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Mufflore
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Default 01-04-2013, 01:20 | posts: 10,114 | Location: United states of Kingdom

Yeah looks like a nice system.

A friend came round so I sat him down and said tell me what you think of this.
I played him The XX - The XX album that he knows well on my system.
He asked what I've done to make it sound so good.
When I told him it is just the audio player he asked for a further explanation but it is a bit over his head.

He said its a pretty big difference.

The thing thats mincing my brain about this player is that surely, a local memory buffer of even 1MB, data arriving in good time, power isolation with a local high precision clock will allow any DAC to perform to its best.
Which is supposedly present in my DAC (on USB input).
How on earth can this make such a difference?

Last edited by Mufflore; 01-04-2013 at 01:26.
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 01-04-2013, 01:24 | posts: 16,236 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mufflore View Post
Yeah looks like a nice system.

A friend came round so I sat him down and said tell me what you think of this.
I played him The XX - The XX album that he knows well on my system.
He asked what I've done to make it sound so good.
When I told him it is just the audio player he asked for a further explanation but it is a bit over his head.

He said its a pretty big difference.

The thing thats mincing my brain about this player is that surely, a local memory buffer of even 1MB, data arriving in good time, power isolation with a local high precision clock will allow any DAC to perform to its best.
Which is supposedly present in my DAC.
How on earth can this make such a difference?
Don't know without checking right into the programming. It sounds good just leave it at that. I used it today with a couple of new DAC's... Awesome.
It's a puzzler for sure but I heard a few things in some well known songs I never noticed before.

Have you checked on the price point of it? It is 99 Eur..

Last edited by ROBSCIX; 01-04-2013 at 01:30.
   
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Mufflore
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Default 01-04-2013, 01:31 | posts: 10,114 | Location: United states of Kingdom

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post
It sounds good just leave it at that.
lol, the point of this thread is not to do this
Or have I misunderstood?

Quote:
Have you checked on the price point of it? It is 99 Eur..
Yeah, quite a lot, but it does a lot.

Haha, caught your edit, wont say anything

Last edited by Mufflore; 01-04-2013 at 01:33.
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 01-04-2013, 01:35 | posts: 16,236 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

Just not much to figure out without looking at the code, the theory is sound I guess, loading everything into RAM first and depends on what is going on in the decoders.
   
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xodius80
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Default 01-04-2013, 02:53 | posts: 733 | Location: Ecuador

ive found a plugin for foobar 2000 wich does this ´´send to ram´´ feature, i dont know to what extend does the quality diference is betwen these other players such as JPlayer, but i hope you guys can check it out, and feedback some results, theres also a plugin for kernel streaming, alltho its from 2006 idk if theres a benefit from it.

http://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_ramdisk
http://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_out_ks

maybe the combine can save us some cash from the Jplayer offering.
   
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Mufflore
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Default 01-04-2013, 05:03 | posts: 10,114 | Location: United states of Kingdom

I'll have a go with them for sure, but my day is about to be wrapped up.
Thanks for posting those, tomorrow beckons
   
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Default 01-04-2013, 14:53 | posts: 10,001

I'd be interested in some feedback on those foobar plugins myself.
   
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GenClaymore
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Default 01-04-2013, 22:44 | posts: 5,894 | Location: Southfield,MI

Too bad jplay crashes every time i try to use it with foobar 2k.
   
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Mufflore
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Default 01-04-2013, 22:52 | posts: 10,114 | Location: United states of Kingdom

I read that it conflicts with some other plugins, it might be worth starting from a fresh install.
The mini player is sooo good though.

I've got a bit of burnout after yesterday so am having a rest today.
Will test those other plugins soon
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 01-05-2013, 00:32 | posts: 16,236 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenClaymore View Post
Too bad jplay crashes every time i try to use it with foobar 2k.
How did you set it up and what happens when you try and play a track?
You have to set foobar for NULL OUTPUT. That's was the issue I had, I didn't set it that way and it wouldn't play at all.
   
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GenClaymore
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Default 01-05-2013, 02:03 | posts: 5,894 | Location: Southfield,MI

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mufflore View Post
I read that it conflicts with some other plugins, it might be worth starting from a fresh install.
The mini player is sooo good though.

I've got a bit of burnout after yesterday so am having a rest today.
Will test those other plugins soon
Funny enough it is a fresh install, I don't have any 3rd part plugins installed other then jplay. I think it don't like windows 8 or me in general.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post
How did you set it up and what happens when you try and play a track?
You have to set foobar for NULL OUTPUT. That's was the issue I had, I didn't set it that way and it wouldn't play at all.
Oh I didn't know I had to set it as Null Ouput.
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 01-05-2013, 02:07 | posts: 16,236 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

Yes, has to be set as null output. Let me know if that works for you.
IIRC, Win8 is preferred for Jplay.

Last edited by ROBSCIX; 01-05-2013 at 02:09.
   
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GenClaymore
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Default 01-05-2013, 02:40 | posts: 5,894 | Location: Southfield,MI

Yea it does works now, if only it doesn't mute the songs every so often.
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 01-05-2013, 02:44 | posts: 16,236 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

It mutes the songs because it is a trial version.
   
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Mufflore
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Default 01-05-2013, 02:50 | posts: 10,114 | Location: United states of Kingdom

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post
IIRC, Win8 is preferred for Jplay.
Lots of things are preferred for JPlay lol.
Heres a few, I'm still reading:

Low latency ram.
Cpu that isnt running internal GPU.
Intel CPU.
Good stable PSU, even on external drives.
...

It gets a lot worse!
Full galvanic isolation on USB, optical preferred, but not just any old optical.
(this applies to other situations too, its just that JPlay can expose the difference well.
This apparently works very well on external USB drives as well !!)
Using a new command shell instead of explorer.
Using shorter filenames and placing files in the drives root lol!!

High end digital audio is a lot more sensitive than I imagined

Last edited by Mufflore; 01-05-2013 at 02:56.
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 01-05-2013, 02:54 | posts: 16,236 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

Might be cool to try out some of the other things they suggest. Some I bet is just paranoia or snake oil ideas.

I have most of those things going on that you mentioned anyway.
   
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Mufflore
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Default 01-05-2013, 02:57 | posts: 10,114 | Location: United states of Kingdom

I edited to say that its also recommended to use a quality USB to optical on the external USB drives as well !!
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 01-05-2013, 02:58 | posts: 16,236 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

Yeah, I know the device you are talking about. USB to Optical...pricey gear.
Or rather optical/USB interface, using optical to isoltae the USB connections.
Have look here->link

Last edited by ROBSCIX; 01-05-2013 at 03:04.
   
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Mufflore
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Default 01-05-2013, 03:11 | posts: 10,114 | Location: United states of Kingdom

Yeah thats one they seem to like.
Sooo much to read !

Whats mad is that when you want to purchase, you have to contact them for a quote.
   
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Mufflore
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Default 01-05-2013, 03:52 | posts: 10,114 | Location: United states of Kingdom

Something that has cropped up a lot is how a stable power supply on everything, even the OS drive makes a difference.
Battery packs have been tested on those builds that will accept them and are highly praised.

I wonder if there is a cheaper method that might give most of the improvements.
ie using capacitors as battery / a capacitor hybrid circuit, on the power supply rails.

There are multiple issues with this, not least related to slower rise in voltage levels on power up, large instantaneous loading of the PSU on power up, potential ringing on the power lines...
Some of these arent too hard to get round.
   
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Mufflore
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Default 01-05-2013, 07:44 | posts: 10,114 | Location: United states of Kingdom

I've reached my reading plateau for the day and indeed ran out of day hours ago!
My observations so far follow.
Much of it is common sense from an electronic engineers perspective, its how much it matters for digital audio that is of concern.


The most basic principles are to avoid electrical and EM noise getting into the main PC, being generated by the PC (as much as possible), avoid all of that getting into the DAC and prevent the DAC unit from generating noise (if possible) or receiving any from its power supply.
It appears that digital audio is very sensitive to noise from a PCs operation.
Or to be more precise, our hearing is so extremely sensitive, it can tell the difference from even the tiniest changes in how a PC or connected equipment operates if the hifi equipment is revealing enough.


Electrical noise is generated/transmitted in a number of ways:

1) through EM radiation. All current flow has a magnetic component. a Static flow (constant flow rate) does not induce current flow in nearby wires, a changing flow rate (AC) does.
PCs are rife with changing flow rates from signals, clocks and data.

2) conducting through power rails. All components connected to the same power supply will transmit their noise between each other through the power rails.
The power rails will also pick up some EM noise as well which will be sent to all connected devices to some degree.

3) generated by power supplies. The power supply itself will generate noise, this is especially so for switch mode PSUs such as a PC uses.
Anything connected to the PSU will receive this noise.
It will also be transmitted around the PC by EM radiation.
Using separate Battery packs for every component is the ideal power source for quite a few reasons.
As close to achieving this as possible while being practical is what should be looked for.

4) through signal paths. This may sound contentious, but signal paths are still analogue conductors and noise is carried on them.
SPDIF coax lines or USB can pick up noise along their length (even on the shield) and can transmit noise through the signal path that is modulated onto the signal.
Some designs dont reject noise from the power rails and shield.

Although SPDIF optical and other optical signal paths do not pick up noise along their length, they can still transmit noise between connected circuits by modulating the power to the light producing diode.
Clearly this will be less noise than a wired connection, but for audio it should be considered.

Noise on signal paths does not affect the data being sent, it affects circuits and the noise effects can add up, be amplified, or carried further into other circuits.
The net result that matters is whether it affects the timing of the clock pulse that clocks the data being sent "into" the DAC chip.

5) The PC itself is a HUGE generator of electrical and EM noise, so ways of reducing this will help a lot.
(But it also appears that a faster response of the PC may help too, tighter memory timings point to this - for increasing sound quality, not helping EM).
Reducing the processing the PC is doing or changing the way the processing is done has an effect.
Reducing the amount of power used by the PC has a 2 fold effect.
a) it draws less power from the PSU. Because the power draw isnt constant, it makes the PSU and power rails noisy, so less power draw means the noise amplitude decreases on the power rails. The power rails also radiate a little EMI.
b) EM radiation level is proportional to the voltage level in an AC circuit, so less power used by the PC reduces the amplitude of the EM radiation from PC components.
This means other conductors will pick up less EMI.
Some parts of the PC will run with less voltage and still give suitable performance.

6) The wall power supply and power leads to your PC/DAC/USB drive etc. Other devices in the house transmit noise on the mains and power leads pick up EM noise in the room.
You can shield power leads and filter some noise.


This all matters because:
Data must be clocked into the DAC at precise intervals.
Tiny changes to the timing of each pulse can be picked up by human hearing.
Each clock pulse has a start time, a rise time (how long it takes to raise its voltage) and a trigger voltage (when it has reached the voltage level to signal that the data can be clocked through).
Any noise on the clock signal can affect the start time and how long it takes to reach the trigger voltage.
But also crucially, the trigger voltage can vary from noise within the DAC.
It is crucial to eliminate as much noise as possible.


In my last post, I proposed using capacitors to stabilise the PSU.
Different value capacitors can be used in parallel to cope with different frequencies of noise and their harmonics, going to a device and coming from it.
By placing the capacitors close to each device, they will be able to perform a certain amount of isolation, even when connected to the same power supply.
This wont be as good as a separate battery to each device, but it might be good enough to avoid the large inconvenience and expense of using many sets of DC batteries.

Thats all for now, this is going to get interesting
Let me know if this is helpful, please point out any errors.
I keep thinking of more to add or how to make something clearer but I have to click submit at some point
Good night (at 7:43am!)

Last edited by Mufflore; 01-05-2013 at 08:24.
   
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  (#47)
RagDoll_Effect
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Default 01-05-2013, 07:52 | posts: 4,509 | Location: Australia

Great read Muff

I've been listening mostly to my player recently. Been making DVD audio Discs Would you be able to research DVD audio if you get the chance, MLP to be precise

Thanks dude,
RagDoll.
   
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Mufflore
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Default 01-05-2013, 08:23 | posts: 10,114 | Location: United states of Kingdom

Bear in mind that I cant discuss making of disks from certain downloads!
What do you want researched about MLP?

For example, if you asked me to research bitrate, I wouldnt know what you want to know

Last edited by Mufflore; 01-05-2013 at 08:41.
   
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RagDoll_Effect
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Default 01-05-2013, 08:55 | posts: 4,509 | Location: Australia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mufflore View Post
Bear in mind that I cant discuss making of disks from certain downloads!
What do you want researched about MLP?

For example, if you asked me to research bitrate, I wouldnt know what you want to know
Yeah, I know, I mean the electronics of it and the main thing I want to know is the difference between DVD audio and SACD's?

thanks,
RagDoll.
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 01-05-2013, 14:46 | posts: 16,236 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

@Muff, for the PSU, there is many caps on all the lines, there are also many caps in the connected devices. This is where the debates starts to come into play.
Example, people say the inside of a PC is noisy, power PSU is noisy, it could be sure depending on a few things. If we hook up say, a ASUS STX and measure it, the card provides better noise measurements then many external devices. So where is the noise?
Some have been saying SATA filters are a good idea but I am not sure how much stock I put into them.

I guess making a more precise system could only be good for audio.
   
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