of the same short track under the exact same conditions (other than foobar2000 version) in 96/24 format (making sure that whatever software is used for recording really does record a bit perfect 96/24 stream from the ADC).

 

Do you have a Xonar ST card, by the way ? I have not heard about a Xonar XT yet, maybe it is an older or less commonly used model ?

post #5 of 8
Quote:

Originally Posted by alphaman View Post

 

To experiment, I may -- as you/others suggest -- revert back to a prev. F2K version .... if I ever de-lazy myself ;)

 

Didn't you already need to do that to check the SPL ? :normal_smile :

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post
Such changes should not have audible effects - let alone obvious large ones - [...]

Do you have a Xonar ST card, by the way ? I have not heard about a Xonar XT yet, maybe it is an older or less commonly used model ?

About the comment ... "Such changes should not have audible effects - let alone obvious large ones "... Yes, I thought so too, along these lines ... but that was years ago ... freshly minted from BSEE ... when I was an objectivist spear carrier ... in fact, I used to be much harder-core HA camper than even most narrow-spectrum HAphiles currently are ... but as I got older, the universe gets larger and clearcut mindsets and beliefs get swamped in complexity ;)

 

I have an Asus Xonar ST (not XT). Sorry about that! I did several SUBJECTIVE tests between ASIO4ALL and Xonar at 192k. And I like the latter. I've been trying to get Asus to release updates that allow one to upsample directly via the DAC (PCM1792) -- which is possible via software. That way, one would have both ASIO4ALL and upsamping. But, so far, no luck.

post #7 of 8
Any chance you has some active DSPs in the old version? Its weird for foobar to max out the CPU, I suspect the improvement in sound came from fixing whatever was causing the max CPU usage. Are you sure it was foobar that was maxing out the CPU and not some other app, like anti-virus?
Also, any Replay Gain settings, or different resampling settings on the Asus card?

Just throwing some ideas. smily_headphones1.gif
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gevorg View Post

Any chance you has some active DSPs in the old version? Its weird for foobar to max out the CPU, I suspect the improvement in sound came from fixing whatever was causing the max CPU usage. Are you sure it was foobar that was maxing out the CPU and not some other app, like anti-virus?
Also, any Replay Gain settings, or different resampling settings on the Asus card?

F2K (v1.19) wasn't CPU overloading any more than 2-3 days max before I upgraded to v1.29. That's not that long and I trust my "audio memory" for what CPU-normal v1.19 and v.1.29 sound like/different. And as I noted ... it was quite a big improvement, so my appraisal confidence is high.

 

I never use Foobar for any DSP -- but I still made sure none was active as I was troubleshooting. Nada.

I don't know what caused my 9-year-old Win XP PC to suddenly misbehave with F2K v1.19. I had something similar happen with VLC player -- but that was limited to ONLY certain larger-sized video files (cure was playing with its built-in parametric settings). Old computer syndrome!

 

IAC ...a cure for CPU overuse may be as simple as a defrag or regclean or even reboot (I never pwr off unless absolutely necess as pwr cyclings  are when I've had the most failures).

 

Speculation: When F2K v1.29 was installed, it likely installed components linearly (w/o fragments, which may've been the case with what HAPPENED to v1.19 days earlier). And stuff like this can affect CPU or VM use. However, I don't think THIS is what led to the SQ improvement I noted.

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