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Author Topic: Distortions with Internal Volume  (Read 4278 times)

aproc

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Distortions with Internal Volume
« on: March 15, 2015, 01:31:22 am »

I am hearing slight distortions when using Internal Volume. Even when I compare the output between Disabled Volume and Internal Volume set to 100%, I can hear a slight degradation in audio quality with the Internal Volume.
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aproc

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2015, 09:39:22 am »

I am already using Voxengo Elephant for dithering. Also, I am using 24 bit output and the difference is audible.

Do you hear any difference on your system if you compare the output between Disabled Volume and Internal Volume set to 100%?
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6233638

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2015, 09:52:11 am »

I missed that you're apparently hearing a difference even when comparing 100% and disabled volume control.
 
I think you would have to supply more concrete examples for that, because they should be identical as far as I am aware.
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aproc

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2015, 11:00:42 am »

Yes they should be identical. Internal Volume when set to 100% should not do anything, and behave like Disabled Volume. That's the reason I compared the two. However, I don't want the issue to be digressed to this point. I can clearly hear the distortions when I use the Internal Volume (at less than 100% level), while if I select Disabled Volume in JRiver and use the Windows Volume at the equivalent %, there are no such distortions.

Maybe you can also test this on your system and report your observations.
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ferday

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2015, 11:14:18 am »

I get no distortion using Internal volume at all
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6233638

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2015, 11:30:13 am »

Can you get a recording of this distortion?
Or provide an example which makes it clear. Perhaps upload a sample of a track which does it?
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ken-tajalli

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2015, 12:06:24 pm »

while if I select Disabled Volume in JRiver and use the Windows Volume at the equivalent %, there are no such distortions.

Maybe you can also test this on your system and report your observations.
Curious, with windows volume, it means that you are not in exclusive mode, and you are using windows mixer and resampling.
Could that be the source of your "different" sound quality?
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Uncompressed music on PC - Hugo 2 & DX7 pro - Meridian Poweramp,  Sonus Faber Grand Piano

aproc

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2015, 01:30:09 pm »

I am using WASAPI Exclusive Event Style output mode. The sound card is Creative X-Fi Surround 5.1 USB. Windows Volume is available for this device in WASAPI exclusive mode.

I don't know if distortion is the right word to use here, but my observation is that with Disabled Volume I get clearer sound as compared to the Internal Volume. There is a slight degradation in audio quality when I use the Internal Volume. This happens with all the content and so I don't have any specific sample to share.

Is there any setting in JRiver which only affects the Internal Volume?
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Fabith

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2015, 06:06:17 pm »

The problem is that you are using a VST for dithering.
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6233638

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2015, 01:49:55 am »

The problem is that you are using a VST for dithering.
Could you explain why you think that would cause this?


However, that did get me thinking... you don't have the "process independently of internal volume" option enabled on any DSP plug-ins, do you aproc?
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mwillems

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2015, 07:41:03 am »

If (as OP seems to suggest) it's not actually distortion but merely a subtle difference, you're probably hearing a difference in attenuation.

When volume is disabled, MC does not attenuate the music at all.  When internal volume is enabled, even at 100%, MC attenuates by 1dB to account for inter-sample overages.  Check the audio path during playback and you'll see what I mean.

If I had to place a bet, the "degradation" you're hearing may just be that you're listening at two different volumes, and people perceive louder music as sounding better, fuller, etc.  1dB is more than enough difference to introduce that well-known psychoacoustic effect.

If that is the issue, you're much better off with internal volume as without that 1dB of headroom a fair proportion of commercially produced music will clip on peaks.
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6233638

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2015, 07:51:49 am »

When volume is disabled, MC does not attenuate the music at all.  When internal volume is enabled, even at 100%, MC attenuates by 1dB to account for inter-sample overages.  Check the audio path during playback and you'll see what I mean.
Well that should only happen when Volume Leveling is enabled and the True Peak level is higher than -1 dBFS.
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mwillems

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2015, 08:28:30 am »

Well that should only happen when Volume Leveling is enabled and the True Peak level is higher than -1 dBFS.

Test it and see; I see the -1dB adjustment at 100% internal volume even without volume levelling or adaptive volume enabled.  

Almost all commercially produced music has a true peak above -1 dBFS.
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6233638

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2015, 08:59:15 am »

Test it and see; I see the -1dB adjustment at 100% internal volume even without volume levelling or adaptive volume enabled.
Strange, I'm only seeing that if one of the two are enabled.
But I don't think that's linked to Internal Volume anyway, and would happen even if it's disabled.
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mwillems

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2015, 10:01:07 am »

Strange, I'm only seeing that if one of the two are enabled.
But I don't think that's linked to Internal Volume anyway, and would happen even if it's disabled.

I may have been unclear: I just tested this exact issue and the -1dB attenuation was not present in audio path with disabled volume, but was present in the audio path with internal volume.  This was with no DSP enabled other than output format. I tested before I made my original post.  

It sounds like you're seeing something different?  I was testing on MC linux which is what I have in front of me.  I'll test on windows when I get home.  
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aproc

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2015, 11:50:00 am »

@ Fabith: You nailed it. If I use JRiver's internal dithering, there is no degradation in audio quality with the Internal Volume. Only when I use the plugin and disable JRiver's dithering, I get the problem.

@ 6233638: I haven't enabled "process independent of internal volume".

@mwillems: In the audio path, I don't see any 1 dB attenuation. I was not using any other DSP options while testing this problem. There is one thing though that your description of the degradation that I am hearing was perfect. With Disabled Volume, the music sounded fuller. It maybe so that some attenuation is being applied with the Internal Volume, but as I mentioned above, it doesn't show up in the audio path. However, with JRiver's internal dithering, I hear no difference between Internal Volume and Disabled Volume.
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mwillems

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2015, 11:52:19 am »

Definitely sounds like the plugin was the issue then, thanks for looping back!

If you're not seeing the attenuation in the audio path, it isn't there (everything's in audio path, nothing's hidden).  I just need to figure out why I'm seeing it here and no one else is, but that's a different problem  ;D
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6233638

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2015, 12:38:37 pm »

You should report it to Voxengo if Elephant is causing this problem.
I'm still not sure why there would be a difference between 100% internal volume, and disabled volume control. I can't reproduce this here. (are you using the latest version?)
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aproc

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2015, 01:23:02 pm »

@ mwillems: I guess the issue would be with JRiver's "disable dither" option. If with Disabled Volume there is no degradation in audio quality, the plugin should be working fine. Since "disable dither" option is provided so that a VST dithering plugin can be used, it should let the plugin work properly even with the Internal Volume.

@ 6233638: Yes, I will report it to Voxengo if the above possibility can be ruled out.
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mwillems

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2015, 05:42:56 pm »

@ mwillems: I guess the issue would be with JRiver's "disable dither" option. If with Disabled Volume there is no degradation in audio quality, the plugin should be working fine. Since "disable dither" option is provided so that a VST dithering plugin can be used, it should let the plugin work properly even with the Internal Volume.

It sounds like the plugin is potentially failing to dither correctly when internal volume is used and JRiver's dithering is disabled (or is it something more subtle than lack of dither?). I'm not sure it's clear where the problem is. Do you see the plugin in your audio path when internal volume is used?    

6233638, said he couldn't reproduce your issue above; I think he uses the same plugin?

Strange, I'm only seeing that if one of the two are enabled.
But I don't think that's linked to Internal Volume anyway, and would happen even if it's disabled.
To close the loop, I just tested at home and I'm not seeing any difference in behavior between the two modes with all DSP disabled on MC windows (i.e. I got the same results you did), so I'm going to retest on Linux tomorrow to figure out what I was doing wrong before.  Sorry for the possible red herring
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aproc

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2015, 01:52:40 pm »

It's more subtle than lack of dither. I will try using another plugin for dithering to see if it's a problem with Voxengo. 6233638 or anybody else using a dithering plugin can maybe confirm if they have the same problem. If not then perhaps it could be a misconfiguration of JRiver settings on my system.
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6233638

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2015, 04:02:28 pm »

Well one thing I could think of is that you haven't disabled the limiter in Elephant, but I'm not sure why that would change between 100% volume and having internal volume disabled.
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aproc

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2015, 12:33:02 am »

I believe that the limiter can't be disabled in Elephant. According to the user guide, if one needs to use the plugin for dithering alone, oversampling should be set to 1X (which turns it off) and "knee" should be set to 0 from it's default value of 20. Even then the limiter is active, it just won't do anything except for consuming a few CPU cycles.
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6233638

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Re: Distortions with Internal Volume
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2015, 06:27:34 am »

I believe that the limiter can't be disabled in Elephant. According to the user guide, if one needs to use the plugin for dithering alone, oversampling should be set to 1X (which turns it off) and "knee" should be set to 0 from it's default value of 20. Even then the limiter is active, it just won't do anything except for consuming a few CPU cycles.
Well you can put it in a state which is effectively disabled. I just thought you might have left it at the defaults.
 
If you could get a recording of this happening or provide a sample track where this happens with a description of how it changes, that would be helpful.
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