XXHighEnd - The Ultra HighEnd Audio Player
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1  Ultimate Audio Playback / XXHighEnd Support / Re: mysterious unplayable wav on: March 10, 2019, 11:17:08 pm
Ok I understand, the server PC you describe sounds like NAS with XXHE on the audio PC,
usually (or sometimes) the audio PC is only a DAC interface and network interface to server... that isnt preferred here?

I do use single PC, using a server seems like the way forward but improving things on single PC is still possible, sometimes in undiscovered ways, it can be interesting.

Using the RAM disk for playback since was an improvement only with a strange difference. Previously the best sound was achieved with XXHE installed to storage HDD, assumed to be benefit of local FLAC decompression.
Now with RAM disk for playback, XXHE installed on the OS drive/SSD is now better but only with the HDD still used as storage.

you also mention this in ramdisk thread I notice, the install location matters, even though software runs from RAM (I guess at this point it shouldnt be a surprise)
2  Ultimate Audio Playback / Your thoughts about the Sound Quality / Re: Manually underclocking RAM frequency? on: March 09, 2019, 11:50:19 pm
It allows it to go higher but how high before something goes wrong im not sure. Usually its needed for stability when overclocking.

RAM speed is supposed to be an equal factor in the ''true latency'' of RAM, so you could do it the opposite way with overclocking - maybe thats better, but very high speeds are only supported with recent hardware. (my mobo and CPU are limited to 2133MHz)

3  Ultimate Audio Playback / Your thoughts about the Sound Quality / Re: Manually underclocking RAM frequency? on: March 08, 2019, 11:23:49 pm
This is probably obvious to most but RAM latency can be adjusted very easily, just like clock speed.


When underclocking, if RAM timing is set to auto latency will be lowered automatically depending on how low the clock speed is set, this could account for some of sound difference with underclocking, which itself might make things worse.

The latency is adjusted to very safe calculated values that corresponds to the decrease in speed, with manual setting I was able to siginificantly timing settings at max 2133MHz speed. e.g CAS went from 14 to 5 and somehow works with CPUz reporting it, others were also lowered to a similar degree.
4  Ultimate Audio Playback / XXHighEnd Support / Re: mysterious unplayable wav on: March 07, 2019, 06:24:23 pm
Its been over a month and I only realised now that ''playback drive'' is something that can be denoted in settings.

This was explained in the RAM disk thread, incidently a RAM disk sounds like the simplest and most effective use for a playback drive (if you have capacity to spare).

Using a typical (HDD or SSD) dedicated playback drive im sure has benefits, but inevitably complicates the system.
5  Ultimate Audio Playback / XXHighEnd Support / Re: mysterious unplayable wav on: January 30, 2019, 04:22:39 am
Quote
XXHE can be stored on the OS drive allright
but the the program SQ wont benefit in some way from the faster SSD, like lower latency or the same reason a fast SSD sounds good as an OS drive. i was ignoring PC basics, programs run off RAM  scratching

Laurence



6  Ultimate Audio Playback / XXHighEnd Support / Re: mysterious unplayable wav on: January 29, 2019, 07:02:35 am

The writer of that software you use puts the wrong data in the header of the file. This data - via via - determines the length to play; Somewhere that is wrong. And apparently FLAC encoding can not even deal with it ... (and if other software can, you / that software is in luck).
much clearer, thanks.

Quote
The approach is the exact other way than you envision : denote a "Playback Drive" of which you expect it sounds good and imply with it that also the WAV is always copied to that (XXHighEnd takes care of this). Can be a HDD (they all sound different), an other SSD (same), a USB stick, an SD card, ... anything.

well that was a lot of time wasted being stuck on the idea XXHE should be stored on OS drive, thanks to you a whole lot more time (and hard drive space) has been saved.  Thank you !
7  Ultimate Audio Playback / XXHighEnd Support / Re: mysterious unplayable wav on: January 29, 2019, 01:54:47 am
I understand, you can call me Laurence.

Using a HDD for storage has objectively better SQ (on this system) than a storage SSD or OS SSD. I noticed this with FLACs but that makes no sense, it always the WAV conversion on the OS SSD that you hear.
others on computeraudiophile confirmed HDD are better for storage.
WAVs on the HDD is even better.

flac conversion wasnt able to correct the header data, if that is the problem with the wav.
I dont understand the explanation, but all I was wondering is if you had an explanation.

8  Ultimate Audio Playback / XXHighEnd Support / mysterious unplayable wav on: January 28, 2019, 08:20:52 am
not an issue but something very very strange that popped up today and this is the most appropiate place for it.

all WAV files created with Aul converter will not play with wasapi in XXHE no matter what. no error only a short blue flash of the kill engine button

to highlight how specific this is:
  • only aul converter. attached are 2 flac-to-wav conversions from aul converter and another conversion software, freac, of the same source file. I probably changed every setting in aul and still nothing...see if it plays for you (dBpoweramp, foobar wavs also play)
  • only WAV, converting to any other format will play.
  • only XXHE and only wasapi. KS output, ASIO,  HQP/Jriver/foobar w/ wasapi - no issues.
    none of XXHE settings could make it play.
    location does not matter. same folders, different folders, same name, different name,  OS drive or external - nothing.

although strange it isnt the first example of hidden differences between WAVs, the reason of using aul converter in the first place is that the quality of XXHE's internal FLAC to WAV conversion is better than preconverted wavs from freac, which itself is better than foobar wav conversion.
Since a true need for pre-converted WAVs arose (to avoid copying to OS/XXHE drive for playback), I was trying aul converter as a better alternative to freac.

9  Ultimate Audio Playback / Your thoughts about the Sound Quality / Re: Manually underclocking RAM frequency? on: January 27, 2019, 11:56:01 pm
just want to add something that might be very important for some.
BIOS settings got wiped today after a hardware change, after changing back all the settings and booting up the sound was not good at all. rebooted into BIOS and there was one setting I didnt disable: CPU SVID support

Disabling SVID sounded better with default CPU setting when testing it way back but according to some post in an overclocking forum SVID  should be disabled specifically when you're using manual core voltage,
its not overriding the settings at least (BIOS still shows the core voltage I set when SVID was enabled) but it critical for good sound.
10  Ultimate Audio Playback / Your thoughts about the Sound Quality / Re: 2.10 sound quality on: January 27, 2019, 02:50:28 am
Also notice that most DAC's will let themselves "overrule" for the filtering, hence, an e.g. 88.2 will not engage filtering for 44.1 (read : will not roll off under 22.05). This means that "our filtering" will be effective in maximum fashion. But if the DAC does not understand this way of working, then the overruling merely becomes "messing with". And then you will have quite contradictionary filters on top of it all. This is why a DAC actually should be Non Oversampling; now we can guarantee that our filters will be applied for 100% (not messed with even the slightest).
This was really helpful advice, the biggest issue at 44.1 was bass, a lack of definition and extension. it must be as you say because 88.2, like 705.6, fixes this entirely. same benefits with much shorter buffer, along with generally nicer sound (less load?).
11  Ultimate Audio Playback / Your thoughts about the Sound Quality / Re: Manually underclocking RAM frequency? on: January 26, 2019, 10:26:09 pm

This is more complicated once you see the relation with XTweaks in XXHighEnd. I guess you do, but just saying ...

Peter
xtweaks is worth mentioning.
Based on the descriptions 'nervous rate', 'provide stable power', 'utilize cores' sound like they should behave the same with CPU clock and voltage changes so I ignored them. There are options for C-states, speedstep and Turbo Boost in BIOS which are disabled, from the descriptions they sound like they could be the equivalent to Utilize core and stable power settings.
 
Balanced load is confusing, based on listening a while ago the low balanced load settings gave better results with default CPU settings. From its description you could assume the lower BL setting would be bad  with heavy underclock/volt, when the CPU peak state is already slow/cold, yet the BL low settings give similarly good results... im not sure I understand BL but some consistency is good, less need to worry about BL interfering the effect of the BIOS tweaks
12  Ultimate Audio Playback / Your thoughts about the Sound Quality / Re: Manually underclocking RAM frequency? on: January 26, 2019, 04:51:59 am
Quote
with lower speeds the sound gets softer in a way I dont like

Do you mean with CPU underclocking or Ram?

I've tried underclocking Ram and felt it wasn't as good soundwise. This was with the CPU already underclocked. I currently run Ram per default speed.

I've been playing with Xxhighend settings lately so haven't tried Bios settings. I try not to play with too many sound balls in the air so to speak!!!!
Robert
CPU. there was a similar effect with RAM underclock only worse, which you also noticed... I wonder where the benefits of higher RAM speeds end, if we should be using the fastest RAM we can get our hands on.

There might be something to undervolting or overvolting RAM, since the last post ive switched to 100mV undervolt instead and this sounds interesting too ... it takes a while to figure out if these small differences are improvements or not, or if a more musical/lush/vibrant sound isnt adding some form of distortion.

If its available to you another setting with some potential could be ''PCH Core'' voltage, which apparently feeds the chipset which handles all the USB, SATA, PCIe communications. It was possible to drop it from 1.0V to its minimum 0.8V, all is stable and AFAICT sound quality has improved slightly.

Thanks for the support on this
13  Ultimate Audio Playback / Your thoughts about the Sound Quality / Re: Manually underclocking RAM frequency? on: January 25, 2019, 09:49:44 pm
CPU underclock had more clear benefits than RAM underclock, these benefits were easier to appreciate when other areas of the PC were improved but with lower speeds the sound gets softer in a way I dont like, I think there is an overlap of benefits and negatives, smoother, more natural but lower clock speed reduces energy or ...speed
of the music.

After some more tweaking I think voltage plays a very big part in how the CPU affects sound.
With simple underclocking there must be some undervolting happening too, with minimum 800MHz CPU underclock and ''auto'' setting for core voltage in BIOS, the core voltage reduces to around 0.9V from 1.1V @ 3.5GHz. Only with a fixed core voltage can you hear the actual effect of clock speed on sound.
With manual control it can be set much lower to 0.7V at a maximum 1600MHz, which sounds more vibrant and at least as smooth as 0.9V at 800MHz. I have yet to compare clock speeds at a fixed voltage or the minimum core voltage 0.6V.

The RAM voltage also has a big influence on sound but its very sensitive and not as clear cut, for some reason only slightly overvolting sounded like an improvement, a 50-100mV increase to default 1.2V.

I hope this general PC testing is ok to post here, if someone will even find it useful (other MoBo manufacturers BIOS may do things differently to Asus).
14  Ultimate Audio Playback / Your thoughts about the Sound Quality / Re: Manually underclocking RAM frequency? on: January 25, 2019, 09:46:39 pm
CPU underclock had more clear benefits than RAM underclock, these benefits were easier to appreciate when other areas of the PC were improved but with lower speeds the sound gets softer in a way I dont like, I think there is an overlap of benefits and negatives, smoother, more natural but lower clock speed reduces energy or ...speed
of the music.

After some more tweaking I think voltage plays a very big part in how the CPU affects sound.
With simple underclocking there must be some undervolting happening too, with minimum 800MHz CPU underclock and ''auto'' setting for core voltage in BIOS, the core voltage reduces to around 0.9V from 1.1V @ 3.5GHz. Only with a fixed core voltage can you hear the actual effect of clock speed on sound.
With manual control it can be set much lower to 0.7V at a maximum 1600MHz, which sounds more vibrant and at least as smooth as 0.9V at 800MHz. I have yet to compare 800MHz vs 1600MHz at a fixed voltage or the minimum core voltage 0.6V.

The RAM voltage also has a big influence on sound but its very sensitive and not as clear cut, for some reason only slightly overvolting sounded like an improvement, a 50-100mV increase to default 1.2V.

I hope this general PC testing is ok to post here, if someone will even find it useful (other MoBo manufacturers BIOS may do things differently to Asus).
15  Ultimate Audio Playback / Your thoughts about the Sound Quality / Re: 2.10 sound quality on: January 15, 2019, 04:59:51 pm
Anybody prefer not to use upsampling? (the question aimed more at DS DAC users)

I have trouble deciding which I prefer, upsampling is revealing, clinical (in a good way) but.... unnatural? dead? basic terms to describe complex sound is a bit pointless....
there is catch to this, lower sampling rates means different,lower buffer and SFS settings are possible so its hard to fairly compare when there are possible variables to the ''best'' settings depending on rate.
With Kernel streaming it only applies to buffer as lowest possible SFS works no matter what rate (so not a huge deal) but with WASAPI it is limited..
This is something that makes WASAPI special, and makes in my case special sound possible.
with no upsampling 1.51 SFS is possible versus 12.26 with 8X, with KS the choice of SFS resulted in different sound rather than better or worse but with WASAPI I notice distinctive improvement to timbre with the lower SFS, there is also typical SFS differences, I think the higher SFS have more space and open sound, lower more dense presentation.
This could all be imagination though  scratching
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