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How to get best audio quality with foobar, effects or anything else?
JackBlack9
post Jan 29 2012, 15:18
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It's ok, sound is relative as almost everything.
But I'd like to try this kernel stream. Can you help me?
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Wander
post Jan 29 2012, 15:28
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To use WASAPI you need to download this component (http://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_out_wasapi) and install it (foobar2000 -> preferences -> components -> install). Next go to preferences -> playback -> output -> device and select "WASAPI: %your_soundcard%".

To use ASIO you first need to install an ASIO-driver, such as ASIO4ALL (http://www.asio4all.com/) and then proceed like mentioned above. (foobar's ASIO compoentent: http://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_out_asio)

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pawelq
post Jan 29 2012, 15:40
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QUOTE (mudlord @ Jan 28 2012, 18:21) *
Got ABX tests to back up your claims?


Well, what I heard from that onboard was so clear, that I did not bother setting up ABX, which in this case would be somewhat cumbersome. I mean, it wasn't a difference in any quality of music, I heard additional sounds.

I can try do do it, I am curious myself. Once (long time ago) I was sure I heard audible difference between two level-matched headphone amps, which, when I tried them blindly, disappeared altogether. But again, these were (illusory) subtle changes of timbre, not additional clicks and whines.

So I guess I would have to add another, non-onboard soundcard to the computer, play music via the onboard and via the other card, each time re-recording the output into another good soundcard, and then ABX the results in foobar after intensity-matching, right? Really cumbersome, especially that this is a work computer, but doable.

I am also a bit concerned about impedance, I can hear the noises when I plug in headphones directly into the output of the onboard card, could it diminish or disappear when the output is connected to line-in of another card, not to headphones? But this will only become a real concern if ABX as described above shows nothing.


But is there an established way ABXing two soundcards without re-recording? Would you accept results of test when I listen via headphones, and another person switches computer outputs, connects headphones to one or the other output, and starts and stops music?


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Ceterum censeo, there should be an "%is_stop_after_current%".
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shakey_snake
post Jan 29 2012, 17:56
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QUOTE (RonaldDumsfeld @ Jan 29 2012, 06:48) *
QUOTE
what is kernel stream?


Simply put - it's a method of bypassing the windows mixer so that audio data goes direct from your application to your output device. It's debatable whether it makes any audible difference.

It's not debatable, it's provable. So far, no one that doesn't use an old audigy2 card that has forced shoddy hardware resampling has any problems. Bypassing the mixer does allow exclusive output in many cases, which is why the component is provided.

This post has been edited by shakey_snake: Jan 29 2012, 18:01


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elevatorladylevitateme
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JackBlack9
post Jan 29 2012, 18:11
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QUOTE (shakey_snake @ Jan 29 2012, 17:56) *
QUOTE (RonaldDumsfeld @ Jan 29 2012, 06:48) *
QUOTE
what is kernel stream?


Simply put - it's a method of bypassing the windows mixer so that audio data goes direct from your application to your output device. It's debatable whether it makes any audible difference.

It's not debatable, it's provable. So far, no one that doesn't use an old audigy2 card that has forced shoddy hardware resampling has any problems. Bypassing the mixer does allow exclusive output in many cases, which is why the component is provided.


Sorry I don't understand this!
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db1989
post Jan 29 2012, 20:02
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He is saying that using Kernel Streaming will not improve sound quality unless your hardware is faulty or shoddily made. As has been said, neither will any other output method. Different methods are used for properties such as reducing latency or ensuring exclusive access for one program, not for any effects upon quality.
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AudioTree
post Feb 6 2012, 20:37
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QUOTE (JackBlack9 @ Jan 28 2012, 15:59) *
I've got a notebook with a creative soundblaster audigy 2 NX (usb) and 2.0 Edifier R1600plus.
I'm trying to reach the best audio quality with foobar. Can you help me?
I've installed asio4all and then also foobar bassexciter to add windows media player trubass and wow effects on foobar but I don't know how to configurate them.
I want to take out the max from my speaker.


For playing a MP3 file, the chain of audio is as follows:

MP3 file ---> media player ---> driver --> soundcard --> cable --> speakers

On the digital side of this, audio can be treated as stream of numbers (samples), on the analog side audio is represented in voltages.
A media player like foobar opens the file and decodes it into samples. These samples are then simply fed into the buffer of the soundcard driver.
That's for the digital part of it. Now the soundcard transforms the samples into voltages which are send out on the output port, and via the cable to the speaker. The speaker than again transforms these voltages into vibrations of the air - which we can hear as sound.

The only serious way to measure audio quality is to compare of what is played back with what was recorded.

When recording audio, the most important factors are the microphone and the room.
Accordingly on the playback side the most important factors are the speakers and the room.

So if you'd really want to improve audio quality, the best thing to do is to invest into good speakers.

There's very little you can do on the digital side.

- The decoder has negligible influence. Every decoder should produce the same output from the same file within some rounding tolerance.

- The only transformation the media player makes is to scale the samples with the volume control. For best audio quality it should be clear to leave the volume control at the maximum, because if you scale it you will loose some (however minor) degree of numerical precision. Always scale on the far end of the chain if possible.

But wait... what about super-mega-bass-enhancers, equalizers, etc?
One word: DON'T
.. Unless you'd like to accurately measure the frequency response of your system. And even than you have to consider that using an equalizer will always distort your audio in some way (for example increasing the noise floor).

- The driver shouldn't do anything to the numbers except from handling them to the soundcard. So using ASIO instead of direct x drivers will change nothing - the numbers are the same.

- Concerning shielding of the motherboard: Yes, it's an issue on many laptops. There are some exceptions, the Mac Book/Mac Book Pros are shielded, as well is my Elitebook workstation and as far as I know Lenovo Thinkpads.
Will an external soundcard help? Depends...
Usually it doesn't! This is because the soundcard is connected via Firewire (or USB) to the motherboard - so the noise might propagate to the external soundcard.
The only thing that really helps is to get rid of the grounding by covering the ground pins with tape or prepare a 2-pole cable to fit into the 3-pole socket of your laptop's AC adapter.
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