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Experiences with ViPER Audio (ViPER4AndroidFX etc.)

I finally managed to root my Android smartphone for the purpose of installing ViPER4Android, which is an alternative system audio driver also available as a Windows version. ViPER4Android provides a convolver (yay!), headphone correction profiles, and a nice 10-band EQ, but also a host of other preconfigured effects most of which I have no idea about what they actually do.

There is a short explanation on the English website that doesn't really explain much at all and even contains some audiophile nonsense (The Audio Reconstruction filter is supposed to be set accoring to the "cable length" of the headphones. Quite astonishing that this comes from the author of such an advanced DSP app...)

Anyway, the more I played around with those effects the more of a mystery it became to me what they are actually doing. Take the Viper Bass for example. It seems that the "natural" setting combines a low-shelf filter with a limiter so that the overall volume doesn't decrease at all, while the "clean bass" and "subwoofer" settings seem to be simple low-shelf filters with varying steepness. I find the "natural" setting quite usefull actually, as the output of my phone is a bit on the low side.

I was hoping to find a crossfeed, but instead there is a variety of surround settings most of which are absolutely terrible. Differential Surround is a cheap effect that is of course quite the opposite of a crossfeed (although it seems to be hugely popular in the community, probably like anything that totally messes up fidelity ::)). Headphone Surround+ is claimed to be a sophisticated filter to but really sounds terrible to me even at the lowest setting. However, Field Surround comes to the rescue. I have no idea what it precisely does, but at the default settings (surround: "slight", mid-image: 5) it does sound like a very decent, almost coloration-free crossfeed not unlike Foobar's Meyer Crossfeed.

I'm curious: what are your experiences with this application/driver? There are many DSP gurus around here, so maybe some of you have a better understanding of what those filters actually do and can give some advice...

Have any of you tried the ViPER-DDC headphone profiles and can comment on their quality?

Re: Experiences with ViPER Audio (ViPER4AndroidFX etc.)

Reply #1
the cure tech setting includes a crossfeed effect. that it will work fine for you is another matter. any crossfeed or 3D perception DSP that doesn't let us use fine tuning to our own head/hearing will tend to be hit or miss.

Re: Experiences with ViPER Audio (ViPER4AndroidFX etc.)

Reply #2
Thanks, I will look into that. What you wrote however is true for 3D perception DSPs but not for a simple crossfeed. We all have a head and we all have a torso upon which the head is situated and no more should a basic crossfeed take into account. This is why foobar's Meier crossfeeds sounds so convincing - it doesn't even try to mess with 3D perception beyond that (i.e. anything that happens above 700 Hz).

Re: Experiences with ViPER Audio (ViPER4AndroidFX etc.)

Reply #3
... We all have a head and we all have a torso upon which the head is situated and no more should a basic crossfeed take into account. ...

I thought this head transfer function stuff was very individual. But then, I might have been listening to audiophiles.
The most important audio cables are the ones in the brain

Re: Experiences with ViPER Audio (ViPER4AndroidFX etc.)

Reply #4
I used this extensively. It's really good, if a bit difficult to work with. The headphone correction profiles blew me away, they are incredible.

The eq sounds good, and the impulse response works flawlessly.

Re: Experiences with ViPER Audio (ViPER4AndroidFX etc.)

Reply #5
... We all have a head and we all have a torso upon which the head is situated and no more should a basic crossfeed take into account. ...

I thought this head transfer function stuff was very individual. But then, I might have been listening to audiophiles.
Of course it is, but only when it comes to the more delicate shapes of our outer and inner ear that affect frequencies above 1 kHz. The effect of the head and torso are virtually identical for every person and sufficient to enable a more relaxed and "natural" listening experience with headphones, without reducing fidelity.
I used this extensively. It's really good, if a bit difficult to work with. The headphone correction profiles blew me away, they are incredible.

The eq sounds good, and the impulse response works flawlessly.
Thanks! Sadly, my beloved Phonak Audeo PFE are missing from the list.

Re: Experiences with ViPER Audio (ViPER4AndroidFX etc.)

Reply #6
even in the most basic crossfeed, the guy who made it had to set a delay for the signal duplicated to the other side and how loud it would be(trying to provide ITD and ILD cues to the brain). bigger head would mean a little longer delay and slightly lower volume level for the left sound reaching the right ear. so there is a subjective element to this.
xnor's crossfeed is nice to fool around on a computer as those variables can be changed at will.

Re: Experiences with ViPER Audio (ViPER4AndroidFX etc.)

Reply #7
I mostly use this to boost the output volume in certain scenarios. Also, the loudspeaker optimization actually manages to make most small speakers sound decent.

The headphone correction profiles blew me away, they are incredible.
Quite the opposite for me, I prefer how my ATH-m50x sound without the correction profile.

Re: Experiences with ViPER Audio (ViPER4AndroidFX etc.)

Reply #8
After some more experimenting with ViPER4Android, I can say that I am equally fascinated and frustrated with it.

Fascinated because it really provides filters than can dramatically improve sound quality even with very high quality headphones or IEMs. Whatever that "Dynamic System" precisely does (I guess some frequency-dependent dynamic compression), it vastly improves the bass performance of my Audéo PFE - I really love these IEMs for their surpremely neutral sound signature up to the highest frequencies, but they definetely lack bass - in a way not acchievable with a simple equalizer.

Frustrated because of the authors fondness of buzzwords and snakeoily concepts and the lack of any technical documentations what all these effects actually do. For example, with "Dynamic System" you can choose between a variety of generic headphone profiles, but other than listening closely to the often quite subtle differences you have no way to tell exactly in which way these profiles differ.

Re: Experiences with ViPER Audio (ViPER4AndroidFX etc.)

Reply #9
To make things worse, if you search for some guidance how to sensible make use of the settings your are likely to find something like this:
Quote
    First of all, Enable "V4A-FX". If for some reason, you have changed the settings but you don't hear a difference tap "Force Enable V4A". Put on some earphones/headphones and play some music to hear the results in real time.
    Next we will enable "Spectrun Extension". Set the strenght to 0.5.
    Now we will enable the "Convolver". This is the most important part of settings since it will use the IRS files we downloaded earlier. Tap "Impulse Response" and select "Dolby Pro Logic 1.irs". Set "Cross Channel" to 80 percent.
    Now scroll all the way down to Fidelty Controll and tap "Enable ViPER Bass" to enable it. Set "Select Bass Mode" to Natural Bass. Set "Set Bass Frequency" to 100 Hz and set "Select Bass Boost" to 17.0 dB. These settings are optional just like the surround ones. Since I like Bass I've used the settings.
    Now enable "ViPER Clarity", set the mode to XHifi and "Select Clarity" to 14.8 dB.
    The last settings Master Gain is also important. Using the "Output Gain" you can increase the volume output or decrease it if you don't like the output to be very loud. I've set mine to 6.0 dB since I like the volume increase.

Eliciting enthusiastic responses like this:
Quote
Thanks so much for this! My sound is absolutely AMAZING NOW!!

The mind boggles (and the ear writhes). ::)

 

Re: Experiences with ViPER Audio (ViPER4AndroidFX etc.)

Reply #10
After trying the DDC feature with half a dozen supported headphones from my collection I have to say that I am rather disappointed - for me it was actually a 50/50 chance of either improving or degrading fidelity. In theory it is a brilliant concept, but I guess in practise there are just to many uncertainties involved: measurement margins, differences in frequency response due to product lot variations, wear and the effect of individual ear canal resonances all add up to something that can be completely off from what you are actually hearing. Unsurprisingly, I obtained the best results with high-end Sennheiser headphones, where the DCC actually managed to lift off the typical dark "Sennheiser veil" of bloated lower mids, while hardly changing anything else. With cheap headphones, however, it is really a hit and miss.

Anyway, I have come to really appreciate the Field surround and Dynamic System effect and would want to miss them anymore. The first can be used to produce a rather subtle crossfeed effect that in terms of soundstage actually surpasses most crossfeeds I have used so far and the latter works better than any equalizer to deal with bass shy headphones.






 
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