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PlayerABX Tool - Foobar2000 vs XMPlay, ABX GUI Tool that silently plays songs in two players
Did PlayerDoes XMPlay or Foobar2000 give better quality sound?
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post Feb 10 2013, 09:02
Post #1

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This tool allows double-blind playing of the same songs in two different players. Please participate in this Double-blind ABX listening test to compare Foobar2000 1.2.2 vs XMPlay 3.7. You must choose 10 audio files in the interface - listen to each audio file in two anonymous players - and then make a radio selection as to which sounded better to you.

The tool was written in AutoHotKey Classic - and so you can view the code yourself to see what it does. If you have AutoHotkey installed - you can run the .AHK file, or if you don't have AutoHotKey installed you can run the compiled .EXE file.

XMPlay 3.7 and Foobar2000 1.2.2 are to be included in subfolders. Both programs are launched to the tray and produce no popups when playing songs via this tool - so as to provide double-blind compliance. From the author's original files, the following changes have been made to support double-blind operation:
1. XMPlay.ini is modified to add the line "NoReg=1" to make it into portable mode and "TitleTray=0" to disable tray bubble notifications for blind playing and "AutoAmp=0" to disable ReplayGain.
2. XMPlay Directsound plug-in has been installed into XMPlay to match Foobar2000's default DirectSound output.
3. Foobar2000 Preferences>Shell Integration>"Bring to front when adding new files" has been unticked.

Please post your results. This tool can also very easily be modified to perform double-blind tests between other players as well. My goal was to find the best sounding audio player for Windows - and I believe XMPlay is it according to my tests. If you believe there is a better sounding audio player than XMPlay then this tool can be modified (the .AHK source is included) for that player as well. Please post your results and lets verify what the best sounding audio player for Windows is.

Download: PlayerABX-Foobar-vs-XMPlay.zip (3.25MB)

This post has been edited by robertcollier4: Feb 10 2013, 09:58
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post Feb 11 2013, 22:40
Post #2

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This reveals another problem: users are to choose the files that, to them, sound “better and more accurate”. Not only are those two qualities vague: they also have no obligation to correlate with each other.

Moreover, if a user is to take seriously the invitation to test accuracy, how are they to determine that? A measure of accuracy implies a fixed reference (control) to which the item being tested is compared. What is the control in this case? In an ABX test, it would be A, but no such thing exists here. [edit] lol wut, it must have been much too late/early when I wrote that. What I was actually thinking of was something like ABC/HR, since ABX compares only two sources, not two compressed sources vs. lossless, as would be the relevant type of test here. [/edit]

I think this is why decoders are generally compared using mathematical methods, which tend to reveal no differences close to any threshold of perceptibility anyway. Assuming proper implementation, I see no reason why the two decoders that are relevant here should be any different. In that case, promoting perceptual testing not only is unnecessary but also risks drawing people into false conclusions due to a lack of statistical controls, especially if such people may already have pre-/mis-conceptions about supposed differences.

I’m not meaning this personally or doing it just for the sake of arguing. I just think that the methodology is too unreliable, especially for a test that is most likely not necessary in the first place.

This post has been edited by db1989: Feb 12 2013, 06:38
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