Software Media players - is there any difference

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by Roisdad, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. Roisdad

    Roisdad New Member

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    I do most of my music listening from my desktop PC and recently bought a FiiO E7 and E9 combo to get better quality playback than the onboard soundcard. I also recently bought a set of Beyer DT770s 80ohm from Hifiheadphones - great service by the way - and have been re-ripping my CD collection to Flac files, again to get better quality playback.

    My question is does it make any difference which software media player I use to playback the Flac files? Does Winamp sound better than VLC media player for instance? Or is there another player better than either? Or does it not make any difference what software player I use?

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. Shaun-HiFi

    Shaun-HiFi Administrator Staff Member

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    Software media player choice

    It shouldn't make any difference what software media player you use if you avoid any kind of DSP effects, i.e. use a flat EQ. Any EQ or effects will process the sound and alter it from original, but it might help you tweak the sound to your liking! :)
     
  3. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Software player

    I have been using Foobar2000 for FLAC and other files, but on the computer I use, a Dell desktop, Foobar has a peculiar feature I would like to fix. On some FLAC tracks, there is a background noise level that's missing when the FLAC's are converted to 320k MP3's. It doesn't happen with all tracks, just a few, and even though the converted MP3's don't have the noise, they sound exactly the same, even the highest frequencies above 15 khz. I've sent a couple of these to tech people, and they don't hear the noise, even though it's so loud on my computer that you can hear it across the room played through computer speakers.
     
  4. Jaster

    Jaster New Member

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    As far as I know, there shouldn't be a difference unless your computer is (like mine) really rather slow. If it is, then some of the more 'flashy' players *cough* winamp *cough* might distort the sound because the computer needs to use so much energy on the player.
    However, I doubt you have such a slow computer, so you should be minted with any player.
     
  5. axelreel

    axelreel New Member

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    I'm gonna have to agree with you up in the first comments. It shouldn't matter what player you're using as long as it plays. I mean WinAmp does feel like it delivers more of a raw sound than iTunes, and iTunes feels more sophisticated or straight-forward with how it plays their sound. But the point of a FLAC is to be as raw as it can be, so it shouldn't matter too much.
     
  6. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Media players

    It's good to have a few media players in case one or the other has a feature you need. Normally I use Foobar2000 on the PC, since I can rip CD's with it and also convert between FLAC, WAV, MP3 and so on. But I got a Japanese super CD of some kind that Foobar would not rip, at least with my current plugins, so I used Windows Media player to rip that super CD.

    As far as sound is concerned, keeping things simple is best, and pay attention to tasks running in the background, since they can rob the sound of some quality, particularly in timing where very small interruptions are not directly noticeable, but can smear the sound slightly.

    The default equalizers in iTunes or Foobar2000 can be useful for cases when a loudspeaker or headphone has a serious coloration you would want to correct (if the sliders on the equalizer match up to where the coloration occurs). But for better equalization with less distortion, you can download a 30-band equalizer for Foobar that gives you much better granularity.
     
  7. quadpatch

    quadpatch New Member

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    I love Foobar a lot! It's free, plays pretty much anything you throw at it and if there is something lacking you can usually find a plugin for it. I recently downloaded some DSD files (.dsf) to play on a Fostex DAC/amp via SD card, but I managed to find a Foobar plugin that converted them on-the-fly to almost any format you wanted as well - that is amazing for free! It then went out at up 176khz (I think, unfortunately not 192) and that played back on the DAC/amp with no lag as well. I also like the WASAPI (bit-perfect) support, don't think you need a plugin for that. It's not the prettiest thing in the world but it works really, really well.

    If you want something that does most/all of that (including DSD), as well as looking as slick (or better) than iTunes and has a lot more advanced features then jRiver is really good. It costs about £30, but it will process all kinds of audio effects while up-sampled to 64bit (to avoid distortion), then down-sample it to whatever the original file was again for output. This could be a great feature for people who want to push the signature of their headphones with EQ. This technique seems to work really well and it tells you exactly what it's doing with sample rates and distortions (input/process/clip protection/output etc.). If you are familiar with Photoshop this is a technique that works really well for images with level manipulation. It seems to do the job very well!
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
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