24/96 Question - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 09-29-2013, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
buckchester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 60
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Hello,

I'm trying to figure out the best way to play 24/96 music files in my current home system. I currently use a PS3 connected to a Marantz SR5005 receiver. But these files are not compatible with the PS3. I tried using a laptop, connected via HDMI and it works. However, I noticed that when I play a CD or a digital track through the laptop with this configuration, it doesn't sound as good as it does when I play the same CD or the same digital file from the PS3. I'm not sure why this is. The laptop in question does not have a fancy soundcard or anything, but I wouldn't think this would have an effect anyways since the receiver is handling the conversion. Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks.
buckchester is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 09-30-2013, 04:01 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
arnyk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
Posts: 14,387
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 763 Post(s)
Liked: 1178
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckchester View Post

Hello,

I'm trying to figure out the best way to play 24/96 music files in my current home system. I currently use a PS3 connected to a Marantz SR5005 receiver. But these files are not compatible with the PS3. I tried using a laptop, connected via HDMI and it works. However, I noticed that when I play a CD or a digital track through the laptop with this configuration, it doesn't sound as good as it does when I play the same CD or the same digital file from the PS3. I'm not sure why this is. The laptop in question does not have a fancy soundcard or anything, but I wouldn't think this would have an effect anyways since the receiver is handling the conversion. Anyone have any ideas?

The problem is probably your method for comparison. Not level matched, not time synchronized, no quick switching at your personal discretion, and not bias controlled.

You also seem to have a misapprehension that you need a fancy sound card to play music accurately via HDMI. Not true - HDMI uses a digital link.

You think it has to sound worse, and so it does.
arnyk is offline  
Old 09-30-2013, 06:37 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
buckchester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 60
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Quote:
Posted by arnyk:
The problem is probably your method for comparison. Not level matched, not time synchronized, no quick switching at your personal discretion, and not bias controlled.

Correct. I did try my best to manually account for these variables, but in the end it still seemed to sound worse form the laptop. I fully understand the limits to this kind of test. Be aware that I am not concluding the laptop necessarily sounds worse. But it certainly did seem to. It could be simply perceived due to one or more of the variables you mentioned, or it could be something else. A sound setting within the laptop, perhaps. At this point, I don't know.
Quote:
Posted by arnyk:
You also seem to have a misapprehension that you need a fancy sound card to play music accurately via HDMI.
Quote:
Posted by buckchester:
The laptop in question does not have a fancy soundcard or anything, but I wouldn't think this would have an effect anyways

Doesn't sound like a misapprehension to me. An uncertainty, perhaps.
Quote:
Posted by arnyk:
You think it has to sound worse, and so it does.

Quite presumptuous, and false. I expected them to sound identical.

I'm still not sure what your answer to my question is. Seems like it's that that the PS3 and laptop should be of comparable audio quality if they are both connected to the receiver via HDMI since all they are doing is transmitting an identical digital signal. Is this correct?
buckchester is offline  
Old 09-30-2013, 07:35 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
arnyk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
Posts: 14,387
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 763 Post(s)
Liked: 1178
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckchester View Post

Quote:
Posted by arnyk:
The problem is probably your method for comparison. Not level matched, not time synchronized, no quick switching at your personal discretion, and not bias controlled.

Correct. I did try my best to manually account for these variables, but in the end it still seemed to sound worse form the laptop. I fully understand the limits to this kind of test. Be aware that I am not concluding the laptop necessarily sounds worse. But it certainly did seem to. It could be simply perceived due to one or more of the variables you mentioned, or it could be something else. A sound setting within the laptop, perhaps. At this point, I don't know.

I gotta ask, how does one "manually account for these variables"?
arnyk is offline  
Old 09-30-2013, 10:10 AM
AVS Special Member
 
mogorf's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Posts: 4,482
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 234 Post(s)
Liked: 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckchester View Post

Hello,

I'm trying to figure out the best way to play 24/96 music files in my current home system. I currently use a PS3 connected to a Marantz SR5005 receiver. But these files are not compatible with the PS3. I tried using a laptop, connected via HDMI and it works. However, I noticed that when I play a CD or a digital track through the laptop with this configuration, it doesn't sound as good as it does when I play the same CD or the same digital file from the PS3. I'm not sure why this is. The laptop in question does not have a fancy soundcard or anything, but I wouldn't think this would have an effect anyways since the receiver is handling the conversion. Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks.

Hi,

What media player are you using? I have great success quality wise with music played on my laptop with a freeware program called foobar2000.
mogorf is offline  
Old 09-30-2013, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
buckchester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 60
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 11
I'm actually using foobar2000 as well. I agree, it's a great player. Especially for ABX'ing tracks.
buckchester is offline  
Old 09-30-2013, 11:29 AM
AVS Special Member
 
mogorf's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Posts: 4,482
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 234 Post(s)
Liked: 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckchester View Post

I'm actually using foobar2000 as well. I agree, it's a great player. Especially for ABX'ing tracks.

Did you download Wasapi for foobar?

Here's the description: "The foobar2000 Windows Audio Session API (WASAPI) output support component allows you to play your music using WASAPI exclusive mode. WASAPI is a new audio output method introduced in Windows Vista; among other things, it provides an exclusive mode that allows applications to take full control over soundcard's resources (muting any sounds played by other applications) and play unaltered bitstream without passing it through the Windows mixer.

Give it a try! smile.gif
mogorf is offline  
Old 09-30-2013, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
buckchester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 60
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Thanks for the tip, I will give it a try!
buckchester is offline  
Old 09-30-2013, 11:51 AM
AVS Special Member
 
mogorf's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Posts: 4,482
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 234 Post(s)
Liked: 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckchester View Post

Thanks for the tip, I will give it a try!

Not at all! And when you're done I'll have some more tips for you on how to setup foobar for audio playback with some more tweaks. wink.gif
mogorf is offline  
Old 09-30-2013, 04:16 PM
Senior Member
 
manuetdeo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 218
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Liked: 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

Not at all! And when you're done I'll have some more tips for you on how to setup foobar for audio playback with some more tweaks. wink.gif

sorry to hijack, but i am interested in this tweaks?

manuetdeo is offline  
Old 09-30-2013, 04:54 PM
AVS Special Member
 
mogorf's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Posts: 4,482
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 234 Post(s)
Liked: 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by manuetdeo View Post

sorry to hijack, but i am interested in this tweaks?

No hijack at all. OK, here's how I do. But before getting down to the tweaks we need to know some details, namely the difference between movie recordings and music recordings. Movies are recorded to known standards, i.e. when our HT system is setup properly it will play the movies with reference level and it's accompanying spectral balance. Not the case for music. Music industry has no such recording standards, CD by CD the level and the spectral balance is all over the map.

AVR's that have Audyssey on board now-a-days have a feature called "RLO = Reference Level Offset". By 5 dB increments it sets the reference level in a way that the spectral balance is more or less preserved. Can be tedious to set the RLO case by case for each and every CD we have.

My solution makes RLO needless, best to leave it a 0 dB setting, meantime each and every audio program material can easily be set to same playback level with a little effort.

Here goes:

1. Rip redbook CDs to PC/laptop in Foobar.

2. Download "Columns UI" for foobar. This will be needed for setting playback levels. When done properly the foobar window should look something like this, note the level meter on the left side:



3. Play a song, right click and look for "Replay Gain". Click on "Edit Replay Gain" and type-in dB values to make peak playback on the level meter reach 0 dB. Say, the playback shows peak not more than -6 dB then you may adjust by typing 6 dB.

4. Check playback level again on the level meter.

5. This method will give you consistent playback levels regardless of levels off your CDs eliminating the use of RLO as mentioned above. A whole CD playlist can be set by one shot by selecting all songs, and it even works on the fly, i.e. while in playback mode.

6. I may have not completely described the method in full details, so please feel free to ask any questions you may have for some fine tuning of the method.
mogorf is offline  
Old 09-30-2013, 05:20 PM
AVS Special Member
 
JHAz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 4,043
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 119 Post(s)
Liked: 167
I would suggest that replay gain is unlikely to put music recordings at movie reference so music would need a consistent rlo which is not certain to be zero.
JHAz is offline  
Old 09-30-2013, 05:25 PM
AVS Special Member
 
mogorf's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Posts: 4,482
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 234 Post(s)
Liked: 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHAz View Post

I would suggest that replay gain is unlikely to put music recordings at movie reference so music would need a consistent rlo which is not certain to be zero.

You are absolutely right JHAz, thanks for your input, ...no known recording levels of the music industry suggests an experimental approach. One may settle with -5 dB peak settings or even -10 dB peak settings once my method is followed. We are in preference land, aren't we? smile.gif IMHO, getting consistent playback levels should have priority before the source material reaches the AVR.
mogorf is offline  
Old 09-30-2013, 11:03 PM
Newbie
 
hyxtryx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Personally, I don't use replay-gain because I don't like the idea of an extra computation done on the digital data. The OP heard a difference between the PS3 and using optical from his soundcard. I fully believe he might have.

A couple reasons could be:

1. The PS3 is set to upconvert a CD. This will happen when you have it set for 44.1/88.2/172 (as opposed to 48) in one of the menus, and tell it that your receiver can accept 88.2 or 172 KHz in another menu. That will upconvert the CD to either 88.2 or 172, depending on what you told it your receiver's max sampling rate is.

The first menu is called "Music" I think (under the setup icon, not the main music one), and the 2nd menu is called "Audio Setup" I think.
Turn off everything but 44.1 (which can't be turned off) in the 2nd menu, and I bet it will sound the same.

2. If you can still hear a difference, maybe your PC has a lot of jitter.

I have mine set to upconvert to 88.2, and I think it sounds better that way, running it into my receiver. However, running into a Benchmark DAC1 with headphones, it does NOT sound better. Since the DAC1 already upconverts, it's pointless, and to my ears it sounds better when fed the raw 44.1KHz data. That's neither here nor there, other than to point out that the better sound you hear from the PS3 might be somewhat of an illusion. ...but I like it too, when fed to my receiver.

You might be able to get the same effect by upconverting your soundcard output to 96KHz, if it allows it. On mine I can right-click the speaker icon in the lower right, choose "playback devices". Double-click the digital output one, and choose the Advanced tab. You should see some choices for sample rate output. Turn all your PC volumes up all the way, at least the ones that matter, including the player (anything else causes extra digital processing of the sound data), and control the volume on your receiver.
hyxtryx is offline  
Old 09-30-2013, 11:27 PM
AVS Special Member
 
mogorf's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Posts: 4,482
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 234 Post(s)
Liked: 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyxtryx View Post

Personally, I don't use replay-gain because I don't like the idea of an extra computation done on the digital data. The OP heard a difference between the PS3 and using optical from his soundcard. I fully believe he might have.

A couple reasons could be:

1. The PS3 is set to upconvert a CD. This will happen when you have it set for 44.1/88.2/172 (as opposed to 48) in one of the menus, and tell it that your receiver can accept 88.2 or 172 KHz in another menu. That will upconvert the CD to either 88.2 or 172, depending on what you told it your receiver's max sampling rate is.

The first menu is called "Music" I think (under the setup icon, not the main music one), and the 2nd menu is called "Audio Setup" I think.
Turn off everything but 44.1 (which can't be turned off) in the 2nd menu, and I bet it will sound the same.

2. If you can still hear a difference, maybe your PC has a lot of jitter.

I have mine set to upconvert to 88.2, and I think it sounds better that way, running it into my receiver. However, running into a Benchmark DAC1 with headphones, it does NOT sound better. Since the DAC1 already upconverts, it's pointless, and to my ears it sounds better when fed the raw 44.1KHz data. That's neither here nor there, other than to point out that the better sound you hear from the PS3 might be somewhat of an illusion. ...but I like it too, when fed to my receiver.

You might be able to get the same effect by upconverting your soundcard output to 96KHz, if it allows it. On mine I can right-click the speaker icon in the lower right, choose "playback devices". Double-click the digital output one, and choose the Advanced tab. You should see some choices for sample rate output. Turn all your PC volumes up all the way, at least the ones that matter, including the player (anything else causes extra digital processing of the sound data), and control the volume on your receiver.

You don't use Replay Gain because you don't like "the idea of an extra computation done on the digital data", but you suggest the OP to upconvert to 96 kHz. Hmmm!!eek.gif
mogorf is offline  
Old 09-30-2013, 11:32 PM
Newbie
 
hyxtryx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
BTW, if you really really want to do some listening tests, the PS3 has another setting. When you upconvert, you're supposed to apply dither. The PS3 has 4 settings. No dither, type 1, type2, and type 3. They're really subtle, but if you heard the difference between normal CD and PS3 upconverting, you just might be able to tell whether you like type 1, type 2 or type 3 dither better, and whether that still sounds better than your PC upconverting to 96KHz. smile.gif

It's under the first "Music Setup" menu I mentioned. It's called "Bitmapping"

I think the difference in types is where in the audio spectrum it puts the distortion caused by the dithering. Using no dither causes more distortion, or maybe puts it in a very audible part of the spectrum. Can't remember which. Might be both.
hyxtryx is offline  
Old 09-30-2013, 11:49 PM
Newbie
 
hyxtryx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Mogorf, Because he said that he liked the sound of the PS3 better than PC's toslink output. He's probably got it upconverting, which it will do pretty much by default, so if he LIKES that better, why not try it on his PC since he wanted to use his PC instead of PS3.

There's no sense in adding MORE signal processing by also changing the volume. Let the receiver do that, which hopefully happens in the analog domain.

BTW, if he wants to play 24/96 files from PC, then ensuring that the sample rate of the PCs output is 24/96 is a MUST.
hyxtryx is offline  
Old 10-01-2013, 12:01 AM
Newbie
 
hyxtryx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Oops, OP is using HDMI, I was thinking it was toslink. Same thing might apply, though. Look for the HDMI sound device and see if it allows changing of the sample rate.
hyxtryx is offline  
Old 10-01-2013, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
buckchester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 60
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Thanks for all the advice, I will fiddle around with all my settings and see if I can hear any differences.

But since I am still connecting these sources digitally, will the settings in the sources be able to make any difference in the end since the receiver's internal DAC will be doing the final conversion anyways? I suppose they could since I did hear a difference initially.

Also, I guess if I feed the receiver a higher signal (i.e. 44.1khz vs. 96khz) it would accept it as is, so it could be possible to hear a difference with that (if an audible difference even exists). Not sure if other special types of processing (i.e. PS3 bitmapping) would be lost in the receiver's DAC though?

FYI - 16/44 vs. 24/96 - while conducting ABX tests with foobar2000 using a pair of Grado 225i headphones, using the replaygain feature, I have noticed audible differences in some hi res tracks vs. their CD counterparts. With certain songs, the 24/96 did sound better and I was able to reliably determine which it was (i.e. X or Y). No idea though if this is because of 24/96 or if the tracks had simply been remastered or reengineered in a better way than the original CD?
buckchester is offline  
 
Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off