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Equalizer for Pandora?, Seeking a Way to Apply DSP to Pandora.com
Iggy64
post Mar 29 2009, 01:29
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I typically use XMPlay to play streaming audio, although I sometimes still use Winamp. In either case, I often apply some equalization, and occasionally a touch of reverb to get the sound I want from the audio equipment in my family room.

Now I've started streaming Pandora quite a bit, as it gives me a great chance to learn new artists that suit my tastes. Unfortunately, the specialized "stations" in Pandora apparently prevent it from being played through XMPlay, Winamp, or any other popular player. Pandora's interface isn't too bad, but it does not offer any equalizer or reverb.

Does anyone know of a way to apply equalization and/or reverb to audio streamed from a web site like Pandora? Is there some sort of software that can be run in the background to shape the sound card's output? Freeware would be especially nice, of course.

Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.
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odious malefacto...
post Mar 29 2009, 03:48
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QUOTE (Iggy64 @ Mar 28 2009, 16:29) *
Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.


Check these posts:

http://www.tweak3d.net/forums/off-topic/pandora-winamp-35414

http://forums.winamp.com/showthread.php?threadid=279147
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Iggy64
post Mar 29 2009, 04:54
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Thanks much for the response.

I have read those threads previously, and they didn't seem to offer me a solution. Modification of the ml_online.ini file does give you a nice shortcut to Pandora within the Winamp Media Library Window; but apparently the audio is still being played exclusively by Pandora's online player. None of Winamp's controls - including the equalizer - seem to have any effect on the sound output.

I have read elsewhere that there is a type of software called a sound server that runs like a daemon in the background behind whatever player you are using, and can apply equalization and other modifications to the audio stream. One example is PulseAudio. However, I don't know whether this is available as an installable program, or has to be integrated into some other application. Does someone know if there is something like this - a program that operates on the audio after it leaves the player but before it reaches the sound card - and could provide equalization and other DSP? If so, it might help improve the sound from many web-site players that don't provide any DSP.

I would certainly like to learn about this.

Thanks.
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Iggy64
post Mar 31 2009, 13:01
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I continue to seek a solution for processing the sound of streaming audio that must be played on the source's web-page player (like Pandora). Apparently, some sound cards have their own set-up menus that allow for this. Mine does not. So I'm still hunting for a stand-alone EQ/reverb program. I found a few, but most were more expensive than I can justify right now. I just came across Real-Time EQ (RTEQ v 4.10), which is a freebie. It appears that development of the product ceased in 2006. One site that describes it is

http://www.afreecodec.com/2053/realtime-equalizer/

It does not offer any reverb. I know that many people don't like tampering with their music using DSP, especially reverb. But I find that low-bit-rate streams (like Pandora) often sound much better with just a touch of reverb, and a bit of low-end boost.

If I don't hear of any other options for real-time stand-alone DSP, I'll probably give RTEQ a try. It would at least give me the EQ.
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hybris
post Mar 31 2009, 21:20
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QUOTE (Iggy64 @ Mar 31 2009, 13:01) *
I continue to seek a solution for processing the sound of streaming audio that must be played on the source's web-page player (like Pandora). Apparently, some sound cards have their own set-up menus that allow for this. Mine does not. So I'm still hunting for a stand-alone EQ/reverb program. I found a few, but most were more expensive than I can justify right now. I just came across Real-Time EQ (RTEQ v 4.10), which is a freebie. It appears that development of the product ceased in 2006. One site that describes it is

http://www.afreecodec.com/2053/realtime-equalizer/

It does not offer any reverb. I know that many people don't like tampering with their music using DSP, especially reverb. But I find that low-bit-rate streams (like Pandora) often sound much better with just a touch of reverb, and a bit of low-end boost.

If I don't hear of any other options for real-time stand-alone DSP, I'll probably give RTEQ a try. It would at least give me the EQ.


I have the same issue but with Spotify. Which not-freeware EQs did you find that could do this? I'll try out the RTEQ-thingy, it sounded promising.

This post has been edited by hybris: Mar 31 2009, 21:34


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Iggy64
post Apr 2 2009, 12:38
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Apparently what we are looking for is called "global standalone real-time digital signal processing software," to distinguish it from plug-ins, or from apps that work on static files like the mp3s on your hard disk. We want something that will work on any signal coming into our sound card, including streaming audio from sites that force you to use their players.

As I mentioned earlier, RTEQ is the only freebie I have come across so far, and I haven't had a chance to try it yet. (Hopefully, I will do so this weekend.)
http://members.aon.at/grxpage/index.htm

I have also spotted SRS Audio Sandbox ($20). It clearly does EQ and a number of surround-sound tricks, but it's not clear if it can add reverb. One problem I see is that the latest release is good for Windows XP and up. Poor me -- I'm stuck with Windows 2000 for now. I've emailed SRS to see if the latest release might run on W2K, despite not being supported. No response yet. There is an older version available (same price) for W2K.

There is also the Breakaway Audio Enhancer ($30; free 30-day trial; runs on W2K)
http://store.claessonedwards.com/product_p/bap-002.htm

And I found Blaze Audio Web EQ XP ($20; currently $15 special; free trial; runs on W2K)
http://www.blazeaudio.com/products/webeq.html

As best I can tell, all four of these tools should allow you to EQ the sound coming into your sound card, whether it's from streaming radio, movies, games, or your audio player. Seems like a very useful type of tool, so I'm very surprised there aren't more such apps available. There are plenty of plug-ins for players like Winamp. But very few standalone programs that can be applied to any audio source.

And - so far - I haven't spotted anything that will add some reverb.

Let me know if you find anything else, or if you have decent results with any of the above tools.

Thanks for responding. I'll post anything new that I find.

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Iggy64
post Apr 6 2009, 17:56
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In case anyone is following this thread -- just thought I'd give a progress report. I've tried the freebie global DSP program called RTEQ. I had a good deal of trouble working with it, trying to understand how to set it up. Documentation was not sufficient for someone like me who is not overly familiar with the technology. So, unless I turn up another option, it looks like I'll have to pay for software if I want to do EQ on sources like Pandora.

Still haven't gotten any response from SRS. That's not a good sign.

I'm really surprised that this whole issue (EQ software for all audio sources) isn't more widely discussed. I expected to find plenty of options and opinions. Instead, virtually nothing.
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hybris
post Apr 6 2009, 18:06
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QUOTE (Iggy64 @ Apr 6 2009, 17:56) *
In case anyone is following this thread -- just thought I'd give a progress report. I've tried the freebie global DSP program called RTEQ. I had a good deal of trouble working with it, trying to understand how to set it up. Documentation was not sufficient for someone like me who is not overly familiar with the technology. So, unless I turn up another option, it looks like I'll have to pay for software if I want to do EQ on sources like Pandora.

Still haven't gotten any response from SRS. That's not a good sign.

I'm really surprised that this whole issue (EQ software for all audio sources) isn't more widely discussed. I expected to find plenty of options and opinions. Instead, virtually nothing.


I've tested the RTEQ, as far as I can understand the standalone version only equlalizes sound that is input to the soundcard (a CD or line in) - so this software will not work for pandora, spotify, etc.

Tested Blaze audio EQ now - that actually worked for all output including spotify, but the sound quality even with flat EQ was horrible - so that was useless.

This post has been edited by hybris: Apr 6 2009, 18:30


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Iggy64
post Apr 10 2009, 20:30
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Thanks much for the info, Hybris. More and more, it seems like there's not going to be a solution for applying EQ to Pandora. I guess you can't have everything.

There's still the SRS Audio Sandbox to try, which I hope to do this weekend. I'm not very optimistic about this company, though. I sent an inquiry through their web site a couple of weeks ago and got absolutely no response. Then I tried a phone call, and the computer that answered told me the voice mailbox was full. Wow -- they either aren't trying very hard to make any sales, or they are out of business. In any case, chances of getting any product support seem pretty slim.

I am really surprised that there's virtually no decent (and cheap) standalone real-time EQ that can process anything coming into the soundcard. I guess that shows how little I understand about how digital audio (and computers) actually work.
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rong
post Jun 25 2009, 20:54
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So happy to find this thread.

I also love Pandora, and need an equalizer (basic is fine). Should I gather that this can't be done?

BTW Pandora tech-support had nothing to offer beyond "what a great idea".

Please advise!
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