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What media playback software?


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#1 of 21 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted May 02 2013 - 03:20 PM

Anyone have any windows media playback software they like?  I just got a little alienware box I intend to use for light duty app based HTPC (ie, no cable box tuners) and was just gonna toss iTunes on there but figured I'd ask if anyone had anything they liked better.

 

Ideally it would have:

-A number of cool visualizations

-ability to play from usb devices attached without ingesting to a big ass library

-do neat tricks that iTunes can't or won't do.

 

Thanks!


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#2 of 21 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

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Posted May 03 2013 - 04:03 AM

I'm not sure if its a media player you mean but i have my eye on this one, you can Google it for more info from people who have it, i have read some very good reviews and it also does BD ISO's which not many media players can do, thus for those who back up their discs it's a good solution for playback, seems to offer nice visualizations and has a music library feature too.

 

http://www.amazon.co...r/dp/B00ABW8OAA

 

It plays from USB devices and i think it would be pretty good, i was also looking at some WD media players but they seem to have a few more bugs in them while the one listed above seems to get regular firmware updates and they have ordinary members of the public doing testing, seems to be the Oppo of media players in that regard.

 

Anyways i intend to look at the one above later in the year, i'm hanging on just in case a new version is released.


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#3 of 21 ONLINE   Dave Upton

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Posted May 03 2013 - 04:10 AM

I am a fan of MPC-HC for video and use foobar2000 for audio. In windows it's all about codec support anyway.

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#4 of 21 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted May 03 2013 - 05:19 AM

Foxy:  I'm asking about windows software not external devices.  thanks for the input tho.

 

Dave:  Will check both of those out.  All of my songs are MP3 and Apple DRM free.  So codec support should be cake.  I'm more interested in ease of use and lack of clutter than anything else, so iTunes is my baseline here.  Anything I'd use has to offer stuff iTunes doesn't.


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#5 of 21 ONLINE   Dave Upton

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Posted May 03 2013 - 07:31 AM

Foobar is pretty much the ultimate audio player -anywhere. You can use it for WASAPI bit perfect output and it's easy to skin. Check out some themes at hydrogenaudio.



#6 of 21 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted May 03 2013 - 09:17 AM

Do you need a full front end or just ?   Because of course you could use something like XBMC, but if you just want a player, then yeah, Foobar/MPC-HC are both ideal


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#7 of 21 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted May 03 2013 - 11:59 AM

This box is a life support system for Steam, so intention was to have it run a Media Playback app instead of putting anything fancy on it.  Ideally I'd like to pop in a USB Key drive, point the app to that folder and have it shuffle through the songs on it with an interesting background without much user intervention.


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#8 of 21 OFFLINE   sean1976

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Posted June 08 2013 - 10:36 PM

Do you need a full front end or just ?   Because of course you could use something like XBMC, but if you just want a player, then yeah, Foobar/MPC-HC are both ideal

 

Older post I know,  but I just thought I'd give a thumbs up to XBMC.  I fell in love with it the minute I installed it.  It's so customizable! My movie and music library has never looked so darned good.   There's so many bells and whistles included,  I'm sure I've barely scratched the surface of all the things it can do.   I used to use separate music and movie programs such as Zoom player,  VLC,  Songbird etc.. but it's so easy having one that can play both beautifully.   It's picked up on every format of movie I own without a hitch,  rips music in whatever format you want ( .WAV, FLAC, MP3 ) ... has all kinds lovingly made user generated skins,  and bottom line makes helps all my media sound it's best.   Best of all,  it's free! 


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#9 of 21 OFFLINE   sean1976

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Posted June 11 2013 - 06:06 PM

Do you need a full front end or just ?   Because of course you could use something like XBMC, but if you just want a player, then yeah, Foobar/MPC-HC are both ideal

Do you actually have any experience with XBMC?   I've noticed that the bass when played back in wasapi bitstream to my AVR isn't very deep,  where as if I switch it to " output stereo to all speakers " the bass becomes huge -  my subwoofers basically output twice as much.   Problem is I enjoy the way Dolby PLII mixes the stereo into my speakers,  sounds better to my ear then all channel stereo.   But again the bass suffers.  I've posted on the XBMC forums and haven't had any reply  -  wondering if you have any idea?  or anyone else feel free to jump in.


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#10 of 21 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted June 16 2013 - 04:13 PM

Do you actually have any experience with XBMC?   I've noticed that the bass when played back in wasapi bitstream to my AVR isn't very deep,  where as if I switch it to " output stereo to all speakers " the bass becomes huge -  my subwoofers basically output twice as much.   Problem is I enjoy the way Dolby PLII mixes the stereo into my speakers,  sounds better to my ear then all channel stereo.   But again the bass suffers.  I've posted on the XBMC forums and haven't had any reply  -  wondering if you have any idea?  or anyone else feel free to jump in.

 

XBMC can be pretty quirky :(  But you're basically thinking you're getting either no or limited bass?  XBMC uses it's own decoder bass, you might make sure it isn't downmixing everything to 2.0


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#11 of 21 OFFLINE   sean1976

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Posted June 16 2013 - 04:54 PM

XBMC can be pretty quirky :(  But you're basically thinking you're getting either no or limited bass?  XBMC uses it's own decoder bass, you might make sure it isn't downmixing everything to 2.0

 

  Well no,   there is bass there,   but when in WASAPI there doesn't seem to be a lot of it.  It's definitely there though.  I've tried dl'ing foobar and music bee both with wasapi enabled,  and there is no improvement over XBMC.   When I set to output to all speakers ( 7.1 ) in XBMC the AVR display changes from PLII to M in 7.1 .. I can only surmise that when set to all channel in xbmc it's using it's own decoders for bass,  and for some reason there's a ton of it,  but when I set the raw stream from wasapi, ( xbmc shouldn't touch any of that signal,  no decoding - just sending the raw digital information to the avr ) then I guess the AVR is just handling the decoding of the signal and not assigning much base.  I dunno.   Maybe I'm expecting my bass from music to be louder then it's actually mixed at ..  Anyways it's not the end of the world.  It's just weird that all channel stereo would put out SO much bass - where as the raw stream decoded by my DENON with PLIIX just adds some.  

     I don't run my subs hot -  I could always just turn them up and leave it on PLIIx,  but then my movies would be all out of whack.  I think I'll just switch back and forth between output to all speakers and dolby depending on the source.  Today I was listening to some bass heavy music,  ( Massive Attack ) and the dolby PLIIX sounded pretty natural,  where as when I played M.A. with output to all speakers it was ridiculous,  as in way too much.  Would be great to show off to friends but couldn't sit and read for an hour with everything shaking.   Oh well.  I'd rather have to switch back and forth then try to use an equalizer on the music as I find it never sounds nearly as crisp as with the untouched wasapi stream to the AVR. 


Edited by sean1976, June 16 2013 - 04:55 PM.

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#12 of 21 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted June 16 2013 - 05:04 PM

Dumb question...

 

Is the M 7.1 "direct"? (cause I assume you mean MCH 7.1. Onkyo gives you a choice of direct MCH or "bass managed" MCH)

 

If it is, it is bypassing your bass management. DPL would use the bass management no matter what. Your bass management could be splitting the bass up to the 7.0 in DPL.

 

But, for us to know that...we'd need to know your crossovers in the AVR itself.



#13 of 21 OFFLINE   sean1976

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Posted June 16 2013 - 05:25 PM

Dumb question...

 

Is the M 7.1 "direct"? (cause I assume you mean MCH 7.1. Onkyo gives you a choice of direct MCH or "bass managed" MCH)

 

If it is, it is bypassing your bass management. DPL would use the bass management no matter what. Your bass management could be splitting the bass up to the 7.0 in DPL.

 

But, for us to know that...we'd need to know your crossovers in the AVR itself.

 

I've got my crossovers set at 80 and speakers set to small,  with everything calibrated via Auddesey MultiEQ.   I don't think it has anything to do with my crossovers. 

   When outputting from XBMC I use WASAPI for bitperfect audio,  which I'm sure you know bypasses any decoding on the part of xbmc,  in favour of sending the stream untouched to the AVR,   where upon the AVR uses ( when I've got it selected ) Dolby pliiX to decode and output the signal.  If however I select " output to all speakers " in xbmc,  the avr reads as Multi Channel in 7.1 - which is what it incidentally reads when playing signals that are already decoded and sent to the AVR.  For instance any music program that doesn't use WASAPI will just decode the audio itself and send it to the avr to output,  as opposed to the AVR decoding ( my preference ) the signal itself and outputting it as Dolby plii,  ( or neo 6 or whatever else I choose ) ...   I can only surmise that by somehow selecting output stereo to all channels in xbmc,  it's processing the music before it leaves the PC,  and for some reason adding heavy bass to it. 

 

Direct is a different setting on the Denon,  I don't use it,   as that bypasses the settings I've got in Auddessey,  speaker distances,  crossovers,  everything.

 

It's a confusing setting on the AVR,  the " multi in 7.1 " -  as even if I've got XBMC set to output to all channels,  and it displays M in 7.1 ( as opposed to PLiix with the option off in XBMC )  I can still select " Multi channel stereo " on the AVR,  and have it output to all speakers,  ( which it was already doing, with M in 7.1 ) but in a different way. 

 

In any case I still can't figure out why Multi in 7.1 ( that is displayed when XBMC is set to output to all speakers ) is so much louder with respect to bass.  Maybe xbmc is mixing the two channel FLAC files INTO 7.1 channels,   then sending it,  as opposed to " multi channel stereo ",  which is just a stereo signal split evenly between all the speakers. 


Edited by sean1976, June 16 2013 - 05:41 PM.

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#14 of 21 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted June 19 2013 - 08:10 PM

Are you outputting to your AVR via HDMI is how it seems, so multichannel PCM?   Or are you using 8 analog hookups?


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#15 of 21 OFFLINE   sean1976

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Posted June 19 2013 - 11:25 PM

Are you outputting to your AVR via HDMI is how it seems, so multichannel PCM?   Or are you using 8 analog hookups?

It's HDMI,  so it's multi channel PCM I think.   I'm pretty sure it's just a difference of the way the receiver is picking it up,  so the difference of the stereo track being decoded via the avr through wasapi bitstream allows it to use the PLiix processing -  and the output to all speakers is xbmc decoding it.   There is still a decent amount of bass with the pliix processing,  but for whatever reason there seems to be a lot more bass decoded via xbmc over the AVR.  Both are decent,  I just wish I could have a happy medium,  the dolby splitting up the 2 channel into 7.2 WITH the extra bass,  as opposed to the 7.2 pcm ( that doesn't split the 2 channel as well as dolby ) with all that extra bass.  Not the end of the world.

 

Here's the breakdown:

Z1CeMiR.png

 

ibasvWd.png

So with two channel ( bitsreamed ) it's using it's own dolby,  where as the output stereo to all speakers through xbmc ends up with the avr seeing the signal already split into 7.1 channels,  and thus displays Multi channel in 7.1 ( as shown under PCM ) ..  What I can't understand is 1.  Is xbmc splitting the 2 tracks into 7.1 discrete channels?  or just splitting it in half and outputting it to 7.1 speakers ( I believe this to be the case,  thus when bitstreamed Dolby actually splits it up into 5 or 7 discrete ish streams it sounds better) and 2.  if the above is true,  it still doesn't explain to me why there would be twice the bass output from xbmc handling the signal / splitting it in half.


Edited by sean1976, June 20 2013 - 11:13 AM.

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#16 of 21 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted June 20 2013 - 04:23 PM

Ok.  Do this for me.. put XBMC into a "Windowed" view, so you can still see the task bar.  Depending on the install, it will likely call FFDShow, and you should see the FFDShow Audio configurator in the task tray (by your clock).   Click it and go through the options.

 

Make sure under "Output" you have DTS/DTSHD/DD-HD etc all checked as digital out.  Under Mixer you have it "same as input" OR 7.1.   That should rectify your issue


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#17 of 21 OFFLINE   sean1976

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Posted June 20 2013 - 06:11 PM

Ok.  Do this for me.. put XBMC into a "Windowed" view, so you can still see the task bar.  Depending on the install, it will likely call FFDShow, and you should see the FFDShow Audio configurator in the task tray (by your clock).   Click it and go through the options.

 

Make sure under "Output" you have DTS/DTSHD/DD-HD etc all checked as digital out.  Under Mixer you have it "same as input" OR 7.1.   That should rectify your issue

 

 Thanks for the advise,  but unfortunately ffdshow isn't running in my task tray.  I'm running Frodo v 12.2 with it's new AE " Audio Engine " software.  I'm not sure if it still uses FFDshow,  are you running Eden?  This is the AE info:  http://wiki.xbmc.org...tle=AudioEngine

 

I'm sure it's not there,  I triple checked:

Screenshot (14).png

 

It's worth mentioning that for movies,  be it DTS or DTS MA or what have you,  the bass seems very well mixed - seemless - I can only imagine the bass from movies like War of the Worlds if I decided to run it with output stereo to all speakers set,  I'd be immediately evicted.  Maybe I'm just asking for an unrealistic amount of bass out of my music?  and the wasapi stream is outputting the level of bass the way the sound engineers meant me to hear it.  Why the above setting adds so much bass I don't know.  It's nice for the times I want to really feel the bass though in music,   and don't care as much about the way it's mixed between my speakers.

 

I suspect that the AE is self contained within Frodo, here's the XBMC menu with corresponding options to your request:

 

VKiCj8R.jpg

 

I also checked the windows background processes in task manager,  and it's definitely not there.  Oh well,  any other ideas?


Edited by sean1976, June 20 2013 - 06:35 PM.

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#18 of 21 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted June 30 2013 - 08:02 AM

The problem is that if it's using Windows inbuilt stereo decoder for music.. and some for DD.. then that's what you will get, it tends to depreciate bass a bit.  There are work arounds for this; like installing CODEC packs that influence or take over those functions (K-Lite or Shark are the big two)


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#19 of 21 OFFLINE   sean1976

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Posted June 30 2013 - 08:50 AM

The problem is that if it's using Windows inbuilt stereo decoder for music.. and some for DD.. then that's what you will get, it tends to depreciate bass a bit.  There are work arounds for this; like installing CODEC packs that influence or take over those functions (K-Lite or Shark are the big

 

 

It doesn't use any windows decoder - I'm running WASAPI which sends the signal untouched to the avr.  There is no processing done on the part of my PC.   The problem is twofold - I'm nitpicky,  and Dolby PLiix.  I've deduced from some letters to Dolby labs I tracked down ( I can't find their links right now or I'd show them to you ) where Dolby explains that some bass is lost when using PLIIx when sound is split across the center and fronts.  As some bass ( so they explain ) that would primarily just go to the fronts,  when it's split across the front soundstage the dolby dsp somehow doesn't send as much to the subs.   The work around is to either listen to music in stereo / multi channel stereo or just get used to it,  it seems.   Anyways I'm pretty used to it at this point,  it's only when I want a real shot of bass during music that I switch settings.  The bass is still there of course with Dolby,  I'm talking room shaking bass,  which I can't use often without bothering my neighbors anyways. 

    As far as letting Windows do the sound processing,  which I would be doing if I used codecs,  I used to do that all the time,  until I dropped a ton of money on my sound system and decided that WASAPI let my AVR decode things much better.  Cheers!


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#20 of 21 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted June 30 2013 - 04:36 PM

I get you on that.. in the end, I have it pass straight digital for damn near everything I do; so I'm good.. but I understand the feeling.  Hadn't even considered the IIx issue.. I've been largely "blah" on IIx and IIz, which fail to really capture a lot of my stereo content, so I routinely just set to straight stereo output.


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