Old 2nd June 2012, 19:04   #1
katriik
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Unable to have surround sound with mp3

Hello there.
Before anything, I must inform that I have read the Multiple Speaker Output and it didn't solve my problem.

The surround works on Videos, Games, testing, everything BUT audio files.
I can watch movies in 5.1 normally, play Skyrim with surround sound working, but when I play any of my mp3 files on Winamp, or Windows Media Player, it only works stereo.
I have made some changes in Media Player Classic to work with the surround, but I would love to use Winamp. It is my favorite player.

I am using Realtek HDA drives.

Can anyone help me?
Thanks a lot. For real!
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Old 3rd June 2012, 15:26   #2
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Hi katriik,

Are you sure the Windows' "Speaker Fill' enhancement option does not work? What version of Windows are you using?

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Old 3rd June 2012, 19:51   #3
katriik
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Hi Aminifu,

Unfortunately this option is not appearing to me.
I only have DST available, but with all respect, it's horrible.
I am using Windows 7 64 bits.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 3rd June 2012, 20:09   #4
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I just realized that this option disappear when you install the Realtek Drives.
After uninstalling, the option become available, but you lose the control of individual speaker's volume.
You can only control the Master volume.
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Old 4th June 2012, 01:45   #5
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Hi katriik,

My Realtek driver supports 'Speaker Fill'. Are you sure you installed the right one? What hardware are you using (soundchip and/or computer model)?

'Speaker Fill' is the easiest way to get sound from all your speakers, but as you see it is somewhat limited in what it does. There is a plug-in that you can use with WA that provides more control over the channel upmixing and volume balance. It works as a frontend for the WA directsound output plug-in. In manual mode, it has a lot of options that need to be adjusted to provide the exact response you want. If you want to try it, I can help with the setup.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/wina...ixer_0_9_163c/

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Old 4th June 2012, 11:34   #6
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Beg, borrow or steal a new sound card. I was surprised at the difference between onboard Realtek and a Creative X-Fi. I'm not exactly a Creative fan (after being burnt by the buggy old Live! 5.1 devices) but there is a very noticeable difference between onboard and add-in audio. (Just do a "driver only" install and skip most of the junk Creative like adding to a PC)

What surprised me the most was the difference via SPDIF. I assumed that FLACs being passed over a digital connection to my HiFi speakers would sound the same. Well - it's digital ain't it? It should be lossless and identical? There was a surprising difference. And at the time I think I only paid around £35 for the X-Fi PCI card.

Can't comment on "speaker fill" options as the HiFi does that for me. Where is it in the drivers? I'll have a look to see if the option is there. My Onkyo TX-SR806 AV Amp has a "Surround Stereo" option which does it at that stage.
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Old 4th June 2012, 11:47   #7
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Hi Batter Pudding,

'Speaker Fill' is a Windows feature. The sound device driver would have to hook into it. Some sound device drivers provide an alternate function that basically provides the same thing. If your sound device driver supports it, then you can find it on the enhancement tab of the Windows sound device management screen. Enable 'immediate mode' on the same screen to have any of the selected enhancements take effect immediately (as opposed to after a reboot).

http://forums.winamp.com/attachment....postid=2165759

Traces to the sound chip on the expensive mobos are laid out to reduce interference from other circuits on the mobo. Some even put the chip on a riser card. This can make a big difference to the sound quality.

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Old 4th June 2012, 13:20   #8
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Ah - I see. Looking at your image you run a Microsoft driver to get that speaker fill option. That makes sense. I usually try and swap to the manufacturer's latest driver from their website.

From looking into the Creative drivers is looks like it may be called "X-Fi CMSS-3D Surround" as there are options for "Stereo Xpand" and "Stereo Surround" in there.

I understand about electronic interference in hardware design. And I was talking about a decent quality MSI motherboard with this Realtek onboard sound. I had just been surprised at the lack of advance in this side.

The digital output on that MSI board was done via a riser card. (Or at least the socket was) But still was surprisingly flat. Which is why I tried out the Creative kit. It wasn't noisy interference, just seemed to lack clarity. The Creative kit seemed to sparkle more. Have a bigger range to it. (Been a long time since I heard the onboard Realtek so a rusty memory here)

I guess some of this was triggered by the upgrade to the AV amp and speakers. That started to show up the problems with my source material that previous speaker setups had not revealed. That and my preference for using albums like Dark Side Of The Moon to test out my audio kit. I know that album so well that I can spot the little differences.
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Old 4th June 2012, 15:35   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Batter Pudding View Post
Ah - I see. Looking at your image you run a Microsoft driver to get that speaker fill option. That makes sense. I usually try and swap to the manufacturer's latest driver from their website.
I use the latest Realtek driver written to Microsoft's specs. But I prefer the sound of my sound card also. I have an old Creative Audigy Platinum. I prefer it's CMSS 3D CMSS2 mode to 'Speaker Fill', but I don't use either one with WA. That image was posted by someone else on the forum. I 'borrowed' it for an example. I have not figured out how to capture and post my own pictures yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Batter Pudding View Post
I guess some of this was triggered by the upgrade to the AV amp and speakers. That started to show up the problems with my source material that previous speaker setups had not revealed. That and my preference for using albums like Dark Side Of The Moon to test out my audio kit. I know that album so well that I can spot the little differences.
Of course sound quality starts with the source, but the rest of the 'pipeline' is just as important. I figure my old sound card and budget speakers are keeping me from hearing a noticeable difference between lossless and mp3. I see upgrades in my future.

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Old 4th June 2012, 15:49   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aminifu View Post
I use the latest Realtek driver written to Microsoft's specs. But I prefer the sound of my sound card also. I have an old Creative Audigy Platinum. I prefer it's CMSS 3D CMSS2 mode to 'Speaker Fill', but I don't use either one with WA.
All drivers will be written to the MS Specs otherwise they won't work on Windows. One of the bigger differences though is when a hardware company will push beyond those basic specs as they know their hardware will do much more. Like all those odd software modes built into the Creative chipsets. I generally have them all turned off though and just do a straight "pass through" on the SPDIF and let the Amp deal with everything wherever possible.

I've had Audigy cards in the past. And would certainly put them on a par with the Realtek HD chipset. It is why I initially used the onboard Realtek HD in my Media PC. It was fine initially when attached to just some Warfdale Active speakers via a mixer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aminifu View Post
Of course sound quality starts with the source, but the rest of the 'pipeline' is just as important. I figure my old sound card and budget speakers are keeping me from hearing a noticeable difference between lossless and mp3. I see upgrades in my future.
This is certainly the point that got me. When I binned the Warfdales and put in £1500 of Onkyo amp and 5.1 speakers it did cause a level of disappointment. I had just spent a good part of a year ripping 300 CDs to 320kbps MP3s. Only to start playing them back on the new system and they sounded like crud. Imagine listening to music with your head underwater. Or ears full of cotton wool. I went back to my CDs because of it. That is when I started to investigate FLAC and the ripping mission started all over again.

Now I have a mixture of FLAC and MP3 in that library. With the Amp supplying my "all speakers" output of stereo (or mono) tracks.
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Old 4th June 2012, 17:08   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Batter Pudding View Post
This is certainly the point that got me. When I binned the Warfdales and put in £1500 of Onkyo amp and 5.1 speakers it did cause a level of disappointment. I had just spent a good part of a year ripping 300 CDs to 320kbps MP3s. Only to start playing them back on the new system and they sounded like crud.
Did you try using a DSP and/or equalizer adjustments with those mp3s? I bought "iZotope Ozone" a while back and it makes a big difference on my system. It's not compatible with Win 7's restriction on where configuration files should be placed, so WA must be run in Administrator mode to save settings when you first set it up or change things.

http://www.winamp.com/plugin/izotope-ozone/79374

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Old 4th June 2012, 17:27   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aminifu View Post
Did you try using a DSP and/or equalizer adjustments with those mp3s? I bought "iZotope Ozone" a while back and it makes a big difference on my system. It's not compatible with Win 7's restriction on where configuration files should be placed, so WA must be run in Administrator mode to save settings when you first set it up or change things.

http://www.winamp.com/plugin/izotope-ozone/79374
Personal opinion - Crud is still crud. You can put a bow on the top of it and call it "Pretty Crud" but once the compression has lost the detail any attempt at putting it back will be a fake. Just like a highly compressed JPEG "saved for the web" - it will always be impossible to scale it back up to a full screen image.

As to "Win7's restriction on config files". There is a much easier answer than running Winamp in Administrator mode. Don't install Winamp to C:\Program Files (x86)\. Make a new folder of C:\Winamp\ and install to that. Then your badly written plugin can be installed and you can adjust the rights on the folder at your leisure while still keeping the system protection in place for better written programs. (PM me or make a new thread for this one)


(You are talking to a weird guy here. Combination between mathematician, engineer, programmer, etc. I've implemented compression algorithms in C - both lossy and lossless. So understand how they work. And how they clash badly with my OCD and annoying strive for "perfection". (Which is also why I have to stop myself from buying those "reference level" devices trying to chase for that last 2%))

I am also someone who cringes when I see people walking around with iPods (or other music player) and see people using those default white headphones. I only spent £25 ($40) on my headphones and the difference is enormous. I can sit in a quiet field and hear so much more detail that way.
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Old 5th June 2012, 08:32   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Batter Pudding View Post
Personal opinion - Crud is still crud. You can put a bow on the top of it and call it "Pretty Crud" but once the compression has lost the detail any attempt at putting it back will be a fake. Just like a highly compressed JPEG "saved for the web" - it will always be impossible to scale it back up to a full screen image.
I can't argue with that. It's why I started a thread asking for comments on the best lossless format for use with WA. In the meantime though, a fake can sometimes look (or sound in this case) kinda good and only about a third of my current collection are candidates for lossless. Not counting what I've downloaded, too many of my original LPs, tapes, and CDs have gone bye-bye. Even if I could find replacements, the wife would not like me buying them. She likes my collection, but she's more into visual media.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Batter Pudding View Post
As to "Win7's restriction on config files". There is a much easier answer than running Winamp in Administrator mode. Don't install Winamp to C:\Program Files (x86)\. Make a new folder of C:\Winamp\ and install to that. Then your badly written plugin can be installed and you can adjust the rights on the folder at your leisure while still keeping the system protection in place for better written programs. (PM me or make a new thread for this one)
I agree, but I would not recommend that practice in general (even though I do that for various little utilities I still use that aren't compliant yet). No need to PM or start a thread, I fully understand how to do this. Somehow, I agree with this restriction. It kinda makes sense to me. I've also had good luck getting most authors to update their plug-ins when I'm able to contact them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Batter Pudding View Post
(You are talking to a weird guy here. Combination between mathematician, engineer, programmer, etc. I've implemented compression algorithms in C - both lossy and lossless. So understand how they work. And how they clash badly with my OCD and annoying strive for "perfection". (Which is also why I have to stop myself from buying those "reference level" devices trying to chase for that last 2%))
Somewhat the same (except for the compression algorithms part) and I'm not really trying to stop myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Batter Pudding View Post
I am also someone who cringes when I see people walking around with iPods (or other music player) and see people using those default white headphones. I only spent £25 ($40) on my headphones and the difference is enormous. I can sit in a quiet field and hear so much more detail that way.
Can't agreed more. Cheap is usually just that. It's wonderful what a few dollars more can achieve and when you custom fit the ear pieces! I also enjoy my full size 5.1 cans (for occasional gaming), but they are kinda heavy and make my ears sweat after a while.

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