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SteveR750's picture
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Spotify and sound cards / drivers
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It occurred to me this evening when I was switching back to using the optical toslink connection between PC and DAC, and having to reset the soundcard default so that Spotify would playback through the DAC whether the signal was being resampled by Windows kernel mixer (I assumed it was using the intrnal PC soundcard) but what about when outputting through USB using the Cambridge audio ASIO driver? 

Now I know J River is clean, as it has the exclusive use of the output when in playback mode, plus you can specify which output mode to use irrespective of the Windows default setting. 

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RE: Spotify and sound cards / drivers

asio drivers should be clean.  Think you'll find things like jriver as basically using a form of asio and charging an arm and leg for it Wink

SteveR750's picture
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RE: Spotify and sound cards / drivers

cheeseboy wrote:

asio drivers should be clean.  Think you'll find things like jriver as basically using a form of asio and charging an arm and leg for it Wink

 

The ASIO driver is part of the DAC function, not the media player. As it happens, it's a Cambride Audio dacmagic ASIO driver that you have to d/load from their website (same as Chord do). The $28 for J River (vs £750 for the Cyrus CD6SE that it replaced of course) wouldn't include the price of the interface windows driver, but then I never expected a free DAC with it Wink

Just to be clear, the driver for the optical out is part of the Sony Viao package, i.e. came with it, and is made by Realtek. The ASIO driver is from Cambridge Audio. The question is what Windows does with either, if anything differently when playing spotify (which is not part of J River inc)

SteveR750's picture
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RE: Spotify and sound cards / drivers

Resurrecting this anyone?

I'm assuming that Spotify streaming via optical will be resampled by Windows kernel mixer to whatever rate is set in the car set up (in my case studio quality 24/96). The issue is the fact it is resampling, not at what rate.

A good media player will of course will by pass the kernel mixer, and have exclusive control of the output driver.

Anonymous
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RE: Spotify and sound cards / drivers

Any sound output from the default Spotify goes through the Windows mixer which for WASAPI means spotify output (assume 16bit), windows mixer (convert to 32bit float for internal processing and then present 16/24bit to the soundcard).

Furthermore a lot of soundcard optical outputs are resampled again (eg Xonar) - if you can change the output control volume of the optical out then there is some digital processing going on. The realtek optical outs usually have a fixed level (no resampling) and provided the DSP effect and other input sources are disabled then they pass the audio bit perfect providing the spdif output sampling rate matches the output audio. My pc has a realtek 883 chipset and I have tested this with DTS wave files using WASAPI/Kernel streaming.

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RE: Spotify and sound cards / drivers

If you ONLY run Spotify, and have system sounds off and don't faff with the sound settings, then Windows does nothing with the signal... Paying for so called audiophile players is unnecessary.

 

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RE: Spotify and sound cards / drivers

I prefer Ben's answer, unless there is some facts / science behind yours Froggy old chap.

Spotify is playing via the chord USB async USB driver, but doesnt not take exclusinve control of the driver, whereas JRMC does. There are system sounds along with spotify (unless you switch them off in the windows settings), whereas nothing else works when JRMC is active. Therefore, spotify must be processed through the K mixer, and therefore must be resampled, right?

I could be way off here, hence the questions.

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RE: Spotify and sound cards / drivers

He did say you should turn everythng else off.

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RE: Spotify and sound cards / drivers

fr0g wrote:

If you ONLY run Spotify, and have system sounds off and don't faff with the sound settings, then Windows does nothing with the signal... Paying for so called audiophile players is unnecessary.

 

Can you expand on this please for a simpleton like me !

How exactly do you turn everything off - I have a Sony Vaio / Windows 7 laptop. I stream via Apple Airport Express to my Sony av amp.

Would this benefit me ? Or should I keep things as they are because it all works ?

Thanks

 

Anonymous
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RE: Spotify and sound cards / drivers

fr0g wrote:

If you ONLY run Spotify, and have system sounds off and don't faff with the sound settings, then Windows does nothing with the signal... Paying for so called audiophile players is unnecessary.

This is no longer true for anyone running Windows Vista or later as the whole audio system in Windows was redesigned and the new mixer's sampling rate is fixed at 32bit float which is high quality granted but not required when listening to audio so it is always best to bypass it (exclusive mode) because any 16 or 24 bit integer sources such as spotify have to get resampled to 32bit float in order to be processed by the mixer, the only way round this is to bypass it.

The KMixer in Windows XP operated slightly differently and originally only worked in 16bit integer format but later changed in SP2 to accomodate 24bit audio (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_legacy_audio_components) although most people seemed to agree that it was possible to pass audio through it untouched in certain circumstances but not always (a bit hit and miss) so I still use ReClock configured in Kernel streamed mode and locked to the audio card's internal clock so that audio is not resampled (untouched) and does not pass through the Kmixer.

The only way I know of getting Spotify untouched the soundcard is by using the custom spotify client Fidelity which is only available to premium account holders but the software is free and you does have a WASAPI exclusive mode option.

SteveR750's picture
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RE: Spotify and sound cards / drivers

Thanks Ben, I suspected it wasn't so simple in W7.

Anonymous
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RE: Spotify and sound cards / drivers

it gets even more complicated when playing back lossy sources such as .mp3 or .aac as strictly speaking these should be output as 32bit float untouched but the majority of codecs/media players truncate this to 16bit for compatibility reasons - not sure about Spotify (so theoretically you are losing bits but whether you can actually here these bits is another matter). However there are some codecs that can output the data untouched as a 32bit float PCM data and then you let the output renderer truncate this to a more accurate 24bit say for a 24bit DAC (which means less lost data).

It is important to remember that you can encode 16bit and 24bit audio to .mp3/.aac.

Anonymous
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RE: Spotify and sound cards / drivers

Soundpimp (http://www.soundpimp.com) has an excellent solution to connect Spotify or whatever audio/video stream to Asio outlet. This product contains a virtual sound card that captures all audio streams and is asio compliant. But more importantly, it has a very cool audio enhancement effect with bypass option. I tend to use it all the time, though, the sound is better.

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