PC for Multichannel Music Playback - What's your Setup?

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atrocity

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Donno if there's a "cache" (or other) setting in Foobar I could change, or whether it's just a question of things getting fouled up once a number of processes have started running and clog up the laptop's memory, or what.
There are multiple buffer settings under File->Preferences->Network and File->Preferences->Advanced. They helped me when my main problem turned out to be old and very slow NASes, but I don't know if that will help you with your files being local.

(By the way: what software do most of you use?)
For PC playback I pretty much stick to Foobar2000. I bought a JRiver license but found it more frustrating to use for reasons I don't fully remember any more.

Though for serious listening to anything that's compatible with the system (stereo, AC-3 and DTS), I use Logitech Media Server and various players around the house.

If I'm sitting in the sweet spot in the living room, I use an Oppo BDP-103 for multichannel FLAC or DSD streaming, though it only works gaplessly if you use full-album files with cue sheets. Getting that to work properly for DSD was what made me think you might be dealing with DST files, but that's apparently not the case. The Oppo HAS to play DST off discs that have it, but it doesn't know what to do with DST when it's a standalone file.
 

quicksrt

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There are multiple buffer settings under File->Preferences->Network and File->Preferences->Advanced. They helped me when my main problem turned out to be old and very slow NASes, but I don't know if that will help you with your files being local.



For PC playback I pretty much stick to Foobar2000. I bought a JRiver license but found it more frustrating to use for reasons I don't fully remember any more.

Though for serious listening to anything that's compatible with the system (stereo, AC-3 and DTS), I use Logitech Media Server and various players around the house.

If I'm sitting in the sweet spot in the living room, I use an Oppo BDP-103 for multichannel FLAC or DSD streaming, though it only works gaplessly if you use full-album files with cue sheets. Getting that to work properly for DSD was what made me think you might be dealing with DST files, but that's apparently not the case. The Oppo HAS to play DST off discs that have it, but it doesn't know what to do with DST when it's a standalone file.
Do you mean dsf files rather than dst?
 

atrocity

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Do you mean dsf files rather than dst?
No, but your confusion is understandable...because I share it!

The actual file extensions can be .dff or .dsf. At least in the case of .dff files, the actual data can be DST or DSD. I don't know if that's true of .dsf or not. DST is apparently lossless compression for DSD, much as FLAC is for PCM. It's confusing because the file(name) is a container that doesn't necessarily fully explain what's in it, much as an .m4a file could contain lossy MP4 or lossless ALAC.

.dsf files can be tagged with metadata (artist, title, etc., though NOT cover art, apparently) while .dff files cannot.

In the case of the software that interfaces with the Oppo to rip SACD, my experience has been that every option creates DSD files with the exception of ripping an entire multichannel layer into a single .dff file, which by default creates DST data unless the box is checked to convert DST to DSD.

At least to me, none of this is in the least intuitive and I've only learned it through trial and lots of error.
 

humprof

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No, but your confusion is understandable...because I share it!

The actual file extensions can be .dff or .dsf. At least in the case of .dff files, the actual data can be DST or DSD. I don't know if that's true of .dsf or not. DST is apparently lossless compression for DSD, much as FLAC is for PCM. It's confusing because the file(name) is a container that doesn't necessarily fully explain what's in it, much as an .m4a file could contain lossy MP4 or lossless ALAC.

.dsf files can be tagged with metadata (artist, title, etc., though NOT cover art, apparently) while .dff files cannot.

In the case of the software that interfaces with the Oppo to rip SACD, my experience has been that every option creates DSD files with the exception of ripping an entire multichannel layer into a single .dff file, which by default creates DST data unless the box is checked to convert DST to DSD.

At least to me, none of this is in the least intuitive and I've only learned it through trial and lots of error.
I appreciate that explanation. (I understood the difference between .dff and .dsf, more or less, but hadn't heard of DST before you mentioned it yesterday.)

As for your previous post: I have an Oppo 103, as well--and in part, it was the Oppo's inability to play DSD files "gaplessly" that led me to to try Foobar. I didn't realize that the Oppo could handle .cue files, though--or rather, I didn't realize that you could link a .cue file to a single, album-length DSD (DSF?) file. (I've only used .cue files for FLAC and WAV playback on the Oppo). So...sorry to pelt you with so many questions, but which software do you use to rip SACD (and/or ISO?) to a single file with a CUE sheet?
 

atrocity

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I appreciate that explanation. (I understood the difference between .dff and .dsf, more or less, but hadn't heard of DST before you mentioned it yesterday.)
I either hadn't heard of DST or didn't realize I needed to care until I started trying to create whole-album files with cue sheets. I still don't know why the software does DST in that case but no other. Could be the file size, I suppose.

As for your previous post: I have an Oppo 103, as well--and in part, it was the Oppo's inability to play DSD files "gaplessly" that led me to to try Foobar. I didn't realize that the Oppo could handle .cue files, though--or rather, I didn't realize that you could link a .cue file to a single, album-length DSD (DSF?) file. (I've only used .cue files for FLAC and WAV playback on the Oppo). So...sorry to pelt you with so many questions, but which software do you use to rip SACD (and/or ISO?) to a single file with a CUE sheet?
I'm using the iso2dsd_gui.exe front-end to sacd_extract.exe, which I assume you are as well. One of the things I find utterly non-intuitive about it is that to get a full-disc file, you need to click on the dropdown box and select "DSDIFF Edit Master". Also make sure you check "Cue Sheet" and "Convert DST to DSD". If you don't convert DST, Foobar2000 will play it but the Oppo will just be horribly confused. It's really too bad, because so much of a DSD stream is junk that the DST compression cuts the file size by over 50%. It would be nice to be able to use it!

It's very helpful that the program creates the cue sheet because some of what's in there isn't very intuitive, either. I would never have guessed that you'd refer to a file containing DSD as "WAVE", but:

Code:
FILE "Dark Side of the Moon.dff" WAVE
The only other piece of advice I have is to name your .dff and .cue files something short enough to be sufficiently readable on Oppo's somewhat craptacular phone app.

I really wish I'd known this several months ago when I ripped all my SACDs. A lot of them will work perfectly fine as single-track files, but there were many others (such as the above-referenced DSOTM) where I figured I was just backing everything up now for the magic day when something would come along that allowed me to play them properly. Obviously Foobar2000 has always been an option, but I wanted something closer to the Logitech Squeezebox system that wouldn't require me to do the playback from a full-sized computer. I'm complaining, but really I'm very happy to know this can be done, even if I have to re-rip.

The final annoyance is that I don't know how to get artwork to show up. It's a trivial complaint, but I'm used to it working when embedded in FLAC files for the Oppo and/or as Folder.jpg for the Squeezebox.
 

humprof

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This is brilliant, atrocity--thanks so much. I had no idea that it was possible to do all of this with Sonore ISO2DSD. You should make this the basis of a "sticky" manual that could reside on the root page of the "PC for Multichannel Music Playback" and/or the "Multichannel Media Players" forums!

I either hadn't heard of DST or didn't realize I needed to care until I started trying to create whole-album files with cue sheets. I still don't know why the software does DST in that case but no other. Could be the file size, I suppose.



I'm using the iso2dsd_gui.exe front-end to sacd_extract.exe, which I assume you are as well. One of the things I find utterly non-intuitive about it is that to get a full-disc file, you need to click on the dropdown box and select "DSDIFF Edit Master". Also make sure you check "Cue Sheet" and "Convert DST to DSD". If you don't convert DST, Foobar2000 will play it but the Oppo will just be horribly confused. It's really too bad, because so much of a DSD stream is junk that the DST compression cuts the file size by over 50%. It would be nice to be able to use it!

It's very helpful that the program creates the cue sheet because some of what's in there isn't very intuitive, either. I would never have guessed that you'd refer to a file containing DSD as "WAVE", but:

Code:
FILE "Dark Side of the Moon.dff" WAVE
The only other piece of advice I have is to name your .dff and .cue files something short enough to be sufficiently readable on Oppo's somewhat craptacular phone app.

I really wish I'd known this several months ago when I ripped all my SACDs. A lot of them will work perfectly fine as single-track files, but there were many others (such as the above-referenced DSOTM) where I figured I was just backing everything up now for the magic day when something would come along that allowed me to play them properly. Obviously Foobar2000 has always been an option, but I wanted something closer to the Logitech Squeezebox system that wouldn't require me to do the playback from a full-sized computer. I'm complaining, but really I'm very happy to know this can be done, even if I have to re-rip.

The final annoyance is that I don't know how to get artwork to show up. It's a trivial complaint, but I'm used to it working when embedded in FLAC files for the Oppo and/or as Folder.jpg for the Squeezebox.
 

quicksrt

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Confirmed. You can even use both!
I am just learning that JRiver cannot output DSD (or dsf) files in a bit-perfect way, but must down res them to 48khz/64bit before passing them through to the DAC or Oppo of your choice. Is this commonly known, and I just didn't get the memo?

I also have noticed something recently, whenever someone is using HDMI and JRiver, etc. and running into problems with files being recognized by the DAC for what they are, it is suggested that the HDMI handshake is at fault. Even with no picture flicker or sign of a problem, it's the HDMI handshake. The solution being offered up is a Gefen box, which is a device that sends a constant signal like a HDMI handshake, thus keeps a robust connection via HDMI which is definitely maybe needed when Windows is at one end of the handshake.

Have you all known about Gefen boxes, and what their value is to the music server user who has tried about everything?
 

jimfisheye

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I feel like I should be using something newer...

I still use Songbird for audio. I like that you can just leave your OS audio utility set to 5.1 and play all formats with everything coming out the correct speakers. (Mix 5.1, 4.0, 2.1, etc in the same playlist and it just works.) The other free media player apps make you switch speaker configurations in the OS utility.

XBMC for audio + video. Even though the GUI for this one looks like it was made by a 13 year old on meth, this plays HD discreet surround correctly. VLC is my goto for stereo + video. Curiously VLC will do lossy surround (dts & dolby) but not discreet lossless surround. This also plays dvd, bluray, etc discs directly from an optical drive on the occasion I don't just rip it first.

I invested in decent PCM DA converters (Apogee Rosetta 800 192k) so I convert any DSD I run across to 24/88.2 PCM and save in FLAC like everything else. And I'm not interested in ever investing in DSD DA converters so native DSD playback is a moot point to me. XLD for those conversions.

What am I missing? What does this J River app I see promoted a lot do or do better?
 

bmoura

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I am just learning that JRiver cannot output DSD (or dsf) files in a bit-perfect way, but must down res them to 48khz/64bit before passing them through to the DAC or Oppo of your choice. Is this commonly known, and I just didn't get the memo?
That's not the case.
JRiver can play DSD natively.

The key to do so is how the program is configured and whether or not the AV receiver in question supports native DSD if HDMI output is used.

Here's the word from JRiver's lead software engineer on the QQ post:
"JRiver Media Center can absolutely play DSD files in a bit-perfect way by enabling bitstreaming. It will use DoP if you're using WASAPI and a native DSD format if you're using ASIO. Obviously, you'll need to have a DAC connected that supports DSD.
This is a pretty important feature!"
 

Kal Rubinson

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I am just learning that JRiver cannot output DSD (or dsf) files in a bit-perfect way, but must down res them to 48khz/64bit before passing them through to the DAC or Oppo of your choice. Is this commonly known, and I just didn't get the memo?
Where did you learn that? I have been outputting DSF/DFF64/128/256 without any downsampling. What is your evidence?
 

quicksrt

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That's not the case.
JRiver can play DSD natively.

The key to do so is how the program is configured and whether or not the AV receiver in question supports native DSD if HDMI output is used.

Here's the word from JRiver's lead software engineer on the QQ post:
I'm using the Oppo 103 with HDMI. So I am pretty sure that DSD is an acceptable format including mc.

I have not seen any instructions on getting DSD to the Oppo (through) without changes in the sample and bit rates (in DSP settings), at least when using JRiver. Yes, I keep getting a pop-up window telling me about changing the sample and bit rates, reducing them way down low.

Let's assume the Oppo 103 is not the problem and that the HDMI connection is solid. I mean you have to start somewhere after the equipment is not to blame.
 

quicksrt

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Where did you learn that? I have been outputting DSF/DFF64/128/256 without any downsampling. What is your evidence?
I got this from the error notice on my PC screen JRiver telling me that the sampling rates do not work, and it suggested changing the sampling rates for me. There is a button asking if you'd like the rates changed. I did it once and it still did not work.

Why would JRiver ask me to change the sampling and bit rates, if I am using HDMI with an Oppo 103?

I am using wasapi driver from windows btw.

I got perfect playback from FLAC including mc 5.1 from lpcm sources. A couple of my bluray rips like Quadrophenia and Damn the Torpedos play back in perfect mc. But DSD does not. I think I had some settings that got dsf files playing good one night. But I powered everything down and the next day turned it on and dsf playback was gone.

Eventually the option to select the wasapi driver disappeared from the selector in JRiver. and it was pretty much over then. Too many settings changes too many things I tried until I needed a new install of JRiver on a fresh windows.

So I got my fresh install, and now am playing back all FLAC except 24/192 which does not work.

So instead of my trying every setting under the moon, why not offer me the magical settings for dsf stereo and mc playback. Is it the bit-streaming setting rather than my wasapi? Will it kill my flac playback?

Were are these settings please? Remember, I am using an Oppo 103 and HDMI. I should not have to change too much. My fear is that FLAC playback will disappear like it did before. So I think not messing around with setting that I do not know what they do is best bet.

btw, I am seeing a lot of folks with same problem out there, and some blame JRiver for a useless DSP area for changing sampling rates. Computer Audiophile forums made a big deal of it, and the owner of that site knows all about it. You want the links? I can find them.
 

quicksrt

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That's not the case.
JRiver can play DSD natively.

The key to do so is how the program is configured and whether or not the AV receiver in question supports native DSD if HDMI output is used.

Here's the word from JRiver's lead software engineer on the QQ post:

"JRiver Media Center can absolutely play DSD files in a bit-perfect way by enabling bitstreaming. It will use DoP if you're using WASAPI and a native DSD format if you're using ASIO. Obviously, you'll need to have a DAC connected that supports DSD.
This is a pretty important feature!"
Where is the bitstreaming feature to be enabled? And since I am using wasapi, that means DoP for me? Where is this setting? Yes my DAC in the Oppo supports DSD via HDMI.
 

Kal Rubinson

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I'm using the Oppo 103 with HDMI. So I am pretty sure that DSD is an acceptable format including mc.

I have not seen any instructions on getting DSD to the Oppo (through) without changes in the sample and bit rates (in DSP settings), at least when using JRiver. Yes, I keep getting a pop-up window telling me about changing the sample and bit rates, reducing them way down low.
Have you tried Ethernet? I found it more reliable than HDMI.
 

quicksrt

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Have you tried Ethernet? I found it more reliable than HDMI.
No, not yet but I think it's a good suggestion as I don't like having my big tv on just for a hdmi handshake. I have a reg monitor panel sitting up next to system. I'd like to just use a monitor until I shift to iPad style remote exclusively.

This whole thing is only going to get more complicated because I want to eventually use the Oppo's DAC for MC, and another higher end DAC for stereo. I can hear room for improvement in stereo programming on the Oppo, but for MC the crisp clean sound is pleasing enough.

Thanks

Jeff
 

quicksrt

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I'd like to list some settings that are not going to help me resolve the JRiver issues I am having with MC dsf files.

1. No settings in DSP are going to help with bit-perfect playback, right?
So no need to switch around anything in there.
 

Kal Rubinson

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1. No settings in DSP are going to help with bit-perfect playback, right?
So no need to switch around anything in there.
Adding any DSP is impossible, functionally and logically, with bit-perfect playback. They are mutually exclusive.
 

quicksrt

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Adding any DSP is impossible, functionally and logically, with bit-perfect playback. They are mutually exclusive.
A huge section of settings one need not bother with at all in JRiver for bit-perfect playback, or trying to get dsf files playing in their full resolution state (no down-sampling). If you can see where I am going with this.
 
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