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robbiex
2007-10-15, 14:04
We have been testing the new Winamp version 5.5. Based only on the apparent audio listening quality, the FLAC audio (ripped from CD-ROMs) sounds better with Winamp compared with that from SoftSqueeze 3.4. The Winamp decoder is Nullsoft FLAC decoder 2.02.
The sound card is a RME HDSP 9632.

egd
2007-10-15, 16:43
flac is flac is lossless is lossless. any differences you're experiencing have nothing to do with the source.

luga00
2007-10-16, 04:23
I think that's the whole point of the OP's post.

He is saying that although the source is the same for both playback systems Winamp seems to 'Sound' better than Softsqueeze when playing them back.

vrobin
2007-10-16, 04:39
The difference is not in the decoder (input), neither in the soundcard that is the same (output). If there's a difference, it's in the middle of this two components: Winamp EQ, Software DSP, Soundcard params varying upon the output method (directsound, windows mixer, kernel streaming, etc.), default volume, etc.

slimpy
2007-10-16, 04:56
You did disable the equalizer in winamp, didn't you?
And you made sure winamp and softsqueeze play at the same volume level. Even slightly higher volume in one of the applications can make you believe one sounds better than the other.
Did you check that bitrate limiting isn't enabled for the softsqueeze client in slimserver?

-s.

robbiex
2007-10-16, 05:37
Thanks to all for your comments.
Bit rate is set to No Limit and the Winamp equalizer is off.
The listening volume sounds about the same, but I do understand the comment and know that volume levels can make a big difference in perceived audio quality.
It is hard to describe, but what bothers me most is a distinct difference in the "crispness" of the audio. It sounds as if there might be some clipping or distortion when using SoftSqueeze. RME does have an excellent frequency spectrum analyzer, DIGICheck, and it isn't showing any clipping or significant difference in the audio levels.

vrobin
2007-10-16, 06:52
Isn't softsqueeze a java application? It could be related to dullness in the library used by softsqueeze to output the sound.

Sometimes, sounds vary whether you're using directsound, windows mixer, direct mixer, etc.

slimpy
2007-10-16, 07:05
Isn't softsqueeze a java application? It could be related to dullness in the library used by softsqueeze to output the sound.

Sometimes, sounds vary whether you're using directsound, windows mixer, direct mixer, etc.
Yeah, that's a possible reason. There are so many transparent software layers involved in bringing the sound to the speakers so a lot of unexpected things can happen.
Makes it really hard to pin down the cause of such a problem.

-s.

jeffmeh
2007-10-16, 08:58
Yeah, that's a possible reason. There are so many transparent software layers involved in bringing the sound to the speakers so a lot of unexpected things can happen.
Makes it really hard to pin down the cause of such a problem.

-s.

Yes indeed. That was one of the deciding factors for me in choosing the SB vs. hooking up the computer directly to the stereo.

vrobin
2007-10-16, 09:29
Having played somehow with all this audio layers of windows, I get the best results with foobar, kernel streaming and mega nerd src... but it's not the good forum to talk about it ;)

This way, I get an excellent sound quality with an external usb creative soundcard ( http://www.soundblaster.com/products/product.asp?category=1&subcategory=205&product=11226 ). In fact, much better than the squeezebox, but not as good as my cd player.

radish
2007-10-16, 09:44
http://www.soundblaster.com/products/product.asp?category=1&subcategory=205&product=11226[/url] ). In fact, much better than the squeezebox, but not as good as my cd player.

Of course "better" here is a very vague term. Creative have a reputation for being, well, creative when it comes to sound reproduction. Whilst it can certainly be pleasing to the ear (they do all kinds of processing to make it sound "nicer") I rarely see Creative hardware talked about with anything other than complete disdain by people for whom _accuracy_ is important.

vrobin
2007-10-16, 09:57
-- Rather Off Topic (sorry) --
I don't put much confidence in people, I trust my ears a little more (but not that much to be honest).

This soundcard has a very good vfm ('value for money' if I trust my recent reading about this acronym on this very same forums). It's a 24/96 DAC and when bypassing all the DSP engines, the DAC/Output is quite good with an excellent isolation of the output stage. It was originally sold 300 and is now found for less than 50.

Believe me or not, this setup strongly beats the SB3 and can compete with my 3D lab CD Sonata (as long as a 50 soundcard can be compared with a 1500 cd player)

I love the external usb soundcard: transport signal in digital usb format, and use an interconnect cable of 75cm. But once again, this is another story ;).

haunyack
2007-10-16, 10:15
-- Rather Off Topic (sorry) --
I don't put much confidence in people, I trust my ears a little more (but not that much to be honest).

This soundcard has a very good vfm ('value for money' if I trust my recent reading about this acronym on this very same forums). It's a 24/96 DAC and when bypassing all the DSP engines, the DAC/Output is quite good with an excellent isolation of the output stage. It was originally sold 300€ and is now found for less than 50€.

Believe me or not, this setup strongly beats the SB3 and can compete with my 3D lab CD Sonata (as long as a 50€ soundcard can be compared with a 1500€ cd player)

I love the external usb soundcard: transport signal in digital usb format, and use an interconnect cable of 75cm. But once again, this is another story ;).

I agree not to beleive all you hear (read) but to look (listen) for yourself.
On that note, my pc has a Creative x-fi card that when piped (bitmatched) to my audio system actually sounds (subjective) superior to my RWA SB3.

Bose bashers, Creative bashers, evolution bashers ad infintum..

.

Phil Leigh
2007-10-16, 10:45
When Creative bought EMU years ago, the hope was they might eventually come out with something that actually sounded good...