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PC Users - I-Tunes running through Foobar


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This may have been posted before, apologies if that's the case.


I recently decided to build an HTPC, annoyed that I couldn't get BluRay playback from my Mac Mini.

One of the many downsides to this is of course the fact it's not very easy to set up a PC to output a clean signal into your external DAC. But I enjoy tweaking and playing around - slight fan noise may prove to be the most difficult thing to remedy.


I was using Foobar - well I still am - bypassing Vista's processing using the WASAPI plug in. However, I prefer the iTunes user interface by far.


I came across this little plug in for a slightly older version of iTunes, which forces the audio out through Foobar (and whatever audio settings you have in Foobar).




I'm using this as I write and it sounds great - with all the advantages that the iTunes interface brings.


My next HTPC test will be trying out Dogbers C-Media drivers, which can be found here: http://code.google.com/p/cmediadrivers/

(I have a CMedia card on the way).


After this I'll try Airport Express and report back on my findings.



HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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I'll also couple this with your reply to my post on the CASH thread! You're definitely on the same lines of thought as me! I hadn't come across the CMedia drivers stuff - thank you very much - becuase that really all looks to be exactly what I was on about - Vista/WaveRT = bit perfect over spdif, job done!


I shall be most interested to here your adventures!


On the fan noise front, if you're building purely for audio then I'd go with one of the new Atom processors - they are a tad underpowered for general use but fine for audio! They are very low power so will not require much cooling.


Best of luck with it,


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I ordered a Terratec C-Media based card on Monday evening so - hopefully I'll be able to test this by the weekend. I've not had confirmation it's been shipped yet - I'm so keen to get my hands on it. I'm very childish when it comes to waiting for items to turn up !!


I'll let you know my findings but after digging around the programmer "Dogber" certainly seems to know his stuff. I'm hoping to compare these drivers, passing through the digital signal, to an Aiport Express. That'll come a little later though but I'm hoping it'll surpass that. I know what my Mac Mini sounds like so it'll be direct comparison to that.


I had seen a couple of posts on the Atom processors. At the moment I'm running an AMD 4850e (2 x 2.5Ghz) which, with the onboard ATI graphics chip is producing stunning BluRay images - well - my TV's lack of 24p processing being the only thing that stops me from having a 100% smooth playback, its not the computer. The TV accepts a 24p signal but it's operating at 1080 60p.


Since I'm interested in the video side of things my question to you is, with my processor only running at 25/30% usage whilst watching a blu ray, I guess an Atom processor would be fast enough to allow me to continue with smooth playback ?


My box is far from noisy, infact, it's only audible when the room is silent.


I've found some other solutions which you may find of interest too. Check out this stuff: http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/products/acousticmaterials


They don't provide it ready cut for my case but I'd enjoy fitting it myself anyway. I'm tempted to buy and give it a go .. I think it was Tom's Hardware which installed and reviewed the Acoustipack material with some success - certainly cutting noise in a standard PC. If I can even reduce mine by 30% then it's going to be pretty much silent.


Actually, I've just noticed Chris has posted some low noise fans in his hardware list. Seems Mr Chris has all avenues covered !!


Bob - soon as I've tested the C-Media card I'll post up the results.

All very exciting. For us audio geeks anyway.


ps: my girlfriend keeps calling me a geek. Is it meant as an insult ? I like being a geek !!


HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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I had this same setup myself some time back. It looked like iTunes but sounded like Foobar. The best of both worlds.


Then I 'upgraded' to a newer version of iTunes. Poof - the multi-plugin would no longer work, and even reverting back to the previous version of iTunes did no good. Gone forever. Plus, the guy who wrote the program seems to have disappeared.


I'm still looking for a way to get it back. Last night I did a blind A/B/C test using the same playlists in Foobar 0.8.3 using DirectSound 2 and Secret Rabbit Coder set to 24/96, iTunes 8, and J River Media Jukebox 12. All on a PC with Vista, running 24/96 through an Empirical Audio Off-Ramp I2S, into a DAC. I kept my eyes closed while my wife played samples from each, but I didn't know which was which.


It took me about 5 seconds to pick out iTunes from the other two. There's kind of a harshness and glare to it. The other two were awfully close to each other, although I think Foobar wins by just a little bit.


Anyway, I really like the look and functionality of iTunes, but prefer the sound of Foobar. Hopefully someone will write another program to bridge the two. Or write a new version of Foobar that is user friendly to someone like me.


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Bob - I'm still waiting on my C-Media card - hopefully I shall have it some time this week. I got an Airport Express on Friday and have been trying that - so far so good, producing a great sound. Will be interesting to see if the C-Media card with drivers will outperform the Aiport Express.


Curt - yep. I upgraded to the latest iTunes after installing my Airport Express and yep - the plug in just doesn't work any longer. I've not tried rolling back but I'm guessing you could get it working by ensuring every last bit of iTunes has gone from your system


Curt - I'm confused by your post. Firstly the Empirical Audio Off-Ramp I2S is a DAC is it not ? Why would you run that into a DAC ? Secondly, surely this has drivers allowing Exclusive mode in Vista that means you'd not need to be using Rabbit Code ?


I'm trying to see what I can achieve on the cheap; so far the Aiport Express with iTunes has proved to be great - the user friendly i-tunes interface sending data to the AE bypassing any Vista processing. It sounds like my Mac Mini.


The C-Media route involves a cheap soundcard and some drivers written to bypass any processing. So I'll try that one too.


How does Rabbit Code work ? It's software resampling isn't it ? So, with the soundcard I have now, would it bypass that and ensure a bit perfect output via SPDIF to my external DAC.









HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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Would be nice to hear if an RME Hammerfall improves things in any way too ..

If I'm really outputting bit perfect using the C-Media card, then would a Hammerfall 9632 sound any different to the C Media route or any better than my Aiport Express? Hmmm ... ..


HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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