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Sound Quality II

Posted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:48 am
by MusicBringer
I have been meaning to ask this question.
MM isn't the only player out there as we know. However, in my view it is the best.
I use MM3 all day.

Many of the other players claim to have superior sound, or better sound, or higher quality sound.
My question is:
Is it really pos to have a PC player that produces a better audio sound than another.

And I am not referring to different file formats such as mp3 or flac.
I am talking about one player having the ability to produce a better sound than another player.

Re: Sound Quality II

Posted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:54 pm
by nohitter151
I'm not sure what players you are referring to but I'd refer you to the very bottom of the foobar2000 FAQ page ( ):
Does foobar2000 sound better than other players?

No. Most of “sound quality differences” people “hear” are placebo effect (at least with real music), as actual differences in produced sound data are below their noise floor (1 or 2 last bits in 16bit samples). foobar2000 has sound processing features such as software resampling or 24bit output on new high-end soundcards, but most of the other mainstream players are capable of doing the same by now.

Re: Sound Quality II

Posted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:19 pm
by Lowlander
That's so cool of Foobar to state that on their webpage, especially as many who prefer to use an alternative player over MediaMonkey state that as a reason. I actually would have thought that the player can make a difference though.

Re: Sound Quality II

Posted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:39 pm
by MusicBringer
Thanks nohitter151, yeah I remember reading that on foobar a long time ago - I think, when I used to use MusicMatch, gosh that is a long time ago. :lol:
It's just that a lot of today's players "say" they play better quality sound. I don't believe it for a moment. Give me MM everytime. :P

Re: Sound Quality II

Posted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:03 pm
by MMan
I agree, that it is not the player that is the major issue, however, how you get that digital output to the ultimate analog device can and does make a difference. If you are listening on computer speakers, even relatively high end ones, or headphones, what I am about to say probably doesn't matter. However, if you using the computer to feed a high end home stereo system it may matter. IMO, there are two main points, getting the digital information to the DAC and then the quality of the DAC. If you use the standard Monkey output plugins, they run through the Windows mixer (kearnal) and as a result, latency and other remnants can get introduced. A better solution is to pass the digital info directly to a high end sound card which can use it's DAC or on pass the clean digital info to your systems DAC. I use a sound card that can accept ASIO input and use the ASIO output plug in for Monkey. Once you do that, you know the digital info is getting to the card clean w/o issues. If you get a sound card that accepts ASIO and has digital outputs, you can then connect to your system digitally. In my case, I happened to like the sound from my ESI Juli@ card's DAC better than when I passed things digitally to the DAC in my Marantz AV reciever. Just some thing to consider. Here's a post on my setup. Good Luck. ... &sk=t&sd=a

Re: Sound Quality II

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:39 am
by MusicBringer
Thanks MMan, it is good to hear you talk like this. One might say music to my ears, ha ha :D
No I do not use the pc speakers, never have.
The sound goes out from the PC to my audiolab amp, and to my ProAc speakers.
My trouble is the the amp is old (like me!) - and a dear friend - but it cannot do digital.

My present setup is a Dell desktop and so I am using the dell internal sound card (known as: High Definition Audio Device). The output is phono plugs with the lead hidden under the carpet edge, round the room, to my audio station (CD, tuner) and amp.

To use the features of DAC would involve changing my amp. I would have to pay a lot to get something of comparable quality and build. Plus my existing audiolab would attract little or no sale value. I would then have to find a way to get the signal from pc in one corner of the room to the new digital amp in the other corner. No, I cannot move the room round - it's the family dinning room.

MMan, your ideas about using DAC/Digital really do appeal to me, but I cannot see a way forward - can you.

And after the considerable expense of new digital amp and so on, will my ears really hear the difference.
My audiolab amp is a good one. My speakers are high end quality. My cables are professionally made for me. My plugs are gold (if that actually makes any difference, ha ha). I think my existing sound is fully satisfactory. My friends think my music sounds good.

But, and this is the big but, it is not digital.

Tell me what you think...

My music system:
Audiolab 8000A Integrated Amplifier ... ifier.html
ProAc Studio 100

Re: Sound Quality II

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:04 pm
by MMan
First, as a general matter, your sound experience is limited by the weakest link. That might be the quality of the original recording (bootleg, Studio, Stereo, mono etc.). It might be the medium that it is stored on (Vinyl, Tape, CD, Etc.). It might be the format used to store (MP3, FLAC, CDA etc.). It that might be the reader (CD rom drive, CD player etc). It might be the audio system (DAC, amp and speakers etc.). It might be the physical environment it is played in (Garage, Bathroom or concert hall etc.) If one piece is significantly weaker than the others it won't matter what you do with those other pieces, you won't notice better sound.

Here is a link to a piece that has some infromation on what the human ear can hear and how the original Red Book CDA digital format came about.

I only say this because making changes to your setup may only make a difference some of the time, the times that the digital to analog conversion process is the weakest link. Having said that, I think that you can improve that process in your setup without a lot of money.
My present setup is a Dell desktop and so I am using the dell internal sound card (known as: High Definition Audio Device). The output is phono plugs with the lead hidden under the carpet edge, round the room, to my audio station (CD, tuner) and amp.
Based upon that, I am assuming that the "High Definition Audio Device" is the on the motherborad audiop that came with your PC. I am also assuming that you are using a converter to convert a headphone output to a RCA (or Cinch as you say in the UK) cable which you connect under the carpet to your Amp to feed it a line level analog signal. In this setup, the on board card's DAC is being used and the audio is being passed through the windows mixer.

If that is the case, if you have a PCI slot available in your PC, you could just get a new PCI high end sound card. The important thing would be to make sure that you get one that can accept ASIO input and has both RCA (Chinch) outputs as well as digital (even though your Amp can't accept digital, you might get one that does in the future). Under this setup you would install the Monkey ASIO plugin and pass the digital output directly to the new sound card and either use its DAC or some day pass the output digitally to your amp/receiver.

I researched different options but settled on the ESI Juli@ card:

I paid $130 for the card and use it to accept the ASIO output from monkey and then use its DAC and connect RCA cables from the Card to my Reciever. I kept the original on board sound card active and use it to play all my computer sounds through computer speakers. To replicate this, all you would need is the Juli@. You could then use the same (Gold no less) cables to send the line level analog to your Amp.

While I think this will be a better setup, You may not notice this unless you get a lossless file of a great recording. Good luck!

Re: Sound Quality II

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:17 pm
by MusicBringer
MMan, just a quick post to acknowledge your detailed reply.
My word, you do have a knack of explaining things well - even I can understand what you are saying, ha ha.
Basically you are suggesting that I get a decent sound card. I agree with you. In the past I have had such a setup.

My present Dell is a slimline case and there is no room for nuffin else :roll: No extra hard disk nor soundcard. It was a mistake getting the slim case. So adding a soundcard is not an option for this PC.

Like many folk I am thinking of getting a new PC. I am thinking of building my own. I am saving up my pennies/cents. The new pc will have a decent sound card.

And I will follow your suggestion in getting something with ASIO input and both RCA outputs as well as digital. Not heard that word Chinch before, but nevermind. I am familiar with the term RCA.

Now if we rewind a couple of years to a previous PC setup, I had (and still have), an EMU 0404 soundcard. ... -0404.html
Is that too old now, MMan. Or will it be capable of meeting my future needs. btw I shall be going forward with Windows Seven.

While most of my music files are good quality (LAME 3.97, VBR) mp3s - and I am happy with that - I am starting to collect flac versions now.

Thanks again for your help and interest in my audio setup.

Re: Sound Quality II

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:39 pm
by rovingcowboy
Chinch = ta shore up ya saddle on ya hossy.
Chinch = tighten ya belt up to keep ya pants on.
Chinch = ta make a sure the noose is tight around the poor bloke's neck. :D :lol:

Re: Sound Quality II

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 3:39 pm
by MusicBringer
Hello roving, come on in :lol:

The word you are defining is cinch (snch)
1. A girth for a pack or saddle.
2. A firm grip.
3. Something easy to accomplish. See Synonyms at breeze1.
4. A sure thing; a certainty.
v. cinched, cinch·ing, cinch·es
1. To put a saddle girth on.
2. To get a tight grip on.
3. Informal To make certain; secure or guarantee: cinch a victory.
To tighten a saddle girth. Often used with up.
[Spanish cincha, feminine of cincho, belt, from Latin cnctus, from past participle of cingere, to gird; see kenk- in Indo-European roots.]

I use the word cinch to mean "Something easy to accomplish"

Whereas, I think mman is saying Chinch.
I think Chinch are:
Superior Quality Scart Cables.
Scart Leads - Gold Connectors.
High Quality Scart Leads for Plasma and LCD.
See here: ... fault.aspx ... B000KDM6HC

Language, huh :wink: :P

Re: Sound Quality II

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:01 pm
by rovingcowboy
ya mean thum thar gold tipped cables. for good connections, i didn't know they were being called chinch cables.

well theres also another way to spell that word.

shinch = shinch ya up get me a beer.
shinch = shinch ya on da phone get two pizza's
shinch = shinch i'um a fixin supper ya can git da beer.