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ABX on OSX, Software to perform ABX tests on a Mac (no FB2K)
Nessuno
post Jun 2 2012, 10:36
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Many people here on HA running OSX are daily advised to perform ABX tests in all those fast spreading threads about XLD, AAC etc...
Well: apart from running FB2K on WINE/Crossover or on a virtual machine, AFAIK the sad truth is that there are very few easy ways to do it. sad.gif

I use this very simple and effective application: ABXer by Empty Music. Unfortunately their site has been down for a long while, and the home page says "Website Coming Soon! Stay Tuned". Let's hope for the best.

There is also an ABXTester application on the App Store. I haven't tried myself, but from an user comment it seems that it doesn't handle FLAC. It should at least support ALAC and other "native" OSX codecs. Another limitation is that the number of trials is hard limited to 5. This program also has an iOS version and seems actively developed, but the developer's site is in japanese only… and I already have my quota of troubles with english, so won't go any further! wink.gif

None of the above offers automatic level matching.

Does anybody know of something useful to add to this very short list?


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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jun 3 2012, 00:29
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I seem to recall that there are some Java ABX comparators that should run on a lot of different OS's. Anybody else remember discussion of them here?

This post has been edited by Frank Bicking: Jun 3 2012, 00:50
Reason for edit: Now with less fullquote.
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kornchild2002
post Jun 3 2012, 01:33
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An old discussion (2005) is located here regarding an ABC/HR Java implementation: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=32128

I'm not sure what has come of that or if the project is still running. I also found something called advancedabx for Java. It seems more recent but I could only find the source code in my quick Google search. It might be more promising since the latest source code, at least from what I can see, was released in 2010.
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Wombat
post Jun 3 2012, 02:03
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I have no MAC and don´t know if a standard OSX user can access it but what about the tool mentioned at the end of the thread called "Does "Mastered for iTunes" matter to music?..."
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....mp;#entry795524
The member tarsier says about the Apple's tool set: "It includes the Audio Units plugin: AURoundTripAAC which includes an ABX test section. "
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RobertoDomenico
post Jun 3 2012, 02:32
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Yes any OS X Lion and Snow Leopard can run AU LAB. Apple’s free digital audio mixing application, AU Lab, can be used as a host application for Audio Unit effects, including AURoundTripAAC Audio Unit, one of the new Mastered for iTunes tools. If you don’t already have Logic or another Audio Unit host application, download AU Lab to get started with auditioning your audio, detecting peaks and clipping, and performing double-blind listening tests.

http://www.apple.com/itunes/mastered-for-itunes/

This post has been edited by RobertoDomenico: Jun 3 2012, 02:33
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Nessuno
post Jun 3 2012, 09:31
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QUOTE (RobertoDomenico @ Jun 3 2012, 03:32) *
Yes any OS X Lion and Snow Leopard can run AU LAB. Apple’s free digital audio mixing application, AU Lab, can be used as a host application for Audio Unit effects, including AURoundTripAAC Audio Unit, one of the new Mastered for iTunes tools. If you don’t already have Logic or another Audio Unit host application, download AU Lab to get started with auditioning your audio, detecting peaks and clipping, and performing double-blind listening tests.

http://www.apple.com/itunes/mastered-for-itunes/

Ok: AU Lab is a host application for Audio Unit effects (nothing new: it was already present between free XCode tools, for those who have installed it. Look in /Deveolper/Applications/Audio).

AURoundTripAAC is an Audio Unit effect.

Unfortunately, neither the version that was already there (version 2.2, from XCode 3.2.5) nor the one I've downloaded right now from that link (version 2.2.2) comes with AURoundTripAAC between its ready to use AUs (or more likely, I'm not able to find or enable it!).
Maybe this AU should be downloaded or acquired elsewhere?

Would you mind explaining, please step by step, how to set up an ABX test with this toolchain (and possibly save the resulting logs)?


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shadowking
post Jun 3 2012, 11:24
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I think when an app works WINE is the best compromise. i used it on linux and most of HA's favorite Win32 apps worked just fine.. The other day I ran FB2k easily with Wine on a mac. Try WineBottler:

http://winebottler.kronenberg.org/


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db1989
post Jun 3 2012, 11:34
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Or WineSkin. Of course YMMV, but the version of WineBottler I tried a while back would not proceed past some early stage of wrapper creation; whereas WineSkin has always worked fine, including for foobar2000.

Edit: I know your title says “no FB2K”, buuut… wink.gif Your concern in the main text that “running FB2K on WINE/Crossover or on a virtual machine [can be done in] very few easy ways” might be assuaged by reports from others who have found it to be easy.

This post has been edited by db1989: Jun 3 2012, 11:43
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Nessuno
post Jun 3 2012, 13:22
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QUOTE (db1989 @ Jun 3 2012, 12:34) *
Your concern in the main text that “running FB2K on WINE/Crossover or on a virtual machine [can be done in] very few easy ways” might be assuaged by reports from others who have found it to be easy.

So we can point people to this solution? Maybe someone could write a Wiki entry about?

You see, maybe I was not clear enough in my first post: my concern is not much for myself, I'm rather happy with ABXer and don't see reasons to change as I don't do ABX routinely by now (I already found my sweet spot and for a little while I'd like to keep peace of mind, relax and listen to the music... wink.gif), but with the increasing number of Mac users coming to HA, when we tell someone to perform an ABX test, I think we should also give him a feasible solution to do it, don't you think? smile.gif

This post has been edited by Nessuno: Jun 3 2012, 13:22


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kornchild2002
post Jun 3 2012, 14:19
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Not necessarily. Many people simply suggest conducting blind ABX tests in general regardless of what OS a user is running. Further questions regarding how to setup proper tests are then answered later on if a member still requires assistance. Otherwise it is assumed that the member who wants/needs to conduct an ABX test has figured it out and they have moved on. I don't think we should be linking people to methods for conducting ABX tests every single time someone suggest conducting one. The process would seem monotonous as every reply would end with "Here's how to conduct it in Windows, in Linux, and OS X..." I'm not even sure if there is a detailed article stating the proper steps for conducting blind ABX tests in Windows (detailed as in a common person can follow it easily).
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Kees de Visser
post Jun 4 2012, 21:02
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QUOTE (Nessuno @ Jun 3 2012, 10:31) *
Would you mind explaining, please step by step, how to set up an ABX test with this toolchain (and possibly save the resulting logs)?
This is what worked for me (you'll need OS 10.5 or later):
1) Download the Audio Mastering Tools and the AU Lab application from the apple website and install them on your Mac.
2) Open AU Lab and setup an output device.
3) Select "Add Audio Unit Generator" from the Edit menu, choose "AUAudioFilePlayer" and hit OK.
4) Click on the AU Generator panel to select it and select "Edit Selected Generator" from the Edit menu.
5) Select an audio file to play by either clicking the Audio Files +... or drag/drop a file from the finder. Then click the Play button. You should be able to hear something now.
6) In the Master Out panel of the mixer, click on the grey triangle just under Effects and select Apple-AURoundTripAAC. Here you can switch between source and codec and do an ABX test.
7) Save your AU Lab setup for future use.

I've only tried it briefly and AFAIK it's only possible to ABX the apple codec, not two different audio files. On top of that I couldn't find a way to get rid of the delay caused by the AAC coding, which makes the ABX easy and invalid, because the source is always the one without delay. If someone knows a way to compensate for the delay, please chime in.

This post has been edited by Kees de Visser: Jun 4 2012, 21:08
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Nessuno
post Jun 4 2012, 22:52
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QUOTE (Kees de Visser @ Jun 4 2012, 22:02) *
[1) Download the Audio Mastering Tools

Yes: this is exactly what I was missing. Thank you! smile.gif

QUOTE
I've only tried it briefly and AFAIK it's only possible to ABX the apple codec, not two different audio files.

So it seems.

QUOTE
On top of that I couldn't find a way to get rid of the delay caused by the AAC coding, which makes the ABX easy and invalid, because the source is always the one without delay. If someone knows a way to compensate for the delay, please chime in.

I'm not sure to understand exactly which kind of delay you talk about: I've just made a few trials and in training mode, while live switching between source, A and B I'm able to perceive this "delay" only with the lowest HE-AAC preset, where I'm always able to identify source even switching only from source to A and looking for a little "step", but not with 128 or 256. All the more, if you make a set of source, then A then B cycle, even slicing a few seconds clip, the delay should become unnoticeable.


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