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Newbie questions about Volume, and Column centering

I've been using Windows Media Player for years, and with a recent job change, vowed I'd try FooBar2000, which has been recommended to me over the years many, many times.  :)

I *really* like it!  [I only pay CDs, so WMP was always "good" enough.)

a) I am presuming that I should set the laptop's volume to the max, and control audio volume with the slider in fb2k?  (Because it's a new job, I'm just using the crappy native sound card in the laptop.  Once I get a little more settled, I'll break out my headphone amp & DAC.  ;-)  )

b) I'm using the Vintage color scheme now with Album List + Props (tabbed) + Visuals.  The track numbers are right justified in the Audio CD window.  Any easy way to get the track numbers centered?

Thanks!
Kevin.

Re: Newbie questions about Volume, and Column centering

Reply #1
Hi there, and welcome to foobar, the biggest time-sink of an audio player in recorded history :D (because you might be customizing it forever!)

To your questions -

a) Whichever way works best for you, really. I generally go the other way for volume, max foobar, min system, because system volume is easier controlled with buttons on my tablet and/or USB DAC, and the DAC is already quite loud. I'm not sure what difference it makes in a technical sense, if any.

b) Had to get on an old PC with an actual CD drive to see what you meant. :P The 'File menu > Open audio CD...' dialog cannot be changed, but I think you probably mean the playlist. You can simply make a custom column.

File menu > Preferences > Display > Default User Interface > Playlist View > under 'Custom Columns' click Add New - enter a name and pattern, for example -

Code: [Select]
Name: Track #
Pattern: [%discnumber%.][%tracknumber%]
Alignment: Center

(The use of title formatting controls what / how you want information displayed. For more, go Help menu > Title Formatting Help).

Back in the playlist, add the new column by right-clicking column headers > Columns > Track #.

Cheers ;)

 

Re: Newbie questions about Volume, and Column centering

Reply #2
a) Whichever way works best for you, really. I generally go the other way for volume, max foobar, min system, because system volume is easier controlled with buttons on my tablet and/or USB DAC, and the DAC is already quite loud. I'm not sure what difference it makes in a technical sense, if any.

You are doing it the right way also from the sound quality perspective: Windows gets the full resolution signal, which then is attenuated as needed. Lowering the resolution happens when the volume is lower, so that's  harder to detect.

If you reduced volume in FB, you would also reduce the bit depth of your sound and then send it to Windows for max output. In practice on a basic laptop it may make no difference, but in extreme cases it may sound less than perfect.

Setting the bit depth of your sound in both FB and WIndows to 24 bit makes this issue quite academic, as you would need to mute the signal by over 90dB before the resolution drops below 16 bit (which is what you get from the CD).

Re: Newbie questions about Volume, and Column centering

Reply #3
You are doing it the right way also from the sound quality perspective: Windows gets the full resolution signal, which then is attenuated as needed. Lowering the resolution happens when the volume is lower, so that's  harder to detect.

If you reduced volume in FB, you would also reduce the bit depth of your sound and then send it to Windows for max output. In practice on a basic laptop it may make no difference, but in extreme cases it may sound less than perfect.

Setting the bit depth of your sound in both FB and WIndows to 24 bit makes this issue quite academic, as you would need to mute the signal by over 90dB before the resolution drops below 16 bit (which is what you get from the CD).

Yes, thanks.  That's how I understood, in terms of the best quality, maintaining the full bit depth.  (Right now, I have everything set to 16/44.1, I suppose Id need to understand the advantages and any disadvantages of going to 24 bit next!)

b) Had to get on an old PC with an actual CD drive to see what you meant. :P The 'File menu > Open audio CD...' dialog cannot be changed, but I think you probably mean the playlist. You can simply make a custom column.

File menu > Preferences > Display > Default User Interface > Playlist View > under 'Custom Columns' click Add New - enter a name and pattern, for example -

Code: [Select]
Name: Track #
Pattern: [%discnumber%.][%tracknumber%]
Alignment: Center

(The use of title formatting controls what / how you want information displayed. For more, go Help menu > Title Formatting Help).

Back in the playlist, add the new column by right-clicking column headers > Columns > Track #.

Cheers ;)
Great!  Yes, in the playlist.  I kept trying to change the formatting of the current column.  I need to make a new one.  Cool, thanks!

Re: Newbie questions about Volume, and Column centering

Reply #4
Yes, thanks.  That's how I understood, in terms of the best quality, maintaining the full bit depth.  (Right now, I have everything set to 16/44.1, I suppose Id need to understand the advantages and any disadvantages of going to 24 bit next!)
The only disadvantages of 24-bit output would be the negligible CPU load increase associated with shifting the sample data by 8 bits, plus 50% increase in bandwidth required to send the data to the DAC, which at 44.1 kHz sampling rate is no problem at all.
Regarding the benefit:
Consider a particular 16-bit sample of value ABCD (hex). Padded to 24-bit it becomes ABCD00.
Now, if you reduce the volume by 24dB (4 bits), these samples become 0ABC and 0ABCD0 respectively.
As you can see, the 16-bit sample lost 4 bits of resolution, while the 24-bit has retained the full resolution of the original signal.

Re: Newbie questions about Volume, and Column centering

Reply #5
Resolution and SPL go hand in hand.  It’s a matter available dynamic range vs realizable dynamic range. With only 16 bits the increase in the noise floor due to reduced resolution will still be below the ambient noise floor unless the output level is high enough to cause auditory damage. With 24 bits the idea of a problem due to a lack of resolution is preposterous.

On the other hand, cranking the master volume can often result in audible hiss assuming you’re using the analog out.

Better to back the level off with the final volume control in the signal chain. Period.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

 
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