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Qs regarding RG, soundcard and upsampling, Novice-User
giro1991
post Feb 27 2013, 14:08
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Hello all, foobar is great but I need a few words of wisdom to get me going, so I regestired here, worth a shot.
There's a few questions here I will try my best convey them here goes...
My library is mostly 320kbps MP3s, some CD, some WEB. I've spent alot of time on finding Dynamic Ranges a mere 75% of the library are unclipped OGs.
So naturally I had a heart attack when I read somewhere that RG permenantly alters files (not metadata). "wordlength" or similar which i pray is not the case...
1. Is this true?

Understanding RG

I've read the wiki and it's unclear what changing this value actually does. I've set it to 95dB, re-scanned a track and restarted fb2k. However RG metadate field remains unchanged on the track I re-scanned.
similarly stressed here http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=76562.
2. Thread remains unsolved?

Optimisation - Signal Path
Setup: Foobar on WinXP > Creative Xtreme Gamer (latest official drivers) > 3.5mm to RCA Cable > NAD Amp > Rogers Stereo Speakers cool.gif
The speakers are from a company which specialised in monitor speakers but the ones I have are floor standers so I believe they should be adequate for general entertainment.
but! something doesnt sound right, might be the lack of a sub but then again I'm sure the mids are fairly messy.
I've isolated signal cables from power cables, everyhting is polarised right, it's defo the computer, either the card or foobar itself...
I'm contemplating getting a DAC in future, e.g. Asus E1 or NAD D1. (suggestions welcome) Unsure whether spending cash on DAC will even make a difference. A DAC does reduce Jitter, which I think is the problem I have but I'm unsure.
I will get rid of the 3.5mm to RCA cable however, I can't imagine the amp liking it too much, I'd rather be with a card that has seperate RCA p/channel (L & R) iirc...

Optimisation - Should I up-sample using a DSP?
Theoretically I could use SOX re-sampler (more efficient than PPHS) but when I re-sample anything my peakmeters start jumping everywhere (even @50ms) which is a pain as I like the custom 20Hz-25khz Bars one I have now.
I also noticed when I up-sample, the spectogram visualisation halfs in size (volume remaining unaltered) why is this?
3. Is it even worth up-sampling, considering my card spec below?

Card Spec
24-bit Digital-to-Analog conversion of digital sources at 192kHz to stereo output
16-bit to 24-bit recording sampling rates: 8, 11.025, 16, 22.05, 24, 32, 44.1, 48 and 96kHz
ASIO 2.0 support at 16-bit/44.1kHz, 16-bit/48kHz, 24-bit/44.1kHz, 24-bit/48kHz

Audio Performance (Rated Output @ 2Vrms, Typical)
THD @ 1kHz (20kHz LPF) = 0.004%
Frequency Response (-3dB, 24-bit/96kHz input) 10Hz to 46khz
Frequency Response (-3dB, 24-bit/192kHz input) 10Hz to 88kHz (Stereo only)

Also few more quick questions.
Kernel Stream or ASIO/ASIO Creative?
Audio Creation Mode or Entertainment Mode? Audio Creation allows for Bit-matched feature but apparently this feature messes things up more, downgrading SQ.

Any help on even one of the above questions would be greatly appreciated!

This post has been edited by giro1991: Feb 27 2013, 14:29


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db1989
post Feb 27 2013, 14:18
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QUOTE
So naturally I had a heart attack when I read somewhere that RG permenantly alters files. "wordlength" or similar which i pray is not the case.
1. Is it so?
No, ‘normal’ ReplayGain does not alter your files; it only adds tags to enable levelling.

MP3s will only be altered, and still not permanently, if you specifically command foobar2000 to “Apply ReplayGain to MP3 data”. Search for MP3gain to get an idea of what this option involves.

Of course, if you enable RG during conversion, to any format, those changes will be permanent.

QUOTE
I've read the wiki and it's unclear what changing [Target MP3 alteration volume level] actually does. I've set it to 95dB, re-scanned a track and restarted fb2k. However RG metadate field remains unchanged on the track I re-scanned.
Again, this is only relevant if you apply RG to MP3 deliberately. This simply enables you to change the reference loudness from its usual 89 dB. Various documents about RG can help you understand this concept.

QUOTE
So Is it worth up-sampling, considering that my card is capable?
Only if your card is, for whatever reason, suboptimal at lower and/or non-native sampling rates. That’s something for further research. It may have a native sampling rate and upsample everything that is presented to it in another format, so again, something to search for information about.

QUOTE
I noticed when I up-sample, the spectogram visualisation halfs in size, (while volume remaining unaltered) why is this out of curiousity?.
It’s probably best not to resample if you don’t understand fundamental concepts of sampling such as this…! Because upsampling increases the frequency range, you see a larger span on the spectrogram, but of course, frequencies higher than those present in the original stream remain absent. I don’t believe foobar2000’s default spectrogram can be reconfigured to limit the range of frequencies displayed.

QUOTE
sidenote: I read foobar is 32bit. my card is capable of 24bit and my files are 16bit.
Internal processing is performed with 32-bit floating point. The output is, obviously, whatever is set in the Preferences.

QUOTE
Kernel Stream or ASIO/ASIO Creative?
Audio Creation Mode or Entertainment Mode?
Ice cream or sorbet?

What’s the question? Are you having problems with the default output method? If not, there’s no need to change it. Quality will not change between methods (assuming competent hardware), if that’s the implication.

This post has been edited by db1989: Feb 27 2013, 14:26
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dhromed
post Feb 27 2013, 14:44
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QUOTE (giro1991 @ Feb 27 2013, 14:08) *
e I have now.
I also noticed when I up-sample, the spectogram visualisation halfs in size (volume remaining unaltered) why is this?


The audio signal walks a path between the file and your ears. This is the "pipeline" or "chain". First the file is decoded, then RG from metadata is applied (if any), then DSPs are applied, and then the signal is sent to both the volume control and the visualizers.

Both spectrum visualizations use the full bandwidth of whatever signal they're getting. If it gets a file at 44.1KHz, it will display frquencies from 0-22.05KHz. If you upsample to for example 192KHz (why you'd ever want this is another matter), the visualizers will display from 0-96KHz.

That means that the files, which naturally don't contain any more frequency content than half of their original sample rate, will be displayed at "half size" in the visualizers.

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giro1991
post Feb 27 2013, 15:16
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“Apply ReplayGain to MP3 data”

I've never seen this text in foobar, only "Update Tags"

Target (dB) Option - is this what permanently alters the file?

How can you Enable RG during conversion huh.gif


I run a scan on a particular track, a gain is presented aswell as the Cancel / Update Tags box.
If I update Tags, the Target (dB) will have had no effect on the RG Value applied to metadata. This is whats confusing.

Because me being clever I think I have permanently altered my entire library, more than once (I changed to 100dB too), causing some sort of loss to the original files perhaps I do not know. Because of this 89dB reference change.

I cannot see how it is possible to change the file permenantly. I do not have MP3Gain installed but I beleive it uses the same algo to do the job, correct?
I have never seen “Apply ReplayGain to MP3 data” in foobar.

I select songs, right click, scan per track and violla it ask whether it wants me to update or cancel. Regardless of this mysterious target "reference" value, the tags do not change, which concludes that the option is redundant and not part of the process ...



This post has been edited by giro1991: Feb 27 2013, 15:44


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giro1991
post Feb 27 2013, 15:19
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dhromed

thanks I understand this part now. the additional samples create more headroom, not necessarily adding dynamic range (beyond the limits of human hearing as you say).

This post has been edited by giro1991: Feb 27 2013, 15:39


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dhromed
post Feb 27 2013, 16:12
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Ah no, upsampling (which deals with frequency) has nothing to do with dynamic range (which deals with amplitude). It just adds theoretical capability of the signal to describe higher frequencies that you'll never be able to hear. So it will only create headroom if you have active DSPs that operate better with higher-sample rate signals.

Best case scenario, upsampling does nothing except add samples. Upsampling does not modify the sound.
Worst case scenario the upsampler is broken in some way and pure test tones may sound weird. Either way you'll probably hear nothing different— unless your music contains clear pure tones. wink.gif
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dhromed
post Feb 27 2013, 16:37
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To be honest, I don't know what that option in Advanced does. It doesn't affect the scanning of files (the result from a scan before and after changing that option is exactly the same). Someone else might shine more light on that.

If you don't see the Apply Gain option under the Replaygain context menu, then your file isn't an MP3. Foobar can only apply RG to MP3, because MP3 is the only format where you can losslessly modify of the volume of a track without having to decode and re-encode.
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db1989
post Feb 27 2013, 18:45
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QUOTE (giro1991 @ Feb 27 2013, 14:16) *
How can you Enable RG during conversion huh.gif
Try looking around in the Converter’s options…

QUOTE
Because me being clever I think I have permanently altered my entire library, more than once (I changed to 100dB too), causing some sort of loss to the original files perhaps I do not know. Because of this 89dB reference change.
So, wait: you just said it doesn’t change anything for you, but now you’re worried that inadvertently used it to change your entire library twice? I highly doubt it. Confusion aside, you would know all about it if you had accidentally transformed the actual audio of your entire library (assuming at least a modestly sized collection) from the sheer time it would take.

QUOTE
I do not have MP3Gain installed but I beleive it uses the same algo to do the job, correct?
It did. foobar2000 now applies ReplayGain that actually uses EBU’s R128 standard for assessing perceptual loudness, not the original RG algorithm. The way the potentially different values are written to the MP3 remains the same, however.

QUOTE
I select songs, right click, scan per track and violla it ask whether it wants me to update or cancel. Regardless of this mysterious target "reference" value, the tags do not change, which concludes that the option is redundant and not part of the process ...
Change the reference value a few times by fairly large amounts and then play a ReplayGained file after each alteration. I suspect it will all become clear then.

This post has been edited by db1989: Feb 27 2013, 18:47
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giro1991
post Feb 27 2013, 18:58
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I found the Apply ReplayGain to MP3 here under Context Menu ...

(PS I'm on my bro's pc hence why its win7 and not XP)

This post has been edited by giro1991: Feb 27 2013, 19:00


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DVDdoug
post Feb 27 2013, 21:20
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QUOTE
Rogers Stereo Speakers
The speakers are from a company which specialised in monitor speakers but the ones I have are floor standers so I believe they should be adequate for general entertainment.
but! something doesnt sound right, might be the lack of a sub but then again I'm sure the mids are fairly messy.
I've isolated signal cables from power cables, everyhting is polarised right, it's defo the computer, either the card or foobar itself...
I'm contemplating getting a DAC in future, e.g. Asus E1 or NAD D1. (suggestions welcome) Unsure whether spending cash on DAC will even make a difference. A DAC does reduce Jitter, which I think is the problem...
It's very unlikely to be jitter... Jitter one of those things invented* by audiophiles when they can't explain in traditional terms of noise, distortion, and frequency response, why their expensive DAC "sounds better" than a cheap soundcard. Of course, they have no explaination why they can't hear any difference in blind listening tests. wink.gif

If you are not hearing noise from your soundcard, a "better" soundcard or DAC is very unlikely to make a difference. Distortion and frequency response in just about any soundcard are usually far better than human hearing. Of course it is possible that your soundcard is defective, but I'd recommend experimenting with a properly working cheap soundcard rather than investing in an expensive DAC. (I don't recommend that you buy the cheapest soundcard you can find on eBay, but I bought this USB soundcard for "troubleshooting purposes" and it works just fine!)

QUOTE
it's defo the computer, either the card or foobar itself...
Have you tried a CD player (or other source) to confirm that? foobar itself isn't going to do anything to the signal (unless you are using EQ, etc.). Make sure your soundcard "enhancements" are not enabled.

Check your left & right channels separately. Usually if there's a defect in your speakers it will be only in one speaker, and quite often, if there is distortion in the amp it will be in only one channel.

QUOTE
The speakers are from a company which specialised in monitor speakers but the ones I have are floor standers so I believe they should be adequate for general entertainment.
Speaker performance is very subjective, so it's hard to say if that's just the way they sound, or if there is some sort of defect.

If everything is working properly, speakers make the biggest difference. All speakers sound different... All properly-working and properly set-up electronics sound alike (assuming no EQ or other effects). Of course, if you are driving your power amp into distortion, amplifier power can make a difference. Speaker placement, listning position, and acoustics also make a difference. And of course, your source/program material makes a difference.

Or, if you "abuse" ReplayGain by setting the gain too high and allowing clipping, you'll get clipping (distortion). wink.gif

QUOTE
I've set it to 95dB, re-scanned a track and restarted fb2k. However RG metadate field remains unchanged on the track I re-scanned.
This is just an educated guess, but if you have configured RG to prevent clipping and the file is already maxed-out, I wouldn't expect it to change anything. In fact at 95dB, I would expect nothing will happen to the loudness of more than half your files (unless you allow clipping).



*OK... Jitter is real, but you'd have to have a horrible defect before it would ever be bad enough to become audible. As far as I know, it's only been made audible when it's deliberately introduced in experiments because there is no equipment that bad.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Feb 27 2013, 21:40
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db1989
post Feb 27 2013, 21:57
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Feb 27 2013, 20:20) *
QUOTE (giro1991 @ Feb 27 2013, 13:08) *
I've set it to 95dB, re-scanned a track and restarted fb2k. However RG metadate field remains unchanged on the track I re-scanned.
This is just an educated guess, but if you have configured RG to prevent clipping and the file is already maxed-out, I wouldn't expect it to change anything. In fact at 95dB, I would expect nothing will happen to the loudness of more than half your files (unless you allow clipping).

Possibly, but you’re entering philosophical territory now! The simple fact is that that option is meant not to have any effect upon tags because it is specifically only for RG that is written deliberately into the data of MP3 files, not the normal tag-based ReplayGain that is used by default.

It exists for this situation only because the normal system of ‘normalise relative to a universal target and leave other adjustments to the point of playback’ (example: foobar2000’s with-/without-RG preamps) is not available in cases where users have to use MP3gain because it’s effectively a last resort for volume levelling on players (read: the majority) that don’t support ReplayGain and therefore don’t support a compensatory amplification/attenuation applied as an accessory (ah, alliteration) to ReplayGain.

As for why adjustment of the reference level is best done upon playback and not in the tags, Garf explained in a thread that I found by searching Google for foobar2000 ReplayGain target:
QUOTE (Garf @ Jul 4 2005, 07:14) *
QUOTE (ReD-BaRoN @ Jul 3 2005, 08:03 PM)
QUOTE (Garf @ Jul 2 2005, 11:25 AM)
The ReplayGain values in the song are informative about the actual loudness of the song. Changing them makes *zero* sense.

You want whatever moves the files to the iPod to be fixed so you can adjust target level, certainly not the ReplayGain data itself!
*
Are you sure about that? Looks to me that ReplayGain is the difference between the actual loudness of the song and some target dB, specifically 83 db. Since it's this difference that is stored in the file, this is what I'm looking to adust.
*
Modifying the value *in the file* makes no sense. If you change it, it no longer represents the correct difference [1]. That's why changing it there is wrong.

[1] Because that value is specced to be relative to 89dB
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dhromed
post Feb 28 2013, 13:06
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QUOTE (db1989 @ Feb 27 2013, 18:45) *
Change the reference value a few times by fairly large amounts and then play a ReplayGained file after each alteration. I suspect it will all become clear then.

I've done this, but the scanned value for a track doesn't change. So the target setting in Advanced seems a complete no-op.
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db1989
post Feb 28 2013, 19:00
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Granted, I seem to have been guessing wrongly in the first instance, but your reply seems to flatly ignore the recent post above it in which I (1) quoted Garf’s statement that the scanned value specifically shouldn’t change and (2) pointed out that the setting in the Advanced Preferences applies only to RG that is written directly into MP3 data.
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dhromed
post Feb 28 2013, 20:02
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I didn't think your quoted bit had anything to do with the setting (because it doesn't refer to the setting, or scanning, or foobar), so I was a little puzzled why you quoted it.

In any case, if you want to modify the base level for conversion.. that's what the preamp sliders in the converter's RG settings are for, aren't they? When converting, any track is going to be modified based on what's in the tags, so the target level in Advanced should be a no-op there.

BUT this is OT'ing into an argument about the merits of a setting rather than helping the OP, so I'm going to get myself a cup of tea and watch some youtubez.
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db1989
post Feb 28 2013, 20:33
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QUOTE (dhromed @ Feb 28 2013, 19:02) *
I didn't think your quoted bit had anything to do with the setting (because it doesn't refer to the setting, or scanning, or foobar), so I was a little puzzled why you quoted it.
It was a misremembering on my part about the RG-related option in Advanced.

QUOTE
In any case, if you want to modify the base level for conversion.. that's what the preamp sliders in the converter's RG settings are for, aren't they? When converting, any track is going to be modified based on what's in the tags, so the target level in Advanced should be a no-op there.
Sure, and the same applies to playback and its own set of sliders.

QUOTE
BUT this is OT'ing into an argument about the merits of a setting rather than helping the OP, so I'm going to get myself a cup of tea and watch some youtubez.
I didn’t intend to argue and didn’t think we were having an argument! I was just trying to clarify details so that we could be sure we were talking about the same things.
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dhromed
post Mar 1 2013, 10:15
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Welp, them I'm completely stumped as to the apparent no-opness of the target level setting.
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2Bdecided
post Mar 1 2013, 10:32
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The "target mp3 alteration volume level" is used when applying track or album ReplayGain to mp3s (i.e. changing the audio data in mp3s). It is for changing files. It has no other use. It is not part of fb2k's playback system. It is not part of fb2k's ReplayGain scanner. Unless you are intentionally changing the volume of mp3 files by changing the audio data within them, it is irrelevant.

The playback pre-amps for ReplayGained and non-ReplayGained tracks do exactly what they say - apply a volume change (whatever fixed offset is specified) to files during playback.

The similar pre-amps in the converter dialogue do exactly what they say - apply a volume change during conversion.


The ReplayGain tags stored in files are always quoted relative to a target level of 89dB.
(except in one or two bits of "broken" software).

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
David.

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giro1991
post Mar 5 2013, 19:01
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Mar 1 2013, 09:32) *
The ReplayGain tags stored in files are always quoted relative to a target level of 89dB.
(except in one or two bits of "broken" software).

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
David.


Thanks david this clears RG up for me. Both MP3Gain & RG use 89db ref by default.
The MP3 Gain setting was unticked in the context menu preferences, hence why it wasn't there when I right clicked.
My library hasn't been changed and i've nothing to worry about.

I'm going to test my setup with a DVD player as stated. see if that makes a difference.

my speakers - same model: http://www.officinadelsuono.eu/?product=ro...ri-da-pavimento

Sound stage / making the room disappear is what I'm aim for. I don't intend on using multi channel surround sound, the rooms fairly small, say 5m by 8m.
I do know that a subwoofer helps the 3D sound effect.

Matching Sound Card Out V to Amp

Would putting the device volume up or down affect the voltage being output?
the pre-amp in my amp likes was rated using "500mV voltage (ref. power)" so theoretically i should adjust device volume to match... Do i have a point here?

I've also been tweaking with DSPs extensively. So far the chain is as follows;
IIR FilterResonant HP @ 50hz
IIR FilterResonant LP @ 20Khz.
(both to match the speakers response)
Crossfeed
- I believe this mixes the channels but unsure whether it mixes above 700hz or below 700hz. If i could find a DSP which downmix the bass below a certain Hz should that be ideal (as I don't have a subwoofer - yet)
Adv. Limiter

Should I up-sample + downsample @top+bottom of list?

Again, thanks for the help!


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db1989
post Mar 5 2013, 19:10
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Mar 1 2013, 09:32) *
Hope this helps.
For the love of Zeus, so do I. Thanks for taking the time to explain even more methodically something that I assumed would have been made abundantly clear by now.

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giro1991
post Mar 5 2013, 19:25
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Dynamic Range Compressor

Also, to be honest the amp does not push the speakers to it full capability.

The Recommended Power for my speakers is 20 - 110 (Previous owner used 110RMS amp so i presume this value is RMS too)
The amp only does 50watts RMS continuously.

and as you know most modern music is always maxxed out DR

So I had an Idea... would a compressor help here?
The Ratio recommended to capable is 0.45%
so will putting a compressor in at 45% help the sound? or does it not work like this?

thanks

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