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  1. #1
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    Quality of FLAC Audio

    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.

  2. #2
    egd
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    flac is flac is lossless is lossless. any differences you're experiencing have nothing to do with the source.

  3. #3
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    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.

  4. #4
    Senior Member vrobin's Avatar
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    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.

  5. #5
    Senior Member slimpy's Avatar
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    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.

  6. #6
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    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.

  7. #7
    Senior Member vrobin's Avatar
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    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.

  8. #8
    Senior Member slimpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrobin View Post
    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.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimpy View Post
    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.

  10. #10
    Senior Member vrobin's Avatar
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    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=11226 ). In fact, much better than the squeezebox, but not as good as my cd player.
    Last edited by vrobin; 2007-10-16 at 09:32.

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