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Audio quality and Vista

Reply #125
Gentlemen; thank you very much for 'righting the ship'.  I know I came across as ‘and who made you god?’ on that last post; its just that I am so damned happy with the high-reality-content on this particular forum compared to the vast majority of A/V discussion forums (I have a list of well over a hundred on my site – and at least 95% of them are chalk-full of excrement artists…).

I’ve also ABX’d my files and cannot discern with more than a hair over 50% confidence which is which.  What I had expected to hear were amplitude differences, but no-go.

With regards to MLXXX’s query (BTW ML’ – welcome to the Internet’s most intelligent A/V discussion forum!) - Check out this link:

http://extra.benchmarkmedia.com/wiki/index...k_-_Setup_Guide


You’ll come across some pretty crazy suggestions on the Net’ regarding tweaking PCs’ for audio, including nut-cases who tell you to strip out RAM, mess with BIOS settings and under-clock your CPU… but the link supplied is by far the best / most intelligent / logical and easy to follow suggestions you’re likely to find anywhere.  Kudos to Benchmark Audio.

Andrew D.
www.cdnav.com

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #126
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.


Option 3, you did not create a situation commonly experienced by out-of-the-box users on XP.

That's the facts.

Anyone demanding an ABX test is arguing that one can not ABX 8kHz sampling vs. 44.1 kHz sampling with a full-band 44.1 signal as input.

Who here is arguing that, please?

That, in a nutshell, is what it all comes down to.

Gentlemen; thank you very much for 'righting the ship'.  I know I came across as ‘and who made you god?’ on that last post; its just that I am so damned happy with the high-reality-content on this particular forum compared to the vast majority of A/V discussion forums (I have a list of well over a hundred on my site – and at least 95% of them are chalk-full of excrement artists…).

I’ve also ABX’d my files and cannot discern with more than a hair over 50% confidence which is which.  What I had expected to hear were amplitude differences, but no-go.

With regards to MLXXX’s query (BTW ML’ – welcome to the Internet’s most intelligent A/V discussion forum!) - Check out this link:

http://extra.benchmarkmedia.com/wiki/index...k_-_Setup_Guide


You’ll come across some pretty crazy suggestions on the Net’ regarding tweaking PCs’ for audio, including nut-cases who tell you to strip out RAM, mess with BIOS settings and under-clock your CPU… but the link supplied is by far the best / most intelligent / logical and easy to follow suggestions you’re likely to find anywhere.  Kudos to Benchmark Audio.

Andrew D.
www.cdnav.com


Now, create some samples that reflect real usage on XP. Otherwise, like I've said, you're arguing that there is no audible difference between 8kHz sampling rate and 44.1 kHz sampling rate. Are you?

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.

I do not suggest that a TWEAKED XP system will be any different, assuming that you have only one input at a time, or that the inputs matched in sampling rate.
Quote
But if a particular setting or technique could actually make an ABXable audible difference, then that obviously would be of considerable interest and importance.


Well, IP telephony is particularly bad about this...
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J. D. (jj) Johnston

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #127
With regards to MLXXX’s query (BTW ML’ – welcome to the Internet’s most intelligent A/V discussion forum!) - Check out this link:

http://extra.benchmarkmedia.com/wiki/index...k_-_Setup_Guide
Thx Andrew D.

I do not suggest that a TWEAKED XP system will be any different, assuming that you have only one input at a time, or that the inputs matched in sampling rate.
o.k.

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #128
The next set to ABX must trigger the mixing/resampling capabilities of both XP and Vista.
Yes, I think this is the important one. But, as woodinville has said, this happens to many people and in most cases (like downsampling to 11kHz) is not going to require ABX, because we know that a 5kHz lowpass is pretty audible, even if the resampler is perfect

Quote
Anyone demanding an ABX test is arguing that one can not ABX 8kHz sampling vs. 44.1 kHz sampling with a full-band 44.1 signal as input.

Who here is arguing that, please?

That, in a nutshell, is what it all comes down to.
What about 44.1kHz and 48kHz? I think this would be the interesting one to ABX (or at least make samples for) because, as you point out - 44.1kHz versus 11kHz or 22kHz is pretty trivial.

It is pretty clear, though, that as soon as resampling is triggered (which happens very easily), Vista is better than XP - purely because it behaves much more sensibly. I think another interesting test (but also flame-war prone) would be Vista's resampler versus dmix on Linux.

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #129
Woodinville,

Reading post 20 or 23, technical improvements have been made in many area’s, not only the K-mixer problem has been tackled.

So mixing a low and a high bitrate stream, as you suggest, will probably demonstrate the difference loud and clear but I wouldn’t be surprised at all that experiments in other areas  might also yield an audible difference.

As the improvements in the design are not limited to 1 specific point, I have the feeling that if we want to compare the differences between XP and Vista properly, we are in need of more than 1 experiment targeting a well known (and solved) problem.
TheWellTemperedComputer.com

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #130
Woodinville

Be cool man – I’m on your side here, in fact, I have all the respect in the world for your wealth of knowledge and experience in the field.  However, I firmly disagree that a ‘standard scenario’ with Windows XP sees folks deploying multiple audio applications simultaneously.

I too speak from a well of experience: I’m also a Microsoft Certified Technician, one with nearly 15 years of experience in the field, and have worked on thousands of computer systems, with just as many clients.  I own / operate a computer sales / support / training business called Digital Frontiers Ltd in the city in which I reside.  Additionally, I’m a certified instructor who has spent years in classrooms of computer users - thousands upon thousands of hours in total.

It’s [very] rare that I personally would run simultaneous audio applications, and I am what you might, for all intents and purposes, refer to as a ‘power-user’.  Neither do I see my clients (well over a thousand users - split roughly 60/40 between ‘Joe / Jane Normal’ and corporate clients), employing their computer systems in a manner where they multitask audio applications.

Ninety-nine percent of them run one basic audio application such as WinAmp / Windows Media Player / iTunes or the Real Audio Player at a time.  It just doesn’t make sense that anyone would want to listen to simultaneous audio streams – try it, the sound is just a mumbo-jumbo…

Now, I may be way off base here, and perhaps completely misreading your assertions – and I apologize if I have in fact been doing so; but from what I gather – your argument is wholly based on the declaration that Windows XP and Windows Vista ‘sound different’ in an out-of-the-box state, when in the hands of a general client - due to the fact that they will trigger multiple audio applications simultaneously.

Please correct me if I’m wrong.  If not, I urge you to clearly assess the probability that your argument is valid, given the percentage of time that clients triggering multiple audio events actually occurs – and given the fact that even if said scenario actually occurs, the audio stream is quickly switched back to full bandwidth in a rapid manner once the secondary audio event is complete.

With all due respect Woodinville, I’m not seeking an argument here; just a clear-headed evaluation of the reality of the situation.

Andrew D.
www.cdnav.com

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #131
I had assumed kmixer forces a resampling to a lower sample rate, until I saw the following explanation about the kernel mixer in Windows XP, on a Benchmark Media Systems webpage: http://extra.benchmarkmedia.com/wiki/index.php/Kmixer :-
[blockquote]
Quote
Example:
Mixing 44.1-kHz stream 'X' + 48-kHz stream 'Y' + 96-kHz stream 'Z'
will result in the sample rates of 'X' and 'Y' being converted to 96 kHz.
[/blockquote]
If this is true, then multiple audio streams in XP do not result in a resampling to the lowest sampling rate, but rather to the highest sampling rate.  On that basis, a low sampling rate "system sound" should not disturb the sampling rate of other [higher sampling rate] audio streams.

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EDIT:
Microsoft appear to confirm the above, if I am correctly interpreting the Microsoft Developer Network webpage at http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms790027.aspx

An abridged extract of the Microsoft webpage follows:-

[blockquote]Connecting Additional Audio Streams

Following connection of the first input stream, KMixer applies a different policy to the creation of connections by clients to any additional input streams. The following table describes the KMixer policy on rate conversion and mixing for these additional streams. The table lists the tests in the order in which KMixer performs them.

New incoming rate is equal to the current output rate. Perform mixing only.

New incoming rate is equal to the rate of another input stream. Mix the new input stream with the other input stream at the same rate to take advantage of the existing SRC from input to output.

New incoming rate is lower than the current maximum input rate. Do SRC to the current output rate and mix.*

New incoming rate is higher that the current maximum input rate.[blockquote] If the hardware supports the new input rate:[blockquote]Change the current maximum output rate and the hardware rate to the new incoming rate.
Do SRC on all other streams to the new maximum output rate and mix them with the new stream. (When converting to the new maximum output rate, KMixer mixes together any input streams that happen to share the same sample rate before doing SRC on those streams.)[/blockquote]If the hardware does not support the new input rate, maintain the current output rate and do SRC on the new incoming stream to the current maximum input rate
.[/blockquote][/blockquote][/color]
__________
*I presume this means "apply SRC to the new incoming stream, to take it up to the current output rate".

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #132
Will the udial audio sample be of good use in testing comparisons?

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #133
Please correct me if I’m wrong.  If not, I urge you to clearly assess the probability that your argument is valid, given the percentage of time that clients triggering multiple audio events actually occurs – and given the fact that even if said scenario actually occurs, the audio stream is quickly switched back to full bandwidth in a rapid manner once the secondary audio event is complete.



My observation is based on the number of complaints recieved.

It is hard to know exactly what that makes the probablity, but there are a (*&(&* lot of complaints.

Also, to the other fellow reading the MS web site, if a signal is already running at some sampling rate, it will not change the card's rate, at least under some (many?) conditions. So if you start at 48 kHz, you're cool, except for the birdies in your low-rate signal.  (which will also be low-qualiity). If you start at a lower rate, say 22 or 16 or 8, (and this depends on 3rd party drivers, too, so I can't make any generic statement) it may hold the rate at the low rate. (if it doens't, you get a monstrous "click", which is a different problem)  (The text above is right for codecs that allow changing the rate, but then we get complaints about the clicks.  Win some, ...)

When that happens (holds at the low rate) we get lots of complaints.

And while I can't speak for current apps, some VOIP programs HOLD THE FREAKIN' thing open, even while not sending data.  This holds the sampling rate for those drivers at whatever it was, for better or worse.

And that leads to what I can best describe as fury on the part of some users.
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J. D. (jj) Johnston

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #134
Mmmn, VOIP, a method of making a phone call that often involves delays and echoes, but which is very cheap!

It seems that a lot of these kmixer problems would relate to the particular sound card (or motherboard sound chip?), and the associated drivers.

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #135
Is there any indication that Windows's resampler works or not at the given moment?

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #136
Is there any indication that Windows's resampler works or not at the given moment?


You mean a little 'tray utility' that informs a user that resampling has kicked in / out?  Not that (I) know of, but this is certainly the place to drop a lot of hints so that one of the many programmers that haunt the place will write said utility... :-)

Andrew D.
www.cdnav.com

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #137
Mmmn, VOIP, a method of making a phone call that often involves delays and echoes, but which is very cheap!

It seems that a lot of these kmixer problems would relate to the particular sound card (or motherboard sound chip?), and the associated drivers.


Basically, your last sentence nails it.  The idea is that you can change sampling rate any time, but people (*&*(& to holy (*&( about the clicks that causes, so a lot of drivers lock up changes while anything is open to the DAC.

Some only have one or two sampling rates.

All depends on the device, the driver, and if there is a class driver than can replace what the manufacturer provided.

'twood be nice if it was better.  I know.

Believe me, I know.

jj
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J. D. (jj) Johnston

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #138
Hi All,

I fully agree with Zenno, he describes my setup, and I cannot see how an additional overhead in Vista can be an improvement of the sound! Ok, it does it in 32bit, but still it interferes (and mostlikely changes) the original sound, best option it is the same quality, but better?

I guess it maybe all in the description of "better"? If I hoop up the EQ, nice solid bass, is it then better? In my book, the best signal is the unchanged signal, not the one with DSPs or Vista room enhancements.

So how can Vista make things better to the unchanged signal proces as I have it in XP?

Cheerz,
Eric

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #139
Hi All,

I fully agree with Zenno, he describes my setup, and I cannot see how an additional overhead in Vista can be an improvement of the sound! Ok, it does it in 32bit, but still it interferes (and mostlikely changes) the original sound, best option it is the same quality, but better?

I guess it maybe all in the description of "better"? If I hoop up the EQ, nice solid bass, is it then better? In my book, the best signal is the unchanged signal, not the one with DSPs or Vista room enhancements.

So how can Vista make things better to the unchanged signal proces as I have it in XP?

Cheerz,
Eric

XP isn't perfectly unchanged either - Vista is more mathematically correct in this regard. But the difference should be unaudible, for most common uses.

I prefer Vista because it has better functionality (per-app volume control), and all driver features are finally global (you can edit most features from Windows itself, without having to rely on third party control panels that come with the driver). And, finally they put some thought into the audio setup, including HTPC uses, whereas XP was more in the line of "lol sound".

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #140
I guess it maybe all in the description of "better"? If I hoop up the EQ, nice solid bass, is it then better? In my book, the best signal is the unchanged signal, not the one with DSPs or Vista room enhancements.

How can (good) room correction be considered bad? Canceling the effect of the room on music/movies is a really good way of getting better sound in a space which isn't ideal for it. Same with EQ - my PC speakers are a little bright (due to baffle step), so I dial in some EQ to get a flat frequency response. My living room is very bass heavy around 45Hz, so I dial in a little EQ to integrate the subwoofer better.

EQ and room correction, when done well, are good - they can improve your enjoyment of your music, make it sound more (not less) like it was intended to, make bad equipment sound much more acceptable, and have a whole pile of other benefits. Now, I don't know if Vista's room correction is good (but from their technical info it sounds well designed), but saying that sound is better without room correction just isn't true.

Also, how do you propose your operating system mix multiple sounds of different sample rates together if it doesn't do any processing? Would you rather your browser locked up if it tried to play a sound while listening to music? Would you rather only the current application could play sound? Sure - these things make sense for some uses - but in almost all cases resampling and mixing is The Right Thing for an OS to do.

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #141
I fully agree with Zenno, he describes my setup, and I cannot see how an additional overhead in Vista can be an improvement of the sound! Ok, it does it in 32bit, but still it interferes (and mostlikely changes) the original sound, best option it is the same quality, but better?



Do you assert that you are, as well, the average user, who gets the average experience from an average, untweaked system?
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J. D. (jj) Johnston

Audio quality and Vista

Reply #142
Hi All,

Thangs for your replies,

So here my reply, I wasn't actually saying which one was better, I was trying to make the point, that a definition of "better" is required. For me the only thing that I am concerned with is an unchanged signal. My room doesnt need adjustments and my D/A, Amps and speakers for sure not. So my requirement, if I read a 24bit signal I want it as is fed into my D/A. If I achieve that, then I have my better signal.

However I understand that if one doesn't have such a setup, that the requirement might change, for instance for small speakers, I want some extra boom, or in my crappy listening room, I want to run vistas room enhancer.

In the 6 pages of discussion I havent seen anyone asking the guy what kind of speakers he has, he might as wel be playing from a laptop onto his laptop speakers in his bathroom!!!

Well, lets assume this is the case, how much of the above discusions is actually still relevant?

Cheerz,
Eric

Btw, my setup uses a 2496 M-Audio with drivers that bypasses the operating systems mixers, hence my requirement. And No, I am not an average user, but is any of us?

 
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