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Winamp hangs with Kernel streaming output v3.63
Wim de Gelder
post Feb 18 2012, 12:51
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I have a fully digital setup: Win XP32 SP3, Winamp 5.623, Trends USB UD Audio Converter 10.1, balanced SPdif (AES/EBU) to K+H O300D speakers.
The weakest link in the chain is the Windows Kmixer.
Somewhere I HAVE to be able to adjust volume and I wanted to do this with Steve Monks Kernel Streaming Output (it has a a volume control option), because Windows Kmixer is really bad sounding if you're somewhere below 100%. The ASIO pluging (understandably) doesn't have a volume control option.
But Winamp crashes when this plugin is selected. Now I'm using the standard Nullsoft Wave-out plugin, but this sounds as bad as Kmixer.

Why is my Winamp hangin with the KSO V3.63 and what am I goning to do about it?

I reinstalled Winamp, the KSO, tried a lower version etc.

Thanks in advance, Wim
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Wim de Gelder
post Feb 20 2012, 23:29
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In fact guys, I am looking for a high-end player, with high-end sound quality to match my beautifull K+H speakers with 1500 playlists/CD's.

I want my player to have the simplicity and stability of Winamp or WMP, with the volume processing quality of Weiss Engineering.
Foobar is like a sandcastle: you turn your head and you have to start all over again. Beside this, Foobar has problems in sorting the playlists in alphabetical order.
J River is OK, people are very nice and helpfull, but it doesn't handle playlists that are old and contain ..\..\ .. in the middle of file. They are working on it.
The French MusiCHI feels OK, is a little complex to use, had some installaton problems and also lacks a volume control, due to audiophile reasons. These people are also very helpfull, so we can expect a solution somewhere in the nearby future.

Somebody has got to take resposability! The world is getting more and more digitized, so why do we all have to rely on old operational amps, valves, transistors and tubes to simply turn the volume up and down?

Why isn't here a simple processing plug-in with proper dithering for Windows to replace Kmixer? It excists for Mac OS!

Just breathing some frustration.... Nothing personal!
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saratoga
post Feb 21 2012, 01:24
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QUOTE (Wim de Gelder @ Feb 20 2012, 17:29) *
Why isn't here a simple processing plug-in with proper dithering for Windows to replace Kmixer? It excists for Mac OS!


Kmixer performance is good enough that theres no reason to write an alternative. The only reason to bypass it is if you need bit perfect playback, in which case you cannot dither anyway.

That said I'm a little confused about your results. I suppose you're using max volume since you need to output a bit perfect stream to your hardware. But in that case you won't be able to use volume control anyway, so why not just max out the windows volume and leave it be?
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db1989
post Feb 21 2012, 01:32
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QUOTE (Wim de Gelder @ Feb 18 2012, 11:51) *
Windows Kmixer is really bad sounding if you're somewhere below 100%.

Can anyone confirm this, or does anyone want to contest it? I am vaguely aware that there are certain issues with said mixer, but I don’t recall having read about it being “really bad sounding” whenever any volume reduction is applied, and so I’m wondering whether this claim is compliant with ToS #8.
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Kohlrabi
post Feb 21 2012, 01:54
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The wikipedia entry for Kmixer mentions some issues with KMixer, but I didn't see any regarding volume reduction. I do remember anecdotal claims that the resampler used by legacy versions of Windows is kind of bad, so if your input stream sample rate doesn't match your output sample rate, it gets resampled using the Windows internal one, and audio fidelity might suffer. This can be avoided by resampling in software to the selected output sample rate prior to passing audio to KMixer.

Also, to quote wikipedia:
QUOTE
It should be noted, however, that contrary to popular belief KMixer doesn't alter the sound in the majority of cases.[3] Also, there are many ways to bypass KMixer without the need of an extra plugin to access DirectSound, ASIO, Direct Kernel Streaming or WASAPI. In Windows XP, for example, the usage of DirectSound (which Winamp uses by default) with a hardware mixer is a way to bypass KMixer.[11]

"bad sounding" is also quite unspecific. I do not know of, and found no issues, regarding KMixer volume reduction. This might very well be subject to ToS #8, or at least further clarifications about the perceived issues should be provided.

This post has been edited by Kohlrabi: Feb 21 2012, 02:01


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Wim de Gelder
post Feb 23 2012, 22:19
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Thanks everyone.
I only read everywhere on the internet, and it definitaly is audible too, that Kmixer treats the sound bad. Opposite from bit perfect, especially when you put it somewhere at -50 or -30 dB.
The mixing engine in W7 is said to be better, but still is the weakest link in the audiochain. See also: http://thewelltemperedcomputer.com/Intro/S...atingSystem.htm
The only way to get good quality through WXP's Kmixer is putting the wave volume to 100% (0dB). Saratoga suggested me to make a fixed level, based upon maximum output of Kmixer but of course can only work in an elevator in the background music system. Saratoga is also telling me that Kmixer works fine. Then why did Steve Monks make the Streaming Kernel Output plugin? This seems to be more audiophile than standard Winamp, but I can't get the thing properly installed (see the start of this topic).
There are plenty of plugins, programs or extensions for the identical situation in MAC OS. There they have acknowledged this problem and came with solutions.
There are few people like Steve Monks who tried to do the same for WXP or W7, but probably the real audiophile people are all on OSX... See: http://www.amr-audio.co.uk/large_image/MAC...eger%20Mode.pdf and http://thewelltemperedcomputer.com/Lib/Ope...SampleRates.pdf.

I'm curious! Wim.

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db1989
post Feb 23 2012, 23:53
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QUOTE (Wim de Gelder @ Feb 23 2012, 21:19) *
I only read everywhere on the internet, and it definitaly is audible too, that Kmixer treats the sound bad.
Earlier, I mentioned #8 of the Terms of Service. Did you happen to read it? Your statement does not seem to meet its criteria.

QUOTE
thewelltemperedcomputer.com
I suspect you are misinterpreting the conclusions of this site. If I remember correctly, a regular contributor to Hydrogenaudio named Roseval works on this site; s/he may be able to comment on your way of reading it.

QUOTE
Then why did Steve Monks make the Streaming Kernel Output plugin?
Non-standard output interfaces are either made for reasons other than audio quality, or by deluded/dishonest people who think/imply that the altered output method has any effect upon quality (on competent hardware). I have no idea who Steve Monks is, but I’d be charitable and assume the former until the latter is proven.

Please read #8 of the Terms of Service and observe it in subsequent replies.
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Kohlrabi
post Feb 24 2012, 00:01
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QUOTE (Wim de Gelder @ Feb 23 2012, 22:19) *
There are plenty of plugins, programs or extensions for the identical situation in MAC OS. There they have acknowledged this problem and came with solutions.
There are few people like Steve Monks who tried to do the same for WXP or W7, but probably the real audiophile people are all on OSX...

How can plugins, programs or extensions for Mac OS X solve a problem with KMixer? This thread, from my understanding, is about KMixer and/or Winamp. Also, "the real audiophile people" are the ones who try to trick you into buying their overpriced soft- or hardware.

Did you try the suggested method of bypassing KMixer via DirectSound and/or resampling?

This post has been edited by Kohlrabi: Feb 24 2012, 00:16


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DVDdoug
post Feb 24 2012, 00:39
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QUOTE
Opposite from bit perfect, especially when you put it somewhere at -50 or -30 dB.
How can you tell if it sounds bad at such low levels? Unless you re-amplify it, which you shouldn't do... I don't know if I could hear the difference between 8-bits and 16-bits 30dB below my normal listening levels. (I haven't tried it.)

Yes, it's true that you loose resolution and the signal-to-noise ratio gets worse when you reduce the volume, but analog volume control is no different. And, since the "quality loss" is happening at such low levels (far below the -30 or -50dB signal level), you normally can't hear the "damage" unless you re-amplify the sound.

For example, if you reduce the volume digitally to the point where there is only 1 or 2 bits of resolution, you are somewhere around -90dB (assuming 16-bit audio) where you can't hear anything anyway... If you plug-in a preamp and boost the signal by 90dB, you're just going to hear noise...

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Feb 24 2012, 00:49
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JimH
post Feb 24 2012, 01:40
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QUOTE (Wim de Gelder @ Feb 20 2012, 16:29) *
J River is OK, people are very nice and helpfull, but it doesn't handle playlists that are old and contain ..\..\ .. in the middle of file. They are working on it.

Thanks. We're not always all that nice, but we did fix that problem just after you reported it. It was fixed in build 89.

http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=70263.0
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JimH
post Feb 24 2012, 01:44
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QUOTE (db1989 @ Feb 23 2012, 16:53) *
QUOTE
thewelltemperedcomputer.com
I suspect you are misinterpreting the conclusions of this site. If I remember correctly, a regular contributor to Hydrogenaudio named Roseval works on this site; s/he may be able to comment on your way of reading it.

He is Vincent Kars. He's a great resource, in my opinion.
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