[solved] Eden Audio Quality

  Thread Rating:
  • 1 Votes - 5 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Thread Closed
davzie Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #1
Hi Guys,

I've had a setup running now for a while that has been doing my head in. I have a Macbook Pro (Intel) hooked up to a NAD amplifier which powers two lovely speakers in my living room.

I had this running for a few days when I noticed some considerable clipping of audio, movies, Airplay streaming and music which was occurring mainly when a heavy bit of bass kicked in on a song or film.

I have disabled all replay gain and downmixed audio and turned that off too to see if that could be the cause but haven't got anywhere.

I have connected an iPhone to the same 3.5mm jack that supplies audio to the amplifier and the volume is much better and a whole tonn clearer, crisper and doesn't clip at all. The same happens if I play a song on the same Macbook Pro but through iTunes not XBMC.

If I A / B test an iTunes song and the same song in XBMC, the quality is absolute shite. This is worrying as I am a real audiophile and love my music but can't use something that is degrading my audio quality.

Hoping someone can shed some light on why this might be happening.

OSX Lion
Macbook Pro 15" Intel
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-26 17:00 by davilla.)
find
Wendo Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 27
Joined: Dec 2011
Reputation: 0
Post: #2
My guess is it's because you are amplifiing the signal you're sending out the headphone socket of your macbook too much. Your amp will expect line out levels of volume. Try dropping the volume right down to near nothing then using your amp to control volume.

If your amp has optical in (TOSlink) you can try getting a digital cable to go from your macbook to the amp which would remove the issue entirely and give you 5.1 capability. They look like this

http://www.amazon.com/3-5MM-TOSLINK-FIBE...B00006LVF3

I'm actually surprised you're using an analogue connection in the first place if you're an audiophile, putting DACs and ADCs in the way of the signal will degrade it all by itself.
find
davzie Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #3
So why does iTunes on the same machine as XBMC play the audio perfectly clear (along with Spotify) but when I run XBMC and choose the same track from the same source it feels like its compressing the audio and applying some gain effects to it? I really don't understand this and it's totally frustrating.

Until I get an amplifier that supports digital input I can't do this. It's a NAD amp, an older one but still very very good and provides a lovely sound.
find
Ned Scott Offline
Team-XBMC Wiki Guy
Posts: 18,365
Joined: Jan 2011
Reputation: 222
Location: Arizona, USA
Post: #4
XBMC audio runs a lot quieter than other applications on Mac OS X, which in turn requires the volume to be higher. Try listening to the audio and unplugging your power supply. I noticed the other day hearing the same thing on my MBP, and unplugging my power supply fixed it. That can be caused by the power supply itself being "dirty" or even another device somewhere in your house that is "dirty" but on the same circuit.

Now obviously you don't want to run just on battery power, so you would want to find what is making the dirty power or get a UPS to plug the laptop into (which will clean the power, in addition to providing a battery backup), etc.

If that still doesn't fix it, or isn't the issue... then I would be worried.

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Add-on:YouTube]] = Add-on:YouTube, [[Adding videos to the library]] = Adding videos to the library, [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
(This post was last modified: 2012-03-22 12:55 by Ned Scott.)
find
davzie Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #5
I know that sometimes power supplies can do that. I have a HDD connected up to the Mac too but there is no noise interference from these devices. I've been testing this with the Mac at full volume. iTunes plays perfectly without issue and a lovely clear sound so why doesn't XBMC? Can't I increase the volume that XBMC runs at? My testing surely indicates an issue with XBMC, not power interference? Same machine, hardware, connections, source of music but different quality and compression characteristics and clipping across players.
find
Ned Scott Offline
Team-XBMC Wiki Guy
Posts: 18,365
Joined: Jan 2011
Reputation: 222
Location: Arizona, USA
Post: #6
I forgot that the Audio Mixer add-on no longer gets installed by default. That will boost your volume on Mac OS X

Go into Settings -> Add-ons -> Get add-ons -> XBMC.org -> Programs -> XBMC Audio Mixer

That will let you boost the Application sound.

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Add-on:YouTube]] = Add-on:YouTube, [[Adding videos to the library]] = Adding videos to the library, [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
find
davzie Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #7
Cheers Ned, I will have a play with this tonight to see if it yields any good results.

Dave
find
Zokkel Offline
Member
Posts: 77
Joined: Apr 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #8
I just signed up here, because I have the exact same problem as davzie!

Audio is 'flattened' when a bass kicks in or when a quiet song becomes very heavy (like in rock songs). It sounds horrible! Again the same as Davzie: play the exact same file on I-tunes and no problem at all!
I also tried disabled all replay gain and turned off downmixed audio, didn't work for me either.
I als tried creating a advancedsettings file and set the audio headroom to 12 -> no result...

I run XBMC Eden on a MAC Mini. My audio is connected trough the headphone exit to a Pioneer Amplifier.

Because I'm also an audiophile, XBMC is now useless to me! And I liked it so damn much...
Have you got any good results with the XBMC Audio Mixer, as suggested by Ned Scott? If so, what settings did you use?

I really hope there's a solution here...

Zokkel

Mac Mini 2 (Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950), OSX (10.7.5), XBMC Gotham (21/01/2014 Nightly), Aeon Nox (4.0)
find
davzie Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #9
Glad you replied Zokkel

I tried this but it still isn't good enough and it's pissing me off. I can't listen to music how I like, it does the job for the moment but something is seriously wrong here and I can't understand what. I've tried all sorts of configurations, AMP configurations (not that this should change anything, iTunes plays things fine).

Any XBMC developers have any idea why this might be happening and mainly on the Mac platform?

Over the weekend I'm going to run XBMC Ubuntu live to see if the same issue occurs from that build to hopefully identify if it is an issue related only to the Mac build of XBMC.
find
pecinko Offline
Donor
Posts: 3,677
Joined: Dec 2008
Reputation: 49
Location: Prague / Belgrade
Post: #10
(2012-03-22 12:53)Ned Scott Wrote:  XBMC audio runs a lot quieter than other applications on Mac OS X, which in turn requires the volume to be higher.

Hmm.. Can this be remedied somehow? I switched the other night to desktop to check a video file in iTunes and had almost awaken my family because volume was set per XBMC.

My skins:

Amber
Quartz

find
Zokkel Offline
Member
Posts: 77
Joined: Apr 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #11
It's most likely a XBMC Eden problem.
I googled some further and noticed others with the same problem.
I use XBMC for more than a year now and can't remember having the problem with XBMC Dharma... I guess some audio bug slipped into Eden...
If the developers (which I can't thank enough for an otherwise amazing program) can't or will not fix this, I guess the only option is to rollback to Dharma and check if I'm not imagining things... (And I was just getting used to that Aeon-skin)

If I roll back to Dharma and everything works well there, I will definitely let you know. I rather hope they’ll fix the problem in Eden…

Zokkel

(2012-04-12 12:36)davzie Wrote:  Any XBMC developers have any idea why this might be happening and mainly on the Mac platform?

Oh, It's indeed a MAC problem...
Yesterday I ran XBMC on my desktop with WIndows 7, everything's fine there...

Mac Mini 2 (Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950), OSX (10.7.5), XBMC Gotham (21/01/2014 Nightly), Aeon Nox (4.0)
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-12 12:56 by Zokkel.)
find
Zokkel Offline
Member
Posts: 77
Joined: Apr 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #12
(2012-04-12 12:48)pecinko Wrote:  
(2012-03-22 12:53)Ned Scott Wrote:  XBMC audio runs a lot quieter than other applications on Mac OS X, which in turn requires the volume to be higher.

Hmm.. Can this be remedied somehow? I switched the other night to desktop to check a video file in iTunes and had almost awaken my family because volume was set per XBMC.

Try boosting your audio headroom with an advancedsettings file:
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Adv...ttings.xml
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Adv...3Caudio.3E

Otherwise I don't think you have the same problem as stated in this thread...

Mac Mini 2 (Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950), OSX (10.7.5), XBMC Gotham (21/01/2014 Nightly), Aeon Nox (4.0)
find
Zokkel Offline
Member
Posts: 77
Joined: Apr 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #13
I made a bug-report for this:
http://trac.xbmc.org/ticket/12918

let's hope there's a genius out there with the solution!

Mac Mini 2 (Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950), OSX (10.7.5), XBMC Gotham (21/01/2014 Nightly), Aeon Nox (4.0)
find
SpaceMonkey Offline
Posting Freak
Posts: 1,155
Joined: Aug 2008
Reputation: 24
Location: Finland
Post: #14
I've noticed this as well on Eden final. It's like there's some sort of dynamic range compression enabled. I first noticed this in either Eden final or one of the release candidates, it definitely wasn't there before RCs started to appear.

Mac mini 2010 / Snow Leopard / HDMI output to amplifier
find
jmenorton Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 24
Joined: Jul 2011
Reputation: 0
Post: #15
Got this on my Acer Revo, connected to TV then to Pioneer A300R Amp. Turning down the volume in XBMC to about -30db, seems to have reduced the distortion, still doesnt seem to sound as good as the last build though, and i really dont like having the volume so high on my amp. A real shame, as the eden build has fixed my wireless issues. I guess alot of people are using xbmc for mainly music listening, this could put them off. Im on XBMCBUNTU btw.
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-12 16:09 by jmenorton.)
find
Thread Closed