Sound playback quality in AVLinux

What other apps and distros do you use to round out your studio?

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Rickkkk
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Sound playback quality in AVLinux

Post by Rickkkk »

Hey all,


I'm Rick - this is my first post on this forum. I've just started looking at 2 linux solutions (AVLinux and Arch) as a possible replacement for my old Windows-based audio setup. I use linux for everything else in the house, so I thought I'd finally getting around to trying out linux for audio production.

I'm a musician, so part of my needs will be producing multi-track recordings. I also will be doing some analog to digital conversion and subsequent editing (mostly converting old LPs and cassettes). And lastly, I will be using the system to listen to music in my studio.

The computer is an HP TouchSmart TM2 2010-era laptop, Intel CoreDuo class CPU, 8GB RAM, 512 GB HDD. It is connected up to a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 external (USB) sound interface which (for playback) will feed into my Yamaha StagePAS 500 PA. I have configured this laptop to multi-boot both previously-mentioned linux distros: AVLinux and Arch (my usual distro), which I have tweaked and configured myself for audio production, as well as Windows 10 (the system officially supported by Focusrite). All 3 OSes are functional.

My first question is this: the quality of the sound playback output with AVLinux is significantly inferior to that obtained using similar identical playback tools on the other 2 OSes (playing an MP3 file, for example). By inferior, I essentially mean "EQ'd very flat", even after enabling, configuring and using the equalizer on the audio player (SMPlayer / MPlayer) the same way it is set up on the other 2 OSes. One of the differences at least with respect to my Arch Linux installation that I've noticed, is that AVLinux is configured with Pulseaudio, which I don't use on Arch.

Can anyone help me troubleshoot this ? Essentially, no matter how much I play around with the EQ on SMPlayer in AVLinux, I get nowhere near the same results as I do on Arch Linux, all other things being equal. It's as though something in AVLinux is "flattening" the EQ curve.

Thanks in advance and please don't hesitate to ask if anything wasn't sufficiently clear.

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sysrqer
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Re: Sound playback quality in AVLinux

Post by sysrqer »

This sounds a bit strange, can you record the output from both arch and avlinux and post them here so we can hear the difference? Ideally routed out from your soundcard and back in to audacity or something. Unless there is some bitrate or sampling rate conversion happening there isn't much that could change the sound, have you looked in to those things?
Last edited by sysrqer on Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rickkkk
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Re: Sound playback quality in AVLinux

Post by Rickkkk »

Hi sysrqer,

I could probably create 2 example mp3 files and post them here ... I haven't gotten to the point of exprimenting much with Audacity as of yet, so if it's not TOO different than using, say, Adobe Audition on Windows, then I should be able to turn around fairly quickly on this.

For your question concerning potential bitrate or sample rate conversion, I certainly haven't knowingly set anything up to do that. Any hints on where I could confirm this in AVLinux ? All I'm doing is playing an MP3 file in SMPlayer (using the MPlayer engine), using the whatever default settings AVLinux comes with at install.

I'll circle back once I've managed to record some samples. In the meantime, please feel free if you have any other suggestions.

Thanks for your reply.

Jack Winter
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Re: Sound playback quality in AVLinux

Post by Jack Winter »

Since we are talking digital playback, the only reason I could possibly think of would be samplerate conversion. Try adding "resample-method = speex-float-10" to /etc/pulse/daemon.conf.
Reaper/KDE/Archlinux. i7-2600k/16GB + i7-4700HQ/16GB, RME Multiface/Babyface, Behringer X32, WA273-EQ, 2 x WA-412, ADL-600, Tegeler TRC, etc 8) For REAPER on Linux information: https://wiki.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/REAPER_for_Linux

Rickkkk
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Re: Sound playback quality in AVLinux

Post by Rickkkk »

Hello gain all,

This issue is resolved. In effect, in all humility, it was a non-issue. Let me explain:

- In my Arch Linux setup, when I play a music file with SMPlayer, I specify Jack as the underlying sound device. If I try to play the file before starting the Jack server via qjackctl, most of the time it works normally, but occasionally not (no sound - file won't play), requiring me to start Jack via qjackctl and then playing the file again. Why this is sometimes necessary and other times not, I have yet to explore.

- Fast forward to my more recent experimenting with AVLinux. When I similarly play a file in SMPlayer before starting Jack via qjackctl, it *always* plays, albeit with the inferior sound that was the whole point of my original post. After troubleshooting last night based on all the suggestions I had gotten here and in the AVLinux forum, I realized that simply starting Jack before playing the music file produced the result I was looking for - much superior sound. Again, the nuances of this escape me for the moment - I am simply too inexperienced as of yet with sound routing in linux to fully understand what's going on.

Bottom line - there is absolutely no inherent sound quality problem with AVLinux. I thank those that responded with suggestions and apologize if I cast doubt on the quality of AVLinux.

Cheers all !

Rick

Drazen
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Re: Sound playback quality in AVLinux

Post by Drazen »

Hi,

I have also experienced difference in sound quality between Jack and ALSA/Pulse Audio.
Let me explain.... I run Ubuntu studio 16.04 on my home computer and using Audacious as an audio player. In Audacious under Preferences there is option for choosing should Audacious play trough Jack or ALSA/ Pulseaudio. When Audacious plays through Jack sound of my mix is exactly as I mixed it in my studio but when I switch Audacious to play through ALSA/Pulse Audio mix sound thin and lifeless.
I compared playback of my mix with three devices - Laptop - running Win 7, phone (Samsung j5), and home computer with Ubuntu on the same set of speakers... playback is the same on all devices (when Audacious playing through Jack)... but when I switch Audacious to play through ALSA/Pulse Audio playback on Linux is very poor.

Am I doing something wrong or there is something wrong with ALSA/Pulse Audio playback?
There are no EQ or compression activated on Jack.

P.S.
on my studio computer I am using AV linux (with Jack and FFADO) for a year and a half now and everything runs great. Thanks GMaq :)

Best
Drazen

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