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Thread: Software media players tricks and tips

  1. #1
    Join Date: Feb 2008

    Location: http://www.homehifi.co.uk

    Posts: 6,038

    Default Software media players tricks and tips

    As mentioned in passing in another thread, this one is for users to mention any tips and tricks useful for media players like JRiver, MediaMonkey, Foobar Winamp etc. that they discovered or picked up.

    I'll start off with the memory buffer in Media Monkey. I am using version 4.0.3 as a reference.

    If you go to Tools -> Options -> Player -> Output plug-ins, you'll see a listing on the righthand side that shows you the available output plug-ins. I haven't installed the ASIO plug-in yet, but the OutWave plug-in has turned out to be very useful for high bitrate files. If you highlight it and then click on the Configure menu option just next to it, a new screen will open up. In that screen you have various options. Try them out, but the memory buffer increase is the one to pay attention to. I use 2000ms for the Buffer length, which has allowed me to play some difficult high resolution files. Because some of those files are 100MB or more, compared to maybe 40MB for a 16 bit/44.1KHz file, it is quite easy for the playback to suffer from buffering issues and reduced playback quality. You can mess about with the various buffers and then play some large files to compare. Once you hit the right spot the PBQ available is tremendous.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Nov 2010

    Location: Coventry

    Posts: 2,967
    I'm Will.

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    Good stuff Stan...

    As a general concept with all windows based players;

    Set the windows sound scheme to ‘sounds off’, set the onboard soundcard as the default sound device (your music player will be configured to use your DAC or whatever), and set all device volumes to maximum

    Ok my player of choice is Winamp, which when configured correctly is excellent IMHO

    Options/Preferences is where all of the important stuff occurs...

    General Preferences - Set 'Priority Class' to high

    Playback - Check the allow 24bit box (if you're using high res, replay gain, or upsampling)

    Playback/Replay Gain tab - Uncheck this box (if you want to use RG it's better via FFSoX), also uncheck the 'ask before writing RG' option as this can become very tedious when RGing a lot of albums

    Local Media/Watch Folders tab - Define your music directories here, the rescan option will identify any changed/new music, without having to completely refresh your catalogue each time.

    Plug-ins/Input - If you are using FLAC with ASIO there is a known bug, gapless doesn't work properly, (WASAPI works fine on W7). The solution is to use the FFSoX plugin available from
    http://in-ffsox.sourceforge.net/
    This is an excellent plugin, which will transcode from FLAC (amongst others), and optionally allow real time upsampling to 24/192 and all points in between. At the same time it can be used to apply ReplayGain if required. Because it transcodes the data stream prior to hitting the Winamp player the gapless issue is eradicated. I tend to use it with no upsampling, no ReplayGain, no dither, no limiter for best SQ, but this depends on one’s preference and DAC.

    Plug-ins/Output(For XP) – Use Otachan’s ASIO out .dll available from
    http://otachan.com/out_asio(dll).html download, unzip, and drop the .dll into the program files/winamp/plugins directory. This will give you an ASIO output option in the Output plugins list. Select your device driver from the dropdown list ASIO4ALL if you don’t have any specific drivers, set the ‘thread priority’ to highest, buffer size to highest, and select gapless, no resample. N.B. If you are using an ASIO driver eg. ASIO4ALL set your buffers to the highest level in there too.

    Plug-ins/Output(For W7) – Use Maiko’s WASAPI out .dll available from
    http://maiko.elementfx.com/ same process as with the ASIO .dll above. Turn off volume control, and give WASAPI exclusive control of your output device. This is why it’s best to set the onboard soundcard as your default soundcard, thus preventing any contention in the usage of your DAC etc. Set the buffer size to the highest available value.

    DSP/Effect – Ensure that this is set to off.

    Err that’s about it I think…oh apart from be careful when installing, don’t set AOL as your default browser, don’t have the 50 free mp3s, don’t allow anonymous usage statistics, and don’t subscribe to their promoted radio stations…other than that it’s a nice piece of software!

    Enjoy
    Last edited by WAD62; 03-10-2012 at 10:22.
    Cheers, Will

  3. #3
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: Belfast/Northern Ireland/UK

    Posts: 16,638
    I'm Neil.

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    Thanks guys for doing this - great help to newbies like myself
    Regards Neil

    System 1: AMG Giro turntable, AMG 9W2 tonearm, Air Tight PC3 cartridge, Passlabs Xono phonostage, AMG Reference armcable. Accuphase DP57 CD player, Marantz SA7 SACD player, Sony HAP Z1es Digital File Player + Audioquest Jitter Bug, Veracity Mystra DAC + Dell Laptop + iFi i power + JKenny JKSPIDIF, Wireworld Starlight USB + Audioquest Jitter Bug, for computer audio, Audio Valve RKV2 headphone amp, headphones Grado GS 1000, Balanced Audio Technology VK300se integrated amplifier, Anthony Gallo Reference 3.1 speakers. Cabling: Signal - Audience AU24, Analysis Plus, Atlas Mavros, Speaker - QED Genesis Silver Spiral. Mains Cabling: Audience AU24, Analysis Plus, TCI. Mark Grant distribution blocks, Equipment tables Target Audio B series.

    System 2: Loricraft Garrard 401 turntable + SME 5 tonearm + VDH MC10 cartridge + Graham IC70 tonearm cable, Modified Technics 1200 turntable + Triplannar 7 tonearm + VDH Frog Gold cartridge + Paul Hynes SR7 PSU, SME Model 20 turntable + Graham Phantom tonearm + Ortofon MC5200 cartridge + Graham IC70 tonearm cable, Balanced Audio Technology VK10se phonostage, Moon Andromeda CD player, Esoteric P5 SACD transport and P 5 DAC, Toshiba 9500 DVD Audio player, AMR DP777 DAC + HP laptop + iFi i power + Wireworld Starlight USB - for computer audio, Kenwood 8300 tuner, Revox B760 tuner, Magnum Dynalab signal sleuth, Leak Troughline tuner + EAR Stereo decoder, Revox B77 mk 2 & Revox A77 mk3 reel to reel recorders, Balanced Audio Technology VK52se pre-amplifier, Music Reference RM200 mk1 power-amplifier, Anthony Gallo Reference 3.5 speakers. Cabling: Signal/Speaker - Atlas Mavros. Mains Cabling: Audience AU24, TCI. Mains distribution blocks Mark Grant and Russ Andrews, Equipment tables Clear Light Audio.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Glastonbury, UK

    Posts: 1,051
    I'm Chris.

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    For those using Windows Vista/7 who may have missed it, the WASAPI 3.0 driver for foobar has now been released.

    http://www.foobar2000.org/components...foo_out_wasapi

    Version 3.0 has lost the flakiness of the earlier version 2.1.

    I use it in 'event driven' mode. I use a buffer of 540 ms and it plays faultlessly with no gaps in the sound (into an Audiolab 8200CDQ).

    The installation instructions are nonsense. You cannot install the new component by double-clicking it. If foobar does respond, it will try to play the file. You also cannot install it by clicking 'Install' in the 'Components' page of the foobar Prefs as the file type is not recognised and so it doesn't appear in the list. The only way to install it is to drag the file to the list of components, click OK and let foobar restart. Then go to the foobar Output Prefs and select 'WASAPI (event): <name of your DAC> ....'

    I don't know if the old WASAPI component is removed by the installation so you might want to go to the components folder ( C:\Program Files (x86)\foobar2000\components ) and delete it (while foobar is not running of course).
    Chris

    iPurifier2 > micro iDSD > micro iCAN > T1

  5. #5
    Join Date: Nov 2010

    Location: Coventry

    Posts: 2,967
    I'm Will.

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    ...might be worth making this a sticky
    Cheers, Will

  6. #6
    Join Date: Aug 2012

    Location: Hartlepool UK

    Posts: 1,285
    I'm Alan.

    Default JRiver Media Centre

    I think JRiver media is really excellent now at Ver 18, download it from here http://www.jriver.com/index.html
    I built my own HTPC and installed windows 7 / Jrivermedia and it worked great with any output to my M2Tech Young Dac, Coax, Optical and Asynchronous USB which I think sound best.

    Once installed read this http://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Getting_Started
    And the user manual http://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Media_Center

    Couple of tips
    From the opening page go to tools and options
    Set up your Library only to automatically import music from your storage device, go to configure import I use a NAS drive so you just click add and link it to that I delete other links it automatically sets up like the C drive or any other comuters on the network which it will import music from if you allow it. I have all my music in FLAC so they are the only files I want it to pick up
    In the main page go to File, Library, Import and select run auto import now

    Click on the start up tab and select to automatically start up when windows starts so it boot straight into Jriver and all your Tunes are right there

    in output mode settings check that your sound device is selected, if you are using USB it should show in the drop down box


    In the options set the output mode to WASAPI - Event Style if your hardware will take it as this stops windows from using any of its processing like the system mixer, it goes straight to the output device if you get any tics just increase the buffer from 50ms to say 100.

    If you are using a sound card as an output then ASIO may perform better.

    If you do use USB go to your Dacs web site and get the proper driver.

    Donít tick anything in DSP studio as you can end up up scaling or downscaling and processing the sound in some way. however if you have a DAC that wont play a certain frequency output (say88khz) then this can be useful to automatically resample this to another usable frequency.

    in settings select playback from memory instead of disc function as this buffers the music into ram and I think this sounds better particularly if you are streaming from WIFI but it does induce a delay on WIFI. I have my Nas hard wired with Cat6 so there is no delay in my system.
    I use a Samsung tablet as a remote control using an App called Gizmo it works great and I can access Jriver from other rooms
    http://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Gizmo this is the instructions for setting up Gizmo on your tablet and in Jriver.

    If any of your cover art is not recognised just right click on it and select get cover art from internet, you can also edit the tag info as well

    Hope this helps

    Alan

  7. #7
    Join Date: Oct 2008

    Location: Glasgowshire

    Posts: 6,191
    I'm availableforweddingsAndBarmitzvas.

    Default

    You can get a a worthwhile improvement converting your Flacs to uncompressed format, noticable particulalrly if running Jriver.
    JRiver 18 is the most transparent, most "audiophile" player out there imo and shows up any changes you make quite easily.
    I tried Jplay, Cplay, XXHighEnd and...naa.

    Using Jrivers inbuilt tools try converting a Flac album to Aiff.
    Not Wav though, doesn't sound as good...
    Apple do the whole audio thing a bit better than Microsoft.
    (Aiff is Apple's version of a Wav file)

    Yup, I know Flac is lossless and theres checksums and all that good stuff to ensure the original signal is outputted, but its the extra CPU load when uncompressing Flac back to PCM than can have an impact.
    I've found that even with a powerful PC where you'd think this kind of thing would not matter it does.
    In my experience with computer audio, getting the software right can make as much difference as changes in hardware.
    Tweaked a mates server recently and the difference was quite a omg moment.
    His speakers are doing bass like they shouldn't, just because of software.

    Try converting a couple of favourite albums to Aiff in Jriver. It might surprise you.
    I heard it for myself in my system, enough so that I converted 5000+ abums to Aiff. A major PITA but worth it.
    Had to buy an extra 2TB drive mind you, but not that expensive in the scheme of things.

    try it for yourself though..its worth doing and it's free.
    Last edited by Gazjam; 01-02-2013 at 18:36.
    I have hifi 'n stuff.


  8. #8
    Join Date: Aug 2012

    Location: Hartlepool UK

    Posts: 1,285
    I'm Alan.

    Default

    Gazjam
    Ok thats very interesting Ill give it a go

    Alan

  9. #9
    Join Date: Oct 2011

    Location: Charente, France

    Posts: 3,519
    I'm Nodrog.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazjam View Post
    You can get a a worthwhile improvement converting your Flacs to uncompressed format, noticable particulalrly if running Jriver.
    JRiver 18 is the most transparent, most "audiophile" player out there imo and shows up any changes you make quite easily.
    I tried Jplay, Cplay, XXHighEnd and...naa.

    Using Jrivers inbuilt tools try converting a Flac album to Aiff.
    Not Wav though, doesn't sound as good...
    Apple do the whole audio thing a bit better than Microsoft.
    (Aiff is Apple's version of a Wav file)

    Yup, I know Flac is lossless and theres checksums and all that good stuff to ensure the original signal is outputted, but its the extra CPU load when uncompressing Flac back to PCM than can have an impact.
    I've found that even with a powerful PC where you'd think this kind of thing would not matter it does.
    In my experience with computer audio, getting the software right can make as much difference as changes in hardware.
    Tweaked a mates server recently and the difference was quite a omg moment.
    His speakers are doing bass like they shouldn't, just because of software.

    Try converting a couple of favourite albums to Aiff in Jriver. It might surprise you.
    I heard it for myself in my system, enough so that I converted 5000+ abums to Aiff. A major PITA but worth it.
    Had to buy an extra 2TB drive mind you, but not that expensive in the scheme of things.

    try it for yourself though..its worth doing and it's free.
    For us Mac fans, would it be the suggestion that converting all our Lossless files back to AIFF would show some advantage??? Seems illogical but I'll try anything once!!

  10. #10
    Join Date: Oct 2011

    Location: Charente, France

    Posts: 3,519
    I'm Nodrog.

    Default Apple lossless to AIFF

    Well, I tried it and I can't say I noticed any difference. Maybe when I get my new DAC!!

    It did increase the size from 30mB to 50mB (short song) which surprised me as I can't see how it can create any information that isn't there. I guess, basically, I just don't understand the technical stuff.

    I just lurve the music.

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