This post is aimed primarily at the development team in the hope that I can finally understand this fully - and be reassured that I don't need to switch to Foobar 2000!
I use MM (still MM2 so far) to manage a 30,000+ track library, which I am progressively converting to .flac.
I am aiming for audiophile quality sound, and route the output from MM on an XP PC to my hifi via a USB DAC. I do not plan to upgrade to Vista any time soon.
The latest issue of The Absolute Sound contains a long awaited group of features on hard disk based audio. It raises the topic of this post, and (as seems to be the norm) recommends only Foobar 2000 as a player/manager. I don't want to stop using Media Monkey as I like it, it has excellent database management and a much superior interface to Foobar 2000.
BUT I really want to reassure myself that MM is not forcing me into a sub optimal audio output.
Let me quote (at some length) from the main article on building your own PC music server:
And then it rabbits on about Foobar's wonderful flexibility, which seems nothing like MM's, from what I have read. Not a single mention of MM anywhere... the music server playback software had to be able to bypass the MS Windows audio subsystem known as the kernel mixer (or k-mixer). The Windows kernel mixer normally handles all audio routing, signal processing, and level-control chores within the Windows environment; unfortunately it also imposes an unavoidable sonic penalty on all signals that pass through it.
Bypassing the kernel mixer can be accomplished either in the audio interface's drivers or from within the playback application itself. In order to facilitate direct access to the hardware, manufacturers of high-performance sound cards provide multi-format drivers that conform to professional industry-standard protocols, such as ASIO, or incorporate hardware-specific functionality, such as Echo's PureWave mode. Alternatively, an advanced signal-routing architecture called WDM Kernel Streaming enables most audio interfaces to bypass the kernel mixer without special drivers. ... I cannot over-emphasize the importance of this point: If the music server can only be used with standard Windows system drivers, then sound quality will be limited to mid-fi performance ...
In order to take advantage of our carefully chosen audio interface, the music server's playback software must be able access the interface's dedicated drivers, or to communicate with the audio hardware via WDM Kernel Streaming mode. Surprisingly, many common mainstream "jukebox" applications do not incorporate this essential feature. ...
Fortunately freeware music playback applications such as Foobar 2000 provide several alternative audio-routingmodes that bypass the Windows kernel mixer. Foobar 2000's unsurpassedflexibility and extensibilityallow the program's signal pathto be optimized for specific audio hardware ...
What I am seeking is explanation about how MM2 (and MM3, if different) address these issues, so we know what to do if we do need to do anything to optimize the output, or else to know that the Monkey bows to no program, not even Foobar for output quality.
For reference this is the previous thread where I was trying to explore and learn about these issues.
http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewto ... highlight=
The kernel streaming output plug-in also still crashes MM for me. The above article was dealing with soundcards rather than USB output, but I think the issues are important for a lot of people, and I would also like to know how using USB output may affect the issues.
I am actually pretty pleased with the sound quality I am getting, but I would hate to be missing the chance of getting something even better.
Looking forward to some serious education!