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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone,


I come here today with a question. Back in 2004 I bought a 7.1 sound system for my PC for my games. I've had this system ever since. Also since then I've always been trying to improve the sound quality of my music playback. yes I notice a difference when play music from just two channels and upmixing it to 7.1 but it doesn't have that wow factor.


I've seen products like the XMOD from Creative and similar stuff. I've plugins in for media players but none that interested me persay. If it helps I am using an Audigy 2 ZS by Creative in my PC (not something X-FI based). I've heard X-FI based cards offer things like crystality that should make things sound more like the original studio recording.


I've listened to 320KBPS mp3, FLAC, and uncompressed wav and I notice hardly a difference between the three even though I know there is a difference.


I've also tried listening to music on my PS3 and again nothing that has wowed me.


I want to know does there exist anything out there that I could do that I would make all these changes, load up my favorite media player, hit play and be blown away by the difference?


If you need more information about my system, my setup, or my room I can provide the information. i'm certain what I am after is possible because after all I've seen the XMOD product from Creative come with a guarantee that if you don't hear a difference you get your money back.


Also while I am looking for a solution for my system at home is there any similar solutions I can get for my MP3 player for my music on the go?


One last note I would accept a solution that requires me to upgrade my hardware but I would prefer no solutions that require me to spend money for software., :)


P.S. forgive me if this has been asked before.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaFees /forum/post/16976497


...I've listened to 320KBPS mp3, FLAC, and uncompressed wav and I notice hardly a difference between the three....

If this is the case, it points to your system not being up to the task. You didn't say what it is, so let us know.
 

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Quote:
I've listened to 320KBPS mp3, FLAC, and uncompressed wav and I notice hardly a difference between the three even though I know there is a difference.

I'm afraid I can't help you with your quest, because I'm not familiar enough with what you're using/considering. But the fact that you can't hear a difference between these formats says nothing about your system.


That said, in general the most effective way to improve your audio experience is to upgrade your speakers. As for software,

Quote:
I've heard X-FI based cards offer things like crystality that should make things sound more like the original studio recording.

That sounds like marketing horsepucky. Check that. It IS marketing horsepucky.


Someone who knows more than I do about this stuff may correct me, but my sense is that the software you're thinking of would either implement surround sound in certain ways (which you might like, although it has nothing to do with getting closer to the original) or add equalization (ditto).
 

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Pop a store-bought retail CD in your system, and that will be your gauge to how good your sound is. Beyond that, you will need to define what you want to "pop" in your system. If you want fuller bass - add a subwoofer. If you are looking for clean and clear at louder volume, then an amp and better speakers will be in order. We can help you out, but only if your requests and descriptions are specific.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaFees /forum/post/16976497


Hello Everyone,


I come here today with a question. Back in 2004 I bought a 7.1 sound system for my PC for my games. I've had this system ever since. Also since then I've always been trying to improve the sound quality of my music playback. yes I notice a difference when play music from just two channels and upmixing it to 7.1 but it doesn't have that wow factor.


I've seen products like the XMOD from Creative and similar stuff. I've plugins in for media players but none that interested me persay. If it helps I am using an Audigy 2 ZS by Creative in my PC (not something X-FI based). I've heard X-FI based cards offer things like crystality that should make things sound more like the original studio recording.


I've listened to 320KBPS mp3, FLAC, and uncompressed wav and I notice hardly a difference between the three even though I know there is a difference.


I've also tried listening to music on my PS3 and again nothing that has wowed me.


I want to know does there exist anything out there that I could do that I would make all these changes, load up my favorite media player, hit play and be blown away by the difference?


If you need more information about my system, my setup, or my room I can provide the information. i'm certain what I am after is possible because after all I've seen the XMOD product from Creative come with a guarantee that if you don't hear a difference you get your money back.


Also while I am looking for a solution for my system at home is there any similar solutions I can get for my MP3 player for my music on the go?


One last note I would accept a solution that requires me to upgrade my hardware but I would prefer no solutions that require me to spend money for software., :)


P.S. forgive me if this has been asked before.

If you're looking for a big WOW, then you're probably looking at a whole new system, IMO. At the very least, a new speaker/sub setup.


As to not hearing a big difference between 320KBPS mp3, FLAC, and uncompressed wav, join the club. A well done 320K mp3 is hard, if not impossible, for most people to identify, IMO


As for FLAC vs WAV, common opinion (theory?) is they sound the same because FLAC is lossless compression. Of course, that assumes you made the FLAC from a good source like a WAV, not a lossy file like a low bitrate mp3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I popped in one of my favorite albums and it didn't sound too bad. I then played around with the EQ on my sound card a bit and set it to rock because this album was a rock album. I noticed some difference and I liked it. I don't know I guess I was thinking that I could take my music to a new level and just be wowed but in what sense I'm not so sure. I mean I've got good bass for my room, not earth shaking but room filling.


What is interesting though (and this is a bit off topic, sorry) When listening to music my bass response is awesome I not only hear it but I feel it (Even if my music is played on my PC or my PS3). When it comes to movies however. I can hear the bass, I can hear the loud booms, but sitting on my couch I don't necessarily feel it if you know what I mean.


Anyways I've seen products like this software, here and this hardware, here


As I listen to this album I'm thinking two things perhaps a little more clarity (a little not a lot as it's a bit clear as is) at higher volumes would be nice also I would like to be able to hear a difference between MP3 and FLAC/WAV.


My setup is as follows:


Onkyo 606 AVR

Creative Gigaworks S750 PC sound system (Note I originally bought this system for 7.1 surround in my PC gaming)

Audigy 2 ZS PC Sound Card

A PS3


my PS3 connects via HDMI and my PC connects via a 3x3.5mm plugs to 8 RCA plugs adapter cable.


Perhaps I'm a bit delusional in that my music sounds great and I just don't realize it.


I will add one final thought though that I have considered upgrading my sound system before but I do not know if it necessary or if even doing so would yield noticeable results.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaFees /forum/post/16977302


As I listen to this album I'm thinking two things perhaps a little more clarity (a little not a lot as it's a bit clear as is) at higher volumes would be nice also I would like to be able to hear a difference between MP3 and FLAC/WAV.

If you haven't already tried it I would recomend trying an optical connection between the PC and hifi. This usually has the effect of significanly lowering noise floor by breaking ground loops. This should make things clearer sounding at all volume levels.


Other than that probably the only way to make it clearer at high volume levels if it is breaking up currently is by either getting more efficient speakers or getting a more powerful amp.


BTW I'd probably try and steer clear of that creative labs thing. I haven't used that software you linked but there are plenty of great EQ plugins for winamp, media player, foobar etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ugly1 /forum/post/16977486


...BTW I'd probably try and steer clear of that creative labs thing. I haven't used that software you linked but there are plenty of great EQ plugins for winamp, media player, foobar etc.

Ok, but then I am confused that device must do something significant otherwise why would they offer a 30-day guarantee?


Also I can try a digital connection between my PC and AVR. Does it matter if it's coaxial or optical? Because I can currently only do coaxial.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaFees /forum/post/16977566


Ok, but then I am confused that device must do something significant otherwise why would they offer a 30-day guarantee?

Who knows, maybe you'd like it. The 30 day trial perriod certainly does buy you a bit of insurance. I just become leary when marketting literature starts claiming stuff like it can restore lossy files to better than the lossless files they were presumably created from. Better in my mind means more true to the original performance...how on earth can any hardware create more realistic reproductions without inside knowledge of the original performance? It can't. Likely they are just playing some eqing and phase shifting games which can be done with free software plugins for something like winamp.

Quote:
Does it matter if it's coaxial or optical? Because I can currently only do coaxial.

mmm that's too bad. It does make a difference if there isn't true electrical isolation on the coax line. All the soundcards I have available to test don't isolate, and neither do any of my preamps and recievers I have available for test. Those that don't may not offer any improvement at all. You can find out if your coax port is isolated by ohming out between the coax shell and one of the RCA jack shells using an ohmeter if you have it. The good news is only one of the two needs isolation to break the ground loop, IOW if either the reciever or soundcard offer the isolation then you are good to go.


You can buy converters for converting from electrical to optical which could accomplish the same thing. I've3 also seen DIY sites which show how to build one. It isn't that tough if you can solder and stuff. There may also be transformers available for isolating on the coax but I haven't personanlly seen one for doing s/pdif. That doesn't mean they aren't out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok I want to shift the focus of this topic I've come to learn with playing around with the EQ that my music does sound good but here's a different problem for you. For me I tend to have a hard time noticing a difference between a lossy movie soundtrack versus a lossless track.


Example the opening scene of the dark knight (the bank robbery) I have some difficulty noticing a significant difference between the DD track and the TrueHD track. Now I imagine this could have a lot to do with my speakers as they are and also their placement. Could I be wrong though in thinking there would be that great of a difference that upon going from the lossy track to the loseless track I would be instantly wowed?
 

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If you haven't already figured it out, the opinion of "a big difference" between things in audio varies greatly.


Something that you think is a subtle difference may be described as a "night and day" difference by someone else, and vice versa.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaFees /forum/post/17005271


Could I be wrong though in thinking there would be that great of a difference that upon going from the lossy track to the loseless track I would be instantly wowed?

Yes, you could be wrong.



The legacy codecs on Blu are generally encoded at higher bitrates than on DVD and they sound great. While there are no rigorous, scientific studies published on the subject, most who do controlled comparisons find that the DTS core at 1509 kbps is pretty much as good as dts-MA and that DD 5.1 at 640 kbps is not far behind TrueHD. But, of course, you'll also hear from those who claim to hear significant improvement from lossless.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaFees /forum/post/17005271


Ok I want to shift the focus of this topic I've come to learn with playing around with the EQ that my music does sound good but here's a different problem for you. For me I tend to have a hard time noticing a difference between a lossy movie soundtrack versus a lossless track.


Example the opening scene of the dark knight (the bank robbery) I have some difficulty noticing a significant difference between the DD track and the TrueHD track. Now I imagine this could have a lot to do with my speakers as they are and also their placement. Could I be wrong though in thinking there would be that great of a difference that upon going from the lossy track to the loseless track I would be instantly wowed?
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoaru99 /forum/post/17005322


If you haven't already figured it out, the opinion of "a big difference" between things in audio varies greatly.


Something that you think is a subtle difference may be described as a "night and day" difference by someone else, and vice versa.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander /forum/post/17005342


Yes, you could be wrong.



The legacy codecs on Blu are generally encoded at higher bitrates than on DVD and they sound great. While there are no rigorous, scientific studies published on the subject, most who do controlled comparisons find that the DTS core at 1509 kbps is pretty much as good as dts-MA and that DD 5.1 at 640 kbps is not far behind TrueHD. But, of course, you'll also hear from those who claim to hear significant improvement from lossless.

The perceived difference between lossy and lossless codecs on Blu-Ray is totally academic in my opinion. Is there anyone out there, because they hear no difference between the two, or only hear a slight difference, will refuse to listen to the lossless codec? Be honest. If you delete the lossless codec from a BD, I seriously doubt the price will come down. Video quality will not improve either. Me, I will take the best video and audio that BD can deliver any day. It is a combined experience.
 

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I've only just gotten into the position of being able to listen to uncompressed, lossless and lossy compressions.


My strategy will be quite simple. I'll listen to a little bit of each as available on any given BD and choose which one sounds best to me at the time.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesky636 /forum/post/17006393


The perceived difference between lossy and lossless codecs on Blu-Ray is totally academic in my opinion. Is there anyone out there, because they hear no difference between the two, or only hear a slight difference, will refuse to listen to the lossless codec?

Of course not. You've made that comment before and I've offered this response to your comment before: It's not academic for someone who is considering whether to upgrade perfectly fine equipment just to get lossless.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander /forum/post/17006567


Of course not. You've made that comment before and I've offered this response to your comment before: It's not academic for someone who is considering whether to upgrade perfectly fine equipment just to get lossless.

To be honest, I don't think that is a valid response. I don't think most people "upgrade perfectly fine equipment just to get lossless." They upgrade equipment because they need to (my previous AVR was 10 years old), they want to (gotta spend that tax refund on something.
), or they are looking for extra features (7.1 channels, Audyssey, HDMI capability, etc.). The new codecs just come along for the ride. Anyone who is buying new equipment today is going to get lossless decoding as part of the bargain (in their AVR or BD player). Except in some very high end ($$$$$$$) equipment (and they usually provide a firmware upgrade), lossless decoding is available in virtually every AVR made today down to $500.00 or even less. If you are going to buy into a Blu-Ray system, what reason is there to NOT utilize the best of everything that Blu-Ray provides?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
For the record I never did say that I wouldn't listen to a lossless track it is just that I there would be a more noticeable difference and because I wasn't hearing one I just thought maybe it was my sound system.


Anyways, since that is cleared up I have two quick questions. First is that given my sound system is a Creative Gigaworks s750 and that some day I would like to upgrade my sound system which would be the better place to start; upgrading the sub first, then the speakers or visa versa?


Second question; My understanding of sound is this, in the beginning there was a single speaker which translated into mono sound. Then some one realized that sound doesn't just come from one place (the center) it comes from the both the left and the right, thus we got stereo. Next some one realized that hey there is also sound behind us, thus quadraphonic was born. Then some one realized that speech usual comes from the front and center, thus came 5.1. After that some one had the bright idea that if we have a front center channel, why not a rear center channel. 6.1 was born. I follow everything so far but then they had the bright idea to get rid of that rear center channel and add two side channels for 7.1. My question is this, why didn't they just keep that rear center channel add-on two side channels and make full 8.1? The only reason I could fathom is that most people would say that 2 side and 2 rear speakers was enveloping enough and felt that going with 7.1 over 8.1 would be one way to save the average consumer a little money?


That's all for now but thank you for the responses I seem to have a much better understanding about audio now!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesky636 /forum/post/17006762


To be honest, I don't think that is a valid response. I don't think most people "upgrade perfectly fine equipment just to get lossless."

I guess you don't read the same posts I do. The question of whether to upgrade to get lossless comes up all the time when people get into Blu-ray.

Quote:
If you are going to buy into a Blu-Ray system, what reason is there to NOT utilize the best of everything that Blu-Ray provides?

No reason at all. What's your point? I certainly never suggested that anyone opt for inferior outputs. I don't recall anyone else making that suggestion either.


I guess what you fail to understand is that lossless may not be the best output for everyone in every situation. Or, it may not be worth the expense or hassle given the high quality of the lossy codecs on BD. This is not about what works for you. It's about what works best for others.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaFees /forum/post/17006980


...some day I would like to upgrade my sound system which would be the better place to start; upgrading the sub first, then the speakers or visa versa?

I'd start with the front speakers. Then do the sub. The surrounds can come last.
 
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