Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Audiophile upgrade

  1. #11


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there
    If you can afford it the Bose Noise cancelling Headphones are a brilliant piece of kit -- even when sitting next to a Screaming Baby in Cattle class on a 10 hr flight from London to LA the headphones blanket out ALL the sound --even if you can't be bothered to listen to any music.

    My take on computer sound cards is that most of them are not very good --they are built for Games / DVD film effects and are often Boomy and "Bassy" as well has having very cheap DAC chips in them (Digital to Analog converters).

    For Decent music the best way I've found is to STREAM FLAC from your computer to either a decent smart phone via an app like WINAMP for ANDROID and then plug the headphone socket into some decent gear - the DAC in smart phones like Samsung Galaxy is far better than the audio in typical computers or to stream directly to a box with Optical o/p into a purpose quality audio amplifier.

    Don't forget also that it is a 100% waste of time if the source sound is poor -- if you are using highly compressed mp3 music then a quality box will actually make the sound WORSE since all the imperfections such as "artifacts" etc will become apparent.

    If you MUST use mp3 compression for music - you should use 320 kbs extreme type of encoding - also with vbr. - Disk space is so cheap at the moment I can't understand why people don't store uncompressed music on their computer (FLAC or WAV). I don't recommend WMA as any sort of "proprietary encoding" will eventually lead to tears). You can always compress the WAV / FLAC to mp3 for portable use on things like ipods etc while keeping the original sound as an archive.

    You can copy Flac over and over again as it's lossless compression - but try opening and re-saving a compressed mp3 file a number of times -- you lose more and more each time.

    Cheers
    jimbo

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #12


    I don't store FLAC files because they are too big, and almost none of my gear plays it natively. I listen to lots of music on the go, from my Samsung GS3. I don't have TB's of disk space on this device.
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  3. #13


    Posts : 154
    Windows 8.1 Professional 64-bit


    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
    Hi there
    If you can afford it the Bose Noise cancelling Headphones are a brilliant piece of kit -- even when sitting next to a Screaming Baby in Cattle class on a 10 hr flight from London to LA the headphones blanket out ALL the sound --even if you can't be bothered to listen to any music.

    My take on computer sound cards is that most of them are not very good --they are built for Games / DVD film effects and are often Boomy and "Bassy" as well has having very cheap DAC chips in them (Digital to Analog converters).

    For Decent music the best way I've found is to STREAM FLAC from your computer to either a decent smart phone via an app like WINAMP for ANDROID and then plug the headphone socket into some decent gear - the DAC in smart phones like Samsung Galaxy is far better than the audio in typical computers or to stream directly to a box with Optical o/p into a purpose quality audio amplifier.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    Good point, this is the entire reason why I want to upgrade my hardware. I began to notice the sound distortions (poor quality audio) when I got my Astro A40s. A few months ago I began searching for lossless versions of my music, about three quarters of my library is lossless.

    Quote Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
    I don't store FLAC files because they are too big, and almost none of my gear plays it natively. I listen to lots of music on the go, from my Samsung GS3. I don't have TB's of disk space on this device.
    I have about 25GB of music, most of it is in lossless format (1312 songs). Totally worth it in my opinion... but I need to convert it to MP3 (keeping metadata of course) when using my phone.

    Anyway, I think I know what to ask this time. I have posted a screenshot of my playback options in the first page. As you can see there, I'm not using the MixAmp's driver. Because of this, does that mean that I don't actually need my MixAmp (I'm using Realtek drivers)?

    If so, then I could just skip the mixamp and simply get the headphones. Although the MixAmp is using an optical cable. Also, I don't need noise-cancelling, I'd rather have open-air headphones.
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  4. #14


    Quote Originally Posted by Skulblaka View Post
    I have about 25GB of music, most of it is in lossless format (1312 songs). Totally worth it in my opinion... but I need to convert it to MP3 (keeping metadata of course) when using my phone.
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it's not worth it. Just for me personally, i listen mostly on portable devices, either in my car, or while running, or at work at low volumes, etc. The small subtle differences go mostly unnoticed in these situations, even with a nice set of cans. On my laptop that i use at work, I've got about 2,100 songs comprising about 15GB's.

    For the past year, I've pretty much bought all of my music on Amazon MP3. I've been overall happy with the sound quality of these tracks. A few cd's have been a bit disappointing, but it's probably more the fault of the cd rather than the MP3 itself. The bit rates are usually between 280 and 320kbps and are variable. When I used to rip my own personal cd's, I would usually use VBR -2. Those came in around 224-270kbps.

    I don't really care for noise cancelling headphones in places where they are not needed. For example, if you travel by plane or train a lot, by all means consider noise cancelling. But if you can control the ambient noise, you wil get better sound quality and less ear fatigue when you aren't using noise cancelling cans.
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  5. #15


    Posts : 154
    Windows 8.1 Professional 64-bit


    Well, that was too much to hope for. Without the MixAmp the sound is "stereoy". It's "too close" to the ears. With the MixAmp the sound sounds farther from the ears. Like in a room with multiple speakers. Tried with music and it sounds loud and clear though. Tomorrow I'll test out a game without the MixAmp.
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  6. #16


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there
    Just use something like (FREE) SQUEEZEPLAY and LOGITECH media server to stream music to a phone and plug the phone into a decent box. Forget the sound card on a computer --it's OK for listening to Internet radio or playing the odd movie but for High quality listening you really need to play into a dedicated device. These apps are available on android too. The DAC's on these sort of devices (Phones, Media receivers etc) are far better than those supplied on computer sound cards especially the built in sound chips.

    WINAMP also allows you to play FLAC / other codec remotely as well as VLC -- there's any number of applications for AUDIO streaming -- the decent one's handle FLAC as well and usually the remote receiving device has far better DAC's in them than bog standard computer cards.

    You could also stream to a Home Cinema sound system - but remember these are usually designed for Video effects so the speaker system won't equate to a nice set of "Studio reference speakers" but might be OK for you. Audio is a funny thing -- you can spend a fortune or a tiny amount -- it's getting the top 5% of quality that is the expensive bit. Only your own ears know what you like.

    If you are using "Cans" - headphones - for listening - then this will be the weak link however I'd still always keep FLAC / WAV as your archive -- you can always compress a file for storing on ipods etc - while you've still got the original.

    I tend to like Classical music a lot --this type of music shows up artifacts in MP3 compression quite a lot as you can have HUGE transients which while not directly audible are part of the overall "presense". For Modern Techno and Dance music there's so much thumping and banging that it's likely that the artifacts won't be noticed anyway.

    One great thing about Audio streaming around say a house -- it doesn't require very hi speed wireless so Wi-Fi for this is perfectly fine.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #17


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Quote Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
    I don't store FLAC files because they are too big, and almost none of my gear plays it natively. I listen to lots of music on the go, from my Samsung GS3. I don't have TB's of disk space on this device.
    Hi there
    @pparks1

    Galaxy S3 will play FLAC natively -- just download the FREE "folder player" -- I'm using a 32 GB micro sd card and playing music copied from my PC to the card. Works fine. - OK on anything less than a goot set of cans it's overkill -- but what I want to say is that the GALAXY S3 phone WILL play FLAC and it has a decent DAC in it too.

    WINAMP (and WINAMP PRO which is what I also have on the phone) also plays FLAC.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #18


    Hey Jimbo, thanks for the information. When I run, i don't use my Samsung S3 (it's too big). I instead have a small Sony walkman mp3 player that I use. That doesn't support Flac. My daughter has a small 8GB Sansa clip that she uses, and it doesn't support FLAC. Finally, our radio in our car has a hard drive built in and can store files and it doesn't store Flac.

    The biggest issue for me, is that all of my new music is being purchased now from Amazon MP3, so I am getting everything as an MP3 right from the start. I don't have the original to rip from myself.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #19


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Click image for larger version

    Since we're on the topic of "cans."
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #20


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Quote Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
    Hey Jimbo, thanks for the information. When I run, i don't use my Samsung S3 (it's too big). I instead have a small Sony walkman mp3 player that I use. That doesn't support Flac. My daughter has a small 8GB Sansa clip that she uses, and it doesn't support FLAC. Finally, our radio in our car has a hard drive built in and can store files and it doesn't store Flac.

    The biggest issue for me, is that all of my new music is being purchased now from Amazon MP3, so I am getting everything as an MP3 right from the start. I don't have the original to rip from myself.
    Hi there
    The small Sansa Clip --I still have one of these Version V01.01.18P does actually play FLAC -- It's the one where you can also insert a Micro SD card into it. My one is a 8GB version and I've got a 32 GB Micro SD card in it. - This is still useful if I don't want to use a phone or can't use the phone for music and the device is so tiny you've forgotten you've even got it. The DAC seems fine as well - I plugged the Analog (Phones) out into a decent Amp with a pair of Mission speakers -- sounded actually OK -- Not like some of my top gear but was pretty good.

    Be careful though with Audio --it gets very addictive -- and quite expensive as you go "Higher up the food chain" .

    I don't tend to listen to music when jogging in cities like Brussels, Paris, London etc as you need to be alert not so much to Cars -- but BIKES -- they get everywhere now even in the green bits --in some ways this is good but the downside is that they have no idea of sharing the road with other "Road users" - especially pedestrians / joggers etc.

    @Cokerobot -- For 2013 pic You forgot a tube from the mouth into a bottle of "Alcopop" and a Big Mac in each hand - and where's the Mobile phone. !!!.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    Last edited by jimbo45; 20 Mar 2013 at 04:43.
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