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Winamp as music server software, Am I on the right track?
Bioman
post Dec 24 2011, 21:12
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WinAmp as Music Server software
This is my current system:

Dell Studio PC with around 5.5 terabytes of storage
Running Winamp as the music server software
USB output from the PC to a Benchmark DAC 1 USB via a cheap non-descript cable
DAC to amplifier via Reality Cables balanced mode
Amplifier is a Spectron Musician III Mark II with Bybee, V-Cap and Tuning fuses upgrade
Amplifier to speakers via Reality Cables - about to switch these out for homemade Spectron sense cables to see if this is an improvement.
Speakers GR Research LS9
Room heavily treated with acoustic panels at key reflection points.
I want to get the most out of this configuration and I want to start with the music server software package to make sure it is the best I can get. My goals are pretty basic, I want the server software run on my PC, have a balance function, be as neutral as possible and be relatively inexpensive. So is the Winamp as good as it gets for this first step or are their sonically better? unsure.gif
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db1989
post Dec 24 2011, 21:32
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QUOTE
is the Winamp as good as it gets for this first step or are their sonically better?
Audio players do not differ in sound quality unless something is seriously wrong, in which case it will certainly not be “sonically better”.
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kraut
post Dec 25 2011, 04:59
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I want to start with the music server software package to make sure it is the best I can get.

What does this question even mean?
Do you mean by server having access from different substations? Or just a player dedicated on one machine?
What features are you looking for?
Have you checked out foobar instead of winamp?
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Bioman
post Dec 25 2011, 13:19
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kraut - I'm using this as a Music Player, on a single computer, for a single audio system.
I used Foobar at one time but it lacked a "balance function". As I have a Benchmark that servers as a DAC/Pre it is important that something else provides that particular function as it cannot.


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hlloyge
post Dec 25 2011, 13:38
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I don't even remember when was the last time I used that feature, be it on amplifier or software.
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kraut
post Dec 25 2011, 18:38
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So is the Winamp as good as it gets for this first step or are their sonically better?


I have tried the gamut of players, and though not having compared in direct a/b fashion but with delay on well known test tracks I can say with some confidence that I was not able to hear differences between players. Any player will do, and the free ones as well as the ones that cost. The difference is in the features, and the ease of access, creating playlists etc.
The one with the most useful features and the most customizable is still foobar2000 bar none.

As to the balance function - set up your speakers correctly. I use an M-audio card with 8 channel input that gives me control over left and right level, and as yet I have found no reason to use it.
If you use foobar in connection with windows 7 (which you did not mention) the audio control panel in windows gives you the controls you are looking for.
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JimH
post Dec 26 2011, 01:46
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QUOTE (db1989 @ Dec 24 2011, 14:32) *
Audio players do not differ in sound quality unless something is seriously wrong, in which case it will certainly not be “sonically better”.

If all variables are the same, I agree. But that's a big if.
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JimH
post Dec 26 2011, 02:09
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QUOTE (hlloyge @ Dec 25 2011, 06:38) *
I don't even remember when was the last time I used that feature, be it on amplifier or software.

It's sometimes called "Room Correction". At work, I put up a couple of speakers, but because of the room, I couldn't put them exactly where I wanted them. With "Balance" or "Room Correction", I can adjust the sound so it's about the same volume in both ears.

There are also people who have reduced hearing in one ear or the other.
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db1989
post Dec 26 2011, 02:25
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QUOTE (JimH @ Dec 26 2011, 00:46) *
QUOTE (db1989 @ Dec 24 2011, 14:32) *
Audio players do not differ in sound quality unless something is seriously wrong, in which case it will certainly not be “sonically better”.

If all variables are the same, I agree. But that's a big if.
How so? Is there something stochastic that makes it difficult to match conditions between players? Let’s imagine the most basic case, and one that is easy to arrange: playing the same file, at full volume, at the same resolutions, with no EQ or other DSPs, via the same output method, in two different players. Are there likely to be sonic differences then?

The streams should be bit-for-bit identical, making audibility a non-issue.
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slks
post Dec 26 2011, 11:22
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db1989: His thinking might have been along the lines of EQ and other DSPs, not any objective measure of sound quality. Some DSPs might make certain music sound better to certain people. However, that's more of a "feature" of a music player, a modification of the original sound, rather than anything to do with "sound quality". A more precise term could be used to clear up confusion: fidelity, or the faithfulness of the output to the input. No music player is going to have higher fidelity than any other.

As far as modifications to the sound (DSPs) goes, there's not much variability between music players there either. Just about every player these days gives you an equalizer, though some might have more bands than others. Sound-raping DSPs like reverb or hall effect should never be applied to playback, in my opinion.

In simple terms, there's no difference in "sound quality" between music software. Just pick whichever one has the features you want: whether that means how easy it is to use, how many bands its EQ has, or whether it lets you adjust the left/right balance, etc.

(If you have some strange desire to add reverb or other effects to your music, you could incorporate that into your decision as well...)

This post has been edited by slks: Dec 26 2011, 11:28


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