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More upsampling antics......This time with SqueezeLite


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#1
Ever since the the MP3 days started to take form I have always been trying to make them sound better on my various stereo systems. Nothing beats having a library of albums at your fingertips but, lossy compression and even non-lossy compression (FLAC) tend to sound different on my rig, and not in a good way. So, over the years I've tried countless forms of digital processing from multi-band compression through VST to EQ to up-sampling, you name it, I've probably tried it. I'm a tweaker for sure. I read a good quote a while back that stated the difference between an audiophile and a normal music listener and it went something like: "A normal person uses their stereo to listen to your music, but an audiophile uses your music to listen to their stereo." Yep, that's me. 

I love the idea of things like TIDAL that allow me to stream whatever I want to hear whenever i want to hear it without getting up and swapping a CD or album or whatever. But, that convenience often comes at a cost because even the king of online high-quality streaming doesn't always seem to use the best quality CD rips, as confirmed by my stereo system and my ears.

That in mind, I've settled on convenience and whatever I can do to make the recordings sound more "natural" on my system and I've also been sucked into the beauty of a good user interface and it's ability to point me to more music that I might like. They say that "variety is the spice of life" and if you agree with that statement, especially where music is concerned, then you've probably tried a piece of software called Roon which has led me down all kinds of rabbit holes over the last few weeks. Roon is an awesome piece of software and it sounds pretty good too, especially through Snakeoil. The standard Roon bridge in Snakeoil sounds better than all of the other software I've tried that serves the same purpose, including the ever popular Ropieeee. That said, I'm a tweaker so I had to keep tweaking.

Roon has the ability to see SqueezeLite as an endpoint. Squeezelite has it's own ability to do high quality up-sampling using SoX processing and while I still like the overall sound of SRC (libsamplerate) better, it is undeniable that SoX has a tweaker's heart in mind.  If you use LMS as your server you can just install the awesome C-3PO plugin and access much of what SoX has to offer. If you're using Roon (which has it's own awesome DSP and up-sampling) and you want to try SoX up-sampling then SqueezeLite is the ticket.  Roon's up-sampling seems to be of good quality but SoX allows you to tweak more, alot more. And, you can still use whatever DSP you want in Roon. In order to "see" SqueezeLite in Roon you have to enable it in the settings on the "Setup" page. Then, obviously, you can use whatever version of SqueezeLite you prefer in Snakeoil and off you go!

To use SoX in SqueezLite you must enter the "recipe" in the ALSA Configuration "Options:" box as seen here:


[Image: Capture.png]

It looks complicated but this website will explain what all that means as well as give some really interesting examples of filters based on processing performed by real high-end hardware. This particular filter is similar to the minimum phase sampling used in old-school Meridian CD players. The site also gives examples for a linear-phase "Chord-like" filter, an MQA type filter and others. You can just copy and paste them into the Snakeoil options box. Just make sure you preface the examples with "-R" like in the example above. That tells SqueezeLite to resample followed by the recipe. And as always don't forget to hit the green "Save and Restart Player(s)" after entering your filter.

On my setup the minimum phase filters sound the best to me. They tend to get rid of the sharp and nasty stuff and soften things up a bit. You can even mess with that last number in the chain to dial in a modifier between minimum phase (0), linear phase (50), and maximum phase (100). My favorite setting is something like  "vX::4:28:99:100:14". The Meridian clone shown above also sounds pretty good to my ears which are getting more and more sensitive to excessive edginess.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share this for those who like to mess around with this stuff and weren't already familiar. It gave me hours of entertainment and you can even try it out on different SqueezeLite versions using Snakeoil. Happy tweaking Wink
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#2
(03-May-2020, 11:56 AM) mkysimes Wrote: Squeezelite has it's own ability to do high quality up-sampling using SoX processing and while I still like the overall sound of SRC (libsamplerate) better, it is undeniable that SoX has a tweaker's heart in mind.

Agree with this. libsamplerate (is this called SRC or LSR? I always thought it to be LSR rabit code) sounds better than SoX.

LSR is very CPU intensive though, but probably why it sounds so good. Unfortunately my primary PC doesn't have enough grunt for this. Sad
Snakeoil Operating System - Music, your way!
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#3
(03-May-2020, 04:32 PM) agent_kith Wrote:
(03-May-2020, 11:56 AM) mkysimes Wrote: Squeezelite has it's own ability to do high quality up-sampling using SoX processing and while I still like the overall sound of SRC (libsamplerate) better, it is undeniable that SoX has a tweaker's heart in mind.

Agree with this. libsamplerate (is this called SRC or LSR? I always thought it to be LSR rabit code) sounds better than SoX.

LSR is very CPU intensive though, but probably why it sounds so good. Unfortunately my primary PC doesn't have enough grunt for this. Sad


I'm only going by what they say on the website but I'm sure people have adopted different names over the years.

http://www.mega-nerd.com/SRC/
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#4
(03-May-2020, 05:42 PM) mkysimes Wrote: I'm only going by what they say on the website but I'm sure people have adopted different names over the years.

http://www.mega-nerd.com/SRC/

You are absolutely right - SRC = Secret Rabbit Code.... Cool, didn't know that.
Snakeoil Operating System - Music, your way!
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#5
I wonder Agent_kith, have you played around with these filters at all? Seems we have similar taste in sound!

I do actually prefer SRC and I wish it could be implemented on more software as it seems SoX has made more of a name for itself. But I do intend to mess with more settings in SoX to see of I can dial it in more.

Who knows, maybe i can replicate an SRC filter with the right settings!
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#6
(04-May-2020, 06:54 PM) mkysimes Wrote: I wonder Agent_kith, have you played around with these filters at all? Seems we have similar taste in sound!

I do actually prefer SRC and I wish it could be implemented on more software as it seems SoX has made more of a name for itself. But I do intend to mess with more settings in SoX to see of I can dial it in more.

For me I had to consciously take a "neutral" stand as I'm tuning my system for the standard Snakeoil ISO.. i.e. can't have the "Cream on top" for the most part.

The problem I have with SoX (IIRC) is it kind of blands the seperation of vocals and instruments. Things do not stand out precisely via SoX. My problem with SRC Is the high CPU load. I'm sure if one spends time on dialing everything down (or just use a faster computer), SRC will have no problems at all.

(04-May-2020, 06:54 PM) mkysimes Wrote: Who knows, maybe i can replicate an SRC filter with the right settings!

Havn't look into this myself, I'm not sure if it's possible, but that's my gut saying. Hopefully you and others can convince me otherwise. This is the beauty of colloboration! Smile
Snakeoil Operating System - Music, your way!
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#7
(05-May-2020, 09:02 AM) agent_kith Wrote: Havn't look into this myself, I'm not sure if it's possible, but that's my gut saying. Hopefully you and others can convince me otherwise. This is the beauty of colloboration! Smile


Hmmm....challenge accepted! Thumbs Up I'll let you know if I can pull it off.
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