XXHighEnd

Ultimate Audio Playback => Your thoughts about the Sound Quality => Topic started by: Nick on August 03, 2019, 03:16:37 pm



Title: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: Nick on August 03, 2019, 03:16:37 pm
Hi fellow RAM OS disk users,

I thought I would post this in case it helps anyone using the RAM OS HDD disk. This situation has come up quite regularly for me so I think it is a real effect (its also possible that the effect is down to me doing stuff to my audio PC system that most other people will not be doing).

Over time (think a few months of regular use) I experience what I think are very slow cumulative changes in SQ. They amount to rolled off highs, lack of musical dynamic slightly muddied bass and a generally untidy sound.

What has helped correct this on many occasions now is to refresh the RAM OS .vhd file that I am using. I do this by booting into the WIN 8 BASE OS version and then deleting .vhd file version I am using and then coping a "fresh" copy of the same file back to replace the deleted copy. Most importantly the fresh copy has not been used to play music before eg it is an origionaly copy of the OS file that was provided by Peter. Then I have a couple of XX settings I have to reapply and its all good to go.

I have a mental note to periodically refresh my Vhd OS file in this way. This morning I did it whilst taking some before and after FFTs of the system response and there are some clear differences. You don't need the FFTs to hear it make a difference but they made me think it was worth sharing.

The pick up in sound quality with the fresh Vhd copy can be very surprising  ;). And its so convenient to refresh the entire audio PC OS with just one file copy thanks to Peters RAM OS disk.

I hope this work for and helps others who have been playing with the same .Vhd for a long time.

Kr,

Nick.

___________________________________________________

Update.

The update below is to clarify and provide a step by step description of the remady....

The idea behind this post is that over time (and posibly by unitended missuse) something happens (ie is changed) in the vhd image file that is mounted at boot time and that this causes sound quality to be degraded. The "improvment" I am highlighting in SQ is really the "restoring" of the sound quality to that origionally intended by the RAM OS system. My experiance is that the degridation in SQ of a given instance of a MYW10-14939.vhd virtual disk image file takes place slowly over a relativly long time period and can be quite significant. The slow change means its hard to detect, but also very nice when SQ is restored to its normal level again. There is no chance of missing the change.


The restoration to the intended RAM OS SQ is simply achived by deleting the version of the MYW10-14939.vhd file that has up untill now been used to run the Audio PC, and replacing this file with a fresh copy of the file made from the backup version MYW10-14939 - copy.vhd of the file.


I have been performing the following steps.


1) boot into Win 8 BASE OS

2) open explorer and delete the current version of the disk image file I suspect might have degraded SQ. I use W10 14939 so the file deleted is MYW10-14939.vhd which is in the root directory of the D: drive on the RAM OS disk.

3) replace the deleted file by making a fresh version of the deleted file by making a copy of the backup version of the file MYW10-14939 - copy.vhd. Then rename this newly created copy  to MYW10-14939.vhd so that this then new copy now becomes the file that the RAM OS system will boot from when W10 14939 is selected.

4) run XX (still in Win 8 BASE) to use the "boot into" XX screen to select the 14939 BASE operating systen and reboot.

5) when the system reboots into the 14939 BASE I make any changes needed to XX player settings to get back to my normal setup (eg sfs x-tweeks etc).




Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: Robert on August 04, 2019, 01:00:45 am
Interesting Nick, I certainly reboot Ram once a week anyway. I will try that.

Note I have also changed my Custom filter back to Arc P. Definitely seems to have more treble detail if not slightly brighter, instruments more real.

I think we all need 2.11 sooner than later!!!!

I do wonder sometimes that we subconsciously need change to keep our interest going. Certainly the changes introduced with the Lush 2 could give one a headache, not that I have gone down that road yet.

We mustn't loose sight of the music.


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: acg on August 04, 2019, 02:35:15 am


I have a mental note to periodically refresh my Vhd OS file in this way. This morning I did it whilst taking some before and after FFTs of the system response and there are some clear differences. You don't need the FFTs to hear it make a difference but they made me think it was worth sharing.



Nick, I would be most interested to see these FFT's.


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: PeterSt on August 04, 2019, 06:51:29 am

Hi Nick,

With great apologies in advance because I might not understand what you are doing for real this makes no sense.

a. We put in the disk at boot;
b. No OS is running, but the vhd file is copied into RAM;
c. The OS boots from RAM.
d. Right after that you take out the disk.
e. Play for as long as you like, if you only understand that this "degrading" vhd file is in your drawer all the time. :)
f. You want to shut down and put back in the disk.
g. Your XXHighEnd settings are saved to the disk (in the vhd file) - but only on your command. The vhd file is not used for anything else.
h. You go on vacation or whatever and may let in the disk or put it in a drawer again.
I. Refreshed ? then back to a.

Now tell me
:dntknw:

Maybe next time leave out step g. But we already know it's not that, do we ?

Best regards,
Peter


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: PeterSt on August 04, 2019, 06:54:00 am
I do wonder sometimes that we subconsciously need change to keep our interest going.

Robert, IMO this is definitely so. I always noticed with the car stereo; It really does not matter to what brand / new radio you switch, it always exhibits better "stereo" (as in channel separation) as such. Even if you in the end switch back to the first radio.

Peter


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: Nick on August 04, 2019, 09:57:51 am


I have a mental note to periodically refresh my Vhd OS file in this way. This morning I did it whilst taking some before and after FFTs of the system response and there are some clear differences. You don't need the FFTs to hear it make a difference but they made me think it was worth sharing.



Nick, I would be most interested to see these FFT's.

Anthony, they were taken with a phone app (although using a calibrated mic) and I didn't save them. I was not really meaning to prove this or even post but afterwards thought it might be useful for others to know about.

IIRC the stand out differences in the ffts before refreshing the Vhd file were noticable roll off above 8k and lower amplitude between 3k and 7k. Lower frequencies were similar in the FFts but that only shows amplitude response. With the refreshed Vhd this range significantly tightens up so transients and tone resolution is probably improving in this range. 

Kr

Nick.


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: Nick on August 04, 2019, 10:18:13 am
I do wonder sometimes that we subconsciously need change to keep our interest going.

Robert, IMO this is definitely so. I always noticed with the car stereo; It really does not matter to what brand / new radio you switch, it always exhibits better "stereo" (as in channel separation) as such. Even if you in the end switch back to the first radio.

Peter

Haha I know what you mean. In my system however the refresh of the Vhd file definitely works, you would need cloth ears not to hear the change  ;).

Its sort of like the days before using RAM OS when reinstalling a version of the OS from fresh would true up sound. Its a real benefit of RAM OS and Vhd images that its so easy just a file copy to get a fresh OS installation.

I do hammer my pc hardware setup so as I mentioned it may be that my setup is an edge case, I do know know that the Vhd refresh has worked in other systems. Logic would say that loading the same virtual disk image into RAM each time the PC is booted would not change the image / sound but maybe going in and out of the base file system might cumulatively cause a change.


Just keen to get this out there, if it works in another system you will know believe me, it not a new radio brand :). If it dosen't do anything it will have only taken a few mins to give it a go so nothing really lost.

Kr,
Nick.

Ps I will post a sort step description of the copy I am doing when I have access to my PC later.


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: manisandher on August 04, 2019, 12:46:46 pm
d. Right after that you take out the disk.
e. Play for as long as you like, if you only understand that this "degrading" vhd file is in your drawer all the time. :)

These were my immediate thoughts too.

On average, I'd say that I'm rebooting once every 2-3 months at the moment, in both my systems. If there is some sort of cumulative effect on the vhd file every time you boot from the disk, then I probably wouldn't have been affected much... yet.

Mani.


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: Nick on August 04, 2019, 01:12:09 pm
d. Right after that you take out the disk.
e. Play for as long as you like, if you only understand that this "degrading" vhd file is in your drawer all the time. :)

These were my immediate thoughts too.

On average, I'd say that I'm rebooting once every 2-3 months at the moment, in both my systems. If there is some sort of cumulative effect on the vhd file every time you boot from the disk, then I probably wouldn't have been affected much... yet.

Mani.

I agree with you both here, low number of reboots seems likley to prevent the problem. I do many, many more reboots and restarts than is going to be normal so my use will certainly be an edge case.

What I intended to highlight was;

  • the degridation in SQ can happen and,
  • the chances are you wont realise if it has happened
.
The fix is straight forward though if you suspect you need it.

Kr,

Nick.


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: PeterSt on August 04, 2019, 01:17:11 pm
Nick,

I still consider that I don't understand. But since you are not explicitly debunking my procedure :

to-tal-ly impossible.

Nothing changes that file underway, unless you do it yourself.

Thus :
1. Put file/disk in drawer;
2. It magically changes.

That is what you are telling me, and quite explicitly because I gave you the sequence of how you should deal with it, and you didn't reject anything of that.

What this has to do with better or worse tuned PCs is also totally beyond me.

Quote
Ps I will post a sort step description of the copy I am doing when I have access to my PC later.

Please don't. It is not related.
One thing : If you are correct even the slightest, then it is related to how the file is organized on the SSD/HDD) and how that is mapped to RAM 1:1 if such a thing would exist (but it could). In that case my advice : start applying your procedure as soon as possible this afternoon, so you may gain a SQ increase in one afternoon instead of many weeks.

I am NOT kidding with this. But it should denote whether you understand what is - and what is not happening.
So try it, and if you report back tonight that indeed SQ increased by many factors more than previously, I may have a hunch of comprehension (but I may still come over to check out your ears :)).

And oh, never, ever, confuse this by the necessity to reboot once in a while in the first place. So yes, if I reboot after one week, it most probably 100% sounds better again. What you are indirectly telling is that you are capable of remembering how SQ was that week ago at a reboot, and that "today" at this next reboot, SQ will be better again than last week. Well, you know I don't believe in such memory in the first place. With respect, but I still don't. :huh: (at the lack of an appropriate smiley).

Don't hesitate to reject my "story" explicitly, but please come up with a mechanism that can be understood. Explicitly take into account my list (a-i) with it, or else you may testify that you did not read that, or did not understand it. Both is fine, but good to know on my side.

Best regards,
Peter


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: PeterSt on August 04, 2019, 01:18:43 pm

Quote
I do many, many more reboots and restarts than is going to be normal so my use will certainly be an edge case.

Not from RAM, I presume now ...


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: Nick on August 04, 2019, 01:41:41 pm

Quote
I do many, many more reboots and restarts than is going to be normal so my use will certainly be an edge case.

Not from RAM, I presume now ...

Hi Peter,

I almost always boot and play in RAM, I almost always listen that way.
My IT is never left on overnight so at least one boot per session. If I'm working on my PC it could be restarted 5 to 10 times in a session and on occasion this could be without proper shutdown, have a restart after the Vhd file load into RAM has started or Bios changes between boots. So as I say definitely an edge case. I find that I end up refreshing the Vhd about every 3 months.

So lots more possible triggers here, but I thought I would post because it might be possible that unplanned reboots power outages etc over a long period cause the problem for others.

Kr,
Nick.


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: PeterSt on August 04, 2019, 01:52:09 pm

Nick, next time, look at the date/time of your vdh file; if you leave out step g of my list, nothing in the world is going to change that file, while it sits in your drawer.

Btw, notice the theoretical language problem (on your side - haha) with "drawer" I literally mean that. Like in the dashboard closet of your car. And explicitly NOT the removable drive bay. And oh, you can let it stay in there if you want (it is not advised at all re SQ) and it still won't change a single bit, but in that case it is not by guarantee (you, knowing yourself etc.). Have it in that drawer, and again tell me what changes it ?
Yeah, the sheer fact that you change it explicitly by means of the copying, does things. Trust me. Whether audible I can't tell, but the location *will* change and all what's required to let your case be a sort of true, is that the memory mapping changes because of that changes too (and my estimate is that it does). Always for the better ? doubtful.
And so how many copies did you apply by now, this afternoon ?

:nea:

Voodoo is nothing for me, you know. And for your sake, I still hope for a misunderstanding.
Peter


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: Nick on August 04, 2019, 01:56:10 pm
Peter hi,

I didn't spot that you had replied twice. I am equally dumb founded as to the possible cause at file level. Boy what a thing. What is good is how straight forward it is to restore compared to the old days of 2 hour rebuilds from cd OS installations.

You have given me a thought, I think a couple of refreshes ago I might have kept a copy of an "old" Vhd file. If I can might have a file available to try an A/B of. If I don't have the file I will save the next one.

Nick.


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: Nick on August 04, 2019, 05:34:58 pm

Nick, next time, look at the date/time of your vdh file; if you leave out step g of my list, nothing in the world is going to change that file, while it sits in your drawer.

Btw, notice the theoretical language problem (on your side - haha) with "drawer" I literally mean that. Like in the dashboard closet of your car. And explicitly NOT the removable drive bay. And oh, you can let it stay in there if you want (it is not advised at all re SQ) and it still won't change a single bit, but in that case it is not by guarantee (you, knowing yourself etc.). Have it in that drawer, and again tell me what changes it ?
Yeah, the sheer fact that you change it explicitly by means of the copying, does things. Trust me. Whether audible I can't tell, but the location *will* change and all what's required to let your case be a sort of true, is that the memory mapping changes because of that changes too (and my estimate is that it does). Always for the better ? doubtful.
And so how many copies did you apply by now, this afternoon ?

:nea:

Voodoo is nothing for me, you know. And for your sake, I still hope for a misunderstanding.
Peter

Peter,

Reading this again, I think you may be assuming that I remove my RAM OS disk from the PC once booted into RAM. In fact I proberbly remove the disk only a 1/5 th of the time.  I agree that if the disk is removed safely to the storage "draw" and nothing is saved back to the vhd file at the end of the session then the file just won't change, how could it ? So no change to SQ.

My listening setups are varied and don't often follow the steps in you post above. So the answer lies somewhere here.

Most of the time I play with OS in RAM and with the RAM OS disk in the PC. The Vhd file is mounted.

I also play music in BASE OS mode on occasion  (eg OS not loaded into RAM). The Vhd file is mounted and open for persistent changes I think.

I am in and out of minimised OS mode, now and again to add or remove drivers Eg PCs native sound card / other dacs. Sometimes I will also listen for while in this state. Again the Vhd file is mounted and open to persistent changes.

Finally I reboot a LOT in some sessions, shutdown always gracefully and Bios changes happen between sessions (red black screens etc etc).

So with the way I use my PC, there is opportunity for the file to be changed persistently I think.

With the intricacy of the RAM OS system and Vhd file use, exactly when and if changes happen to a Vhd and how it could become audible is your domain. When the SQ is restored Im just assuming the old file must have changed how I used it, and I am very pleased I am not doing the old 2 hour OS reinstal and system build from a Windows CD.

Kr

Nick.


 


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: PeterSt on August 04, 2019, 06:01:38 pm
Nick,

The vhd file is never mounted, unless you explicitly request for it (the Attach functionality).

No Save of Settings will take place at Shutdown, unless you confirm it upon asking of XXHighEnd (answer with No, and nothing happens (the vhd file never was mounted in such a situation).

Might you once in a while Save Settings to it, that is still harmless. It is not the OS. Nothing changes further but that small portion of the file (say 1000 bytes in the midst of 25 million). It could do something, very far sought.

Where it goes definitely wrong, is you using the files as the OS. I mean, you just told you do that by means of *not* booting from RAM. So now continuously things happen, and it happens fully automatically (like OSes are).
Whether you do that in MinOS or Normal OS is regardless, but doing it in Normal OS is more devastating because the OS is 10 time more "wild / active" in there.

So all cleared up.
Btw, on top of all I suggest that you even might leave it booted from the vhd for complete days - just because you did not care (springing from not understanding that this could happen).

The upside of it all is clear : very good that you posted about it because now you know. And others maybe too.
More upside for you as a person : I myself always suspected this (degradation) and when preparing a Mach III I always boot into normal OS quickly to wee whether it works (but the RAM OS Disk *has* to boot into that by default because of OS initial settings for people). Then boot into RAM OS, to see whether *that* works, quickly followed by booting into/from RAM where I finally am at ease because from there nothing can happen to the file. It is just impossible, as explained. And indeed, I won't even save settings so the disks (the full PCs) are as much equal to each other for everybody. So you confirmed unintentionally that this matters indeed (and obviously this is nothing to explicitly test, so I never did that).

Last thing : Don't be hyped about this, please. It will be able to take a few boots from the vhd file (a 100 too). Nothing will noticeably degrade (says me). It starts to go wroing when you leave all unattended and let the OS do its thing when it notices all gets idle. This is how I referred to "a whole day". So that would really be bad in one go. This is still theory just the same, but it always has been and again, you seem to have proven just that.

Kind regards and happy listening !
Peter



Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: Nick on August 04, 2019, 06:29:43 pm
Peter hi,

These are really interesting insights and guidance on what to do for the best usage, thank you. So get into RAM OS asap and only dip in and out of non-RAM boots quickly. I may not always able to do this for a while longer but for now I can always just restore the file when needed.

Thanks for the help and kind regards,

Nick.


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: PeterSt on August 04, 2019, 07:20:37 pm

I could postpone 2.11 for a while longer by putting in my ToDo a means to automate this copying
Or maybe I can't keep this promise because I would let this go while booted from RAM, and the Mach II/III owners may find their Mach's running (too) hot during the process. I just don't know that. So mind you, as we know, copying the file to RAM takes a minute or two, but copying from disk to disk (SSD to SSD) will take (way) longer. Not CPU intensive at all, but well, I just don't know.

Kind regards,
Peter


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: Nick on August 04, 2019, 09:17:33 pm

I could postpone 2.11 for a while longer by putting in my ToDo a means to automate this copying
Or maybe I can't keep this promise because I would let this go while booted from RAM, and the Mach II/III owners may find their Mach's running (too) hot during the process. I just don't know that. So mind you, as we know, copying the file to RAM takes a minute or two, but copying from disk to disk (SSD to SSD) will take (way) longer. Not CPU intensive at all, but well, I just don't know.

Kind regards,
Peter

Peter,

If it helps copying the Vhd file from a usb 3 attached hard drive to my RAM OS SSD takes 3 - 4 mins for a 20Gb Vbh file whilst in WIN 8 BASE. I don't get any heat issues on my C621 PC whilst the copy takes place. A copy from SSD to the same SSD is going to be quicker.

My feeling is copying the file manually is straight forward. Knowing that this is an occational housekeeping activity and keeping an ear out for a gradually loss of SQ should be enough.

All code for looking forwards to 2.11 as soon as your ready  ;)

Nick.



Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: Scroobius on September 29, 2019, 08:27:23 pm
I had been aware of this thread but also have discussed it with Nick when visiting his "hi-fi emporium" and during hi-fi discussions and listening experiences.

I had not actually replaced or "refreshed" my 621 vhd file for some time because basically I had not had problems and I have been enjoying music too much and didn't see the need to make any changes.

But then ........... yesterday I had some other problems (worth another post but I won't go into it here) and I ended up replacing my current VHD file with a copy of the original WOW what a difference. I had been listening to reggae dub from new albums but recorded on old analogue equipment. I thought listening to it "wow these old recordings are flat and lifeless must the old kit they used" I should have known better as with my system old recordings have always sounded brilliant but seems I had forgotten.

I replaced the old VHD file and WOW what a difference the old magic  XXHighend sound quality returned. This was not a small subtle difference but a massive big improvement.

Also a number of other problems were sorted at the same time so folks if you have not refreshed your vhd file recently I definitely recommend to.

For sure I will be regularly refreshing my vhd file in future.

Cheers

Scroobs




Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: Robert on September 30, 2019, 04:22:11 am
Hi Scroobs this is something to try but its some mission for me. Enlarging Ram OS 15 to 25g and applying Xx updates.

I guess I should have saved a copy of my upgraded vhd file at the time.

I never run other than Ram OS, no updates, Min OS and unattended. Hardly ever tweak or change OS settings.


Might be worth waiting for 2.11. Will this come with 25g Ram size Peter?

Robert


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: PeterSt on September 30, 2019, 11:42:12 am

Quote
Will this come with 25g Ram size Peter?

Robert, the size of the RAM-OS Disk OS (hence the memory it will consume after boot-up) is unrelated to XXHighEnd.

Upgrading XXHighEnd is a piece of cake, as long as you use the patch files for it, and not the full install.

Regards,
Peter


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: Robert on October 01, 2019, 04:02:25 am
Do you think it makes a difference soundwise changing Ram OS size to 25GB for 14393.0?

Robert


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: PeterSt on October 01, 2019, 04:30:22 am
Possibly, yes. If the "disk" is too full, the OS will fight for free disk space and this could be audible.
I don't want to talk you into psychological problems, though (OK, I just did :swoon:).


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: Robert on October 01, 2019, 05:01:40 am
Thats ok, all ready damaged from years of Audio issues!!!


Title: Re: RAM OS .Vhd file refresh
Post by: PeterSt on October 01, 2019, 08:42:19 am

:)