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  • JimH
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
JRiver Media Center was reviewed as part of an extensive listening test published in the January, 2012 issue of The Absolute Sound Magazine. 

http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?...68169.msg458772

  • pdq
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #1
Is this some kind of a joke? Why would any player (other than a defective one) sound any different from any other?

  • JimH
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #2
There are a few reasons.

WASAPI or ASIO, for example.

A 64 bit internal data path. 

High resolution files.  They tested with HRx 176/24 files in some cases.

I agree with you that, if two players are playing from the same source, to the same sound device, and they are both set up the same, they will deliver the same bits to the device.  But there are a lot of if's.

If your player of choice is foobar, I agree that it probably produces identical sound if set the same way.

More Audiophile bits about JRiver Media Center here:
http://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Audiophile_Info

And a chart from the article:
  • Last Edit: 04 December, 2011, 09:50:02 AM by JimH

  • googlebot
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #3
But there are a lot of if's.


Rather a lot of "if not"s. The default configuration of most systems (basic Vista/7 installation, any basic player DirectSound/Wasapi/ASIO) will output exactly the same. Anything else is just rooted in myths from times when XP had trouble producing bit identical output in its standard configuration or flawed sample rate conversion in case of a mismatch between input and output sample rate. IMHO the way JRiver MC is presented here is scratching the edge of Hydrogenaudio TOS.
  • Last Edit: 04 December, 2011, 09:49:01 AM by googlebot

  • JimH
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #4
But there are a lot of if's.


Rather a lot of "if not"s. The default configuration of most systems (basic Vista/7 installation, any basic player DirectSound/Wasapi/ASIO) will output exactly the same. Anything else is just rooted in myths from times when XP had trouble producing bit identical output in its standard configuration or flawed sample rate conversion in case of a mismatch between input and output sample rate. IMHO the way JRiver MC is presented here is scratching the edge of Hydrogenaudio TOS.

I've already said that I agree with you:
Quote
...if two players are playing from the same source, to the same sound device, and they are both set up the same, they will deliver the same bits to the device.
.

But how about playing the HRx files?  Or DSD files?  I don't believe iTunes or WMP will do that.  foobar probably will.  Others may.

Or 5.1 FLAC?  iTunes?  Any player?

Sorry if you feel this is inappropriate to discuss.  The thread was intended for owners of JRiver Media Center.  Please let me know what you feel is inappropriate for that audience.

  • Roseval
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #5
The default configuration of most systems (basic Vista/7 installation, any basic player DirectSound/Wasapi/ASIO) will output exactly the same.


DS dithers the output, WASAPI exclusive and ASIO don't.

So the output by DS differs from WASAPI/ASIO
  • Last Edit: 04 December, 2011, 10:06:28 AM by Roseval
TheWellTemperedComputer.com

  • JimH
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #6
A lot of the audiophile grade equpment has required some tinkering to get it going.  Here's a wiki topic on our site:
http://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/DAC_Settings

Many of the better USB DAC's use a USB driver from Wavelengthaudio.com.

I don't mean to open up a new front on the hardware side.  I'm just saying that not all players will work well with this equipment.

  • Roseval
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #7
Many of the better USB DAC's use a USB driver from Wavelengthaudio.com.


Don’t think so.
Most of the new async USB DACs and async USB/SPDIF converters use the XMOS receiver.
It comes with a USB class 2 driver by Thesycon.
TheWellTemperedComputer.com

  • JimH
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #8
Many of the better USB DAC's use a USB driver from Wavelengthaudio.com.


Don’t think so.
Most of the new async USB DACs and async USB/SPDIF converters use the XMOS receiver.
It comes with a USB class 2 driver by Thesycon.

Hi Vincent,
We've done work for a lot of manufacturers and I don't believe we've run across Thesycon yet.

Jim

  • Roseval
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #9
TheWellTemperedComputer.com

  • JimH
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #10
Merci. 

I think the important thing about the article in The Absolute Sound is that the entire audiophile community is now being exposed to computer audio in a way that will probably cause a major new wave of experimentation and adoption.  Until now, the merits of computer audio have been controversial for many audiophiles.

  • Wombat
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #11
Somehow i find this claims pretty bullshit regarding other things that must be proved at Hydrogenaudio,
I doubt that the internal "64bit" path has anything to do with better sound, that soinds like pure marketing to me.
When i read that upsampling from a 176/24 source to 192/32 improves the sounds Height and Claritry i´d even vote to kick that thread in the recycle.bin!



Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?

  • Alex B
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #12
It seems that JRiver Media Center was just the testers choice of player software. The table does not mention any other player software. They seem to compare hardware and various DSP options.

Without seeing the complete article it is difficult to say anything about that test, but it looks seriously flawed. For example it claims that resampling from 176 kHz to 192 kHz or even just increasing the bit depth from 24-bit to 32-bit produces audibly better quality: "Additional height and clarity improvement." 

JimH, as a long time user I truly like MC and its features, but perhaps that test is not something you should use as a reference.
  • Last Edit: 04 December, 2011, 10:45:59 AM by Alex B

  • Alex B
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #13
Wombat, I don't think JimH believes that e.g. increasing the bit depth from 24-bit to 32-bit can make an audible quality difference.

He has said this:
Quote
We once tested what people could hear, with files at 8, 9, 10 bit depth, etc.  Very few people could hear the difference beyond 11 or 12 bits.

The quote is from this JRiver forum thread: http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=59070

The thread contains also Matt Ashland's explanation about the 64-bit internal DSP processing. Matt does not claim that it would audibly increase quality.
  • Last Edit: 04 December, 2011, 10:58:57 AM by Alex B

  • Canar
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  • Global Moderator
  • Your mom's favourite moderator
The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #14
I moved this discussion out of the Recycle Bin because I sense there's a bit of community desire to actually discuss this.

Note that the listening test does not comply with Terms of Service point 8.
1. Attack the argument, not the arguer.
2. Assume good faith.

  • kraut
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #15
Quote
Until now, the merits of computer audio have been controversial for many audiophiles.


Controversial because most of the easy tweaks used to claim sonic superiority cannot do not apply. Try rolling tubes on a soundcard, or try monster cables to hook up eSata connections.

There are still idiots out there who claim superiority sound wise of a non smps to a smps when supplying power to your sound card, who claim that an exterior Dac is superior to the Dac of your soundcard, who claim that any of the various players is superior to any other player, who claim superiority of one spdif cable over another, who claim superiority of 192kHz upsampling (why the fuck not upsample to 384 or 768 or into the MHz range, eh?)

Audiophiles are a part of the religious community twice removed from reality, and believe that everything effects the sound and can hear mice whisper.

  • gvanbrunt
  • [*]
The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #16
I believe Jim is abundantly aware of the audio Zelots who make statements such as "lossless WAV sounds better than FLAC".  I don't think it was Jim's intention was to claim J River "sounds better" than x. I think he was surprised that it was being considered in that "realm".

I'm a long time user of J River Media Center mostly because of its power, flexibility and attention to detail. (Damn I'm almost sounding like on of those guys I just mentioned). In fact one of the primary reasons I started using it was they had their heads firmly planted on the ground when it comes to audio quality and design. They base their design on solid scientific principals and not "listening tests" (I'm not speaking of ABX etc) that are subjective BS.

Anyway, don't flame Jim too bad, even if that article isn't worth keeping in the bathroom for when you run out of toilet paper...

  • greynol
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  • Global Moderator
The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #17
I'm not so sure the creation of this topic was such a good idea.  JimH, are you aware of TOS #8 at all?!?

If so, how could you possibly think that this could be good PR for your product, especially after the soft pitch you lobbed in post #3?

To put it bluntly: it isn't.

The people here will tear you limb from limb and I think they're quite justified in doing so!
  • Last Edit: 05 December, 2011, 09:13:31 PM by greynol
Your eyes cannot hear.

  • Wombat
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #18
I wouldn´t have worried but this one question:
Is this some kind of a joke? Why would any player (other than a defective one) sound any different from any other?

was directly answered with:
There are a few reasons.

WASAPI or ASIO, for example.

A 64 bit internal data path. 
...

+ some attached graphics with text about esotheric feelings expressing sound. I nowhere saw JimH distancing from these findings. Even when he is known to know better no one that reads it gets this impression here, at least me not.
I nowhere ever saw anyone providing any fact, leaving alone listenng tests proving 64bit playback improves sound. Now that i know that he is allowed to post such things here i´ll leave it alone oif cause. These days the most intersting things most likely are discussed over PMs anyway. I excuse me if i did disturb the peace with these negative posts.
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?

  • greynol
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  • Global Moderator
The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #19
Now that i know that he is allowed to post such things here i´ll leave it alone oif cause

I don't know that he's exactly been given a green light, rather I think you've been given the green light to respond however you wish provided you follow the TOS.

A critical point to mention is that this forum does not and never will require someone to provide evidence that two things sound the same.
Your eyes cannot hear.

  • Northpack
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #20
More Audiophile bits about JRiver Media Center here:
http://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Audiophile_Info

And a chart from the article:

Apart from being a TOS#8 violation, a chart like this is completely hilarious in this context ("additional height and clarity improvement" when going from 24 to 32 bit output? ). I don't think that quoting such nonesense will positively promote your product in these forums, rather to the contrary.
  • Last Edit: 06 December, 2011, 06:55:06 AM by Northpack

  • Alex B
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #21
Oh dear, I thought that this thread split already got a mercy kill when it ended up in the bin.

This stupid thread is not good for MC. MC doesn't deserve an "audiofool" label.

In general, its audio quality has been just perfect during the last nine years (edit: I mean that it has not had any major design flaws that could somehow reduce the quality). The recent "audio path" additions and changes have improved compatibility with various HW devices and device drivers and given great new possibilities for using room correction, channel mixing & EQ, bass redirection, VST plugins etc. In MC these audio features are equally usable with music and video playback.

The people here will tear you limb from limb and I think they're quite justified in doing so!

It would be more interesting to tear that "Absolute Sound Magazine listening test" limb from limb. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone here is going to buy it just to see how bad it really is. Even if someone would actually have this $5 pdf release, I don't think it would be legal to redistribute it. It could only be quoted.
  • Last Edit: 06 December, 2011, 08:45:52 AM by Alex B

The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #22
Without seeing the complete article it is difficult to say anything about that test, but it looks seriously flawed. For example it claims that resampling from 176 kHz to 192 kHz or even just increasing the bit depth from 24-bit to 32-bit produces audibly better quality: "Additional height and clarity improvement." 


Especially true if you take into account, that the noise floor of DAC and amplifier (even of high quality pro gear) is max. somewhere in the -120db area. And 24bit offer 144db dynamic range!

My conclusion: Ridiculous listening test.
  • Last Edit: 06 December, 2011, 08:24:53 AM by .halverhahn
.halverhahn

  • Batman321
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The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #23
The recycle bin is waiting for this thread.

  • monkey
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  • Developer
The Absolute Sound Magazine listening test
Reply #24
Using a 64bit data path in JRiver was an engineering decision.  Preserving precision is good practice in any processing, especially as the amount of processing increases.

Using 64bit ensures that the player can be bit-perfect with regards to precision at 32bit (the highest hardware output precision I have seen):
http://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Audio_Bitdepth

But JRiver does not claim that in the final downmix 64bit sounds better than 24bit.