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Author Topic: Does WACUP support dithering?  (Read 1713 times)

Aminifu

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Does WACUP support dithering?
« on: October 14, 2023, 05:44:17 AM »
Hi dro,

Winamp has, and early beta versions of WACUP had, a preferences option to enable or disable dithering in the playback group of options. This option in WACUP was removed several beta versions ago. I see that the recent out_neo.dll plug-in lists a dither filter in it's list of processing filters. If WACUP does support dithering via this plug-in, do you plan on providing a way to disable it?

I've read that dithering is the process of adding a small amount of random noise to a digital audio signal in order to reduce the distortion caused by quantization error. This technique is crucial for maintaining audio quality during the conversion process from analog to digital, and it can greatly improve the overall sound of a digital recording.

I don't know what kind of dithering (if any) was used by the encoders used to make my mp3s. I also don't know what the dither filter in out_neo.dll does. I don't think there is any significant distortion in my mp3s, but being able to disable the dither filter in out_neo.dll will let me tell if I can hear any difference with it enabled or disabled (and which sounds better).
« Last Edit: October 14, 2023, 06:12:05 AM by Aminifu »
Windows 11 Home 64-bit v23H2
Logitech Z906 5.1 speaker system

dro

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Re: Does WACUP support dithering?
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2023, 01:05:22 PM »
The removed prefs option related to things the input plug-ins could query & afaict wasn't actually being actively used by anything (it's not in any of my replacement input plug-ins) which is why when that whole part of the preferences got replaced with wacup handling it was removed. Re-adding it in relation to output plug-ins doesn't imho make sense to do & for the most part would just be adding back in an option that most things won't use.

When it comes to out_neo, without looking at the code I don't really know as I've just left the majority of things alone against what was provided when it was apparently abandoned. I've had a quick look & it seems to be set to an 'auto' state which from what I can tell is mostly used when there's a samplerate difference which afaict other resampling solutions use as part of their process. There's a few other cases that don't seem to apply to how wacup / the winamp input plug-ins provide data (e.g. no floating point input data) so other than sample rate conversion & setting it to a lower bit-depth than the source input (which I doubt is going to be done), it's likely off anyway.

-dro

Aminifu

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Re: Does WACUP support dithering?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2023, 09:42:35 PM »
Hi dro,

Thank you for the quick reply and information.

Based on that, I think you should leave things as they are. For years I used the out_mixer.dll plug-in to reconfigure the output channels and increase the sample rate and bit-depth input from my source files to match what the OS output audio processing was set to (5.1 Studio Quality). I did this to prevent the OS from changing the final output that WACUP provided and simply pass it thru to my speakers system.

Back in March I decided to use the plug-in to only reconfigure the output channels from 2.1 to 5.1 and have the sample rate and bit-depth (for the plug-in and OS processing) match that of the majority of my source files (CD Quality). I'm also doing this with the out_neo.dll plug-in.

I do have a few DVD Quality and Studio Quality source files. I decided it would probably be better/acceptable to let the sound quality of these few files be slightly reduced than trying to artificially increase the sound quality for the majority of my source files. I like to tinker with things and need to know how things are working in order to do this properly.

I'm not a true audiophile and I'm more concerned with how the music sounds (to me) than matching the output processing to how the source input was encoded. The bottom line for me is whether the music sounds the same or slightly better. After making this processing change last March (and finding an acceptable replacement DSP plug-in) my music sounds about the same and, more importantly, doesn't sound worst.


« Last Edit: October 15, 2023, 09:52:06 PM by Aminifu »
Windows 11 Home 64-bit v23H2
Logitech Z906 5.1 speaker system