XXHighEnd - The Ultra HighEnd Audio Player
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Author Topic: XXHighEnd PC - First steps to good SQ  (Read 4727 times)
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PeterSt
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« on: December 07, 2013, 02:13:53 pm »

[ pictures may be added later ]

Your XXHighEnd PC always ships with the very latest XXHighEnd version unavailable to the public. Along with that, it also always comes with the optimal XXHighEnd settings anticipating that version, just as we use it here at Phasure's.
All is setup such that out of the box you should be able to receive the best SQ right away. That is, assumed that your PC came together with the Phasure NOS1 D/A converter or that you already own one. And of course, more variables in you playback chain may require different XXHighEnd settings after all, but at least you will be having a best base.

Despite what just has been said, you still need a small tutorial, assuming you don't know the XXHighEnd software. So here are some baby steps that guide you to the steps needed to get here.

Your PC always ships in "Normal Operating System Mode". This means that you can do everything needed with the OS (Operating System) like hooking up your own music disk to USB or anything else. When this (making connections) has been done once being in this Normal OS Mode, you can hop over to Minimized OS Mode explicitly made for Audio Playback.

But let's start with Normal OS Mode to get you aquainted a bit. It is assumed that you followed the Quick Start guide coming with the PC and that your D/A converter (not necesserily the NOS1) is the selected Sound Device.

Try some playback

1. Start XXHighEnd through the orange icon "X" in the Taskbar (only that one !).
2. You will find some music in the Playlist; Select a track by clicking it and press Play.
3. Listen a bit and press Stop.

That was easy.
Notice that a Red indication in a button means that the button is active. Blue means it is not active. So in this stage the Stop button shows Red and the Play button shows Red.

Select another album from the Library

A "Library" is a place where your music is stored. Don't be bothered about it, but such a Library can be shown in the Library Area. Let's try a few things :
 
1. Press the Clear button; this clears the Playlist.
2. Press the [ L ] button above the Playlist; this shows the Library Area.
3. Browse in there for some music you like, or at the field near the bottom – next to the [ R ] button type something you want.
4. See something you like ? then click that Coverart + click Load + the [ P ] button at the top, or Double Click the Coverart to go the the Playlist Area right away.
5. Press Play and notice it still works.

Now notice : What you saw in the Library Area is some test music residing in c:\TestMusic\Music\
These are not full albums but only a couple of tracks from a few albums.
 
Minimized OS Mode

We're now going to boot into Minimized OS Mode. This requires an Activated XXHighEnd, but most probably your XXHighEnd PC comes with that because you/we arranged for it.

1. Look in the top-left section for the "Minimize OS" button. So, the button above this text (it is Blue, so Minimized OS is not active at this moment yet).
2. Click that button. Answer Yes to the question "Make Restore Point" and answer Yes to "Reboot now ?".
3. After the reboot, start XXHighEnd again. The Minimize OS button now shows Red. Your PC is now "Audio Playback" prepared.
4. You could try to play something briefly and perceive another SQ already.

Unattended Playback Mode

Unattended Playback is the means of Playback where no user interface is active. This helps the better SQ. Let's try to get there.

1. Quit XXHighEnd (just cross it away which can be done with the larger X in the top left of the screen itslf).
2. Use Alt-x (so, press Alt key and after that the x key while holding down the Alt key). See ? This brings up XXHighEnd.
3. Now cause one album to be in the Playlist (can be more, but next step may take unnecessary long).
4. Select the track you want to play.
5. Now click on the “Unatten” button under the Play button so that Unatten button becomes active (Red).
6. Click Play and don’t be afraid of the screen turning black on you. Sound will start playing. Coverart will appear.

After you clicked Play a message might appear – notice what the message tells and how you can avoid it for the next times.

7. You can press Alt-u(p) and Alt-d(own) now to change the volume per 1.5dB step.
8. Press Alt-x. XXHighEnd comes up.
9. Press Stop.
 
Look here for the shortcut commands like Alt-x : AutoHotKeys (Remote Commands) Listing. Most commands work in Unattended Playback Mode - it is indicated in the list.

Playing from RAMDisk

Since October (2013) the XXHighEnd PC comes installed with  RAMDisk software (IMDisk). Playing from RAMDisk again improves SQ (usually, but everybody should try for himself).

Quit XXHighEnd.

Look at the Desktop and locate the RAMA.bat icon. Double click it to have it executed;
You will see a list of copy activities passing by and what happens is that the XXHighEnd software and everything related is copied to a RAMDisk. This is drive A: in your system (when needed you can start Explorer and click on "Computer" to see the "Floppy Drives" which are A: and B:).

On your desktop there's also an "XXHighEnd - RAMDisk" icon. Double-click that to no start XXHighEnd from RAMDisk (thus from drive A: which is the RAMDisk).

Done ?
Now go to the Settings Area by means of the [ S ] button in the top of the screen.
In there locate the "Data Locations" section which is fairly close to the top of the Settings Area.

Locate the "Playback Drive/Folder" field; Right now it is filled with F:\ which points to the disk mounted in the left top removable bay;
Change that to B:\ which is a second RAMDisk created by the RAMA.bat you performed earlier on.

Notice that the Playback Drive is your common denominator in SQ and it does more than you'd expect. So, wat you just did was changing that from that disk in that removable bay to a RAMDisk which is just memory.

1. Quit XXHighEnd;
2. Notice the message about XXHighEnd needs another restart because otherwise Alt-x can't work.
3. So restart XXHighEnd (remember, from the "XXHighEnd - RAMDisk" icon !)
4. Play something again (Unattended Mode).

Possibly you can hear the difference right away.

5. Bring up XXHighEnd again (Alt-x).
6. Go to the taskbar tray in the left, click the green USB icon;
7. Eject the former Playback Drive (which is F:\ and named XXPlayback).
8. Physically remove the former Playback Drive Disk by means of opening the bay door (left top one !).
9. Again play something.

Now *again* SQ will have changed. This time because we removed some hardware from the PC.

Might you want to reconsider SQ changes by means of this, just push in again that disk and it will be available under Drive F:. If you really want to use it as Playback Drive, replace the B:\ you entered in field "Playback Drive/Folder" with F:\ again.

If you like you can insert a completely different disk (can be in any of the removable bays) or a (more fast) USB pen (USB2 vs USB3) and denote that as Playback Drive in Settings. Notice though that its Drive Letter will not be F: (find out through Explorer) and that it will be completely erased. This will not happen automatically and actually it needs to be empty in the first place and checks are built in for that, but be careful a bit.

Notice that it is actually a partition (Volume with Drive Letter) which this is about and that you thus can create a Playback Drive on an existing disk with contents, if only a new partition can be created on that (some space of say 2GB needs to be there).
This though needs a bit more than baby steps and will not be dealt with here. One thing to remember though : things like creating a new partition can not be done under Minimized OS Mode and so you must boot back into Normal OS Mode by means of using the Minimized OS button again. However :

When you feel ready for it, your first thing to try could be using your SSD for this which is in the right removable bay named "Galleries" and which is empty. So you will be able to create a new partition (Volume) in there and the drive letter you will assign to it can be used to again put in XXHighEnd's Settings ("Playback Drive/Folder").

Usually you will stick to the RAMDisk as Playback Drive because it commonly is the best SQ means. So don't bother all that much.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 09:58:20 am by PeterSt » Logged

For the Stealth III LPS PC :
W10-14393.0 - July 17, 2021 (2.11)
XXHighEnd Mach III Stealth LPS PC -> Xeon Scalable 14/28 core with Hyperthreading On (set to 14/28 cores in BIOS and set to 10/20 cores via Boot Menu) @~660MHz, 48GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 14393.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/0/0/*1*/ Q1Factor = *4* / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = *10ms* / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = *10.13*  (max 10.13) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Use Remote Desktop / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD Off (!) / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *62* / Nervous Rate = *1* / Cool when Idle = n.a / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = Optimal / Time Stability = Stable / Custom Filtering *Low* (16x) / Always Clear Proxy before Playback = On -> USB3 from MoBo -> Lush^3
A: W-Y-R-G, B: *W-G* USB 1m00 -> Phisolator 24/768 Phasure NOS1a/G3 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (16ms) -> B'ASS Current Amplifier -> Blaxius*^2.5* A:B-G, B:B-G Interlink -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers. ET^2 Ethernet from Mach III to Music Server PC (RDC Control).
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere (also from the PC).

For a general PC :
W10-10586.0 - May 2016 (2.05+)
*XXHighEnd PC -> I7 3930k with Hyperthreading On (12 cores)* @~500MHz, 16GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 0.10  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = *Optimal* / Time Stability = *Stable* / Custom Filter *Low* 705600 / -> USB3 *from MoBo* -> Clairixa USB 15cm -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 1m80 -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink *-> B'ASS Current Amplifier /w Level4 -> Blaxius Interlink* -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere.

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