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Essence One Muses and Bit Perfect.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Asking for the opinion of other fellow users.

I recently got a little wiggling room in my budget and decided to get myself an essence one muses edition DAC and HP amp; and a pair of Beyerdynamic T1's for Christmas. I am quite happy with it at the moment.


Since My existing soundcard and motherboard have no optical outputs I am currently running the essence one through USB and will probably keep doing so for as long as I have it. Windows Mixer is set to 24bit / 96Khz and I am currently listening to:

- my 320kbps mp3 library on itunes (with itunes playback set to 24 bit/ 48 Khz through windows audio session) 

- my flac collection of varying bitrates on vlc (highest being 24 bit / 96 Khz, hence the windows mixer choice)

So yes, there is some upsampling going on. My question is: does it matter? Should I be worrying about bit perfect? Everything seems to sound great (the T1's are still burning in and I'm already slightly blown away at how good they sound).

I know foobar is all the rage but honestly I like itunes because it's pretty, handy and intuitive. From afar, foobar seems like a pain in my behind. To complement itunes I have a modest collection of lossless files which I listen to on vlc media player.

 


Considering the gear and my situation would you say that Bit Perfect is worth the hassle? Is the upsampling ruining my music? I want to make the best of these 2 awesome pieces of audio gear.

 


Thanks in advance.
 

post #2 of 12

You only really need bitperfect output if you're attempting to output something other than PCM audio, that's digitally encoded as PCM audio. DSD over PCM, for example — a DSD DAC should pick it up if you're sending it a bitperfect stream… but if you start messing with stuff, even if the differences are inaudible to you (which is likely, since you'd be trying to distinguish noise from noise basically), you'll lose that lock.

 

So, given that there's no real need for bitperfect output, it's time for everyone's favorite answer: just trust your ears. Set your mixer back to redbook (or, 24/44, sample rate matters, depth not so much) so there's no upsampling, and give a listen. Listen to it upsampled again. See if you notice a difference. If you do, go for whichever sounds better. Of course it's all the rage to keep your bits as pure and true to source as possible… but who cares? You can test this for yourself, you can determine what you like.

 

Also, just a curiosity — why stick to FLACs inside of VLC instead of converting them to ALAC and keeping your library unified? 

post #3 of 12

You might find that link interesting: http://archimago.blogspot.com/2013/06/measurements-part-i-bit-perfect.html

 

Going from 44.1kHz MP3 to 48/24 DirectSound resampling is not the wisest choice IMHO because sample rates are too close, you maybe wanna go all the way to 88.2 as 44.1<>48kHz conversions should always be avoided due to rounding errors.

 

Anyway, it would appear that iTunes does support WASAPI Exclusive playback, that sounds like a good thing to try: http://hifiduino.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/itunes-11-02-playback-bitrate/

 

As this link explains, you could also let iTunes take care of the upsampling and transport it via bit-transparent WASAPI.

 

I guess that leaves you with many options to choose from: hardcore bitperfect or upsampling via Windows, iTunes or the E1 itself :smile_phones: 


Edited by leeperry - 12/27/13 at 8:14pm
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post

 

Going from 44.1kHz MP3 to 48/24 DirectSound resampling is not the wisest choice IMHO because sample rates are too close, you maybe wanna go all the way to 88.2 as 44.1<>48kHz conversions should always be avoided due to rounding errors.

That's a very good point — going from 44.1 to 88.2, or any other whole multiple is much less mathematically involved than, say, 44.1 to 48, or 44.1 to 96. 

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the answers. You were very helpful.
 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by brhfl View Post

 

Also, just a curiosity — why stick to FLACs inside of VLC instead of converting them to ALAC and keeping your library unified? 

 

Well, I kinda like having the nicer sounding FLACs apart from the rest of the mp3 rabble. Sort of like a filetype royalty, haha. (especially considering I only get FLACs of albums that are especially well mixed and/or produced).

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Compfy Listenin View Post

Well, I kinda like having the nicer sounding FLACs apart from the rest of the mp3 rabble. Sort of like a filetype royalty, haha. (especially considering I only get FLACs of albums that are especially well mixed and/or produced).

Wow, what's your DAC specs man ? I wonder if you can actually notice the sound quality between MP3 and FLAC ?
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Compfy Listenin View Post
 

 

Well, I kinda like having the nicer sounding FLACs apart from the rest of the mp3 rabble. Sort of like a filetype royalty, haha. (especially considering I only get FLACs of albums that are especially well mixed and/or produced).

Just in case you weren't aware of these options, there are two ways you could handle this inside of iTunes as well, if you ever wanted to... You could either set up smart playlists to filter out ALAC from MP3... I have a buddy who even uses smart playlists to isolate everything over 44.1... Or, you could maintain two separate libraries, by holding option (alt, I suppose, on Win) when you start iTunes to switch from one to the other. 

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brhfl View Post
 

Just in case you weren't aware of these options, there are two ways you could handle this inside of iTunes as well, if you ever wanted to... You could either set up smart playlists to filter out ALAC from MP3... I have a buddy who even uses smart playlists to isolate everything over 44.1... Or, you could maintain two separate libraries, by holding option (alt, I suppose, on Win) when you start iTunes to switch from one to the other. 


I didn't know that. Seems really handy, thanks for sharing. Still a pain in the ass, though :p . Between converting files and the option of adding sample rate to the sorting bar at the top of the itunes library (instead of sorting the diff sample rates between playlists) I think I'll stick with my system.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnSantana View Post


Wow, what's your DAC specs man ? I wonder if you can actually notice the sound quality between MP3 and FLAC ?



I'm not really big or knowledgeable enough on specs. You can look up the essence one muses online. I paid a very pretty penny and, as expected, the sound is excellent. I can say, however, that the difference between 24 bit / 96khz FLAC files and 16 bit / 44.1 mp3 320kbps is noticeable but, I would argue, negligible. If I'm focusing very intently I'll be able to tell the difference in the details but the reason I bought this stuff is so I can take a deep breath, relax and lose myself in the music without worrying about if I'm getting the best sound I can and if I need to go back and tweak the soundcard EQ for this specific song.

So yeah, maybe I'll tell the difference 5 out of 10 times but the fact of the matter is that regardless of what filetype I'm listening to everything just sounds better.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by leeperry View Post

 

 

Anyway, it would appear that iTunes does support WASAPI Exclusive playback, that sounds like a good thing to try: http://hifiduino.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/itunes-11-02-playback-bitrate/

 

As this link explains, you could also let iTunes take care of the upsampling and transport it via bit-transparent WASAPI.

 

I guess that leaves you with many options to choose from: hardcore bitperfect or upsampling via Windows, iTunes or the E1 itself :smile_phones: 

 

Hey leeperry,

Thanks for the links, but I fail to see how iTunes is capable of WASAPI exclusive playback. If that were the case, I would not be able to hear sound from other applications, right?

Anyway, this is all extremely confusing and, imo, very badly documented. I have decided to match the windows mixer to the iTunes upsampling which is set at 24bit / 96khz. Everything is sounding just fine and I can hear sound from more than one program at once which is useful.

Interestingly enough, even with all the hype regarding the 8x upsampling of the E1, this particular feature of the DAC has been completely botched by ASUS. Hardware upsampling through the E1 causes a very noticeable cut-off of the higher frequencies which is extremely noticeable on cymbals and snares, for instance. All it does is basically compress your music so it's a terrible idea to use it.
 

post #10 of 12

Hey Comfy. I recently purchased the Essence One and the Senn HD800. Absolutely in awe over them, so amazing! Im using Winamp on my PC so I can listen to flac files. The upsampling is definitely sucks and I wouldn't use it on lossless music files. I have my E1 set to 192khz right now playing 24/192 files. Im working in setting it up bit perfect, but haven't had the time yet. But definitely worth it to go bit perfect as you already have the gear, just need the files. Here is a few free samples that go all the way up to 24/352.8kHz.  http://www.2l.no/hires/  I just downloaded the 192 files right now cause the 352 files are massive (1GB for a song), plus im not even sure  if we will be able to hear a difference.


Edited by Swolern - 1/10/14 at 8:11am
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swolern View Post
 

Hey Comfy. I recently purchased the Essence One and the Senn HD800. Absolutely in awe over them, so amazing! Im using Winamp on my PC so I can listen to flac files. The upsampling is definitely sucks and I wouldn't use it on lossless music files. I have my E1 set to 192khz right now playing 24/192 files. Im working in setting it up bit perfect, but haven't had the time yet. But definitely worth it to go bit perfect as you already have the gear, just need the files. Here is a few free samples that go all the way up to 24/352.8kHz.  http://www.2l.no/hires/  I just downloaded the 192 files right now cause the 352 files are massive (1GB for a song), plus im not even sure  if we will be able to hear a difference.



Hi Swolern,

Yes, I am on the same boat. Blown away at how good this combination of mine sounds :) . Very glad you are enjoying your HD800 and E1. I was on the fence between the T1s and those but since I'm european and most of my online purchases are made through amazon.uk, these were just easier to find than the HD800s.

I took a gander at the link you provided and downloaded a couple of samples. My jaw hit the floor. With the T1's it felt like I was in a room filled with music from all directions and had no headphones on. Thanks very much for the recommendation! Although the 382khz files I feel would be wasted on our gear as the E1 only goes up to 192khz.

As for the bit perfect deal I haven't bothered with it and doubt I will any time soon. I just set the windows mixer to the same settings as the highest sample rate and bit depth files I own (24bit/96khz) to ensure I take full advantage of those and everything else just gets upsampled but sounds wonderful all the same (I've done listening tests over and over and can not find any detriment to this method. I do spot a few neglible differences in the music but they are not bad or unpleasant, per say).

Do you have many hi-res files like those in the 2L page? If so, where do you get them? I am aware of HD tracks but unsure that files are the quality they say they are. Also, I'd rather sample stuff before I buy them.

 

post #12 of 12

That's funny, I was deciding between the T1 & HD800 myself. I got a good deal on the HD800 so i went with that. From what i hear the HD800 has a larger soundstage and better transparency, and the T1 has a better low range and more forgiving as the HD800 is very critical and I see that big-time. Good to know that about the E1. The E1 is very new to me as I got it with a trade for a phase change unit from a bud at OCN.

 

 

For other free music, I am surprised how well Vube videos sound on my HD800. A lot of new and upcoming artists on there. I posted a couple of good ones. Man that first girl is hyper!

 

Make sure you run playback quality @1080.

 

http://vube.com/Chiara+Grispo+Video+Channel/YL2qNPkqon?t=s&u=sLuiETTN57

 

http://vube.com/Luciana+Zogbi/vrUAREyL4J?t=s&u=sLuiETTN57

 

http://vube.com/Daniela+Andrade/P2QsqeUR9i?t=s&u=sLuiETTN57

 

 

Man this would have been a great one with stringed instruments, very dramatic, but it was only up to 720.

http://vube.com/Break+of+Reality/qsA9yQn1SR?t=s&u=sLuiETTN57


Edited by Swolern - 1/11/14 at 5:28pm
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