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Jplay - just another scam? YES IT IS!
Mach-X
post Mar 29 2013, 04:24
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QUOTE
I am working from the premise that JPLAY sounds better than VLC. Are you in disagreement with this? Do you agree that VLC, WinAmp, WMP, iTunes, etc all sound the same (of course without any EQ or filters applied)? Should I be testing another piece of software that you all believe sounds better than VLC? I am unaware of whether or not the forum consensus is that foobar2000 is the best sounding player, or otherwise. Could you please enlighten me?

The consensus of this forum is that all of those players without any EQ or dsp plugins applied will deliver the exact same bitstream and, therefore sound identical every time, all the time. Only by modifying the bitstream do you change the sound, whether for better or worse. foobar2000 is favoured simply because it is free and open source.
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sabrehagen
post Mar 29 2013, 05:33
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QUOTE (Mach-X @ Mar 29 2013, 13:24) *
QUOTE
I am working from the premise that JPLAY sounds better than VLC. Are you in disagreement with this? Do you agree that VLC, WinAmp, WMP, iTunes, etc all sound the same (of course without any EQ or filters applied)? Should I be testing another piece of software that you all believe sounds better than VLC? I am unaware of whether or not the forum consensus is that foobar2000 is the best sounding player, or otherwise. Could you please enlighten me?

The consensus of this forum is that all of those players without any EQ or dsp plugins applied will deliver the exact same bitstream and, therefore sound identical every time, all the time. Only by modifying the bitstream do you change the sound, whether for better or worse. foobar2000 is favoured simply because it is free and open source.


Well I'm very glad to hear that you believe they are all the same, because that makes my results more personally satisfying. I would then have to pose the question, have any of the people in this forum (and more specifically, those who are so against JPLAY in this thread) actually done a test of this nature? Or for that matter, have you even listened to the output of JPLAY using the trial version purely out of interest, not even in a testing situation? Surely you must be able to hear a difference. The change was night and day to me, not even 'maybe it's a little bit better in this respect, or maybe there's more space there, but it's negligible'. That's why within 3 seconds I can tell the difference between JPLAY and VLC; it's night and day to me.
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Takla
post Mar 29 2013, 05:43
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Mach-X consensus isn't evidence, it's opinion. Other boards also have consensus, on stuff like sound enhancing pebbles, special directional ethernet cables, the innate goodness of Kim Jong-un, the wickedness of men, the foolishness of women, and so on.

Foobar2k is not open source.

Perhaps sabrehagen will produce some credible test results and perhaps not, but at least confront him with well founded argument instead of specious assertions or claims, or a demand he prove a negative as was requested earlier in the thread by someone else. People are asking him to act in good faith and the same should be on offer.

p.s. @ sabrehagen I can't find any difference between audio players on my computers (except in gap handling), unless I introduce a change such as a software volume control. It would be pretty odd if it was otherwise. I have some hardware devices which sound different but that's more to do with noisy line out jacks and, on the older players, disk activity and CPU loads and so on. I'm not sure how any desktop or laptop made in the last decade is really going to have those kind of issues when decoding audio.

I haven't tried the player in question. If you'd like to demonstrate its supposed superiority or difference then it's up to you to actually do so. Just insisting or challenging other people try it is very weak indeed.

This post has been edited by Takla: Mar 29 2013, 05:52
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sabrehagen
post Mar 29 2013, 06:16
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QUOTE (Takla @ Mar 29 2013, 14:43) *
I haven't tried the player in question. If you'd like to demonstrate its supposed superiority or difference then it's up to you to actually do so. Just insisting or challenging other people try it is very weak indeed.

The extent of my 'demonstration' is to post a table with my ABX results, I can't do anything more than that over the internet. How do I then make a 'strong' case?
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pawelq
post Mar 29 2013, 07:02
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Well, post the table and post the results of bit-perfect test (because the most obvious explanation of a clearly audible difference is that one player [presumably jplay] spices-up the audio and is not bit-perfect).

There is obviously no way for you to prove that you have not rigged the data, but that would be the first step.

Now, I read on J-play's website that the demo inserts silence into the stream from time to time. Can you please tell us how often does it happen (on average)?


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phofman
post Mar 29 2013, 07:52
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I believe sabrehagen heard the difference he is reporting. Do not forget neither his setup of jplay nor his setup of VLC was verified for bit perfection. It is perfectly possible the VLC route involved resampling or volume change in the windows mixer http://forum.videolan.org/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=75795

Verifying bit-perfection of a stream headed for analog output working for any audio hardware and any of the audio output mechanisms available in general is a PITA in windows. In linux I can add the file-storing plugin into the last stage of the audio chain just before the actual driver (which is always bit-perfect), it is simple. But for windows I have no idea. Actually one of the reasons for my OS preference smile.gif
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sabrehagen
post Mar 29 2013, 09:58
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QUOTE (pawelq @ Mar 29 2013, 16:02) *
Well, post the table and post the results of bit-perfect test (because the most obvious explanation of a clearly audible difference is that one player [presumably jplay] spices-up the audio and is not bit-perfect).

There is obviously no way for you to prove that you have not rigged the data, but that would be the first step.

Now, I read on J-play's website that the demo inserts silence into the stream from time to time. Can you please tell us how often does it happen (on average)?


It's funny you use the term 'spices-up', because all I can detect is that VLC and foobar sound 'hotter' than JPLAY, with a much more dense sound with more warmth.


QUOTE (phofman @ Mar 29 2013, 16:52) *
I believe sabrehagen heard the difference he is reporting. Do not forget neither his setup of jplay nor his setup of VLC was verified for bit perfection. It is perfectly possible the VLC route involved resampling or volume change in the windows mixer http://forum.videolan.org/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=75795

Verifying bit-perfection of a stream headed for analog output working for any audio hardware and any of the audio output mechanisms available in general is a PITA in windows. In linux I can add the file-storing plugin into the last stage of the audio chain just before the actual driver (which is always bit-perfect), it is simple. But for windows I have no idea. Actually one of the reasons for my OS preference smile.gif


I just tested with foobar to remove the potential VLC issue and I can still notice the difference there, just as clear.

I think the only way I can prove that I can detect the difference is to video the test. I want to help the guys over at JPLAY clear their name, and the concept that their software is a scam. Videoing the demonstration is the easiest way I can think of. Also, I looked up Audio DiffMaker and it looks like a real PITA to use. I'll try and make some comparisons tonight.
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skamp
post Mar 29 2013, 10:10
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Make a 30 second sample of a song that you like, which shows the differences. Play it first in foobar2000, and record the output (if your soundcard has both a line-out and a line-in, simply use a male-male cable and connect the line-out to the line-in). Play it again with jplay, and record the output. Post the two recordings in the uploads forum. Someone competent can then sample align the recordings and volume match them, and then compare them.


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sabrehagen
post Mar 29 2013, 10:47
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QUOTE (skamp @ Mar 29 2013, 19:10) *
Make a 30 second sample of a song that you like, which shows the differences. Play it first in foobar2000, and record the output (if your soundcard has both a line-out and a line-in, simply use a male-male cable and connect the line-out to the line-in). Play it again with jplay, and record the output. Post the two recordings in the uploads forum. Someone competent can then sample align the recordings and volume match them, and then compare them.


I have done exactly this and the two outputs to not match, there is significant difference. I used Audio DiffMaker to do the test. I have also posted in the uploads section: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....howtopic=100156

This is a sound output. Now how do I test the bitstream?
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dhromed
post Mar 29 2013, 10:51
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QUOTE (sabrehagen @ Mar 29 2013, 09:58) *
It's funny you use the term 'spices-up', because all I can detect is that VLC and foobar sound 'hotter' than JPLAY, with a much more dense sound with more warmth.


You mean Jplay sounds denser and warmer? Regardless of the uselessness of such terms, words like "hot" are usually taken to mean more mid- and high-frequency content, while "warm" often means reduced high-frequency content, increased bass, extra white noise or extra harmonics*.

Recording the output will tell us more.


QUOTE
Post the two recordings in the uploads forum.


Don't forget the original sample. wink.gif


*) I also hope you see why a term like "warm" means so little because of the variety of properties that some people under some circumstances call "warm".
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dhromed
post Mar 29 2013, 11:03
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Thanks for providing the samples! Yeah that's an incredibly clear difference. I don't know what's happening there, but something is messing with jplay output. It sounds very, very filtered, with reduced lows and highs; as if it was played through a small speaker.

The samples can't be formally ABX'd with foobar though, because they don't start at the same time.

This post has been edited by dhromed: Mar 29 2013, 11:04
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sabrehagen
post Mar 29 2013, 11:18
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QUOTE (dhromed @ Mar 29 2013, 20:03) *
Thanks for providing the samples! Yeah that's an incredibly clear difference. I don't know what's happening there, but something is messing with jplay output. It sounds very, very filtered, with reduced lows and highs; as if it was played through a small speaker.

The samples can't be formally ABX'd with foobar though, because they don't start at the same time.


Maybe you could trim the silence off the front with a wave editor? They also don't finish at the same time because of the JPLAY trial limitation, it seems to drop a couple of seconds off the end of the song, hence the change in the end of the diff file. Assuming the developers of JPLAY are being honest when they say they're not applying filters, that is, only outputting the same 0s and 1s using a different technique, how can I test the digital output to ensure that the bitstreams are in fact the same?
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phofman
post Mar 29 2013, 11:39
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IMO the technique of recording analog output is a very compromised workaround. Such test will not withstand opposing argumentation. What if the opponent asks the very typical "The difference is caused by lower jitter by my bit-perfect application" while in fact the cause is non-bitperfection of one/both of the streams.

IMO the a credible bit-perfection test needs comparing the digital samples entering the soundcard.
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sabrehagen
post Mar 29 2013, 11:42
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QUOTE (phofman @ Mar 29 2013, 20:39) *
IMO the technique of recording analog output is a very compromised workaround. Such test will not withstand opposing argumentation. What if the opponent asks the very typical "The difference is caused by lower jitter by my bit-perfect application" while in fact the cause is non-bitperfection of one/both of the streams.

IMO the a credible bit-perfection test needs comparing the digital samples entering the soundcard.


Exactly, so I guess I need some kind of software interface to sit between the two. Does something like that exist?
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phofman
post Mar 29 2013, 11:58
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QUOTE (sabrehagen @ Mar 29 2013, 12:42) *
Exactly, so I guess I need some kind of software interface to sit between the two. Does something like that exist?


An option would be to run windows players in wine under linux. With wine set to alsa output it is possible to record any stream produced by windows. For testing audio players (not hw drivers) it should suffice. Such setup would take quite a while though.

For wine-incompatible playback software we could use virtualbox which supports direct alsa output too. It offers IntelHDA emulation, it should be possible to check the wasapi chain for bitperfection. If we can find a working ASIO driver for the Intel HDA card emulated by VBox even ASIO chains could be tested. Such solution would be a good setup since VBox emulates physical machine and any software will run.

All these complications due to black-box nature of windows...

This post has been edited by phofman: Mar 29 2013, 12:02
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dhromed
post Mar 29 2013, 12:04
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QUOTE (phofman @ Mar 29 2013, 11:39) *
IMO the technique of recording analog output is a very compromised workaround.


True, but how sloppy would one have to get before one of the recordings becomes a smoothly mid-passed signal with reduced stereo separation (as is the case with the jplay sample here)? This is not a matter of a little more or less noise, or slightly reduced or increased volume, or little bit of distortion. Something happened to the jplay sample (and not in a positive way wink.gif ).

This post has been edited by dhromed: Mar 29 2013, 12:07
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Yaztromo
post Mar 29 2013, 12:16
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For me this test just confirms my already very strong suspicions. Jplay is applying EQ. I never thought all the people that said they could hear a difference were wrong, it's just that the difference is Jplay being deceitful with what it's really doing to the audio.

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phofman
post Mar 29 2013, 12:20
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QUOTE (dhromed @ Mar 29 2013, 13:04) *
QUOTE (phofman @ Mar 29 2013, 11:39) *
IMO the technique of recording analog output is a very compromised workaround.


True, but how sloppy would one have to get before one of the recordings becomes a smoothly mid-passed signal with reduced stereo separation (as is the case with the jplay sample here)? This is not a matter of a little more or less noise, or slightly reduced or increased volume, or little bit of distortion. Something happened to the jplay sample (and not in a positive way wink.gif ).


Yes, but I am looking for a bullet-proof bitperfection test capable of withstanding fierce argumentation. And nothing less than capturing samples at the soundcard with proven bitperfect intrastructure will hold.
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phofman
post Mar 29 2013, 12:26
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QUOTE (Yaztromo @ Mar 29 2013, 13:16) *
For me this test just confirms my already very strong suspicions. Jplay is applying EQ. I never thought all the people that said they could hear a difference were wrong, it's just that the difference is Jplay being deceitful with what it's really doing to the audio.


Many users report jplay widened stereo separation. dhromed talks about reduced stereo separation. Until we have the actual digital data available for analysis, all these are just assumptions and feelings. I guess we should stick to TOS #8 smile.gif
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Mar 29 2013, 13:12
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QUOTE (phofman @ Mar 28 2013, 14:30) *
QUOTE (sld @ Mar 28 2013, 17:04) *
Since these are so trivial (to you), I expect to see graphs showing that your software has less jitter, is "more timely", and I expect you to provide details on the computer systems you did the testing on. Thank you Sir!


Plus I would ask for an explanation how "playback software delivery jitter" affects the actual jitter of the soundcard when these are two asynchronous time-independent tasks, the other without participation of the CPU (DMA directly to the soundcard/usb controller). Just a typical marketing nonsense aimed at affluent clueless customers.


It is possible that preloading all of the files in a playlist could avoid clicks and pops on a PC with a bad I/O bottleneck.
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phofman
post Mar 29 2013, 13:29
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Yes it is possible but such case is a major failure, not a difference in sound smile.gif I do not think those reporting faint differences experience dropouts.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Mar 29 2013, 13:30
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QUOTE (sabrehagen @ Mar 29 2013, 05:47) *
QUOTE (skamp @ Mar 29 2013, 19:10) *
Make a 30 second sample of a song that you like, which shows the differences. Play it first in foobar2000, and record the output (if your soundcard has both a line-out and a line-in, simply use a male-male cable and connect the line-out to the line-in). Play it again with jplay, and record the output. Post the two recordings in the uploads forum. Someone competent can then sample align the recordings and volume match them, and then compare them.


I have done exactly this and the two outputs to not match, there is significant difference. I used Audio DiffMaker to do the test. I have also posted in the uploads section: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....howtopic=100156

This is a sound output. Now how do I test the bitstream?


Obvious level mismatch:

Jplayer statistics:

Left Right
Min Sample Value: -8468 -7478
Max Sample Value: 7747 8107
Peak Amplitude: -11.75 dB -12.13 dB
Possibly Clipped: 0 0
DC Offset: 0 0
Minimum RMS Power: -84.24 dB -88.94 dB
Maximum RMS Power: -21.02 dB -21.38 dB
Average RMS Power: -29.42 dB -30.17 dB
Total RMS Power: -28.42 dB -29.14 dB
Actual Bit Depth: 16 Bits 16 Bits

Using RMS Window of 50 ms


Foobar statistics:

Left Right
Min Sample Value: -12652 -14834
Max Sample Value: 13255 15442
Peak Amplitude: -7.86 dB -6.53 dB
Possibly Clipped: 0 0
DC Offset: 0 0
Minimum RMS Power: -85.54 dB -88.7 dB
Maximum RMS Power: -15.74 dB -14.48 dB
Average RMS Power: -26.31 dB -26.18 dB
Total RMS Power: -24.75 dB -24.5 dB
Actual Bit Depth: 16 Bits 16 Bits

Using RMS Window of 50 ms
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sabrehagen
post Mar 29 2013, 13:35
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Would you mind translating that to layman a terms for me?

This post has been edited by db1989: Mar 29 2013, 14:58
Reason for edit: deleting pointless full quote of above post
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phofman
post Mar 29 2013, 13:41
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A deaf one would make 16/16 on this test smile.gif
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dhromed
post Mar 29 2013, 13:56
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What if I record jplay output, save it as a flac, and play that back with jplay?
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