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Audio quality and Vista

Reply #100
So, the question is, ¿which of both cases is "Joe Normal" case? I guess most times is the first case, but the second case will happen too sometimes.
Then testing the second case would be a good idea too. Digital, would it be possible for you to test that? One of the members who knows more about Windows than me could probably advise you on a simple way (which could happen to "Joe Normal") which would force Windows to resample.

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #101
Studied the topic a lot.  A summary of what I've gleaned from multiple sources, including Microsoft tech' sites is as follows:

The issue with KMixer only occurs when one triggers a 'secondary' sound event - such as one of the Windows System Sounds - while a 'primary' audio file is being played in the foreground.  KMixer then resets itself to the 'correct' sample rate within moments of the (in our example) System Sound ending.

Thus, I'm not sure it’s truly a problem.  For all of you audio geeks out there (myself included, not a slight), simply turn off the annoying System Sounds in the first place (Control Panel / Sounds & Audio Devices / Sounds Tab / Select No Sounds).  They are kinda’ childish and a waste of resources anyway…

I'm not sure that a scenario of individuals playing multiple audio files occurs very often (System Sounds aside).  I've been a Windows user since Windows Version 3.0 (all hail i8088 / i8086!), and don't find that this occurs very darn often.  Even when it does, the 'reset' generally occurs quickly.

However, that said, give me a few weeks and I'll try it out as the basis for another evaluation - just too far over my head in clients at the moment.  How shall I do it?  What immediately comes to mind is recording a long .wav file of ‘dead-air’ and saving it, then assigning it a function in System Sounds.  I’d follow by triggering said System Sound in the background while simultaneously playing and recording a high-quality file in the foreground, following the same recording procedure as the last round.  What say ye?

To be honest, I’d say we’re getting a little far-fetched with our scenarios here, as this particular event would never occur in ‘real-life’…

Andrew D.
www.cdnav.com

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #102
I'm sure I've experienced this problem when listening to a BBC stream and playing Foobar2000 (I'd switch between the two). Sometimes the stream sample rate quality would drop and it would screw the rest of the sounds in Windows. It only ever happened a handful of times and it was sometime ago now.

The quality degradation was no slightly less bass and less bright highs kind of thing. It sounded awful.
daefeatures.co.uk

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #103
You know, I'm going to bail on this thread. I have described, repeatedly, a common occurance for average listeners.  Yes, I do know that's the facts.

I've been accused by SLD of being an incompetant non-scientist, and I'm waiting for him to support those extremely serious professional accusations so that we can take them forward to an ethics hearing, since his accusations are fully serious enough to require exact formal treatment.  SLD, however, simply appears unwilling to back up his serious accusations, has shouted his accusations, and then run into hiding.

On top of all that, as you can see by my profile, I've left MS for greener pastures, and I really don't think it's appropriate to be discussing their issues any longer.

Ergo, I am walking on this thread.
-----
J. D. (jj) Johnston

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #104
Woodinville

I was a bit puzzled about what could possibly be the differences between XP and Vista.
Your contribution to this thread made matters much clearer to me.
Thanks

All
What I understand up to now.
If you play a single stream at its original sampling rate, XP and Vista sounds the same
If you play a single stream and apply upsampling there might be a difference as Vista uses float and XP integer
If you play 2 (or more) streams and these streams have a different bitrate, XP will play all streams at a the lowest bit rate, Vista will play each stream with its own bit rate
TheWellTemperedComputer.com

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #105
If you play a single stream at its original sampling rate, XP and Vista sounds the same

Not always. Your soundcard needs to support the sample rate of the sound you are playing, and some other conditions need to hold. This is in contrast to what happens on some linux distros (like Ubuntu), where resampling is always used.
If you play a single stream and apply upsampling there might be a difference as Vista uses float and XP integer
It's deeper than float vs. integer. Vista uses a higher quality algorithm, at the expense of CPU cycles. As far as I am concerned, this is a sensible thing to do.


Audio quality and Vista

Reply #107

Is someone changing the goal posts again?
Quote
If audio is played with the best respective settings on Vista and XP, there will be no distinguishable difference for identical files.

Quote
Ok, please show YOUR evidence for that.


You know, it's rude and deceptive to pick quotes out of context and represent them as something they weren't.

Hear, hear! 

Wasn't my final post in this thread enough, by the way? Was it a must to get me to clarify myself in a PM when my firm stand and conclusions have all been stated in this thread?

Gentlemen (and ladies, if any), I refuse to budge from my stand as quoted above, because it will be nonsensical to ABX lack of difference, and we all know the power of placebo in wanting to hear differences. In addition, Hancoque has provided visuals in post #72, with a corresponding final paragraph. His final paragraph essentially states that both Vista's default resampling algorithm and PPHS Ultra are so good, a human can't hear a difference between them. A liar would state that Vista's default is clearly better than PPHS Ultra, and a deluded audiophile would state that PPHS Ultra is clearly better than Vista's default. I hope this thread doesn't make a parrot out of me.

For the record, here are my best practices on XP: Foobar2000 0.9.5.2 beta, Kernel Streaming, PPHS Ultra.
These were my best practices on Vista: Foobar2000 0.8.x, DirectSound.

With regards to Woodinville's stand, please refer to post #66. And oh, the words are in bold. I don't know why I bolded the words... perhaps I wanted people to actually notice them?

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #108
With regards to Woodinville's stand, please refer to post #66. And oh, the words are in bold. I don't know why I bolded the words... perhaps I wanted people to actually notice them?


Your failure to reply substantively is noted.

Allow me to quote the offending claim:
Quote
I can see that he is quite challenged in the areas of imagery and vocabulary though. He cannot visualise and comprehend 'best practices'!

----

I never wanted to be nasty about this, but you leave me no choice... if Microsoft holds a public survey on 'most loyal employee', remind me to vote for you.


Any professional engineer (I use the term in the degreed or highly experienced, technical, rather than artistic sense here) must show superior ability in imagery and vocabulary.  First off, you accuse me of incompetence in that sentence alone. Then, you say "best practices" which is a direct reference to how one proceeds to run, document, and write up experiments.  The term "best practices" is not defined by a few guys on a bulletin board, it is a formal term describing how one carries out work professionally.

Finally, with your crack of "most loyal employee" you insinuate that I am lying in order to demonstrate some kind of loyalty or something of that sort.  Given the situation at the time I wrote my previous replies, that particular accusation quite ridiculous.  In some ways, that accusation is the most insulting, and given that you stipulate by your own words that you state it by malice, perhaps the worst of your misconduct.

Show your evidence.
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J. D. (jj) Johnston

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #109
Any professional engineer (I use the term in the degreed or highly experienced, technical, rather than artistic sense here) must show superior ability in imagery and vocabulary.  First off, you accuse me of incompetence in that sentence alone. Then, you say "best practices" which is a direct reference to how one proceeds to run, document, and write up experiments.  The term "best practices" is not defined by a few guys on a bulletin board, it is a formal term describing how one carries out work professionally.

I'm a layman and I can damn well define words temporarily to suit my case and push my point as and when necessary. I treat my music professionally, hence the term 'best practices' is valid as used by me. I perform the same repeatable setup on all virgin installations of Windows XP after thoroughly researching the use of bit depth, resampling and output options on Foobar2000. Are you accusing me of not taking my music playback seriously?

As a professional, the onus is on YOU to correct me, the ignorant layman, as to the correct usage of words in your industry. If you fail to do that early, the fault lies with you and on you for not passing on the requisite knowledge.

Quote
Finally, with your crack of "most loyal employee" you insinuate that I am lying in order to demonstrate some kind of loyalty or something of that sort.  Given the situation at the time I wrote my previous replies, that particular accusation quite ridiculous.  In some ways, that accusation is the most insulting, and given that you stipulate by your own words that you state it by malice, perhaps the worst of your misconduct.

Show your evidence.

Given the situation? Given the situation, you were insisting that you could hear a difference between the best possible playback setups on XP and Vista.

With no evidence. With CONTRARY evidence (post #72). You call that professional?

Your obstinacy would naturally call into question your integrity, whether your loyalty lies with your profession, or your employer. Perhaps you will want to step back from this petty debate and read your own words all over again. Instead of the one party being malicious, it may well be the other party being a jerk without realising it.



This thread has gone way off-topic because of an individual's refusal to accept the facts (I do not dare use the word 'truth' lest he play the religion card again).

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #110
This thread has gone way off-topic because of an individual's refusal to accept the facts (I do not dare use the word 'truth' lest he play the religion card again).

I implore you to look at the first post.  It was your insistence on a special case that drove this thread off topic.

It's pretty fitting that you started your reply saying that you can bend things to suit your fancy and that is just what you have done with this topic.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #111
I'm a layman and I can damn well define words temporarily to suit my case and push my point as and when necessary.

Yes, you've used the words in a way to deceive everyone here. Effectively quitting my interest from hearing more from you.

I'm not going to recheck what did everyone said, or why we've ended here, but I've learned enough: Vista default audio quality is better than XP default audio quality, especially specifically playing 44Khz audio (pretty much everything feed for quite some years already) with AC-97 soundcards.

I don't bother to hear anything else.


[Edit -> especially -> specifically ]

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #112
Given the situation? Given the situation, you were insisting that you could hear a difference between the best possible playback setups on XP and Vista.


Once again, you show contempt for the facts of the case.  You haven't read the various user experiences reported with XP, I have.

You insist on your own special case for this and that, I refer, and have made it clear that I refer, to the out-of-the-box user experience, which is what the layman (which is what you have just called yourself) generally experiences.

The conclusions?

1) You aren't a layman. You insist on defining "best practices". That's not a layman's activity.  Yet you wish to be instructed. As evidence shows, you reject instruction.  This is, at best, intentional ignorance.
2) You reject "out of the box".  Yes, that's a wise thing to do, but that's not what the LAYMAN does.  so your actions, as well as your posing and words, demonstrate that you wish to be treated as a layman, while making substantive pronouncements about professionals.
3) You persist in making unsubstantiated accusations, over and over and over, and you persist in trying to twist the context to fit your agenda, rather than accept the context of the comments.
4) You threaten people with TOS #8 and try to extort their silence, and are profoundly angry and upset when they do not kowtow to your extortion.
5) You refuse to retract your accusations even when you yourself have stipulated malice in making them.

I think that you wish to deny some obvious facts, that you have trouble with authority, and that you really, unwisely, do not know when to admit that you're just full of yourself.

It's telling that you accuse me of egoism. I've earned my position, and I back my words with experience and testable, verifiable experiments. (which nobody has bothered to do, which is not my problem, of course, most informed people are well aware of the vagarities of kmixer)  You, on the other hand, define "best practice" but insist that you're a layman. You jump into a discussion of out-of-the-box layman usage, and demand to hold the layman to professional standards, but all the time passing off your "layman" behavior as needing instruction.

It would be impolitic for me to suggest the kind of instruction that you need.
-----
J. D. (jj) Johnston

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #113
Jaz,

With all due respect, I don't feel that your statement:

Quote
“but I've learned enough: Vista default audio quality is better than XP default audio quality”…


...is rational / valid, unless you can back it up with posted ABX results.  If you look at my post number 91, you will find a link which will allow you to download / compare / post ABX results using two very carefully created files, 'no-tweaks-applied' / ‘clean install out of the box’; one on Windows XP, the other Windows Vista.

From what I can gather [with clean installs of the two operating systems]; as long as there are no other sound-effects or audio files playing the background, there is no discernable difference in the reproduction of digital files under either of the two Windows Operating Systems.

Andrew D.
www.cdnav.com

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #114
Is it not possible for us all to agree that the two arguments of technical superiority and a perceived improvement in audio quality don't necessarily have to go hand-in-hand?

We don't all have ears like bats and it can't automatically be assumed that everyone (or maybe even anyone) will hear a difference between the two systems if they both achieve near-perceptual transparency under single-source listening conditions which is, after all, how the vast majority of users use their systems for the vast majority of the time.

I'd like to respectfully propose that this thread be locked as I don't think it's doing the usually very high reputation of the HA Forums any good. It's just descending into a slanging match with no further technical information of any value coming to the fore. 

Cheers, Slipstreem. 

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #115
Is it not possible for us all to agree that the two arguments of technical superiority and a perceived improvement in audio quality don't necessarily have to go hand-in-hand?


On the other hand, it does not take peer-reviewed large-group ABX testing for people.. even the layman.. to pronounce correctly that HD Radio FM sounds better than legacy AM.. and the layman would be correct.  Technical superiority does improve audio quality quite often.

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #116
1) You aren't a layman. You insist on defining "best practices". That's not a layman's activity.  Yet you wish to be instructed. As evidence shows, you reject instruction.  This is, at best, intentional ignorance.

What's to stop me from taking standard English words and defining them clearly for my own purposes until someone comes along to correct me? If the words have long been used for another meaning in the industry, I stand corrected. But if that someone intentionally ignores my definition up to the point of correction... I call that malice.

Quote
2) You reject "out of the box".

I rejected "out of the box"? Did you read post #66?

Quote
3) You persist in making unsubstantiated accusations, over and over and over, and you persist in trying to twist the context to fit your agenda, rather than accept the context of the comments.

I am sorry, for a long time now you have been the one with the agenda. I sense that it is not victory enough for you to have everybody, including me, acknowledge that out-of-the-box Vista is better than out-of-the-box XP. You are trying to get everybody, including me, to acknowledge that out-of-the-box Vista is better than best-possible XP, even in the face of post #72.

Notice that we haven't even gotten started on audible superiority, just technical superiority.

Quote
4) You threaten people with TOS #8 and try to extort their silence, and are profoundly angry and upset when they do not kowtow to your extortion.

ToS #8 keeps people on their toes. Some continually defy ToS #8 and live to regret it. If ToS #8 has not been violated, the thread proceeds on.

Quote
5) You refuse to retract your accusations even when you yourself have stipulated malice in making them.

First, live up to your reputation as an objective professional. Acknowledge post #72. If HA.org is an objective forum then all the more I tend to suspect commercial infiltration. You have to forgive my petty paranoia.


I implore you to look at the first post.  It was your insistence on a special case that drove this thread off topic.

I'm sorry... my special case is invalid, then, no? I did persist for a long time, but come on, are you telling me that there are people in here holding out against the facts for as long as I have persisted? There is post #72 for everybody to read... why am I still being harassed into providing evidence for my special case, when all the time the onus is on Woodinville? As of this post, he is still beating a dead horse, because post #72 exists.

When Woodinville acknowledges post #72, further progress can be made in this thread. The superiority of default Vista over default XP has long been acknowledged by everybody in here, including me (post #66). Even then, the quality improvements may only be audible under certain technical conditions. I'm surprised that I have been the only one claiming ToS #8 over audible claims, and even more surprised it took us so long for a post to mention the technical conditions.

Yes, you've used the words in a way to deceive everyone here. Effectively quitting my interest from hearing more from you.

I'd like to respectfully propose that this thread be locked as I don't think it's doing the usually very high reputation of the HA Forums any good. It's just descending into a slanging match with no further technical information of any value coming to the fore. 

Cheers, Slipstreem. 

Seconded.

If people cannot understand my words, then I have failed to communicate my ideas across as well. I'll wait for the day when fellow English forumers can understand standard English that has been defined clearly (not some profession's definition of certain terms). In the meantime, I will like to request for this thread to be locked too.

On the other hand, it does not take peer-reviewed large-group ABX testing for people.. even the layman.. to pronounce correctly that HD Radio FM sounds better than legacy AM.. and the layman would be correct.  Technical superiority does improve audio quality quite often.

Not in the realm of diminishing returns. What was the last conclusion of 24-bit vs 16-bit for music playback?

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #117
Gentlemen;

You’ve all been on H.A. long enough to know that the way we solve ‘the unknown’ around here is with ABX.  Up to this point all you’ve done is made the pages of H.A. look like the insane asylum; or should I say ‘The Audio Asylum’ – where difficult concepts are never resolved, instead – they spiral out of control until the thread is locked by a moderator.

Is that what you hope to accomplish here?, cause’ you’re sure headed in that direction on an out of control freight train!  Ranting, raving, sniping at one another until none of us learn anything because the thread is locked has never – in the history of A/V discussion forums, solved anything.

Now climb off your high horses and create some evaluation files for us to audition or use the ones I’ve supplied.

Have some respect for the excellent – progressive and realistic forum this is – don’t try to turn it into one of the 100+ A/V forums full of audiofools that revel in spewing disinformation and madness…

Andrew D.
www.cdnav.com

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #118
Jaz,
With all due respect, I don't feel that your statement:

Quote
“but I've learned enough: Vista default audio quality is better than XP default audio quality”…

...is rational / valid, unless you can back it up with posted ABX results. 

I should have written "specifically", not "especially". I have a Vista here with an HD Audio soundcard, so i cannot verify that claim right now via ABX, but note that your soundcard didn't meet that scenario either.
Also, it has to do with the default resampling method of windows XP. (Placed in audio properties.. can't remember the exact place now) At some point, that was changed from "fast" to "accurate". Specifically with "fast", it was bad, as in causing aliasing. it caused aliasing (of course, in samples that aliasing could be heard)

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #119
Andrew, I don't understand.

We have already resolved everything, now it is up to the individual reader to find them... or really have we? We have Woodinville stating that default Vista triumphs over default XP technically when there is mixing and resampling involved with a few others backing him up. I finally understand the technical details (better resampler, no more lowest common denominator, etc). But as for audible differences, all we have is Woodinville's citation of user anecdotes.

Gentlemen, some are quick to retort that if there are audible differences, there is no need to perform an ABX test to confirm them. However, if there ARE audible differences, wouldn't an ABX test be exceedingly easy to pass?

In other words, "come on, you have better ears, can't you just indulge the eyes of your fellow forumers in the name of science?"

Also, Woodinville has been quick to assure us that even without the mixing and resampling, default Vista still trumps default XP, citing user anecdotes, including post #18. There has been no ABX tests performed so far.

We have Hancoque's graphs detailing the slight technical superiority of an optimised XP setup over default Vista. I stated that this is as good as saying no one can hear a difference, and Woodinville disputes me without explicitly stating the counter-case. There has been no ABX tests performed so far.

I am afraid that some people simply refuse to read for themselves. That said, I previously mentioned that the best selling point of Vista's audio system for me was the per-application control. I am also relieved that this independence extends to the fundamental way Vista treats audio streams now. This is undoubtedly thanks to Woodinville's efforts. That does not mean, however, that he can throw his weight around on a forum where scientific principles are adhered to. By no means does a validation of the default case imply that the 'special case' obeys the same conclusion.

By the way, I'm still surprised no one else bothered to confront the 'audiophile speak' in post #18. I'm also surprised that up till this point, Woodinville has chosen to go on a witch-hunt instead of categorically backing up all his assertions with concrete evidence, in attempting to salvage his reputation from my (harsh, but up till now still justified) comment about his previous employer.

Jaz, the default resampling setting in XP (at the least, SP2 for sure) is set to 'Best', not 'Fast'. I believe that when comparisons were made, SP2 was the XP version involved.

Have some respect for the excellent – progressive and realistic forum this is – don’t try to turn it into one of the 100+ A/V forums full of audiofools that revel in spewing disinformation and madness…
We will all do well to keep this in mind. I have seen my fair share of unqualified morons taint this forum. I certainly expect qualified individuals to live up to their qualifications, as well as intellectual superiority. Intellectual superiority carries (or at least is supposed to carry) with it a heightened sense of objectivity.

--------------------------------------------------

Andrew has already set up test files for any and everybody to crack their ears on.

--------------------------------------------------

Code: [Select]
foo_abx 1.3.3 report
foobar2000 v0.9.5.2 beta 2
2008/04/19 19:24:34

File A: C:\Documents and Settings\Shaun\desktop\First Minute - Exactly at 60 WinVista Business.wav
File B: C:\Documents and Settings\Shaun\desktop\First Minute - Exactly at 60 WinXP Pro.wav

19:24:34 : Test started.
19:27:29 : 00/01  100.0%
19:27:48 : 01/02  75.0%
19:28:07 : Trial reset.
19:32:24 : 01/01  50.0%
19:33:07 : 01/02  75.0%
19:34:30 : 01/03  87.5%
19:36:32 : 01/04  93.8%
19:37:54 : 02/05  81.3%
19:38:27 : 03/06  65.6%
19:39:07 : 04/07  50.0%
19:39:54 : 04/08  63.7%
19:40:44 : 05/09  50.0%
19:41:26 : 05/10  62.3%
19:41:57 : 06/11  50.0%
19:42:28 : 07/12  38.7%
19:43:07 : 08/13  29.1%
19:45:26 : 09/14  21.2%
19:46:25 : 10/15  15.1%
19:46:58 : 11/16  10.5%
19:47:23 : 11/17  16.6%
19:48:59 : 12/18  11.9%
19:49:20 : 13/19  8.4%
19:50:12 : 13/20  13.2%
19:52:34 : Test finished.

 ----------
Total: 14/22 (14.3%)

No ReplayGain (can't replaygain wav files, but track scan shows identical volume), DSP settings were Convert Mono to Stereo, PPHS Resampler (Ultra).
Equipment: Mylarone X3i
Output: First ~15 trials DirectSound, next ~7 trials Kernel Streaming (sorry, I know this is bullcrap methodology, let me explain)
I actually heard the difference more with DS than with KS (hence the shrinking p-value). But I had to crank up the volume to an uncomfortable level (especially for an in-ear), and the difference was so slight I didn't manage to push the p-value below 0.01 (1%). I'll try this later at night when ambient noise is lower.

The part that I was analysing was 0:27, the cymbals on the opening of the next stanza, right on the bass guitar note that succeeded a string of bass notes and a pause. Sorry for my music illiteracy...

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #120
I listened to samples made by Digital.
I couldn’t detect any difference.

Option 1: there are no differences between XP and Vista. I have heard it my self! Anybody who hears a differences is a fool ( or tries to sell a product)

Option 2: On my equipment, using the samples supplied, my hearing is not able to detect a difference.

Option 1 seems to be the more popular one, option 2 is the valid one.
TheWellTemperedComputer.com

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #121
Does Option 2 apply to Joe Normal?

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #122
Does it apply to you?
TheWellTemperedComputer.com

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #123
According to my ABX results, yup. I probably need funding for better equipment, too. That makes me Joe Normal x 2. And if the majority is Joe Normal... Option 1 is true too, without the straw men.

Come on guys, we are 29 short of the sample size needed for a normal distribution... ok, half-jesting.


The next set to ABX must trigger the mixing/resampling capabilities of both XP and Vista.
The last but not least set to ABX pits the best-possible XP playback mode against default Vista playback mode.

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #124
As a relative newcomer to this forum, I do not know some of the basic do's and dont's about successful use of XP or Vista for playback or for recording.  I haven't discovered anything in the FAQs.  Is anyone prepared to start a new thread along the following lines?:
[blockquote] Tips for maximising recording or playback audio quality when running (a) Windows XP, (b) Vista, and © any other operating platform.[/blockquote]
I note that, particularly for recording purposes, some people out of curiousity or an abundance of caution would like to know technically superior settings, even if such settings might not make any ABXable audible diifference.

But if a particular setting or technique could actually make an ABXable audible difference, then that obviously would be of considerable interest and importance.

My own experience is quite limited.  However, I recently had occasion to use an Audigy 4 hub to make recordings of a stereo signal.  I found I got a lower noise when recording if I used a driver called 'ASIO for all' than the standard multi-channel Creative Audigy 24/96 driver.  This may be a somewhat specialised situation.

I'm sure a number of members would have tips that would be of general interest and practical use.  Does anyone wish to start the ball rolling?

 
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