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Why I (still) use CP

Posted by rmn 
rmn
Why I (still) use CP
May 10, 2003 04:23PM
I'm going to compare CP to other players. Note that I won't be including audio quality since I'm not that good at recognizing sound flaws.

1) Winamp2: Freeform skin.
2) Winamp3: Memory consumption, loading time, SIZE.
3) XMPlayer: CP's ease of skinning, and little bits here and there that I simply like better in CP.

Anybody to add sound quality, or add another player? I'm especially interested in XMPlayer.

Re: Why I (still) use CP
May 11, 2003 12:33AM
Lets see the most recent players I've checked out have been Winamp 291,dbpower amp v2, and foobar2000v62a. I find foobar to be an excellent player second only to of course COOL PLAYER in terms of sound quality, you know theres something about that Mad decoder thats just right. I have not tried the newest xmplayer, it has gone thru quite a few changes and I admit I am intrigued. What I recall about it was that it seemed somewhat limited dynamic range,it would start to clip rather easily(start distorting) it uses a bass decoder which has also has been updated. So for now I have both Cool Player and foobar installed on my computer.
I use CP because i like it grinning smiley

i searched for an alternative to Winamp .. and found CP.
- Direct Sound supported
- excellent Sound Quality grinning smiley
P. Saraga
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 04, 2003 08:08PM
Dear Sirs,

it has been my impression that CoolPlayer has a problem when decoding
brass sessions. Normally, using Winamp, one can clearly hear valve
pressure variations in the music. However, with CoolPlayer these details
seem to be muzzed out.

Other than that, playback seems to be flawless, and generally conserving
more purity than Winamp. But this rather unfortunate problem causes me
to be unable to totally depart from using Winamp, as I have many a brass
recording.

Mr. Julio talks about a 'foobar' player. Can you please enlighten me
where this can be found, as I want to evaluate it for my purposes.

I have already tried 'Quintessential' player but found it to be severely
lacking in sound quality.

Thank you,
Peter
Roj
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 04, 2003 08:23PM
Did you try QCD with the MAD plugin? The stock decoder is not exactly sterling (tongue squarely in cheek) but the MAD plugin allows it to easily surpass Winamp, with or without the MAD deocder. As to Fubar2K, the less said about that effort the better but you can decide for yourself...



____
Roj

"Faith manages."
- jms
Roj
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 04, 2003 08:39PM
Addendum:

With the aforementioned setup (QCD + MAD), Wynton and Miles have never sounded better, be it in MP3, .ogg or lossless format.



____
Roj

"Faith manages."
- jms
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 02:02AM
Hi, Roj it struck me as a surprise last night I burned some Miles using EAC,to .mpc q7 titles were Ih a Silent Way, and The Complete Bitches Brew a 4 cd set, vintage 1970 ,very cool. JULIO
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 07:05AM
Yes I agree with Julio ShibatchMPG123 sound better than MAD in QCD.
Roj
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 10:10AM
Shibatch on Winamp sounded tinny and harsh, unnaturally so (we went thru that with Chastity on 3DSS a while back - another one of her "wunnerful discoveries").

However, I haven't tried Shibatch in QCD which is why I refrained from any comment on it there. Perhaps the QCD version was overhauled...?

I'll check it out and let you know.



____
Roj

"Faith manages."
- jms
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 12:06PM
Roj,

Perhaps you could try out the most recent version of Shibatch (for Winamp)? I just updated it yesterday and I feel its sound quality has improved. It is less tiring to the ears for sure. Could be placebo though, but that's why I am asking you to try it out (since you are the picky one ^_^).

P. Saraga
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 12:29PM
Hi friends, it is me again,

I have tried the MAD decoder for 'Quintessential' player, and while it did
improve the lack of detail over the standard decoder by a lot, I noticed a
very big problem with it that I had not noticed before, namely that is
produces an audible hiss in soft, quiet pieces, almost like a poor old
audio cassette. One should try it with some soft piano music, it is almost
impossible to miss.

For louder music, there do not seem to be any problems with it. I have
tried one of my sons favorite recordings, the CD Red Hot Chili Peppers -
Californication. I must say I personally find this CD rather disgusting,
not so much because of the genre - tastes differ, they say - but because
it is so loud and devoid of any natural dynamicism that makes music so
enjoyable. But the kid seems to like it and I guess most youngsters also
do, because he sometimes puts it on when his friends are here. For this
kind of loud music, the MAD decoder seems to do the job very well. I guess
it is more catered towards a younger audience with different musical tastes
than mine. Its name reinforces my beliefs, since it is obviously meant to
sound 'hip' to youngsters. I believe the Winamp decoder is called
'Frauenhopper' or something like that, I would need to check, but I am
reasonably confident that was it. A youngster will obviously prefer a 'MAD'
decoder over a 'Frauenhopper' decoder, I assume. Yes yes, a nice example
of well-executed marketing strategy, that must be it.

Since CoolPlayer also uses MAD, I went back to it, and yes indeed,
CoolPlayer has the same problem!

So I guess 'MAD' is useful for its intended audience, but it is clearly not
meant for me.

Mr. Roj, I see you suggest that MAD can also be used for OGG recordings,
but I did not find any option pertaining hereto. Could you please elborate
how this works? I am curious whether MAD has any hiss problems with
OGG music.

Mr. Julio, I have tried this 'foobar' player of yours, and I now understand
why Mr. Roj has such a dislike for it. Its looks remind me of the old days
when computers were still running Windows 3.1, it does not even look
like something that plays music in fact. But I fiddled with it a little and
things are not so bad as they seem. Indeed, I did not have any
problems playing my favorite albums with it. The configuration looks
rather difficult, so I did not touch any settings, but just used the
defaults, except that I set output to 24 bits as I have 24 bit equipment.
I actually tried 32 bits as well, but that did not seem to do anything to
the sound.

I must say that my first impressions regarding its sound quality are very
positive. Yes indeed, looks can be somewhat deceptive. Or maybe not,
it reminds me a little of all that Made In Japan 'audiophile' (I use the
word very loosely here) equipment that has plastic all over it with many
blinking lights, but sounds horribly compared to more sober but solid US or
German engineered real stuff. I thought that the author of this foobar
must have been a German, but I was actually wrong, it seems to be a
Russian.

In any case, it has handled everything I have thrown at it (including those
problematic brass and piano sessions) quite well so far. Very detailed, no
hiss, an excellent lineair frequency response and a very defined stereo
image.

Yes, yes, very impressive. Sometimes better than the CD itself I think, but
that might just be my impression.

But before committing myself to this foobar, I want to try the 'Shibatch'
as well. Where can I find it?

PS. I have fiddled a little with 'foobar' settings, and found that when I
put the option named dither to 'no noise shaping', it also gets hissy in
quiet sections, exactly like the MAD decoder does. Could it be that foobar
is using a newer version of the MAD decoder with this noise shaping
technology? I have noticed that I can even select a setting that purclaims
to be 'soft ATH noise shaping (less noisy)', but for some reason this less
noisy setting is not recommended. Or maybe I am misunderstanding it and
the 'strong ATH noise shaping (recommended)' option is also 'less noisy'.
Yes, that must be it, since this seems to prevent the hissyness in quiet
pieces. I must admit I am a bit confused by this all, but nevertheless
foobar is impressive.

Looking forward to trying 'Shibatch' as well!

Yours sincerely,
Peter

Roj
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 03:39PM
Zorander:

How latest is latest? The version I tried was about three months back and as far as I know, it's been a dead project for considerably longer than that.



____
Roj

"Faith manages."
- jms
Roj
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 03:41PM
"Mr. Roj, I see you suggest that MAD can also be used for OGG recordings"

Where did I say that? It can't.

Also, hiss is invariably (as in always) the result of the sound card and speakers, NOT the decoder.



____
Roj

"Faith manages."
- jms
Roj
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 03:44PM
Addendum:

The MAD implementations in CoolPlayer, Winamp and QCD are *identical*. I personally attribute the difference in sound between the three players to the quality and competency of the output plugins (.wav out and DirectSound).



____
Roj

"Faith manages."
- jms
Roj
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 05:01PM
Zorander:

Where did you find the Shibatch plugin for QCD? Google doesn't seem to have any links...



____
Roj

"Faith manages."
- jms
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 05:07PM
Quinnware site - Plugs in
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 05:10PM
if you wish I can email it to you??
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 05:21PM
sorry
quinnware site - forums - plugs in
P. Saraga
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 06:58PM
Mr. Roj,

>>"Mr. Roj, I see you suggest that MAD can also be used for OGG
>>recordings"
>Where did I say that? It can't.

You said:

>With the aforementioned setup (QCD + MAD), Wynton and Miles have
>never sounded better, be it in MP3, .ogg or lossless format.

Which suggests that MAD has something to do with .ogg and 'lossless'
too, but I see now that it was the bad wording of this sentence that
confused me.

>Also, hiss is invariably (as in always) the result of the sound card and
>speakers, NOT the decoder.

I am sorry Mr. Roj, but this can clearly not be the case. When playing back
an MP3 of a quiet piano concerto, I do not get any hiss in foobar2000.
When I use Quitessential player or CoolPlayer, things get hissy in the
quiet parts. So clearly either the decoders or the players are at fault!

Since I do not get hiss with the default Quintessential player, I must
conclude that it cannot be caused by the player itself, and hence it must
be a decoder issue.

Simple elimination, sir. My equipment is working top-notch as ever, yes yes.

>The MAD implementations in CoolPlayer, Winamp and QCD are
>*identical*.

I personally would not know, but if you read my post above you can see
that I reached more or less the same conclusion, as all players with the
'MAD' decoder have hiss issues. I do not know what decoder FB2K uses,
but my impression is that it uses some new version of the MAD decoder
that has 'noise shaping' to prevent MAD from generating hiss.

>I personally attribute the difference in sound between the three players
>to the quality and competency of the output plugins (.wav out and
>DirectSound).

Oh, interesting! Thank you for the information. Foobar2000 has three
output plugins, I use 'DirectSound' one. I just read that the 'Kernel
Streaming' plugin should have even better quality, so I will try that one
too.

Greetings,
Peter

ROBEROT
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 07:10PM
CAN MAD DECODE AAC ??????/
P. Saraga
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 07:16PM
Mr. Roj,

I was browsing the foobar players forum and found some very interesting
news!

'MPEG Audio Decoder (MAD) v 0.15.0b has been released'

I hope this one will be available for CoolPlayer and Quintessential player
soon, cannot wait to test it.

I also found an interesting statement by one Mr. Garf:

>>how good is it compared to the tuned mpeglib123 decoder used in
>>foobar?

>It's worse. The dithering is lower quality and it can't noiseshape.

So, this learns us two things:

- foobar is not using MAD like I thought
- the problem is with the 'dithering' and the 'noise shaping', I
seem to have been right here, hehe!

Does anyone know if this 'mpeglib123' decoder that foobar uses is
available for CoolPlayer or Quintessential player? Or if this new MAD
decoder has 'dithering' and 'noise shaping'? Will it be available for
CoolPlayer or Quintessential player?

Oh, so many questions...

Yours sincerely,
Peter

Roj
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 07:32PM
Oops, I screwed up in my preceding post. the following should have been quoted:


>I am sorry Mr. Roj, but this can clearly not be the case. When playing back
>an MP3 of a quiet piano concerto, I do not get any hiss in foobar2000.
>When I use Quitessential player or CoolPlayer, things get hissy in the
>quiet parts. So clearly either the decoders or the players are at fault!



____
Roj

"Faith manages."
- jms
zxcvb
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 07:38PM
Well, Mr. Roj, all code from "Fubar" being responsible for decoding/output/diskwriting is opensourced, why don't you look at it yourself and try to point where such "tailoring" would be happening ?
Roj
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 07:56PM
I'm no coder and don't pretend to be - I couldn't code my way out of a wet paper bag. I'm a user and a *very* discriminating one. smiling smiley I judge the value of code based on the audible results.



____
Roj

"Faith manages."
- jms
P. Saraga
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 07:56PM
Dear Mr. Roj

>This can easily be verfied by playing back the original CD on a home
>system to see if the hiss is present and then comparing it to the MP3. Not
>a big stretch...

You are right, sir. But I just tried and no hiss in the recording. It
really does seem to be an issue with MAD, I'm sorry.

>Surely ONE of them (many of whom are even more picky than I) would
>have reported it.

I don't know sir. I can only notice it on quiet recordings too. Very loud
recordings (very sadly the majority these days!) seem to sound perfectly.
I would not be surprised had not anyone less experienced with music
listening picked this up. Of course it is also not possible if the
equipment itself hisses too. That would rule out most Japanese-
infected audio rigs.

I will be the first to admit this is not a big issue and many people would
not care for it, but I am rather pedantic about such things and foobar
does not have this problem!

I could not help noticing you talk about the Planar Media 9. Please
do not misunderstand what I am going to say now, it's just advice
from one audiophile to another. I can not understand that anyone that is
clearly a great audiophile is using such a, well, forgive my wording, very
crappy system. I know this has won some design awards, but keep in
mind my statements about Japanese blinky plastic vs rugged design
earlier. The Planar Media 9 may look good, but it has some huge flaws.
The midrange is acceptable, though certainly not up to par to the higher
end stuff, but the bass is audibly very distorted. It is lacking the very
low end and easily distorts the middle bass range when the going gets
tough, as they say. Of course when they demonstrate this they play
pieces of music that does not have much pass, the scum. Luckily I
had my own CDs with me. No, this is not a good piece of equipment.
Take the advice from another audiophile Mr. Roj, dump the piece of crap
as soon as possible. Monsoon does not deserve your money!

>as far as I know, Fubar2K uses PP's own home grown implementation of
>the outdated mpg123 library which he has just lately modded to include
>sound shaping.

No Mr. Roj, it is the noise that is shaped, not the sound. The sound is
unaffected but the noise is gone! It works really well, please try it,
for the music will start making sweet sweet love to your ears.

>For the record, Kernel Streaming is a *HACK*, not supported by Microsoft
>and will be phased out in the next version of Windows in favor of a
>standard that works properly and does not have the potential to break
>basic Windows audio functionality.

Oh, that is really unfortunate. I have only done very little testing with
it so far but it seemed to be very impressive. Well, this is not the first
time the industry tries to screw the customer. My daughter is stuck
with some of those copy protected CDs that I cannot allow her play on
my rig, since I have heard they can damage the CD player. What a
shame, we are not thieves! How can the industry do this to us real
music lovers, I do not understand.

Yours sincerely,
Peter

zxcvb
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 08:04PM
> I'm no coder and don't pretend to be - I couldn't code my way out of a wet paper bag. I'm a user and a *very* discriminating one. smiling smiley I judge the value of code based on the audible results.

If you are no coder, why do you keep referencing KS output as a "hack" ? Apparently it's something you have no clue about (as well as many other things). Fortunately, my ears, ABX tests and my ability to read sourcecode are more reliable to me than your "audible" results.
I believe your reason to hate "Fubar" is that it's author promotes ABX as a method of measuring audio output quality, which you apparnently are afraid of - because it easily and obviously proves most of your claims to be false.
Roj
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 08:26PM
LOL!

Everything has it's place, Monsoon on my PC and Martin-Logan in my listening room. I'm not crazy enough to spend the big dollars on the PC - for me the ROI is far too small.

I have no idea what you're using for a sound card and equipment but I'm VERY sure it's not the decoder, especially when folks using full sized Hales and external USB DACs (that person DID spend the dollars on the PC where I did not) don't report the issue. I can only conclude it's something native to your own environment. If you have doubts, why don't you ask Rob himself? He has a mailing list and frequents these forums on occasion. Failing that you can message ~C~ in the alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.d group on Usenet - he's the one with the Hales and has used MAD for a VERY long time with none of the ill effects you describe.

Me, an audiophile? I'm happy to say I'm *not* one of those. There is far too much superstition and just plain elitist foolishness in that genre for me to ever put up with. I was, am and always will be someone who enjoys the music - and audio is just a convenience to get to the music and nothing more.

As to copy protection, that is far too easily defeated. I recently purchased the new Massive Attack and initially found it to be un-rippable. Furthermore, it had the temerity to install a player on my system without my permission. It took me a couple hours to break it, rip it and store the results in a lossless format (most of my downloaded material is now in lossless format - I have all but abandoned MP3 and OGG is my - and aparrently the industry's judging by the new players that are reaching the market - choice for a lossless future). Now I have a non-copy protected version (sans silly software player) to play wherever I wish. It is a battle the fools in the record companies cannot win - indeed they have long since lost but like a typical dinosaur, the brain does not yet realize that the body is dead...

I have tried FUBAR2K (no, that's not a typo) several times and each time discarded it - the last flavor was one of the earlier 666 varieties (how appropriate the naming convention!). With that last revision and the audition of the new "noise shaping" algorithm I made the decision to no longer waste time or hard disk space on such a poor endeavor, especially when there are so many others out there that are more competently done. I have in fact standardized on QCD + MAD but XMPlay is another worthy effort as well. Either leaves FUBAR2K in their dust as far as I'm concerned.

Enjoy what passes for good sound to you as I will what does so for me. smiling smiley



____
Roj

"Faith manages."
- jms
zxcvb
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 08:32PM
Well, what you just said, Mr. Roj, only confirms what I thought about you, and what I expressed in my previous post. You are incapable of proving that you can actually hear the difference between those players, you are posting about subjective differences, which exist only inside your head, also known as "PLACEBO EFFECT". How about keeping them to yourself instead of spreading this bullshit over various web forums ?
Roj
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 08:33PM
"If you are no coder, why do you keep referencing KS output as a "hack" ?"

Because rather obviously to anyone who is capable of reading the link, MICROSOFT who invented the technology views it as such.

They won't support it.

They recommend you don't use it.

They say it's going to be phased out in the next version of Windows.

One does not need to be a genius to see where that is leading.

If it smells like a rose, looks like a rose and has thorns...

But hey - people will believe whatever they choose to believe, even when slapped upside the head by the facts. That's the nature of "opinion" (and on occasion ignorance).



____
Roj

"Faith manages."
- jms
P. Saraga
Re: Why I (still) use CP
June 05, 2003 08:41PM
>Everything has it's place, Monsoon on my PC and Martin-Logan in my
>listening room. I'm not crazy enough to spend the big dollars on the PC -
>for me the ROI is far too small.

Quality costs money Mr. Roj. Trying to skip on quality material is the road
to mediocricity.

>If you have doubts, why don't you ask Rob himself?

I do have doubts, but I also doubt the designer himself will admit to
the flaws. Just as Monsoon still keeps promoting their hardware.

No, I am convinced MAD is not the way to go. Still curious about this
new version though.

PS. Where is the 'usenet' forum?

>Me, an audiophile? I'm happy to say I'm *not* one of those. There is far
>too much superstition and just plain elitist foolishness in that genre for
>me to ever put up with.

Not at all sir. Just trust the ears, and take good care of them. They are
too important to be exposed to junk, you only get one pair.

Regards,
Peter

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