Why does MP3 player sound better than computer?

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  1. Delly10's Avatar
    Posts : 256
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #11

    theveterans said:
    This is just my opinion, but you should start learning how to use "audiophile snake oil tweaks" such as bypassing Windows mixer through WASAPI or ASIO (Realtek doesn't have ASIO so you need an external soundcard (which audiophiles calls as a DAC)) to "preserve bitperfect digital transmission" of your music. See more info here: Audio Output Modes - JRiverWiki

    In reality, those audio input/output modes are used when recording music via a specific DAW software , rather than reproducing music needs very short latencies to ensure that the recording and mixes are timed as accurate as possible.

    However, the downside of these tweaks is that they're more sensitive to buffer underrun as the latencies are much tighter than the default sound mode. Try using WASAPI Event on your realtek and see if it helps making sound as good as your MP3 player
    Whew! That's a lot to process, and I don't understand most of it right now, but I just printed out the page at the link you gave me and will try to follow along with what it says and see what happens. I'll let you know if I have any luck.
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  2. fireberd's Avatar
    Posts : 2,323
    Win 10 Pro, 20H2
       #12

    I have a recording studio. MP3's are "something less than full fidelity" as they are a compressed (digital) audio file. Consumer MP3 players tend to EQ and other audio "tricks" to make the audio sound better. Just like Beats audio headphones that are designed to have lots of bass.

    In order for the PC sound to equal many MP3 players you will need to apply EQ and whatever else, depending on the sound hardware you have (and speakers or headphones) to get a similar MP3 audio response with a given MP3 file.

    FWIW, I use 192Kbps for MP3 files.
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  3. Delly10's Avatar
    Posts : 256
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #13

    fireberd said:
    I have a recording studio. MP3's are "something less than full fidelity" as they are a compressed (digital) audio file. Consumer MP3 players tend to EQ and other audio "tricks" to make the audio sound better. Just like Beats audio headphones that are designed to have lots of bass.

    In order for the PC sound to equal many MP3 players you will need to apply EQ and whatever else, depending on the sound hardware you have (and speakers or headphones) to get a similar MP3 audio response with a given MP3 file.

    FWIW, I use 192Kbps for MP3 files.
    I've used the EQ (equalizer) function in Windows Media Player to try to improve things, but it didn't do anything for the problem I'm having.
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  4. fireberd's Avatar
    Posts : 2,323
    Win 10 Pro, 20H2
       #14

    What model Dell do you have? I have a Dell Inspiron 15, 5577 model. My Dell has Realtek audio and I have the Realtek HD Audio Manager, where I can set Audio Enhancements, EQ, etc. I've only played wav files with it so I don't know how an MP3 would work or what MP3 decoder is installed. Which brings up a point about the MP3 decoder. You may want to consider installing the K-Lite Codec Pack which may give you a better MP3 decoder (and better MP3 audio).
    Download K-Lite Codec Pack
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  5. Posts : 273
    Windows 10 Pro 1709 x64
       #15

    Delly10 said:
    I've used the EQ (equalizer) function in Windows Media Player to try to improve things, but it didn't do anything for the problem I'm having.
    If you play your music without enhancements on your MP3 player, you should probably do the same on the laptop or the sound will be different, especially tonality and you won't really have a good comparison.

    If you're intrigued to try a different way of outputting sound, you can try the jriver player I linked, but that is not free. There's a freeware audio player that allows those advanced options so that you can test and see if they actually make a difference in sound. To me personally, they are more placebo like than an actual improvement, but maybe your ears are more sensitive than mine.

    Try Foobar2000 and install the WASAPI component to enable WASAPI output (use Event mode for best results)
    foobar2000: Components Repository - WASAPI output support
    foobar2000
    Why does MP3 player sound better than computer?-untitled.jpg
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  6. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,429
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #16

    fireberd said:
    I have a recording studio. ....
    FWIW, I use 192Kbps for MP3 files.
    Interesting... I notice even at 60+ I can distinguish up to 320kbs from 192kbs with some recordings/some music - maybe vocals, or some classical. (Playing through a decent hifi and speakers). But I really doubt I could tell 320kbs CBR from VBR.
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  7. fireberd's Avatar
    Posts : 2,323
    Win 10 Pro, 20H2
       #17

    The 192Kbps is a trade off. It keeps the file size small but is better fidelity than 128Kbps.
    I don't use much MP3 audio. Most of what I use it for is sample music files for my recording studio clients that I can e-mail for evaluations. A 3 minute wav file is approx. 30Mb, a 3 minute 192Kbps MP3 is approx. 4Mb.
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  8. Delly10's Avatar
    Posts : 256
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #18

    Helmut said:
    Untick "Immediate Mode", and Tick the "Disable all sound effects" box.
    Or Untick all the sound effects.
    If you have a Spatial sound Tab select "none".
    Everytime there is one of those version updates to Windows 10 it can change those settings.
    I just did this last night and it appears to have been a success! It's strange that ticking the "Disable all sound effects" box made a difference since none of the sound effects were ticked. Well anyway, my songs sound just as good from my laptop as they do from my MP3 player.

    theveterans said:
    This is just my opinion, but you should start learning how to use "audiophile snake oil tweaks" such as bypassing Windows mixer through WASAPI or ASIO (Realtek doesn't have ASIO so you need an external soundcard (which audiophiles calls as a DAC)) to "preserve bitperfect digital transmission" of your music. See more info here:
    theveterans said:
    Audio Output Modes - JRiverWiki
    In reality, those audio input/output modes are used when recording music via a specific DAW software , rather than reproducing music needs very short latencies to ensure that the recording and mixes are timed as accurate as possible.
    However, the downside of these tweaks is that they're more sensitive to buffer underrun as the latencies are much tighter than the default sound mode. Try using WASAPI Event on your realtek and see if it helps making sound as good as your MP3 player


    I tried to do as instructed, but it required me to be in Media Center, which I don't seem to have on my computer. I thought for sure I had it at one time, but now it doesn't come up even when I type it into the search box. However, as I noted above, I managed to make everything sound better now, so all is well.
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  9. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 10,727
    Win10 Pro Versions 2004 and 2009/20H2, Win10 Pro IP_Dev, Win10 Home 1909
       #19

    Delly10 said:
    I just did this last night and it appears to have been a success! It's strange that ticking the "Disable all sound effects" box made a difference since none of the sound effects were ticked. Well anyway, my songs sound just as good from my laptop as they do from my MP3 player.

    I tried to do as instructed, but it required me to be in Media Center, which I don't seem to have on my computer. I thought for sure I had it at one time, but now it doesn't come up even when I type it into the search box. However, as I noted above, I managed to make everything sound better now, so all is well.
    Just a note, Windows Media Center went away, I think after Win8/8.1, but Windows Media Player is still in the Start menu, W section.
      My Computers


  10. Posts : 273
    Windows 10 Pro 1709 x64
       #20

    Delly10 said:
    I just did this last night and it appears to have been a success! It's strange that ticking the "Disable all sound effects" box made a difference since none of the sound effects were ticked. Well anyway, my songs sound just as good from my laptop as they do from my MP3 player.



    I tried to do as instructed, but it required me to be in Media Center, which I don't seem to have on my computer. I thought for sure I had it at one time, but now it doesn't come up even when I type it into the search box. However, as I noted above, I managed to make everything sound better now, so all is well.
    That's good. All that matters is that your laptop is not providing inferior sound quality. That's why I wrote on my first post that outputting other than the default way (directsound aka Windows Mixer) can be called just an "audiophile snake oil" for me as I notice no difference in sound between the three sound output modes: ASIO, WASAPI and default. Listening with no audio enhancements provides the honest way of playing your music.
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