Computer Audio Players

Discussion in 'Computer Audiophile: Software, Configs, Tools' started by JoshMorr, Oct 4, 2015.

  1. shipsupt

    shipsupt Admin

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    I only recently started to use BitPerfect on my music server. I'm very pleased with it. Being an Apple fan boy I'm happy to mostly live in iTunes for the bulk of my library. Love that it's a total no-brainer to have running in the background.

    I didn't realize that it would use higher bit rates when streaming music. I am loving listeing to one of my favorite internet radio stations (http://www.radioparadise.com) at 192kB/s this morning.
     
  2. starence

    starence Acquaintance

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    I've been running Linux on an old laptop for a while, but until recently I hadn't really used it for audio. I've tried a few music players so far, and Deadbeef is easily my favorite, with a minimum of configuration it sounds fucking amazing. Makes me wonder if there's something wrong with my Windows desktop, because I've tried everything from Foobar to roon on it, and none of them sound this good.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  3. landroni

    landroni Friend

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    It's likely not down to the player, per se, but more to the OS config... It's possible Windows takes care of mangling your music before it gets to the DAC.

    Personally I use Audacious on Linux.
     
  4. landroni

    landroni Friend

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    Old post, but I'm with you here. I tried several players on Linux and the interface was generally along the theme of 50 shades of horror. Audacious though just about gets it right. And has an active maintainer which is good.

    As for MPD, it's a configuration horror story. I no longer have the patience to deal with all that nonsense, though, so no MPD for me. As for the UIs, have you tried Sonata? As far as I go its interface is slick, minimalistic and elegant:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    https://github.com/multani/sonata/
    http://www.nongnu.org/sonata/
     
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  5. julian67

    julian67 Friend

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    Re: mpd.

    There is precisely one full featured GUI client for mpd on Linux/BSD based systems, and that is GMPC https://gmpclient.org/ Despite the Gnome in the name it does not require Gnome desktop (is safe to consider that part of the name an historical anomaly) but it does require GTK.

    I've been using Debian and Debian based systems for my servers, desktops and laptops since 2006. MPD's configuration is actually very decent indeed. It is a server application and there is an expectation that the user will make some informed choices in setting it up. Setting up the clients i.e. gmpc, sonata or similar, is ,naturally, rather simpler.

    There's the key: it is a server+client(s) system. If you have a single computer on which you store and manage and play your music collection then MPD may well be the wrong choice for you. As soon as you find that you want to store your music collection on one system/address/location but have it be listenable in multiple other locations (LAN or WAN) then an MPD server gets very appealing indeed and may be a compelling choice.

    On a single system setup MPD can work just fine, but seems like overkill. Why not just use a sane directory structure and a player that understands both file system navigation and tags?

    For what it's worth, there really shouldn't be any difference in audio quality between Linux and Windows on the same hardware. Any OS that has a decent driver ought to be able to offer identical sound. Any differences perceived are likely to be because volume is not precisely matched and/or the different OSs use a different default sample rate in their software mixer (typically 44.1 or 48 KHz). Any modern OS allows you to define the software mixer sample rate, or to bypass it and give the playback app exclusive bit-perfect control of the audio card/chip.
     
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  6. landroni

    landroni Friend

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    Had a look at GMPC and while it might be full-featured (I'll have to defer to you on that), the way I see it it's still ugly as a bat. Its interface and ergonomics seem to be roughly on par with just about every other music player I've tried. Of course, this is but me.


    I have no problems going through config files to set up a client (or server). That's fine. I'm unhappy though going through hoops and extended debugging of esoteric interactions with other system components (e.g. PulseAudio) just to get it going, and still not getting any sound from the damned thing. Maybe I'm losing my Linux touch, dunno, or maybe the distro maintainer is doing a poor job, but historically my experience with MPD has been rather patchy.
     
  7. GustavoWoltmann

    GustavoWoltmann MOT: EqualizerPro

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    I have been using MediaMonkey as my computer audio player. It is good for listening music. I also use Equalizer software to get smooth sound. I have been using EqualizerPro for more than four months. It changed my experience of listening music.
     
  8. julian67

    julian67 Friend

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    Ugliness in music players: Do you use them to play music or watch them? OK, that's a bit facetious, but only a bit. If you have a GTK desktop environment then GMPC can be made to just fit right in and look like it belongs. I don't know what might be the problem with the ergonmics or UI, it seems to me to be very easy to search, queue, navigate, play and otherwise control mpd and clients with UI buttons, with keyboard shortcuts, with keyboard multimedia buttons, even with my phone. I can configure which metadata is displayed, and how it's displayed and so on. It's hard to know what to make of rather broad criticism that doesn't identify a specific issue or calrify what would be desirable.

    "going through hoops". yes, if you follow some random howto from the www it will feel like that. I did look at that one. It kind of conflates setting up mpd, pulse audio streaming and sonata desktop client. It's poorly thought out, poorly explained and is definitely of the "works for me wtf" school.

    I'm not going to offer a tutorial but if anyone wants to set up mpd and client then the best place to look for docs are the docs on the mpd site itself, alongside any that are shipped with your OS's package when you install it. The mpd site docs are exhaustive but very clear and the pulseaudio user docs offer very good examples of how to set up pulseaudio correctly (several distros have really screwed this up in the past, no idea why).
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
  9. landroni

    landroni Friend

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    @julian67

    The GMPC interface quite simply doesn't make sense to me, and again that's me. I simply wouldn't use it on purely ergonomic and aesthetic objections* (strange menu structure, confusing options, Stop button before Play button on the main toolbar, seemingly random menu structure on the sidepane, the most egregious UI arrangement that there can be of categories in Genre / Artist browser, and overall the interface seems to have been hacked -- in successive layers -- rather than designed). Clearly this arrangement works well for you, so more power to you. But it's not something that I would use or recommend, though I can see why some would find it useful or appealing.

    * And for examples of what I feel are good ergonomic arrangements see my previous posts.
     
  10. starence

    starence Acquaintance

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    I think I've figured out why there was such a difference. My laptop was powered by its battery, and the desktop was running on dirty power from an old surge protector. I have it plugged into an Isobar now, and it sounds much better.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  11. Changeling

    Changeling Tube Slut

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    I thought I'd bring up a change in my setup in regards to computer audio players that I found useful.

    Background:

    I'm running Lynx AES16 PCI -> Yggdrasil -> Mjolnir2 -> HD800/HD650.
    Music collection is controlled by jRiver MC22 running on a headless server. I'm using a DLNA network setup in jRiver to access my music collection via the jRemote iPad / iPhone app. I want to keep jRiver as I'm using a couple of VST's.

    Problem 1:
    I thought I was done with streaming services but I came across a 6 month free trial of Tidal and thought I'd evaluate a bunch of classical music I've had on my list of purchases. My first problem was how to feed the Tidal stream through jRiver.
    Solution 1:
    That was solved with activating the WDM driver in jRiver, chosing jRiver as main "soundcard" in Windows and finally changing the output in the Tidal software to output to the jRiver "soundcard". All good. A bit of tweaking with buffer setting, but it seems to work well.
    Irrelevant. See below

    Problem 2:
    The jRemote iPhone/iPad app will not control the Tidal PC software, nor will the iPhone/iPad Tidal app output to jRiver MC 22.
    I've connected the headless server to my office monitor as a secondary input. But this means I have to change input and bring out the mouse/keyboard to change music in Tidal. Very cumbersome.
    Solution 2:
    Mconnect Player. This iPhone app allows me to access and stream Tidal over DLNA through jRiver MC22 as well as controlling my local music collection. It's a couple of dollars but I'm very happy with this setup. I'm not sure if using DLNA is optimal, but since streaming is not my first choice I thought I'd let that slide


    FINAL SOLUTION


    Now when the tube roll write up for Vali2 is completed I finally got the time to try and work this out once and for all. I have managed to get Roon to work with jRiver! I had to change output in Roon to jRiver MC 22 over Wasapi, and then adjust settings in jRMC to also output to the Lynx card over Wasapi. Boom! Music!
    So I can finally control both streaming (Tidal) and local music (NAS) from one app!

    Settings:

    ROON: Exclusive mode, Wasapi jRiver Media Center 22, Event Driven Mode ON, Buffer size 100ms.
    jRiver: Wasapi (Lynx), 100ms buffering.
    Lynx Mixer: no dropouts, 256 buffer size.

    LatencyMon running 4 minutes while playing 24bit/192khz with jRiver resampling to 96kHz. Average latency reported, 25µs. That number doesn't say much but following the report I can see that there's no potential tasks that would cause dropouts. I don't care much for latency anyway - as long as there's no dropouts, clicks or pops,

    Now. Do I bother to compare this setup with jRiver alone running ASIO, which driver is developed by Lynx as opposed to WASAPI?
    That's borderline nervosa....
    I'd love to hear more of you Lynx/RME users doing the same thing ?
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
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  12. starence

    starence Acquaintance

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    Audirvana for Windows is pretty rough, but they're actively improving it. It still feels unfinished though.

    I'm really liking TuneBrowser. It's made in Japan, but most everything has been translated into English. Great sound quality, but it can be hard to figure out the settings.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
  13. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Almost "Made"

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    Just seeing this thread. I run JR17 on 2 computers, have seen no reason to upgrade (I'm in the media dark ages--no DAPs, no cellphone, no Roon, no Tidal, no comprende streaming).

    But various references to JR's WDA driver earlier in this thread make me curious, as I don't recall seeing that as an option in set-up. 2 questions:
    1. Did WDA become available in later versions (post v17)?
    2. And if it's a driver I can actually use, what's the upside/downside of doing so?
     
  14. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    I believe WDA is also known as WASAPI. To see what setting you have your dac set to, go to the JR River tools menu and options and then click on the name of your dac. You shoud see drop down menu options and names of various settings in parenthesis like Direct Sound, WASAPI, ASIO, or even Kernal Streaming.

    You should definitely make sure you have it NOT set to Direct Sound as this is probably the poorest sounding of the lot. I use Dac manufacturers ASIO drivers for best transparency but WASAPI sounds close for most dacs.

    typos corrected
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
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  15. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Almost "Made"

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    Thanks for this helpful reply. Just checked, and my audio output is set to WASAPI.

    My DAC came from a Chinese mgr not known for reliable (or even usable) drivers, Audio GD, sp installing it was problematic & I had fewer than usual choices. In fact, I was only able to install it because the USB module came from Amanero, and their driver did the trick...
     
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  16. julian67

    julian67 Friend

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    It's WASAPI: "Windows Audio Session API". or audio playback it is at least equally good as any ASIO driver as it gives the audio application exclusive control of the audio hardware so, to quote JRiver Wiki : "One of the other main benefits of WASAPI is that it provides applications with exclusive access to audio devices, bypassing the system mixer, default settings, and any typically any effects provided by the audio driver. WASAPI is the recommended Audio Output Mode for Windows unless your audio device has a well-behaved ASIO driver, and it effectively replaces all legacy output modes including Kernel Streaming and Direct Sound."

    That "well-behaved" qualification is important. It's hardly unusual for ASIO drivers to be horrible and for the listener to experience clicks, drop outs, crashes, hardware lock ups and so on. If you are recording audio then you might find that ASIO offers smaller latency but there is no reason that any ASIO driver could offer better playback sound quality. On Windows WASAPI is definitely the way to go for playback. If you are on a version of Windows so ancient that it doesn't offer WASAPI then please give my regards to Fred Flintstone.
     
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  17. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    My apologies for the typo @julian67.

    My ears tell me more than the writings of JRiver or Foobar when it comes to ASIO or WASAPI. I prefer ASIO on the last 3 dacs I have owned with Windows 10 with Foobar and JRiver players. Yeah, I know it is all supposed to be irrelevant since they both bypass the old crappy win mixer. But my ears tell me otherwise. Maybe I just got lucky with the vendors ASIO drivers. They are rock solid.

    I have no problem with folks using WASAPI if that is what you prefer or if your dac maker does not offer ASIO. I just hear a slight difference with ASIO that I prefer. I am not going to try to defend or explain it, it just "is" for me.
     
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  18. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Almost "Made"

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    Can you characterize that slight difference for us?

    I might be tempted to mess w/the balky drivers for my DAC (not even sure how I'd do that) if there was gold at the end of the sonic rainbow.
     
  19. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Typically when I am "poked" in a forum by a fellow member who uses someone elses version of what you can hear and not hear, presented as a "truth" I think nothing of it, craft a simple response and move on. I have learned lots of what is said and promoted as a version of truth on the web is just someones own bias or thought that may or may not correlate with what you hear. But I took @julian67 quotes from the Jriver geeks as an opportunity to re-confirm my preference for ASIO over WASAPI in my systems. Or at least to confirm that there were audible differences.

    Late last night when electricity is quiet and the golden listening hours were in full swing, I fired up the HP setup and let it warm up for a while and then dove into a short listening session switching between my "standard" ASIO driver and WASAPI. but before I get comments on what I heard, let me go back in time to my first use of ASIO and a DAC.

    While I was in a transition period of dacs in my main speaker system and HP setup, I used one dac for both. Not popular around here, but nice enough when used solely on battery and a clean USB environment, The Chord Mojo had a ASIO driver as part of their driver downloads. With the standard WASAPI driver for windows the Chord had all the characteristics that many ascribe to the dac. Warm, soft in attack in the low end, a bit hazy in the mids, and rolled in upper freq. Their ASIO driver was put into place nearly a year after I had it and months before I sold it and moved on. Sound with the ASIO driver was tighter bass, more clear mids and a tiny bit better clarity in the highs. Certainly a worthy change in overall tone and one that another Mojo user nearby confirmed.

    Last nights re-trial of WASAPI was to ensure I was not playing games with myself. I often go back and make sure I can re-hear differences of some tweak or change. I remember once playing around with on the fly upsampling with A+ and my mac setup for the better part of a year. I decided that while different sounding, I eventually preferred and went back to native sample rates. I diverge, but my ASIO decision with my 2 latest dacs that offer ASIO drivers was based on listening to WASAPI at the time as well. However, in my HP setup at least, I have been through a player upgrade to JRiver and a few amp upgrades as well as a move from Senn 650s to Senn 600s. And I did not re-confirm my preference for ASIO, I just used it.

    Playing Agnes Obel on my HP system last night for a few tracks with ASIO was a familiar sound to me. Clear, open, dynamic, nice ring to the piano, and Agnes' rich warm overall atmosphere, with just a bit of possible glare on her voice in spots. Switching to WASAPI and playing the tracks, I heard, a bit more texture in the lower mids and bass without going all woolly or muddy, a bit more info on reverb ques, and absolutely no sign of glare on her voice. The differences between the two drivers on this rather simple music was easily discerned. I preferred WASPI :eek:, WTF.

    A re-confirm will take place over many more tracks in the next few days and in my main speaker setup as well. I may be flopping back to WASAPI. I guess it pays to keep an open mind and try things that are free in your quest for better sound. For those with dac vendor supplied ASIO drivers, give them a try, what do you have to lose.

    thanks for the poke Julian ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
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  20. svperstar

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    I went from Winamp to Foobar2k then ended up trying MusicBee and stuck with it.

    MusicBee has a clean UI, supports all the features I need out of the box, and also has a ton of skins and supports Winamp plugins. Foobar had this nasty habit of periodically losing the settings on the themes I had setup.

    Also as to DirectSound vs WASAPI, years ago I set MusicBee to WASAPI and left it. A few weeks ago I got the SDAC to compare against the Modi Multibit. I went into MusicBee settings and I am not sure when it happened but It had gone back to DirectSound. I never noticed.
     
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