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WASAPI and my sound issues


ted_b

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I am a longtime Squeeze Center Modwright Transporter user. I stream to my hi-end rig in my music room. The sound is great, the tube rolling successful, and the software handles all my FLAC files and FLAC/cue file combinations (I used to rip to large album-sized FLAC files with associated cue files and I still have hundreds of them; unwilling to re-convert to track sized FLAC with embedded metadata for now). However, I am getting ready to evaluate a couplf of the leading 24/192-capable DACs out there (Weiss Minerva, Berkeley Alpha Dac, etc) and want to hear what the latest DACs can do for both redbook as well as hirez up to 24/192 (my Transporter only handles up to 24/96).

 

I've been contemplating which Windows Vista audio front end(s) to use, since I don't really use one now (Squeeze Center). I like Foobar because it natively handles cue file support and seems to sound good on my Audio Engine 5 pc speakers, but I'm open to MM or XXhighend, etc. I will be using Firewire off my mobo to drive the Weiss DAC. My PC's own sound is an onboard Realtek HD solution which is less than optimal but isn't used in either the Squeeeze Center current setup or the proposed firewire demos setup.

 

But it is with this onboard sound and my pc speakers that I need to use in order to set up any front end currently. So I spent some time last night setting up Foobar 0.96 to look like iTunes GUI and to run with WASAPI (Vista driver that allows exclusivity so Windows sounds don't interrupt, etc.). Of course, i'm going through my pc speakers for this exercise right now so I guess I'm a slave to the Realtek sound? What's weird is that when I pick WASAPI as my output that any of my 24/88.2 or 24/176 files don't play and come up with an error stating "Unrecoverable playback error: Could not open device: unsupported data format: 176400 Hz / 24-bit / 2 channels".

It's weird for two reasons:

1) the file plays fine if i choose "primary sound driver" not WASAPI, in Foobar.

2) 24/96 or 24/192 files play fine with either driver setup.

 

Am I hearing a downsampled sound if it plays fine with "primary sound driver"; namely that Realtek is mucking with it? It plays fine regardless of what Realtek is set for (16 or 24 bit, from 44 to 192k), and yet doesn't play at all, regardless of what Realtek is set for, using WASAPI.

 

I realize i may be dealing with the cheap Realtek issues, and that all of this is fine via firewire, but I've currently nothing to prove that until the Minerva arrives...which then causes me to do all this troubleshooting during the precious few days i have the Minerva at home.

 

Any help would be appreciated. I just want to use a decent front end that supports my files, make sure any Windows or Realtek garbage/sampling is removed, and send a bit-perfect signal, from 16/44 through 24/192, to my firewire port. Thx

Ted

 

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Sounds like you have had a good time with the Realtek junk and its driver compatibility issues. You might drive yourself crazy trying to figure it out and it's really not worth it. The sound is just garbage in my opinion. I've dealt with it myself! I highly recommend disabling the Realtek sound in the BIOS when you get your Weiss gear just for annoyance sake but you don't need worry about it having an effect on your firewire port in any way. I know you will be much happier when the Minerva arrives and try Media Monkey, Foobar, or XXHighend. Honestly I think it will be hard for you to go back to the squeezebox setup. I'm interested to hear your feedback on the Minerva. Have fun!

 

david is hear[br]http://www.tuniverse.tv

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This is another issue:

Foobar asks for output bit depth...I have it set for 24 bits cuz that will be the max, but I don't want it static. I want 16 bits for my redbook! Argh!

 

 

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Hi Ted,

 

Although I am not sure you'll get the best -for SQ- SPDIF passthrough with the Realtek, I am fairly sure this is Foobar you are dealing with. Or more honest : the incompleteness of WASAPI and all what has to be done about it to let it go flawlessly.

 

I am sure I (XXHighEnd) have users using the Realtek drivers, although that will not be about the on-board sound device, I don't think that matters.

 

Best,

Peter

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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David,

Thanks. Will do. BTW, my setup is NOT a Squeezebox, though. :) Hardly. The MW Transporter is incredible. Dan has designed a state-of-the-art tube analog stage, and I use an EML 5U4G and a pair of Tung Sol round plate 6SN7's to drive it. The mix of tubes with the AKM DAC section is quite magical, albeit 24/96 max.

 

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/modwright3/transporter.html

 

Peter, yes thanks, I think it's Realtek and WASAPI together that are driving me mad. Hopefully diasbaling the onboard will make it go away.

 

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Sorry Ted I totally misread that section. As soon as I see squeeze I automatically think squeezebox! Your piece of gear is a just a little different from a Squeezebox ;). I apologize. I feel your pain with Realtek driver issues and as Peter has said WASAPI is finicky in itself so you have two finicky pieces of software trying to work with eachother.

 

david is hear[br]http://www.tuniverse.tv

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Ted,

 

Peter, yes thanks, I think it's Realtek and WASAPI together that are driving me mad. Hopefully diasbaling the onboard will make it go away.

 

Maybe I was not clear. I was trying to say that I am confident XXHE will just work with Realtek.

You can disable it of course, but you will need something else then.

 

Regards,

Peter

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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Ted,

 

Putting the frontend at 24 bits will not effect rebook 16 bit material. The program will merely pad the upper 8 bits with 0 which at the dac will do nothing. Heck if the link is set to 24 bits as most of these dacs are then it will be padded there.

 

You also may want to try the new J River as it supports WASAPI now.

 

Thanks

Gordon

 

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Peter and Gordon (wait, not THAT Peter and Gordon?),

 

Thanks for the insight. Peter, i will be disabling only cuz i'll use firewire with the Minerva, and no longer need onboard sound for that.

 

Gordon, I tried J River yesterday again. It threw up all over my library (which has lots of cue/FLAC combos, probably 50% of my 800gb's). I posted this over on the EMU thread. J River looks like it likes cue sheets, but instead of handling them perfectly like Squeeze Center or Foobar, it lists each song as it's own album, but only plays the first song in the FLAC file (as if it was not indexing through the cue file correctly)...then freezes the machine. Argh! Probably pilot error, but I'm not patient enough right now. thanks for the assurance on the Foobar output thing.

Ted

 

 

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I am sorry if I misinterpret you somewhere, but

 

Putting the frontend at 24 bits will not effect rebook 16 bit material. The program will merely pad the upper 8 bits with 0 which at the dac will do nothing.

 

assuming your mentioned front end is about player software, this most certainly is not true. Anyway for XXHighEnd it isn't, where processes just REQUIRE additional bits. If the bits are there, they are used.

Digital volume is the most clear example of it.

 

Besides : Once the program starts your implied padding, it will have indicated to play at 24 (32) bits, and low and behold the DAC that will overwrite my preciously written 8 LSBs !!

 

Peter

 

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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Peter,

 

Here nobody uses the digital volume control we know it will effect the performance of the dac.

 

Look if you pass 16 bit data to a 24 bit device the device driver be it native or not will in fact pad the 16 bit data to 24 bit.

 

You should know this, it's basic stuff.

 

Gang,

 

The cool thing about computer audio is now the source (computer) knows allot more about the device it is sending stuff, well that being USB, Firewire, PCI or others (not including SPDIF). So when the computer driver see's data coming in that does not conform to the size or shape of what is expected then the driver takes care of this.

 

Really though the 16/24/32 is really a silly topic because internally all the data is handled as 32bit floating point which in a sense PAD any 16 bit red book naturally in the fixed to float conversion of each sample.

 

Thanks

Gordon

 

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Peter,

As I am the original poster here I can honestly tell you that Gordon is responding directly to this thread, where I asked whether, in Foobar (not any other front end), when you set "24 bits" in the output menu, will it cause Foobar to upsample or otherwise corrupt the bit-perfect nature of what I'm trying to send via firewire to the Minerva (postulating cuz i don't have the Minerva yet). If so, do I need to change that setting to 16 bits for all redbook stuff. I'd rather not have to do that and instead (assuming ASIO driver) have the Minerva change it's sample rate. etc as it sees the type of file (24/192, 16/44, 24/96, etc.). Daniel Weiss says it does this resoltuion change automatically with MM/ASIO, but MM doesn't like my music library. I haven't gotten your XXHighend to install yet; I get many errors so far..probably all pilot errors frankly, but I don't have time right now cuz i need to prepare for my Minerva demo arriving this weekend.

 

The reason I am asking this is because, in another thread, Joel has been diligently working to find a front end that works with ASIO and his EMU DAC to produce a bit-perfect handshake with automatic sample rate detection . He liked Foobar except for some reset issues after a few songs. I was wondering, though, why didn't Foobar get disqualified way earlier in his mind because of the design of this static output bit depth setting, or is it harmless.

Ted

 

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Ted,

 

Not all ASIO's are created equal. We found that with XP and depending on device and stuff that allot of change of the character of sound happened. We could never really figure out why. With Vista we found using ASIO did not sound as good as Direct Sound even though Direct was not bit perfect. This even further confused us... We did find that Vista:Direct sounded allot better than XP:ASIO.

 

Working on the WASAPI stuff and will advise. I will send your concerns about J River over to the president and see what he has to say.

 

Thanks

Gordon

 

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That was loud and clear, but to me it looks like Gordon responded in general terms, and actually to what I was saying. Not that this by itself should be subject of discussion, but

 

Peter,

 

Here nobody uses the digital volume control we know it will effect the performance of the dac.

 

Look if you pass 16 bit data to a 24 bit device the device driver be it native or not will in fact pad the 16 bit data to 24 bit.

 

You should know this, it's basic stuff.

 

tells me I don't understand. But since I do, allow me once again :-)

 

Gordon, it is like you say "if you pass 16 bit data to a 24 bit device ...", which is exactly not what I am doing. I pass 32 bits *always* as long as the DAC has more than 16 bits, and up to 24 bits are utilized when necessary.

 

Where you referring at Foobar indeed, ok.

Peter

 

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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I haven't gotten your XXHighend to install yet; I get many errors so far..probably all pilot errors frankly,

 

Please don't hesitate to bring those forward Ted. Might it be on phasure.com or here. I leave that up to you.

There shouldn't be any errors, not even those cause by inexperienced useage.

 

Peter

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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