audio program on computer?
Feb 6, 2008 at 2:47 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6


New Head-Fier
Jan 17, 2008
i just noticed something alarming to me. it appears that media players on the computer do more than just decode my mp3's. they are also doing some kind of modification of the sound and its scaring me. itunes and winamp are sounding completely different and this is news to me because i'm a noob =( i just noticed while comparing the same songs on itunes and winamp and the differences are major. i have made sure the EQ's are all off. it appears that winamp pushes the vocals to the forefront makes the vocals louder; and the imaging and soundstage are weaker. in itunes, the vocals seem buried and very soft, but i get to hear the instruments much clearer. what is happening? internal built-in EQ?

this probably isn't the correct forum, but I need to know. which media player is more accurate? itunes? winamp? realplayer? it would be nice if someone could list some popular media players in order of sq and accuracy. i've stayed away from windows media since many years ago i realized it made all my music sound bad. please help me choose between my media players. thank you

EDIT: my apologies. this probably belongs in the computer as source forum. not sure how to move this to the appropriate forum.

I just figured out why itunes sounded different. the "sound enhancer " was on. it seems to make all the background sounds louder and the voice softer. i have no idea what's going on there. i plan on combining itunes and foobar2k with a plugin now.
Feb 6, 2008 at 4:03 PM Post #3 of 6
I would suggest trying either foobar or MEDIA JUKEBOX 12.
Both are free and sound excellent, Media Jukebox being very feature-rich

Also be aware that Wave Out, Kernel Streaming and ASIO output can sound a bit different and may be the cause of the difference you hear.
Feb 6, 2008 at 7:05 PM Post #4 of 6

Originally Posted by Cal3257 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I just figured out why itunes sounded different. the "sound enhancer " was on. it seems to make all the background sounds louder and the voice softer. i have no idea what's going on there.

Here's what it's doing: "Can someone tell me how iTunes Sound Enhancer works?"

As for accuracy, that's a challenge. MP3 uses lossy encoding methods to smoosh bit-perfect PCM data into something a fraction of its original size. It's bound to lose some details in the process. What's even worse is that different decoders will produce different results when un-smooshing from MP3 back to PCM. Some of the details that were lost in the encoding process can only be guessed during the decoding process.

To my knowledge, Foobar2000 and Winamp 5.5 use the same decoder, generally considered to be the best available right now. I don't know what iTunes uses as a decoder, so can't really help you there.

From there it's a matter of deciding whether you like your decoded PCM streams to go to Wave Out, DirectSound Out, Kernel Streaming, or ASIO. Kernel Streaming and ASIO are generally considered the best options, but it really depends on your sound card.

(Edit: Yeah, this could probably stand to be swept to the Computer Audio forum.)
Feb 6, 2008 at 8:13 PM Post #5 of 6
IMHO Foobar using Kernel stream (or ASIO if your system can handle it) is the most neutral (not necessarily best sounding for your taste) way to listen in a PC based system. The last version of Winamp doesn't work bad at all, but to my ears it might be adding some processing which enhances the sense of space. iTunes and WMP aren't as good.

Feb 7, 2008 at 9:10 AM Post #6 of 6
thanks for the replies guys. i think i'm going to try to stream foobar2000 into itunes now. i tried to get ASIO output on my system but its not working. i think i'll stick w/ DS for now. i can go ASIO when i actually acquire a DAC

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