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Couple of questions about volume control


I switched from winamp to foobar recently, and I have a couple of (possibly non)issues. When I change volume in foobar I hear crackling noises. It doesn't happen when using the windows main volume control in wasapi mode - which works - I was under the impression that it shouldn't. When using directsound output the windows slider does produce slight crackling noises but they are much less pronounced. I found this thread by googling the issue and now I'm not sure whether it's normal and I'm just more sensitive (lol) than that guy or something is not right.

This is how it looks in wasapi mode:
The wasapi slider in the windows mixer doesn't work and the foobar and main windows slider both work independently (event/push makes no difference) but the windows slider doesn't produce the crackling sound while adjusting.

When using directsound it works like this:
Foobar volume control seems to be integrated with the mixer (which is pretty cool) and the main windows slider works independently. The latter does produce the noises but they're hardly noticeable.

Another thing is that, as I understand, in theory, it would be best to have both the foobar slider and especially the windows one maxed out and do the adjusting on the amp (in my case fiio e10k which I use to power akg 240s). The thing is that for me it's not the most convenient way, quite the opposite actually: the windows slider is the most convenient and the amp knob is kinda out of reach. The foobar slider tells me by how many dBs I lowered the volume and, according to that user, if don't go overboard (not lower that -46dB), I'm fine. The windows slider doesn't tell me that though. It seems to be working similarly and if that's the case, then the -46dB mark should be at the most at the 10% position of the slider - for me operating even from 50% to 100% would be more than enough. But I don't know if that's how it works.

To be sure: both the crackling noises (considering it's completely normal and it's not caused by some mistake in setting up the program, which I'm new to) and the potential quality loss due to adjusting the volume digitally don't bother me that much, as I don't constantly change the volume and my budget setup probably won't allow me to hear any quality loss, unless I make an effort to do something stupid. All I'm trying to do is to find some middle ground.

I'll appreciate any explanations and suggestions!

edit: I forgot to mention that I use 10.0.17134 version of Windows pro

Re: Couple of questions about volume control

Reply #1
It's been quite a while since I used Winamp, but its default DirectSound output plugin (which Peter wrote, btw) seems to have feature that smooths the volume changes to prevent glitches.

You can adjust device volume with WASAPI but since the mixer is bypassed you can't use application volume mixer.

The glitching you hear in foobar2000 when you adjust volume is probably normal. The audibility depends on the type of music and the music tracks I tested it with just now didn't allow me to hear it. But with pure tones it's immediately audible. How loud the glitching is depends on how fast you do the adjusting. When volume is changed and there's no DSP processing done to interpolate between the old data and the new one you'll get sudden stair steps and each step can be audible as a click. I neither see nor hear a difference in the stepping between using Windows volume control or foobar2000. And both WASAPI and DirectSound appear to sound the same. Here's a screenshot of a recording showing the effect:

Using maximum output volume from your computer to the amp would allow maintaining highest signal to noise ratio. But as long as you don't hear background noise you are fine.
The old fashioned volume slider in sound card properties allows using decibels for adjustments.

Re: Couple of questions about volume control

Reply #2
I have been working on WASAPI shared output component that tries to eliminate volume adjustment crackling and other unwanted noises. If OP is lurking perhaps you can give it a try.

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