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foo_input_sacd problem and question


HamDog

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I've been using Foobar with foo_input_sacd version .7.1 for quite some time without any problems (using Windows 7). I store all of my SACD files as ISO on a networked hard drive. I just bought a new HP mini computer (a cheap one with Celeron processor and 2 Gig's of RAM with an SSD drive) running Win 8.1. I installed Foobar and noticed there is a much newer version of foo_input_sacd (.7.8). So I installed this newer version. The computer's HDMI output is connected to my Oppo 105's HDMI input (not DSD capable). So Foobar has always converted to PCM before sending to my DAC.

 

2-channel music plays fine. But multichannel music stutters very badly - right from the start. I started messing with all of the settings in Foobar, but no go. Adjusting buffer sizes didn't help either. I was ready to give up when I decided to try an older version of foo_sacd_input (back to .7.1). Everything now works perfect!

 

Has anyone here tried the new version of foo_input_sacd on a windows computer and tried playing multichannel files from an ISO file? What were your results? Could my computer be too slow for this new version? Any feedback is appreciated.

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Have you checked all the PCM conversion settings of the plugin? Maybe there is one that requires a lot of CPU usage, especially in multichannel. These options have been changed in the recent versions. You could try all the settings and check the CPU usage during playback in the task manager, to find out which one is the least demanding.

 

I suppose most users of the plugin only play stereo music (with a USB DAC) and never encounter the problem, so the developper doesn't get much feedback on the multichannel performance.

Claude

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Was hoping someone else had tried this before I contacted the author. And I needed to do more tests. In the last 2 days, I did more tests and the findings were interesting (but inconclusive as of yet).

 

I connected my old HTPC (Sony laptop with I7 processor - but it's 3-5 years old) running Win7. Updated foo_input_sacd to .7.8. Played both stereo and multichannel SACD ISO file just fine.

 

This could mean one of two things:

 

1. My new HP Mini computer isn't fast enough to play multichannel ISO files through the "newer" version of .7.8 (it plays fine with version .7.1). I'm all confused as to which processor is faster, an old (first generation) i7 or a new Celeron? Anyone with knowledge on this?

 

2. Could be an issue with Win8 and the version of foo_input_sacd. Remember that the new HP mini is running Win8 while my old Sony laptop is running Win7. So we didn't compare apples to apples with this test.

 

Next, I downloaded Jriver. I'm new to Jriver and took a bit of time configuring it (I had purchased it in the past, but I limited my use for Video only with Jriver). Jriver did the exact same thing!!! Played the 2-channel SACD ISO files perfectly while it stuttered exactly the same way while playing the multichannel files. Important to keep in mind that Foobar plays it fine with the older SACD plugin.

 

Then, I tested Jriver with my video files. My video files are mainly concert Blu-Ray rips in mkv format. I was very surprised when Jriver played these files perfectly on the HP mini! Excellent video and sound (DTS-MA multichannel). Although I had to disable "Red October" and enable "hardware acceleration" in Jriver settings - but this was the same configuration as with my old Sony I7 processor laptop.

 

Sooo....does playing multichannel SACD ISO files take more processing power than playing 1080p video with DTS-MA surround audio??? I would have guessed HD video took more power to run than SACD ISO....but I may be proven wrong.

 

One more note: The new HP mini has only 2 Gig RAM (my old Sony had 6 gigs RAM). I just ordered two 8 gig RAM memory sticks for the HP mini for a total of 16 Gigs (it's upgradeable up to 16 gigs). I even put a rush on it to get same day delivery from Amazon. So it should arrive sometime tonight. Wondering if memory could be the issue. I'll report back once I receive and install the new memory.

 

I would still like to hear from someone else who is using Foobar with foo_input_sacd v. .7.8 on Windows 8 or even Jriver on Win8 to play multichannel SACD ISO. Would be great if I could rule out the potential Win8 compatibility issue.

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If you play DSD in the way it is converted to PCM, it causes additional processing. For multichannel it is yet more important to assume. That's my explanation why playing a 1080p video can be less resource demanding. Amount of required processing may be more important than resolution.

 

Your observation with SACD plugin 0.7.1 vs 0.7.8 is interesting and worth to contact and ask the developer. Currently I don't have multichannel DSD content to test your observations, but your new computer may be less suitable for format conversions in real time during playback.

 

On Win7 you can find 'Windows experience index' in My Computer | Properties dialog.

On 8.1 this GUI feature was removed, but you can calculate the same index using Windows Experience Index on Windows 8.1 with ChrisPC Win Experience Index - Get WEI Base Score, CPU Score, Memory Score, Gaming Score, Graphics Score, Storage Score - FREE Download - Chris P.C. srl This way you can do some easy performance comparison of your two computers.

i7 11850H + RTX A2000 Win11 HQPlayer ► Topping E50 ► DIY headamp DHA1 ►HiFiMan HE-500

 

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Increasing of channels number can increase CPU consuming more than

Num ch * CPU consuming 1 ch

 

Due cache is limited.

 

Appear additional operations for moving data in memory.

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HamDog,

have you used the Win Task-Manager to take a look at the cpu usage caused by decoding the (multichannel) ISOs?

It takes a lot of cpu cycles to de-encrypt the DST packaging used for multichannel content from the ISOs, so it may just be a limitation of your new PC.

Esoterc SA-60 / Foobar2000 -> Mytek Stereo 192 DSD / Audio-GD NFB 28.38 -> MEG RL922K / AKG K500 / AKG K1000  / Audioquest Nighthawk / OPPO PM-2 / Sennheiser HD800 / Sennheiser Surrounder / Sony MA900 / STAX SR-303+SRM-323II

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Thank you for all the excellent suggestions. I installed 16 Gigs of RAM last night (upgraded from 2 Gigs). The problem still persists.

This morning, I used Task Manager (thanks Synfreak) to measure CPU utilization. When using the .7.1 plugin (where everything works fine), CPU initially hit 98% utilization when I first started playing a multichannel file (from SACD ISO), then it settled in to the mid 80's after a few seconds. I know this is awfully high. Then I installed SACD plugin .7.8 (where multichannel stutters and is filled with static). Playing the same file resulted in a CPU utilization of about 70%. Weird.

 

During 2-channel playback, CPU utilization is in the mid 40's.

 

Bogi, I started installing the Windows User Experience Index as you suggested, but I stopped the install because the small print (user agreement) states it also installs 3rd party spyware. I know software can be uninstalled after use, but sometimes they leave their mark in the Windows registry (which is almost impossible to find and remove). Since it's a new computer and a clean install, I didn't want to go that route.

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Bogi, I started installing the Windows User Experience Index as you suggested, but I stopped the install because the small print (user agreement) states it also installs 3rd party spyware. I know software can be uninstalled after use, but sometimes they leave their mark in the Windows registry (which is almost impossible to find and remove). Since it's a new computer and a clean install, I didn't want to go that route.

 

Thanks for warning. Better not to install it then.

i7 11850H + RTX A2000 Win11 HQPlayer ► Topping E50 ► DIY headamp DHA1 ►HiFiMan HE-500

 

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