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Straightest music player

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by Avatar86, Sep 4, 2018.
  1. Avatar86

    (Idk if this have been covered before.)

    Wich is the straightest music player for computer?

    The closest way from File (flac, wave) to Headphones.
    Without rendering, processing, modulating, upsampling and other ****!

    Just Pure Audio!

    Wich is the straightest?
    They all do some rendering probably, but...
    Wich is the straightest?

    Simple question :)
    - thanks!
  2. castleofargh Contributor
    the answer would be, most of them. as most players will allow you to pick some so called "bit perfect" audio path(asio if your audio device has asio drivers, wasapi , kernel streaming). then it's mostly a matter of setting things on your computer so that nothing has to interfere:
    -like picking an exclusive mod with your soundcard/DAC so that only the music player can make sounds through that device(meaning no mixer involved).
    -setting everything at the sample rate of your files, so that neither the player nor the OS has to resample before sending the data to the soundcard/DAC.
    -leave the volume on the computer and the player at 100% . although IMO that not a great idea in general because of the risks of intersample clipping that might become audible with some tracks. but everything at 100% is the only way to aim for actual bit perfect transmission which seems to be what you desire most.
  3. Avatar86
    Humm yes maybe..

    Thank you Castle of Argh for your detailed answer!

    I have read and heard about all these things you mention here, and have set my computer accordingly in different players. And this of my concern in this subject.

    To make an example:
    jRiver (wich i a prized player) seems to first encode a music file i 64 bit before then sending out trough a 32 bit-deapth output. (And more, do we actually Know all what this player does in the background that we can't see?)
    They say that they render the sound as exact as possible (maybe so).

    (PLEASE let's Not discuss the bit-depth phenomenon now!
    I just want the simplest way from audio file to my headphones). Thanks.

    Ex 2.
    Mac has something called QuickPlay or QuickView where you can preview the track directly in Finder (in the folder it's located at.
    There seems to be No way of altering/ changing anything. Just play the music file -> the sound goes through to the soundcard -> and to my headphones (right?).

    Is there a straighter/simpler player then QuickPlay?
    (Not simpler in usage, simpler in Audiopath!)
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
  4. Roseval
    An obvious first is that the settings of Audio Midi will be used.
    If the Midi settings are 24/ 96 and your audio file is 16 / 44, it will be resampled.

    Ok, lets match manually the settings of Audio Midi with the audio file.
    Will everything be send straight to the audio device?
    I bet system volume control is still active so some processing by the OS audio will be going on.

    Ok, set the volume to 100% and hope this is unity gain.
    Like all OS, multiple streams are expected and provided for.
    That is done by the mixer.
    All audio, even a single stream will be converted to float, dithered and converted back to integer.
    Even in this scenario, all is manually set to values avoiding any processing, the mixer still does its work. It will always dither.

    The simples path is of course from the media player straight to the audio device, bypassing the OS audio stack.
    In OSX there are players like Audirvana supporting integer mode
    castleofargh likes this.
  5. castleofargh Contributor
    you could use wav files to avoid decompression of flac aac or whatever other format if you believe that's relevant in getting a "straighter" path. the rest is pretty universal. the data still has to be read from a drive, it will still be read by the player to get whatever data included in it, buffered somewhere(some players let you buffer the all song or pieces of different sizes but the result is still that only small packets are sent to the DAC.
    one thing to consider here is that the simpler interface with very straightforward look, doesn't at all mean it is. it only means that stuff are preset and that you're not told about them. in this instance, to get as unadulterated a signal as possible, you do have to tell the player to avoid the default audio mixer, and to pay attention to the various settings of resolution.

    once everything is set correctly, they will all tend to do the same stuff and deliver the same signal(except maybe for the least significant bits if dither and volume control affect the bit values in a different way on each player).
  6. Avatar86
    Now these are good answers :D
    Informative and detailed.
    Thanks a lot! :)

    You (obviously) have a greater understanding of this then I do, and I trust your words.

    Now that we all have the same pov. We know that there is a lot of processing goin on. Some we can bypass and some are essential.

    What can we do to get the straightest path? And where can we do it?

    1. Vol at 100 % (full bitstream right?)
    2. Set the clock 96 kHz/24 bit for a flac that is 96kHz/24bit (MiDi settings on mac)
    3. Integer mode (sends the data past the OS and straight to the sound card/ DAC).
    4. Turn off Dithering (is that fully possible?)
    5. Pack up/ convert the Flac/Aiff to Wave. So the player doesn't have to do this.
    6. Give the player exclusive controll (?)

    Are there more steps to make the audio path shorter?
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
  7. Avatar86
    Hi again!

    I had a listening session of 6 hours out at my local HiFi store Akkelis Audio i Gothenburg.

    I got to compare some different media streamers and I found this to be the best digital sound I have ever heared!


    Surely there are other brands and modells out there that can compete here. I just want to share the perspective of "the straightest/ tightest sound". Here's why:

    1. The amp is strong enough to deliver a sufficient "punch" to the headphones (sennheiser HD650).
    2. The Media Server plays from USB stick or Stored files on its own hard drive.
    3. The DAC is superb and integrated, wich creates a fast link between DAC and amp - no external cords and inbalances.
    4. Clean power. The streamer cleans the powers AC to be smooth wich gives the sound an "air tight"/ "calm"/quiet feeling.

    Once again! This are foundings based on digital and music from the Electro genre (Dubstep, EDM, Electro, Chiptune aso.).
    Electronic Music demands these Straight paths to be enjoyed at its fullest.

    Ehrm. This is a HiFi forum... if you think your phone provies good enough sound... you are right :) these are just my opinions based on tireless testing and research done on forums and more. Thanks for reading. (Sorry for bad English).

    Do you have any experience with strong and good media streamers? Pleace share! I wish you all a nice day ^_^

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