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Windows Audio Quality

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Anonymous
November 11, 2004 1:32:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Dear Group

I have put together a "MP3 Jukebox" in an attempt to make listening to music
simple.

I have a Lynx22 sound card in a good modern PC running Windows XP.

I rip my CDs using the lossless WMA format in Windows Media Player 10.

I still think the sound quality is lacking something.

Compareing the sound quality to a real CD player or DAB is clearly
noticable.

I wouldn't say its that bad but there is definatly somthing missing from the
sound.

I have found a good example of a problem; for some reason the guitar at the
start of "Van Halen - Ain't Talking Bout Love" sounds completely screwed up,
sounds all echoy and the level is very quiet. I downloaded several different
MP3s of this track and all have the same problem.

What the hell is Windows / Media Player doing to my sound?

Can anyone sugest anything?

Cheers

Samuel

More about : windows audio quality

Anonymous
November 11, 2004 1:32:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Samuel P Ludlow" <Samuel.Ludlow@NoSpam.AuberginePrint.NoSpam.co.uk>
wrote in message news:cmvf3u$736$1@titan.btinternet.com
> Dear Group
>
> I have put together a "MP3 Jukebox" in an attempt to make listening
> to music simple.
>
> I have a Lynx22 sound card in a good modern PC running Windows XP.
>
> I rip my CDs using the lossless WMA format in Windows Media Player 10.
>
> I still think the sound quality is lacking something.

You might be able to nail something down if you do some level-matched,
time-synched, bias-controlled listening tests.

> Compareing the sound quality to a real CD player or DAB is clearly
> noticable.

Are your listening tests level-matched, time-synched, and bias-controlled?

Here is a source of utilities to facilitate good listening tests:

http://www.pcabx.com/

> I have found a good example of a problem; for some reason the guitar
> at the start of "Van Halen - Ain't Talking Bout Love" sounds
> completely screwed up, sounds all echoy and the level is very quiet.
> I downloaded several different MP3s of this track and all have the
> same problem.

I'd be interested in hear a relevant segment of this music compared -
compare a segment of the .wav file ripped off the CD to a .wav file that has
been round-tripped through lossless WMA.

These programs might help:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/9series/e...

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyI...

> What the hell is Windows / Media Player doing to my sound?

> Can anyone sugest anything?

First listen carefully and with all relevant parameters under control.

http://www.ntu.edu.sg/home5/pg03053527/Tips/LosslessAud...
suggests that lossless WMA does not have much advantage in terms of file
size or processing speed compared to the APE file compressor. AFAIK APE is
known to be truely bit-perfect and sonically transparent.
November 11, 2004 1:32:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Samuel P Ludlow wrote:

> Dear Group
>
> I have put together a "MP3 Jukebox" in an attempt to make listening to
> music simple.
>
> I have a Lynx22 sound card in a good modern PC running Windows XP.
>
> I rip my CDs using the lossless WMA format in Windows Media Player 10.
>
> I still think the sound quality is lacking something.
>
> Compareing the sound quality to a real CD player or DAB is clearly
> noticable.


The mp3 format itself uses a lossy compression algorithm, so by definition,
you will loose some degree of quality simply by encoding any audio file
into mp3 format. When you start with a low quality source (mp3) then high
quality hardware & software downstream won't make it any better.
Related resources
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 1:32:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Samuel P Ludlow <Samuel.Ludlow@NoSpam.AuberginePrint.NoSpam.co.uk>
wrote:

>Can anyone sugest anything?

If you must compress, consider using Ogg Vorbis encoding instead?

Or simply get a larger hard disk and use WAV files.





--
Len Moskowitz PDAudio, Binaural Mics, Cables, DPA, M-Audio
Core Sound http://www.stealthmicrophones.com
Teaneck, New Jersey USA http://www.core-sound.com
moskowit@core-sound.com Tel: 201-801-0812, FAX: 201-801-0912
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 2:39:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Samuel P Ludlow wrote:
> What the hell is Windows / Media Player doing to my sound?

Don't blame software for a poor audio card connected by a wire that doesn't
have ground anymore, causing you to hear the difference between
left&right...

--
Bm
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 2:39:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Samuel P Ludlow wrote:
> > What the hell is Windows / Media Player doing to my sound?

Whenever I listen to audio through a window, the sound is always
degraded.


In article <ACDN9259A8FE96@acadiane.org> AntwoordInDeNieuwsgroep@ReplyInNewsgroup.invalid writes:

> Don't blame software for a poor audio card connected by a wire that doesn't
> have ground anymore, causing you to hear the difference between
> left&right...

What are you talking about? He said he had a Lynx card that's hardly a
"poor audio card" and what do you know about his wiring? Did I miss a
couple of messages?

I'm sure that he's hearing the effect of the data compression. Either
that or he's not listening to the CD, DAB, and "MP3 Jukebox" through
the same path (speakers, amplifiers, room, etc.). Or all of the above.

Audio always sounds different when you look hard for differences. If
it doesn't sound bad, live with it. You're doing the MP3 thing for
your convenience, which, to me, suggests that it isn't for critical
listening. In real life you probably won't ever notice that it's
"degraded" because you'll probably be washing the dishes, reading the
newspaper, or surfing the web while the music is playing.




--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 3:35:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> Don't blame software for a poor audio card connected by a wire that
> doesn't
> have ground anymore, causing you to hear the difference between
> left&right...

Huh?
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 3:50:09 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I thought the LynxStudio sound cards were good, what sound card do you
recomend?

The cable is a balanced XLR going to the mixer, ground is definatly
connected. How do you sugest I interconnect things?

I have checked the crosstalk on the Left and Right cannels from the sound
card, it seems very low to me.

Cheers

Samuel

"Badmuts" <AntwoordInDeNieuwsgroep@ReplyInNewsgroup.invalid> wrote in
message news:ACDN9259A8FE96@acadiane.org...
> Samuel P Ludlow wrote:
> > What the hell is Windows / Media Player doing to my sound?
>
> Don't blame software for a poor audio card connected by a wire that
doesn't
> have ground anymore, causing you to hear the difference between
> left&right...
>
> --
> Bm
>
>
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 4:22:49 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Recently, Samuel P Ludlow
<Samuel.Ludlow@NoSpam.AuberginePrint.NoSpam.co.uk> posted:

> I thought the LynxStudio sound cards were good, what sound card do you
> recomend?
>
The LynxStudio cards are *very* good. It's definitely overkill for your
usage, so it is not likely to be your problem. What I suspect is that your
file format is the culprit. MP3 is not comparable to CD quality.

Neil
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 5:13:03 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Thanks for your advice, I will look into what you have sugested.

I don't quiet know about listening tests being level-matched, time-synched,
and bias-controlled. I just listen to it.

The levels of my sources are trimed on the mixer to be about the same.

Time-synched, and bias-controlled, I'm sorry you have lost me there.

Cheers

"Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote in message
news:8bednVq6tc3V-Q7cRVn-jA@comcast.com...
> "Samuel P Ludlow" <Samuel.Ludlow@NoSpam.AuberginePrint.NoSpam.co.uk>
> wrote in message news:cmvf3u$736$1@titan.btinternet.com
> > Dear Group
> >
> > I have put together a "MP3 Jukebox" in an attempt to make listening
> > to music simple.
> >
> > I have a Lynx22 sound card in a good modern PC running Windows XP.
> >
> > I rip my CDs using the lossless WMA format in Windows Media Player 10.
> >
> > I still think the sound quality is lacking something.
>
> You might be able to nail something down if you do some level-matched,
> time-synched, bias-controlled listening tests.
>
> > Compareing the sound quality to a real CD player or DAB is clearly
> > noticable.
>
> Are your listening tests level-matched, time-synched, and bias-controlled?
>
> Here is a source of utilities to facilitate good listening tests:
>
> http://www.pcabx.com/
>
> > I have found a good example of a problem; for some reason the guitar
> > at the start of "Van Halen - Ain't Talking Bout Love" sounds
> > completely screwed up, sounds all echoy and the level is very quiet.
> > I downloaded several different MP3s of this track and all have the
> > same problem.
>
> I'd be interested in hear a relevant segment of this music compared -
> compare a segment of the .wav file ripped off the CD to a .wav file that
has
> been round-tripped through lossless WMA.
>
> These programs might help:
>
> http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/9series/e...
>
>
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyI...
>
> > What the hell is Windows / Media Player doing to my sound?
>
> > Can anyone sugest anything?
>
> First listen carefully and with all relevant parameters under control.
>
>
http://www.ntu.edu.sg/home5/pg03053527/Tips/LosslessAud...
> suggests that lossless WMA does not have much advantage in terms of file
> size or processing speed compared to the APE file compressor. AFAIK APE is
> known to be truely bit-perfect and sonically transparent.
>
>
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 5:13:04 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Samuel P Ludlow" <Samuel.Ludlow@NoSpam.AuberginePrint.NoSpam.co.uk>
wrote in message news:cmvs1f$qnk$1@hercules.btinternet.com
> Thanks for your advice, I will look into what you have sugested.
>
> I don't quiet know about listening tests being level-matched,
> time-synched, and bias-controlled. I just listen to it.
>
> The levels of my sources are trimed on the mixer to be about the same.

Probably not good enough for sensitive reliable work. If you balance levels
by ear, odds are good that on a second more thorough listen, you'll hear a
slight level difference. Balancing levels by ear is like trying to do fine
woodwork without a reliable measuring device. The solution is old good audio
practice - include some test tones in the original recording, and set
levels with instrumentation at playback time.

> Time-synched, and bias-controlled, I'm sorry you have lost me there.

The whole idea is to ensure that any perceptions you have of an audible
difference are reliable, and can't be explained by other trivial situations
like the two sources are at audibly different levels. You have to match
levels within a few tenths of a dB or otherwise identical sources will
reliably sound different. When levels are close but not exact enough, things
sound different in various ways that don't necessarily seem to be
differences in loudness.

If I play back two sources that are out-of-synch by even a fraction of a
second, I can reliably hear a difference. Of course the difference can be
explained by the fact that the two sources are out-of-synch. This isn't a
problem if you are comparing two power amps that are connected to the same
source, but this is a problem when you are comparing two recordings.

If I know which source is playing, I might be hearing a difference or I
might only think I'm hearing a difference because I know there is a
difference. Why worry? It's easy to find software that conceals the identity
of which alternative is playing at any time, until the test is over. The
same software records your decisions as the test goes along, and compares
your guesses with actuality at the end of the test. Some of the software
applies some well-known statistical tests to your results automatically at
the end of the test.

If you check out the www.pcabx.com web site, you'll see detailed
explanations of all these issues, have easy opportunities to experience
listening tests that address these issues, and find the unique software
tools (almost all freebies!) that make doing reliable listening tests easier
to do.

It turns out that questions like yours about compressed audio stimulated the
development of these kinds of tools, and they are widely used by people who
are investigating the sorts of questions that you have. Here is a well-known
authoritative forum that deals almost exclusively with these issues:

www.hydrogenaudio.org
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 5:16:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hey,

> I have put together a "MP3 Jukebox" in an attempt to make listening to music
> simple.
> I have a Lynx22 sound card in a good modern PC running Windows XP.
> I rip my CDs using the lossless WMA format in Windows Media Player 10.
> I still think the sound quality is lacking something.
> Compareing the sound quality to a real CD player or DAB is clearly
> noticable.
> I wouldn't say its that bad but there is definatly somthing missing from the
> sound.
> What the hell is Windows / Media Player doing to my sound?


I would suggest staying away from the MP3 file format.

If file -size- is not an issue, simply use WAV (for PC) or AIFF (for
Mac) files. These file formats do not employ any data compression
algorithms and will sound the best.

When memory or storage space -is- an issue, then you can try a
compressed format like ATRAC 2 or 3.

Of course if you're not confined to the 44.1k sampling / 16 bit word
format of CD's then a higher fidelity audio can be rendered, but
within the current CD format limitations other factors can still have
a very audible difference, e.g. CD drive, sound card, AD/DA
converters, even the Integrated Circuits & other components in the
audio chain, whether input buffers, output buffers, or some manner of
processing. For those who have relatively accurate speakers/monitors
or even use high quality headphones, all of that stuff can have
audible effects.

A high quality CDRW can make an audible difference as well. I used to
have a Yamaha CDRW drive that was capable of burning better sounding
CDs than any other that I'd used, but it was recently destroyed by a
surging power supply so I've been on a quest for the holy grail to
replace it. So far I've been the most pleased with --Plextor--- but
there may be others that are as good.

The rate at which you write or 'burn' audio CDs is very important.
Typically, burning at rates faster than 4x will result in lower
resolution, with audibly diminished high frequency response & blurred
stereo imaging.

Of course, a good sound card is important when importing stuff in both
analog and digital domains. Most prosumer sound cards are excellent.
They pretty much all use the same chip-set anyway, though for analog
inputs, their selection of op amps can make an audible difference. I
have M-Audio & Echo sound cards, which are both excellent in terms of
performance. I also have a pile of old Sound Blaster Live cards that
sound horrible, but are still fine if you're just driving cheap
computer speakers or just need something functional & don't care about
audio fidelity.

Good luck! :-)

Skler
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 5:21:04 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Thank you for your reply.

I am aware that MP3s are bad news but Microsoft claim that there "WMA
Lossless" format is matimatically the same as the original.

Are they pulling my leg?

I am going to try a few other players/formats out.

Cheers


"agent86" <maxwellsmart@control.gov> wrote in message
news:zCJkd.13986$z3.2072@bignews5.bellsouth.net...
> Samuel P Ludlow wrote:
>
> > Dear Group
> >
> > I have put together a "MP3 Jukebox" in an attempt to make listening to
> > music simple.
> >
> > I have a Lynx22 sound card in a good modern PC running Windows XP.
> >
> > I rip my CDs using the lossless WMA format in Windows Media Player 10.
> >
> > I still think the sound quality is lacking something.
> >
> > Compareing the sound quality to a real CD player or DAB is clearly
> > noticable.
>
>
> The mp3 format itself uses a lossy compression algorithm, so by
definition,
> you will loose some degree of quality simply by encoding any audio file
> into mp3 format. When you start with a low quality source (mp3) then high
> quality hardware & software downstream won't make it any better.
>
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 5:21:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Samuel P Ludlow" <Samuel.Ludlow@NoSpam.AuberginePrint.NoSpam.co.uk>
wrote in message news:cmvsgg$r8i$1@hercules.btinternet.com
> Thank you for your reply.
>
> I am aware that MP3s are bad news but Microsoft claim that there "WMA
> Lossless" format is matimatically the same as the original.
>
> Are they pulling my leg?

This is pretty easy to test.

(1) Take a .wav file
(2) Compress it with WMA Lossless
(3) Use the MS tool I posted a link to to convert the WMA file back to a
..wav file
(4) Use the wave file compartor embedded in CDEX or EAC (both well-known
freebies easy to find with Google) to compare the before and after files.
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 5:21:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Samuel P Ludlow <Samuel.Ludlow@NoSpam.AuberginePrint.NoSpam.co.uk> wrote:
>
>I am aware that MP3s are bad news but Microsoft claim that there "WMA
>Lossless" format is matimatically the same as the original.
>
>Are they pulling my leg?

It would not be the first time Microsoft has sold something that did not
work as advertised.

Try using another audio application to load a file in and then play it
back out directly with no editing or saving, and see if you hear any
difference in sound. If you do, it's probably hardware. If you do not,
it's probably software.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
November 11, 2004 5:21:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Samuel P Ludlow wrote:

> Thank you for your reply.
>
> I am aware that MP3s are bad news but Microsoft claim that there "WMA
> Lossless" format is matimatically the same as the original.
>
> Are they pulling my leg?

But what is the original? Maybe I misread your post. I thought you were
using the MS WMA tool (which I'm not familiar with) to burn mp3s to CDROM.
If that's the case, then whatever data was lost in the original mp3
conversion can not be restored by the WMA (or any other) tool. IOW, a
lossles copy of an mp3 is still an mp3.

If you are starting with WAV files & using the WMA tool to encode them in
some kind of (supposedly) lossless format (INSTEAD of mp3), then ignore my
previous post & follow Scott & Arnie's advice .
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 5:21:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <cmvsgg$r8i$1@hercules.btinternet.com> Samuel.Ludlow@NoSpam.AuberginePrint.NoSpam.co.uk writes:

> I am aware that MP3s are bad news but Microsoft claim that there "WMA
> Lossless" format is matimatically the same as the original.
>
> Are they pulling my leg?

I believe so. They may have their own definition of "mathematically
the same" that means something other than that the decoded playback
has exactly the same samples at the same time as the original. If it
did, they'd sound the same.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 5:32:28 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

My live audio guru buddy, George, says that APE, FALC & SHN file
formats -sound- good.

Non-compressed audio formats like WAV & AIFF will sound better than
the compressed ones of course.

Skler
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 8:10:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
news:znr1100177570k@trad...
>
> Samuel P Ludlow wrote:
> > > What the hell is Windows / Media Player doing to my sound?
>
> Whenever I listen to audio through a window, the sound is always
> degraded.

Yes, very funny.

>
>
> In article <ACDN9259A8FE96@acadiane.org>
AntwoordInDeNieuwsgroep@ReplyInNewsgroup.invalid writes:
>
> > Don't blame software for a poor audio card connected by a wire that
doesn't
> > have ground anymore, causing you to hear the difference between
> > left&right...
>
> What are you talking about? He said he had a Lynx card that's hardly a
> "poor audio card" and what do you know about his wiring? Did I miss a
> couple of messages?

I had trouble understanding what he was on about. I think he's Dutch,
probibly mashed, although they say smoking weed can make music sound better.

>
> I'm sure that he's hearing the effect of the data compression. Either
> that or he's not listening to the CD, DAB, and "MP3 Jukebox" through
> the same path (speakers, amplifiers, room, etc.). Or all of the above.

Everything goes throught the same path.

>
> Audio always sounds different when you look hard for differences. If
> it doesn't sound bad, live with it. You're doing the MP3 thing for
> your convenience, which, to me, suggests that it isn't for critical
> listening. In real life you probably won't ever notice that it's
> "degraded" because you'll probably be washing the dishes, reading the
> newspaper, or surfing the web while the music is playing.
>

I will consider this point, but the sound quality matters to me.

>
>
>
> --
> I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
> However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
> lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
> you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
> and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 8:38:00 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Samuel P Ludlow wrote:
> I have put together a "MP3 Jukebox" in an attempt to make listening to music
> simple.

You know, "mp3 jukebox" is an odd name for a thing that doesn't use MP3...

> I have a Lynx22 sound card in a good modern PC running Windows XP.
>
> I rip my CDs using the lossless WMA format in Windows Media Player 10.

Elsewhere you asked if the lossless WMA format might be screwing something
up. Well, I haven't used WMA format, and where software is involved,
there is always the possibility that something is being screwed up.
However, there are other lossless formats out there that are known
to work and lose no information at all. So, Microsoft would have had
to go to extra effort to make this not work. Microsoft seems to put
lots of effort into multimedia and hires talented folks, so I doubt
they've screwed that up. (Anyway, it's easy to test whether a lossless
codec is really lossless -- just compress a whole slew of stuff and
then decompress and compare to see if you get back exactly the same
bits.)

> I have found a good example of a problem; for some reason the guitar at the
> start of "Van Halen - Ain't Talking Bout Love" sounds completely screwed up,
> sounds all echoy and the level is very quiet. I downloaded several different
> MP3s of this track and all have the same problem.

One possibility is that the combination of your CD-ROM drive and
the ripping software are not managing to get the correct samples
off the disk, so that even before a codec is applied, the data is
mildly screwed up in some way. I'm no expert, but the way I understand
it, CD-ROMs transfer audio from audio CDs in a real-time manner, so
that the software gives the drive a command, then the drive streams
audio data across the bus, and the software has to pick up the data
and not miss it. Things can go wrong in this process, so to compensate,
some software has an error correction feature, which basically amounts
to reading in chunks, but overlapping the chunks and comparing the
overlapping parts to determine whether they are exactly the same
(they should be).

Anyway, it's odd that you say the MP3s you downloaded also have the
weird echoiness, and I'm at a loss to explain why errors in reading
the bits from the CD-ROM drive could explain this, but the process
is very subjective, so it's hard to tell. So, I suggest that you
check Windows Media Player to see if it has some sort of option to
turn on error correction when ripping audio from CDs. I don't use
Windows Media Player much, but I know other Windows-based audio
software titles have similar features (at least Real Player does).

One further suggestion: if you think that Windows lossless codec
is a problem, you could try flac ( http://flac.sourceforge.net/ ),
which is a free lossless audio codec. It does the same thing,
plus it has the advantage that it's not controlled by Microsoft
and is available on other platforms (something I'd find valuable
if I went through the effort of ripping my whole CD collection).

- Logan
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 8:58:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Samuel P Ludlow wrote:
> Dear Group
>
> I have put together a "MP3 Jukebox" in an attempt to make listening to music
> simple.
>
> I have a Lynx22 sound card in a good modern PC running Windows XP.
>
> I rip my CDs using the lossless WMA format in Windows Media Player 10.
>
> I still think the sound quality is lacking something.
>
> Compareing the sound quality to a real CD player or DAB is clearly
> noticable.
>
> I wouldn't say its that bad but there is definatly somthing missing from the
> sound.
>
> I have found a good example of a problem; for some reason the guitar at the
> start of "Van Halen - Ain't Talking Bout Love" sounds completely screwed up,
> sounds all echoy and the level is very quiet. I downloaded several different
> MP3s of this track and all have the same problem.
>
> What the hell is Windows / Media Player doing to my sound?
>
> Can anyone sugest anything?
>
> Cheers
>
> Samuel
>
>

The best way to determine Windows Audio quality is to play a CD as is.
No ripping to mp3 or WMA etc. Or, play the CD's corresponding WAV file.
Then compare that sound to how the CD sounds when played from your CD
player.

With my DAW, my experience has been that the DAW never sounds as good as
my hifi components. I can listen to wav files on my computer, even
play the burned CDs on the PC. But once I take that same burnt CD and
play it on my CD player, it always sounds better. Go figure.

I think the issue this discussion brings up is that all the other
components of the computer, be it sound driver in the OS, soundcard, PCI
bus, fan noise, CPU cycles, et al, contribute a not characteristically
friendly change to the sound. The CD player, built to do just one thing,
minimizes any adverse effects.

CD
Anonymous
November 11, 2004 9:35:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

It's not clear from your post: are you, in fact, converting the files you
rip to MP3 files? If so, there's your answer. As someone else pointed out,
MP3s degrade the sound.

If, however, you're using a lossless format, something else is going on.
What is the sync source for your Lynx card?

Peace,
Paul
November 12, 2004 2:10:32 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <cmvf3u$736$1@titan.btinternet.com>,
Samuel.Ludlow@NoSpam.AuberginePrint.NoSpam.co.uk says...
> Dear Group
> I wouldn't say its that bad but there is definatly somthing missing from the
> sound.

Take a look at your settings in Windows/controlpanel/Sounds and Audio
devices/speaker settings/advanced/speaker setup

Make shure it is set to desktop speakers.

Or try using ASIO drivers/programs.

--
/ Peter Kærsaa
Anonymous
November 12, 2004 2:11:57 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Samuel P Ludlow wrote:

> I downloaded several different MP3s of this track and all have the same
> problem.

^^^^

You seem to be talking about WMA and MP3 in the same breath.

MP3s are inferior to original CDs due to data compression.

Which file format is troubling you ?


Graham
Anonymous
November 12, 2004 2:16:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

skler wrote:

> My live audio guru buddy, George, says that APE, FALC & SHN file
> formats -sound- good.
>
> Non-compressed audio formats like WAV & AIFF will sound better than
> the compressed ones of course.

Do you mean FLAC instead of FALC? If so, FLAC is a lossless format,
which means that it will sound *exactly* the same as WAV, because
the sound card is receiving exactly the same data with either format.

The point being that some compressed audio formats (lossless ones)
do not sound worse than WAV.

- Logan
Anonymous
November 12, 2004 2:30:08 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Samuel P Ludlow wrote:

> I rip my CDs using the lossless WMA format in Windows Media Player 10.
>
> What the hell is Windows / Media Player doing to my sound?

The Windows Media Audio 9 Lossless codec is always VBR ( variable bit rate ). No
mention of version 10 btw.

This may be a factor.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/9series/c...


Graham
Anonymous
November 12, 2004 5:38:29 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Pooh Bear wrote:
> Samuel P Ludlow wrote:

>>I rip my CDs using the lossless WMA format in Windows Media Player 10.
>>
>>What the hell is Windows / Media Player doing to my sound?

> The Windows Media Audio 9 Lossless codec is always VBR ( variable bit rate ). No
> mention of version 10 btw.
>
> This may be a factor.
>
> http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/9series/c...

It may require a little bit of knowledge of data compression theory
to make this totally obvious, but a lossless codec MUST be variable
bitrate. It's a mathematical necessity.

Briefly, the data compression theory says this: every algorithm that
wants to shrink your data must do one (or both) of two things:
(1) it must sometimes throw away information (be lossy), or
(2) it must sometimes fail to make your data smaller and instead
make it larger.

So, lossless codecs must be variable bitrate, because they aren't
lossy, therefore #2 applies, and that means that they can never
guarantee they are actually shrinking your data instead of
expanding it.

(For what it's worth, violating this law is on par with creating a
perpetual motion machine. If you can produce a lossless compression
algorithm that always shrinks its input and is bug-free, then it is
easy to show that based on that you can also make a program that
magically makes your hard drive have infinite space and makes
your network connection infinitely fast. Which would mean you
could, say, put everything you've ever recorded on your DAW onto
a single floppy disk, or e-mail it all to someone and have the
upload take only second even over dial-up.)

Anyway, the point is that since there exist lossless audio codecs
that work fine, the fact that it's VBR should not be a problem,
because if it were a problem, then no lossless codec could ever
work correctly.

- Logan
Anonymous
November 12, 2004 5:38:30 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Logan Shaw" <lshaw-usenet@austin.rr.com> wrote in message
news:FmVkd.11495$SS3.366@fe2.texas.rr.com...
> Pooh Bear wrote:
>> Samuel P Ludlow wrote:
>
>>>I rip my CDs using the lossless WMA format in Windows Media Player 10.
>>>
>>>What the hell is Windows / Media Player doing to my sound?
>
>> The Windows Media Audio 9 Lossless codec is always VBR ( variable bit
>> rate ). No
>> mention of version 10 btw.
>>
>> This may be a factor.
>>
>> http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/9series/c...
>
> It may require a little bit of knowledge of data compression theory
> to make this totally obvious, but a lossless codec MUST be variable
> bitrate. It's a mathematical necessity.
>
> Briefly, the data compression theory says this: every algorithm that
> wants to shrink your data must do one (or both) of two things:
> (1) it must sometimes throw away information (be lossy), or
> (2) it must sometimes fail to make your data smaller and instead
> make it larger.
>
> So, lossless codecs must be variable bitrate, because they aren't
> lossy, therefore #2 applies, and that means that they can never
> guarantee they are actually shrinking your data instead of
> expanding it.
>
> (For what it's worth, violating this law is on par with creating a
> perpetual motion machine. If you can produce a lossless compression
> algorithm that always shrinks its input and is bug-free, then it is
> easy to show that based on that you can also make a program that
> magically makes your hard drive have infinite space and makes
> your network connection infinitely fast. Which would mean you
> could, say, put everything you've ever recorded on your DAW onto
> a single floppy disk, or e-mail it all to someone and have the
> upload take only second even over dial-up.)
>
> Anyway, the point is that since there exist lossless audio codecs
> that work fine, the fact that it's VBR should not be a problem,
> because if it were a problem, then no lossless codec could ever
> work correctly.
>
> - Logan

Well. Sure! When you put it that way.

Steve King
Anonymous
November 12, 2004 5:38:30 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Logan Shaw <lshaw-usenet@austin.rr.com> wrote:
>
>It may require a little bit of knowledge of data compression theory
>to make this totally obvious, but a lossless codec MUST be variable
>bitrate. It's a mathematical necessity.

No, no, not at all. Only if it actually compresses does it have to be
variable bitrate. If it is actually a 1:1 mapping between input or output,
or if the output is actually larger than the input, there's no reason it
can't be constant rate.
--scott

I know, I know. Degenerate cases, all of them... I didn't say it wasn't silly.
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
November 12, 2004 9:48:53 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Scott Dorsey wrote:

> Logan Shaw <lshaw-usenet@austin.rr.com> wrote:

>>It may require a little bit of knowledge of data compression theory
>>to make this totally obvious, but a lossless codec MUST be variable
>>bitrate. It's a mathematical necessity.

> No, no, not at all. Only if it actually compresses does it have to be
> variable bitrate. If it is actually a 1:1 mapping between input or output,
> or if the output is actually larger than the input, there's no reason it
> can't be constant rate.

Well, that actually does make sense in an odd kind of way. Suppose
you wanted to code some linear PCM so that it could go across an
unreliable network. Then, you might want to rearrange bits so that
if some are lost, you can reduce the degradation to the signal.
Or, going one step further, you might add redundancy so that it
would be possible to reconstruct in the face of some losses. But
you could even go a bit further and do some kind of processing so
that even if you lose information and can't reconstruct the stream
perfectly, you might have more redundancy in the important parts,
so that when you lose a few bits, it only sounds as bad as MP3. :-)

That would be a legit reason for an audio codec that increased
the bitrate instead of decreasing it.

However, in most cases, when you're talking about a PC, you tend
to assume reliable networks (with retransmissions, checksums, etc.),
so the main goal is to reduce space as much as possible.

- Logan
Anonymous
November 12, 2004 10:54:07 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Samuel P Ludlow" <Samuel.Ludlow@NoSpam.AuberginePrint.NoSpam.co.uk>
>
> I have put together a "MP3 Jukebox" in an attempt to make listening to
> music
> simple.

Simple ain't always best.

> I have a Lynx22 sound card in a good modern PC running Windows XP.

Why go the expense of a Lynx when what you are doing warrants little more
than a SoundBlaster ?

> I rip my CDs using the lossless WMA format in Windows Media Player 10.

Lossless ?!!!

> I still think the sound quality is lacking something.

Yep, a good proportion of the musical information.

> Compareing the sound quality to a real CD player or DAB is clearly
> noticable.

Yep, should be. Where did you get the idea WMA is lossless ?

> I wouldn't say its that bad but there is definatly somthing missing from
> the
> sound.

Yep

> I have found a good example of a problem; for some reason the guitar at
> the
> start of "Van Halen - Ain't Talking Bout Love" sounds completely screwed
> up,
> sounds all echoy and the level is very quiet. I downloaded several
> different
> MP3s of this track and all have the same problem.

Most aftifacts occur in 'delicate' music parts.

> What the hell is Windows / Media Player doing to my sound?

Nothing. WMA is.

> Can anyone sugest anything?

Queue real wav files odr just kisten to the CDs in the first place.


geoff
Anonymous
November 12, 2004 10:54:08 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Geoff Wood wrote:
> Yep, should be. Where did you get the idea WMA is lossless ?

Isn't WMA ones of those "container formats" (like quicktime)
that looks the same to end-users, but can in reality use a
wide variety of different codecs?

This is in regards to Windows Media Player 9 (a previous version),
but the following web page confirms that Microsoft does have a
lossless codec for the WMA format:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/9series/c...

Here's another nice atrociously-long URL that gives some more info:


http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/libr...

So, it appears that the lossless codec is real.

- Logan
Anonymous
November 12, 2004 10:57:35 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Samuel P Ludlow" <Samuel.Ludlow@NoSpam.AuberginePrint.NoSpam.co.uk> wrote
in message news:cmvsgg$r8i$1@hercules.btinternet.com...
> Thank you for your reply.
>
> I am aware that MP3s are bad news but Microsoft claim that there "WMA
> Lossless" format is matimatically the same as the original.
>
> Are they pulling my leg?

I suspect so. But maybe there is a lossless format data-wise , but your PC
s struggling to decode it ii realtime, or WMP10 is notacheiving that.

> I am going to try a few other players/formats out.

Go for it - tell us what you find.

g
eoff
Anonymous
November 12, 2004 1:33:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Logan Shaw <lshaw-usenet@austin.rr.com> wrote:
>
>Well, that actually does make sense in an odd kind of way. Suppose
>you wanted to code some linear PCM so that it could go across an
>unreliable network. Then, you might want to rearrange bits so that
>if some are lost, you can reduce the degradation to the signal.

Right. The original Red Book CD format is a great example of this sort
of encoding!
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
November 12, 2004 1:57:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Geoff Wood wrote:

>>Does it blur the zeroes and ones ?
>
>
> The edges between them, and their positions , yes.

But not the data that is extracted. There is room for all
kind of error in CD transcription without it affecting the
output bitstream.


Bob
--

"Things should be described as simply as possible, but no
simpler."

A. Einstein
Anonymous
November 12, 2004 8:16:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Logan Shaw" <lshaw-usenet@austin.rr.com> wrote in message
news:GpSkd.10230$2v2.3638@fe1.texas.rr.com...
> skler wrote:
>
>> My live audio guru buddy, George, says that APE, FALC & SHN file
>> formats -sound- good.
>>
>> Non-compressed audio formats like WAV & AIFF will sound better than
>> the compressed ones of course.
>
> Do you mean FLAC instead of FALC? If so, FLAC is a lossless format,
> which means that it will sound *exactly* the same as WAV, because
> the sound card is receiving exactly the same data with either format.
>
> The point being that some compressed audio formats (lossless ones)
> do not sound worse than WAV.

Sony PCA format is about 50% and completely lossless - but it's not intended
as a direct-play format as far as I know....

geoff
Anonymous
November 15, 2004 12:22:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

You may have spelled your name incorrectly, Hercules. I'm sure you meant
Gritpype-Thynne...
http://www.thegoonshow.net/characters.asp


"GridpipeThin" <me@privacy.net> wrote in message
news:30Jkd.32485$K7.12835@news-server.bigpond.net.au...
> > Don't blame software for a poor audio card connected by a wire that
> > doesn't
> > have ground anymore, causing you to hear the difference between
> > left&right...
>
> Huh?
>
>
Anonymous
November 15, 2004 9:54:07 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

What I don't get about all this is that Sam is downloading MP3's and
then converting them to WMA? What's the point? You can't upgrade the
sound quality once you download an MP3. It stands to reason the the MP3
would degrade further when converting it to a WMA file. Why purchase a
Lynx card to play shite quality MP3's? I'm not following.

-JC
Anonymous
November 16, 2004 8:16:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 2004-11-11, Arny Krueger <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote:

> This is pretty easy to test.
>
> (1) Take a .wav file
> (2) Compress it with WMA Lossless

Hold it right there.

What was wrong with SHN? Wrong with FLAC?
Anonymous
November 16, 2004 8:16:49 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

james of tucson wrote:
> On 2004-11-11, Arny Krueger <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote:
>
>
>>This is pretty easy to test.
>>
>>(1) Take a .wav file
>>(2) Compress it with WMA Lossless
>
>
> Hold it right there.
>
> What was wrong with SHN? Wrong with FLAC?

Nothing except how widely they will be supported compared to
WMA. Lossless is lossless.


Bob
--

"Things should be described as simply as possible, but no
simpler."

A. Einstein
Anonymous
November 16, 2004 8:24:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 2004-11-11, Mike Rivers <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote:

>> Are they pulling my leg?
>
> I believe so. They may have their own definition of "mathematically
> the same" that means something other than that the decoded playback
> has exactly the same samples at the same time as the original. If it
> did, they'd sound the same.

WMA does have a sample-accurate format, but it's a separate codec from
what was called "WMA" before "WMA lossless". Not all WMA players can
decode WMA Lossless. The thing that the OP said that threw a wrench in
the discussion was that he was making "an MP3 Library". I suspect he
is making a "WMA Lossless" library, and he is calling his Kenmore
refrigerator a "Frigidare" and copying on his Canon Xerox...

I'd steer him toward a ripper and FLAC, personally. It's beyond me why
anyone would willingly choose to use WMA, lossless or not.
Anonymous
November 16, 2004 8:25:13 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 2004-11-11, Geoff Wood <geoff@paf.co.nz-nospam> wrote:
>> I rip my CDs using the lossless WMA format in Windows Media Player 10.
>
> Lossless ?!!!

"WMA Lossless" != "WMA"

I suspect they re-headered FLAC, knowing Microsoft.
Anonymous
November 16, 2004 10:19:17 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 2004-11-16, Bob Cain <arcane@arcanemethods.com> wrote:

>> What was wrong with SHN? Wrong with FLAC?
>
> Nothing except how widely they will be supported compared to
> WMA. Lossless is lossless.

Well, WMA will not be within 10 meters of me, if I have anything to say
about it :-) Not "widely supported" here. More like, barred from
entry, by shotgun if necessary.
Anonymous
November 16, 2004 11:22:49 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"james of tucson" <fishbowl@radagast.home.conservatory.com> wrote in
message news:slrncpj3bd.2fd.fishbowl@radagast.home.conservatory.com
> On 2004-11-11, Arny Krueger <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote:
>
>> This is pretty easy to test.
>>
>> (1) Take a .wav file
>> (2) Compress it with WMA Lossless
>
> Hold it right there.
>
> What was wrong with SHN? Wrong with FLAC?

Fine formats but...

They are not the format that the OP was questioning. He specifically
mentioned WMA lossless.

Obviously the same test procedures would work with these other formats.

I haven't personally tested WMA lossless, but I can vouch for FLAC.
Anonymous
November 16, 2004 11:28:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Bob Cain wrote:
> james of tucson wrote:
>> On 2004-11-11, Arny Krueger <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote:

>>> (2) Compress it with WMA Lossless

>> What was wrong with SHN? Wrong with FLAC?

> Nothing except how widely they will be supported compared to WMA.
> Lossless is lossless.

Are you talking about future support (like 10 or 20 years down
the road, or maybe longer) or cross-platform support?

If future support, I'd submit that proprietary formats, even if
quite popular, aren't the ones that stand up against time very
well. For instance, years ago, if you had e-mail on a Mac,
chances were that you used software from QuickMail. These days,
if you have a mailbox in QuickMail format, you'd be lucky to
find a way to get the data out of it. But if you have a mailbox
that contains data in a standard mbox format, then virtually any
mail program can convert that.

If you're talking about cross-platform support, then flac works
on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Unix, and Amiga. What does WMA
work on? As far as I know, just Windows and some portable
iPod-like devices. Furthermore, there is a flac decoder written
in Java, so you can run that on any OS as long as it can run Java
code. (This also helps on the longevity front, since 20 years
from now, it shouldn't be too hard to find a machine that can run
Java code. But running some then-ancient version of Windows
Media Player is going to be interesting to say the least.)

Of course, all these points are debatable, but the point is
I don't think it's a given that WMA is now or will be in the
future more widely supported.

- Logan
Anonymous
November 16, 2004 12:38:47 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <slrncpj3bd.2fd.fishbowl@radagast.home.conservatory.com>,
james of tucson <fishbowl@conservatory.com> wrote:
>On 2004-11-11, Arny Krueger <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote:
>
>> This is pretty easy to test.
>>
>> (1) Take a .wav file
>> (2) Compress it with WMA Lossless
>
>Hold it right there.
>
>What was wrong with SHN? Wrong with FLAC?

Nothing, but the point here is to test if the WMA encoding is having
some sonic effect.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
November 16, 2004 1:28:08 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <BtWdnXMj-JZNGQ7cRVn-ow@comcast.com>, "Arny Krueger"
<arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote:

>
> Balancing levels by ear is like trying to do fine
> woodwork without a reliable measuring device.

Maybe that's not such a good analogy---by the time someone puts the "fine"
in "fine woodwork" he's often fitting pieces together by feel and by eye
rather than relying on the sort of precision measurements a machinist
uses. ;-)

....




> It's easy to find software that conceals the identity
> of which alternative is playing at any time, until the test is over. The
> same software records your decisions as the test goes along, and compares
> your guesses with actuality at the end of the test. Some of the software
> applies some well-known statistical tests to your results automatically at
> the end of the test.
>
> If you check out the www.pcabx.com web site, you'll see detailed
> explanations of all these issues, have easy opportunities to experience
> listening tests that address these issues, and find the unique software
> tools (almost all freebies!) that make doing reliable listening tests easier
> to do.
>

That's the claim.

Actually you'll find that appearances and substance don't always match up.

On the "training" page there is a table of samples. Look at the Loudness
column; the reference sample link works, but none of the alleged test
samples' links work. Okay, try another one. Same problem in the next
column (Noise, Distortion). Broken links are a minor problem, but they
need to be fixed.

Look at http://www.pcabx.com/technical/reference/ with 17 "click to
downlaod" gifs which appear to link to sample files. Only three of them
are real links---the rest are just pictures. (The source code for the
page reveals that there is no actual <a href> tag for them.)
Those aren't just broken links---they are mere pictues masquerading as
real content.

That's the story for the scientific/statistical support as well.
It is claimed that

> Some of the software applies some well-known statistical tests to your
results
> automatically at the end of the test.

A more accurate description might be that some of the software uses some
terms that sound like well-known statistical tests and then presents bogus
results as if they were based on real scientific methods.
Anonymous
November 16, 2004 8:25:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Arny Krueger wrote:

> "james of tucson" <fishbowl@radagast.home.conservatory.com> wrote in
> message news:slrncpj3bd.2fd.fishbowl@radagast.home.conservatory.com
>
>>On 2004-11-11, Arny Krueger <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote:
>>
>>
>>>This is pretty easy to test.
>>>
>>>(1) Take a .wav file
>>>(2) Compress it with WMA Lossless
>>
>>Hold it right there.
>>
>>What was wrong with SHN? Wrong with FLAC?
>
>
> Fine formats but...
>
> They are not the format that the OP was questioning. He specifically
> mentioned WMA lossless.


Yet he mentioned downloading MP3's and seemingly burning them as WMA
files. I think that's his problem.

-JC
Anonymous
November 16, 2004 10:39:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

JC Martin wrote:
> Yet he mentioned downloading MP3's and seemingly burning them as WMA
> files. I think that's his problem.

No the original poster said he ripped CDs straight to WMA lossless.
Then he noticed a problem, so compared it with some MP3s he had
downloaded to see if they also had a problem.

The issue was a bit clouded by the fact that he described the whole
rig as an "MP3 jukebox", despite the fact that it works off WMA and
not MP3.

- Logan
Anonymous
November 17, 2004 3:19:29 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Logan Shaw" <lshaw-usenet@austin.rr.com> wrote in message news:ESimd.32959

> Of course, all these points are debatable, but the point is
> I don't think it's a given that WMA is now or will be in the
> future more widely supported.


You think Mr Ogg might have a higher commercial persistance ?

geoff
!