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Topic: Music sounds different in web and desktop? (Read 426 times) previous topic - next topic
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Music sounds different in web and desktop?

Hello, audiophiles!
Years ago it did not bother me, but now, when I started listening critically, I noticed that in desktop my music sounds different than in web (YouTube Music or Spotify for example). It is not about quality lossy vs lossless but on desktop it merely sounds different, not as exactly as in web. I searched everything but I did not come to a conclusion. Have you got any idea what could be the problem and how to fix it?
P.S. I am using foobar2000 as a player on Windows 10, if it is worth mentioning.
Thanks in advance!

Re: Music sounds different in web and desktop?

Reply #1
Different masterings do sound different, and by streaming you get the one in the current catalogs. If you have a CD from before the loudness war, you have something that could have a different sound.

By using foo_youtube you can get YouTube into your fb2k to play them "side-by-side". But beware that even very slight volume differences would fool your ears. Louder often is perceived better in direct comparison (which is one of the reasons for that damn loudness war thing).
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Re: Music sounds different in web and desktop?

Reply #2
I tried to compare it with the same volume just in case, I still feel that there is a difference. I do not know how to explain it but I feel there is a difference, not sure if noise is the right word, or it sounds deeper, or whatever is called. Is it just the different mastering or some settings have to be changed? Also, isn't the same file in CDs, YouTube and all streaming platforms?

Re: Music sounds different in web and desktop?

Reply #3
Quote
not sure if noise is the right word
Noise is "unwanted additional sound" such as hiss, hum or clicks & pops so it should be obvious if you're hearing noise.  Most noise is an analog problem except if you get glitches/dropouts in the digital transmission or read-error from a CD that can give you a click or a pop.   Analog noise is usually most-noticeable during silence or quiet parts.

Quote
or it sounds deeper, or whatever is called.
Artifacts of lossy compression can be hard to define and describe.     You can make some low-bitrate (or medium bitrate) MP3s from a CD if you don't know what that sounds like. 

 Is it just the different mastering or some settings have to be changed? Also, isn't the same file in CDs, YouTube and all streaming platforms?[/quote]Usually yes, but stuff uploaded to YouTube may have gone-through multiple generations of lossy compression.

And most streaming services use "loudness normalization" so most will be quieter than the CD, and they can be different from each other.   And I think Spotify has a loudness option that uses dynamic compression and that will alter the "character" of the sound.

Re: Music sounds different in web and desktop?

Reply #4
Also, isn't the same file in CDs, YouTube and all streaming platforms?
If it is new, they usually sound alike.

But look at e.g.
https://dr.loudness-war.info/album/view/169648
https://dr.loudness-war.info/album/view/96326

With the advent of CDs, the record industry came up with new ways of selling the same music over and over again. One of those strategies were "remasters". (Note that "mastering" really means "pre-mastering", and often amounts to quite a bit of remixing.) And at the time, they were mastering to sound LOUD and with very little dynamic range. And loudness war hell wasn't just a 1990s thing.
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Re: Music sounds different in web and desktop?

Reply #5
Because I can't decide whether there is any alteration of the quality or it sounds as it is supposed to do. If I hear the music clearer through YouTube Music, is this because of compression and losses?
Is there anything to do with hardware acceleration or I am delusional?

Re: Music sounds different in web and desktop?

Reply #6
If I hear the music clearer through YouTube Music, is this because of compression and losses?
Or because you play it back at higher volume. (By that I do not necessarily imply that you have chosen different volume setting at your end - it could be that the YouTube format is served to you at slightly different volume.)
Or because your mind is playing tricks at you. It is very hard for the human brain to disentangle hearing completely from what else you are doing - we are hardwired to process information different than that. See this cool video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k8fHR9jKVM

Is there anything to do with hardware acceleration or I am delusional?
Nothing to do with it. If the streaming/playback chain weren't fast enough, digital audio would skip.

Of course if your hardware causes your computer fan to speed up, then you might hear sounds from elsewhere than your speakers  8)
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Re: Music sounds different in web and desktop?

Reply #7
Because I can't decide whether there is any alteration of the quality or it sounds as it is supposed to do. If I hear the music clearer through YouTube Music, is this because of compression and losses?
Is there anything to do with hardware acceleration or I am delusional?

In summary: you simply don't know. There are so many aspect than can influence sound, esp. when using streaming services. Before you know it you are comparing apples & oranges when listening to identical titles.

Btw: hardware acceleration can't have impact indeed.