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Audiophile player - HQPlayer


murrayp

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Hi,

 

I've recently tried HQPlayer. http://www.signalyst.com/consumer.html

 

It is unabashedly targeted toward the audiophile market. Though it has a very basic UI, it has the best upsampling and filtering capabilities I've seen (including for instance filters which eliminate preringing - ie equivalent to the recently topical apodising filter).

 

A 30 day trial can be downloaded.

 

A modification was made to the Wasapi controls to work with my dCS gear - this build is found here:

 

http://www.signalyst.com/bins/beta/HQPlayer32-setup.exe

 

I'd note that this is the only Wasapi Exclusive implementation that has yet worked properly with my dCS USB and computer (it allows for 10ms USB data packages which appears to be the default for the dCS driver settings - using larger buffers just seems to confuse things).

 

I find the sq of HQplayer perhaps the best I've heard. I thought Cplay/cmp was pretty good but I prefer this even in the native W7 environment.

 

The author has been very helpful and responsive.

 

I'd be interested to hear other's experience with it.

 

I've not seen this player discussed on CA and feel it deserves some attention. Of course I have no affiliation - I'm just your average obsessive audiophile ;-)

 

Murray

 

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Thanks for the info Murray. Any claim of superiority over CMP2 has to be worth checking out. Their web site seems to be down though for the past couple of days (or is it just me?).

 

hFX Classic fanless i7 SSD > Locus Nucleus / SW Diverter HR > RWA Isabella LFP-V Pro / New Sensor Genalex Gold Lion E88CC > ALO Sennheiser HD 800 balanced[br]

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Hi Olive,

 

the site works ok for me at them moment. As does the download link I gave.

 

I don't really like comparing one product to another - it is all flavors and opinion to some extent - and all the writers have put a huge amount of effort in, so I really have no right to criticise from my armchair ;-). I have great respect for the Cplay/cmp combo. But HQplayer seems to present more real instrument sound to me on my system - with much less smear. Now this could be that it is simply not reproducing lower level detail - I've heard coarser cd players create a similar effect - anyway it is different - instruments including voice just sound more like real instruments to me with less "studio effects". OTOH I'm not convinced it makes the sound any more pleasant to listen to. In fact despite all, my preferred "go to" player remains JRiver in Theater mode (running under CMP) for its wonderful remote ease of use, and pretty good sound.

 

I'd be really interested to hear other's views.

 

best

 

Murray

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

A few hours of listening and comparing only, but in a 3-system computer that allows me to change back and forth between players in less than a minute. HQPlayer and XXHighEnd-09-x7 in Windows 7, cPlay and Winamp KS in separate XP partitions. After confirming that HQPlayer does sound better in cMP, I did all my listening from within cMP. All are playing from RAM (in their own ways). I used no upsampling or other DSPs - mainly because that makes it too complicated for a quick report.

 

HQPlayer is centered deep in midrange, strong, clear, spacious, nicely balanced. Bigger, stronger sound than XXHE, which, centered in upper midrange, has a lighter feel, and to me sounds weak sometimes, but sometimes sweet and delicate. HQPlayer is not as wide and liquid as cPlay, which has greater separation, air and is without the sharpness (I think caused by the Vista/Win7 environment). Maybe too wide for some, like being in the first row, and the balance is not perfect for me. Winamp KS I find about perfectly balanced and nicely resonant, but less clear and spacious.

 

Time will tell, but HQPlayer seems an excellent sounding wasapi player. Too bad it's functionally retarded - flac only, no playlists, it only plays folders and every folder has to be manually set up in it's crazy "library". Nice blue color. Is this really necessary to good sound, or is it high-end street-cred: mine is more exasperating than yours. Or will it be better with the paid-for program?

 

Can you share key / Thanks vey much

 

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I should be able to say something about that ...

 

I think the point is : if you're after the very best sound possible, it is there were your attention is. Also, this is more a driven by the heart thing than anything smelling commercially (apart from some asking money for the work). So, I won't say it took me three years to create the sound XXHighEnd currently exposes, but it at least took the three years of necessary (!) experience. Wait, four. So, in between the lines you just have to do some things about a "library" and all because it's just a necessity, but the user interface itself ? If you could only look back in my own forum or private emails how many times I was warned by users longer around to stay away from the user interface because my interference probably would change the sound for the worse. I'm not joking here.

 

And so it happens that indeed after 4 years, right today I am working on the user interface as the last (yes, the last instead of the commercial first) thing to do.

 

All 'n all, I know, the eye wants something too. But if it is about sound quality, that just has the priority. Until sufficiently enough.

And that can take a while ...

 

Regards,

Peter

 

PS: Why did you stick at 0.9x-7 for XXHighEnd ? It is true, the WASAPI engine is "more leight" (and analytical), but this is exactly why everything changed from of 0.9-y. You may try it sometime. It really makes a huge difference.

 

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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Hey hey ... there is no such thing as EQ throughout XXHighEnd !

 

What those Q(uality) sliders do is influencing the DAC performance with Q1 as the main one, ever explicitly created, and Q2/3/4/5 as derivals from the experiences through time from feedback from users (things that influence SQ which I couldn't have make up myself in the beginning).

 

No matter how they work, in the very end this is jitter related because jitter will be the "carrier". Why ? well, because there is just nothing else, while all remaining bit perfect (and you can check the latter yourself). Unless you don't perceive a difference in the first place of course. Then it's baked air. :-))

 

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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Actually, since Peter has implemented his KS version, I've preferred it over HQ. In my set up I find it more lower mids focused (and HQ more upper mids) yet giving greater overall detail and dimensionality - which seems counter intuitive I admit. I do tend to agree with Peter's assessment of Wasapi - a bit detailed and clinical and not quite as easy to listen to as KS.

 

Both are great though. I still believe both sound slightly better if run from with CMP running (run HQ or HE and start CMP and see what you think).

 

I just think HQ deserves some attention too which is why I posted about it.

 

And of course everyone's mileage will vary anyway ;-)

 

 

 

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And Murray, initially I didn't want to respond to it because I thought it would interfere with your thread, but since I did for aother reasons anyway, I wanted to add that the dCS should work with XXHighEnd just the same. Either WASAPI or KS, both work (well, as reported to me). With KS the (Q1) setting is somewhat harder to find though.

 

Furthermore, your expression about it being counter intuitive that more focus to the lower regions bring more detail anyway ... in my opinion you hit it right on the head;

It's very strange, but true anyway. One of the nicest things of this, is that at last this is not about fake detail, which is so so easy to create just by emphasizing the highs.

But don't ask me how this works this time ! haha.

 

Thanks,

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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Hi Coolboy,

 

I've tried Asio4all only in JRiver (and others), it is not in HQ afaik. Key - sorry, you have to buy it, but it's a pretty fair price given the work these guys put in for what must be a pretty small market. I believe HQ are working on various improvements both hardware and software so if you like it, join the fun :-)

 

Hi Peter,

 

actually I had more trouble getting HE Wasapi to work than KS with my gear - but yes, both work. I prefer KS. I don't notice much difference between KS Q1 settings so far though ( so long as they work without skipping).

 

best

 

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My what a button pushers delight. So many filters, up-down samplers, noise shapers and shape shifters.....

 

I tried various 96/24 wavs, 44.1 flac , nothing, no sound. Sorry, it didn't work for me.

 

The manual isn't of much help, it is nigh on impossible to judge which filter does what, and there's no real guidance about the effect on sound reproduction accuracy. No mention of bit perfect playback. Using a particualr filter with jazz music just sounds a bit silly, I would have thought the player be independant, and just play the bits, not fiddle with them..(ahem).

 

No mention of what file type the player can play, or not.

No playlist

No library

No cover art

 

At EUR99, there are serious better choices for my cash. HQ player is wanting an overhaul in the user interface dept. At least it's small to install, but no library management is a big let down and show stopper.

 

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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I actually had to register to respond to the conversation regarding the player software I've created...

 

Regarding main GUI; it has been designed to be finger-usable on small touch screens.

 

Original idea of the player was to provide a selection of upsamplers like many DACs provide (such as CA DacMagic). Most of the development effort has been in creating best possible upsamplers. To fully utilize these, sound card / DAC should support at least 192/24 format.

 

Then I decided to also add support for multichannel playback with speaker setup for playing 5.1 channel 96/24 FLACs. As well as convolver to support digital room correction filters.

 

Emphasis is not being bitperfect, but to extract best possible performance out of cheap as well as expensive DACs, based on knowledge how these work internally (in digital and analog domain).

 

Even the web page lists that supported playback sources are CD discs, FLAC (up to 7.1 channels) and DSDIFF (stereo) files.

 

There are various broken audio device drivers. If there's no sound output, then there is a problem with the driver. WHQL Vista/W7 certified drivers should generally work, as well as good quality native ASIO drivers.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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hi Murray

 

1/ J River -> I've recently tried free XBMC player (WASAPI) http://xbmc.org/download/

 

About

 

XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub for digital media. XBMC is available for Linux, OSX, Windows, and the original Xbox. Created in 2003 by a group of like minded programmers, XBMC is a non-profit project run and developed by volunteers located around the world. More than 50 software developers have contributed to XBMC, and 100-plus translators have worked to expand its reach, making it available in more than 30 languages.

 

While XBMC functions very well as a standard media player application for your computer, it has been designed to be the perfect companion for your HTPC. Supporting an almost endless range of remote controls, and combined with its beautiful interface and powerful skinning engine, XBMC feels very natural to use from the couch and is the ideal solution for your home theater.

 

Currently XBMC can be used to play almost all popular audio and video formats around. It was designed for network playback, so you can stream your multimedia from anywhere in the house or directly from the internet using practically any protocol available. Use your media as-is: XBMC can play CDs and DVDs directly from the disk or image file, almost all popular archive formats from your hard drive, and even files inside ZIP and RAR archives. It will even scan all of your media and automatically create a personalized library complete with box covers, descriptions, and fanart. There are playlist and slideshow functions, a weather forecast feature and many audio visualizations. Once installed, your computer will become a fully functional multimedia jukebox.

 

2/ HQPlayer (wasapi) --> Xion Audioplayer (ver 1.0b70) (ASIOALL4) http://xion.r2.com.au/

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Thanks to the developer of HQPlayer posting elsewhere at CA, I went to his website and saw that this player offers stereo DSDIFF (DFF) file format support.

 

My interest is in playing the DSD64 and DSD128 files created by a Korg MR2000S rather than downsampling them to 24/176.4 using the AudioGate software. It would be great for me if the HQPlayer supports DSD128 since that's what I record to.

 

If nobody has any experience, I will try the 30-day free evaluation in September and post my results later. If someone has the HQPlayer but no DSD files, I think there are some free downloads at the 2L website and a few other places.

 

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It would be great for me if the HQPlayer supports DSD128 since that's what I record to.

 

Both DSD64 and DSD128 are supposed to work. And actually also 64 and 128 multiples of 48 kHz too, even though these are non-standard.

 

DSD256 and DSD512, etc. should also work, but require use of additional downsampling.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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  • 2 weeks later...

I like the sound of HQplayer. Not sure I'll pay $140 for the minimalist interface though. (I also don't like having to restart the song/album every time I look at a menu option).

 

Otoh- maybe strip down to a basic FLAC player (no 5.1, convolution etc.) -maybe I'll pay half that to have around as a backup to Foobar2k. ;-)

 

PS Audio DirectStream DSD Bridge -> Classe CA-2200 - >B&W 803-D2, Nordost Tyr cabled. Synology NAS, MinimServer, BubbleDS.

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According to http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=What_is_XBMC_%26_What_Can_it_Do%3F

 

AAC and MP3 are the only files XBMC plays under windows. No WAV, ALAC, FLAC, AIFF... no lossless files at all. You cannot also add any more codecs, so the whole point of XBMC is lost around here!

 

Is this why "some" open source programs suck so badly?

 

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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This is totally off topic - if you want to discuss XBMC I suggest a more appropriately named thred, however I have to jump in and defend XBMC's honor / correct this missinformation. XBMC (even under Windows) supports a whole raft of formats...

 

Supported audio codecs:

 

* CDDA (Audio-CD) playback

* WAV/WAVE (WAVEform) and PCM audio format

* AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format) audio

* MPEG layer I, II, and III (inluding MP2 and MP3) audio #5

* OGG (Ogg Vorbis audio codec)

* WMA - Windows Media Audio v1 and v2 (WMA1 / WMA2 / DivX Audio v1/v2) #5

* WMA - Windows Media Audio 9 (WMA9) #5

* WMA Pro Audio Codec (Windows Media Audio 9 Professional)#5

* RealNetworks RealAudio codecs: 1.0 (14.4), 2.0 (28.8), SIPRO, COOK, COOKER, DNET and ATRAC3

* AC3 2.0 or 5.1 and Dolby Digital EX 6.1 or 7.1 audio in video (AC3 digital cable S/PDIF pass-through)

* Dolby Digital AC3 and AC3-WAV/AC3-CDDA 2.0 and 5.1 audio in video software decoded to stereo analog-out

* Dolby Digital Plus (a.k.a. E-AC3), and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio software decoder

* Dolby Digital Plus (a.k.a. E-AC3), and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio in Blu-ray rips via digital cable S/PDIF pass-through

* DTS (Digital Theater System) 5.1 and DTS-ES 6.1 audio in DVD-Video (DTS digital cable S/PDIF pass-through)

* DTS (DTS and DTS-WAV/DTS-CDDA) audio in DVD-Video (software decoded)

* AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) profiles: Main, LC, HE, LTP, LD, ER, and aacPlus v1/v2 (AAC+ SBR/PS) audio #5

* M4A and MP4 (MPEG-4 Audio) (including Nero Digital MP4) #5

* PureVoice (QCELP) audio decoder

* AVS (Audio Video Standard) audio codec

* FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) audio

* WavPack lossless audio

* MPC (Musepack, a.k.a. Mpeg+) lossless audio #6

* APE (Monkey's Audio) lossless audio

* SHN (Shorten) lossless audio

* ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) lossless audio #6

* MLP (Meridian Lossless Packing) / Packed PCM (PPCM) audio decoder

* AMV audio decoder

* Sonic audio decoder

* AIFF/AIFF-C audio dcoder

* Macromedia ADPCM decoder

* Creative ADPCM audio decoder (16 bits as well as 8 bits schemes)

* Nellymoser ASAO decoder

* True Audio (TTA) decoder

* TrueSpeech audio decoder

* Intel Music decoder

* QDM2 audio decoder

* Delphine Software .cin audio decoder

* 8SVX audio decoder

* MIDI music using Timidity

* Tracker Mod's audio, see list below:

o Adlib (AdLib and Sound Blaster OPL2/OPL3 and Dual OPL2/OPL3) FM audio

o SID (Commodore 64 tunes) audio

o YM (ATARI ST) audio

o NSF (Nintendo NES Sound Format) audio

o SPC (SPC700) audio

o GYM (SEGA Genesis) audio

o ADX/AST/ADP/DSP/YMF/HPS CRI MiddleWare and Gamecube ADPCM) audio

o MOD/AMF/669/DMF/DSM/FAR/GDM/IMF/IT/M15/MED/OKT/S3M/STM/SFX/ULT/UNI/XM

* vgmstream playback of 51 more streamed audio formats used in video games:

o aax, asd, asr, ass, bgw, bh2pcm, capdsp, ccc, dcs, de2, emff, fag, gbts, gca, gsb, idsp, idvi, isd, joe, kraw, mihb, msvp, mwv, omu, p2bt, pdt, rnd, rwar, rwav, sap, seg, smp, spd, spsd, spw, ss7, ssm, thp, vgs, vs, waa, wac, wad, wam, xa2, xmu, xsf, xvas, ydsp, ymf, zwdsp

 

Copy and pasted from XBMC Features and Supported Formats/Codecs ont eh XBMC Wiki. And more details of the XBMC

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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I really like the HQplayer.

I am hooked and so are people that I demo'ed to with the software are hooked.

 

But the interface really needs work.

 

What I wished for HQplayer if whoever is from HQplayer would humour me..

 

- Drag and drop playlist - most basic to say the least

- Selectable tracks - It's a pain to keep going back to the start and then fast forwarding tracks.

- seek bar - drag-gable bar to fast forward the music.

- format support - more would be nice, APE/WAV and some MP3 would be nice.

- gapless - a gapless playback would be nice.

- volume control - give the option to control the volume.

 

I mean i'm not asking for much, it doesn't have to look pretty but at least let it be used somewhat like winamp without all the bells and whistle for a start.

 

You guys have a phenomenal product but there's too much excuses you give to potential customers to hold back even though there is no denying that your product is good.

 

Hope this helps!

 

 

http://audiohub.com.sg - blog/shop/randomness

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  • 2 weeks later...

- Drag and drop playlist - most basic to say the least

 

Not very likely to come soon. Playback is intended to be per-album, which is usually what many artists prefer. Technical reason is that initialization for some of the algorithms is computationally somewhat expensive and can cause 1-5 second delay. With free playlist users might try to add tracks with different sampling rate or channel configuration into the same playlist which would cause break in playback when crossing such boundary. Disallowing such track additions could be another option.

 

- Selectable tracks - It's a pain to keep going back to the start and then fast forwarding tracks

 

Keyboard shortcuts are already included (see manual). More extensive one is coming in an alternative GUI later. Current GUI is designed for small embedded touch screens in a CD/media-player, mimicing functionality of conventional minimalist CD-player. (first version of HQPlayer even supported only CD-disc playback)

 

- seek bar - drag-gable bar to fast forward the music

 

Technically easy to do. I'll add this to my TODO-list. Even though I personally never understood what it would be useful for... ;)

 

- format support - more would be nice, APE/WAV and some MP3 would be nice

 

WAV (RIFF) might come, since I already have code for that. WAV is sort of broken format for songs in a way that it is technically limited to maximum 2 GB size and has poor metadata support. At current sales figures, licensing cost for MP3 patent licenses is prohibiting factor (last time I checked it was over $10k/year, minimum). And technically low-res limited lossy format defies any sense.

 

- gapless - a gapless playback would be nice

 

Playback has always been gapless.

 

- volume control - give the option to control the volume

 

Coming in new alternative GUI version...

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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