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 Post subject: What's Going On Here?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:45 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 3:30 am
Posts: 163
Hi everyone,

Hopefully someone with far greater audio engineering expertise can help me out with a mystery that I haven't been able to solve for many years...

Windows Media Player 9 does something to the sound it outputs when played through an embedded Windows Media Player in Internet Explorer. If we play the same audio in Windows Media Player 9 (that is, from our Program Files folder, not an embedded player) the audio is touched.

I can't figure out exactly what is going on though and I'd like to understand it so I can hopefully attempt to reproduce the effect in ST (or get as close as possible).

Here are 2 clips of a 10-second sample to illustrate this effect. I played a WMA file via my Windows Media Player 9 player on my PC, and then played it again via an embedded Windows Media Player 9 in Internet Explorer 8 browser. I recorded both via Cool Edit Pro.

"0.wav" is the recording of the WMP9 desktop application (i.e. the "untouched" WMA file)
"1.wav" is the recording of the embedded WMP9 player (with the mystery effect).

0.wav - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hc8tKG ... sp=sharing
1.wav - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gzNm_1 ... sp=sharing

Can anyone discern what this effect is?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:16 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 3:30 am
Posts: 163
Almost 30 views and lno responses...Perhaps I need to supplement the original post.

To start with, if we look at the frequency response graphs, there is definitely a difference.

0 - played through windows media player 9:
Image

1 - played through embedded windows media player 9:
Image

To me, there is an audible effect for sure but I can't put my finger on exactly what it is that is going on.

Perhaps the bitrate of the recordings is too low? If needed, I can upload higher-bitrate versions. In my haste to stream+record, I accidentally selected 32kbps instead of 320kbps. The "mystery effect" that the embedded player adds is still audible though (at least to my ears).

Hoping to get this figured out. Please let me know if higher-bitrate recordings,more information, or something else is needed.

Looking forward to all the help I can get!

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:25 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:24 am
Posts: 44
Have to admit I really can't hear much of a difference between the two samples, but since your question did spark my engineering curiosity I loaded both tracks into Audacity, time-aligned them as best as I could (the waveforms are clearly not exactly the same), then inverted the second track.

When summed (played) together, I observed that:

1) the tracks are not playing back at exactly the same speed. I had to align the tracks toward the middle of the sample so I could hear the result go through the null.

2) the null is not complete. Admittedly I didn't fine-adjust levels between the two tracks, but visually they look close-enough. I did split the tracks and tried nulling various combinations of left, right and both together, all with the same result.

3) what I did hear in the null -- when most of the vocal was cancelled out -- was a lot of what I'm guessing is quantization noise.

That's about the limit of my analysis ability, so I'm going to make a guess that the browser-player is somehow re-sampling the audio, or is just playing it at a different bit-rate, perhaps in an effort to reduce user bandwidth or make the audio load faster in a browser.

This is all likely to be of no help, but it was fun to investigate and I'll be following to see if anyone else has an idea. Best of luck to you.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:56 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 3:30 am
Posts: 163
Quote:
Have to admit I really can't hear much of a difference between the two samples, but since your question did spark my engineering curiosity I loaded both tracks into Audacity, time-aligned them as best as I could (the waveforms are clearly not exactly the same), then inverted the second track.

When summed (played) together, I observed that:

1) the tracks are not playing back at exactly the same speed. I had to align the tracks toward the middle of the sample so I could hear the result go through the null.

2) the null is not complete. Admittedly I didn't fine-adjust levels between the two tracks, but visually they look close-enough. I did split the tracks and tried nulling various combinations of left, right and both together, all with the same result.

3) what I did hear in the null -- when most of the vocal was cancelled out -- was a lot of what I'm guessing is quantization noise.

That's about the limit of my analysis ability, so I'm going to make a guess that the browser-player is somehow re-sampling the audio, or is just playing it at a different bit-rate, perhaps in an effort to reduce user bandwidth or make the audio load faster in a browser.

This is all likely to be of no help, but it was fun to investigate and I'll be following to see if anyone else has an idea. Best of luck to you.
Ok, well, your uncontrollable curiosity sounds similar to mine.

I think it may help to provide better recordings. These are:
1) Less processed
2) Less time difference
3) More exact samples - This time, I cut out a specific portion of the song before recording.

0_3.wav - WMP9
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Pr0OXJ ... sp=sharing
1_3.wav - WMP9 embedded player
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AKrOB3 ... sp=sharing

I kept the same low bitrate in the WMA format. At a higher bitrate, the difference is harder to notice.

Let me know if you (or anyone else) hears the difference I am hearing...

Perhaps the difference is so subtle that the effect is unidentifiable. I can certainl hear a difference and the spectral analysis graphs do show a slight difference.

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:38 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:03 pm
Posts: 154
Location: Utah, USA
In the player, are there any audio enhancers enabled? File > Tools > Options > Plug-Ins

Or, on Now Playing, right-click on the main screen and click Enhancements.

Perhaps there's something enabled there and the embedded player either doesn't have those options or everything is off by default.

Couple thoughts I had.

_________________
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Hot Country Hits!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:15 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 3:30 am
Posts: 163
Quote:
In the player, are there any audio enhancers enabled? File > Tools > Options > Plug-Ins

Or, on Now Playing, right-click on the main screen and click Enhancements.

Perhaps there's something enabled there and the embedded player either doesn't have those options or everything is off by default.

Couple thoughts I had.
I thought of this and checked the embedded player (but not the standalone player). But I think I will take a second look.

If any enhancements are enabled in one or the other, they are enabled by default because I did not touch any of that.

I will say this - I clearly remember listening to an internet radio stream (WMA) about 15 years ago via an rmbedded, custom-designed WMP web player.

One day, I became curious and found the direct mms:// URL. When I opened it directly in the standalone WMP, the sound was definitely different. What I remember most was that the bass texture sounded different.

After that, I returned to listening via the web player.

Do you hear any difference in the samples I posted in my previous post?
I will check into the possibility of enabled/disabled enhancements tonight and report my findings tomorrow.

If others don't hear any difference, please let me know. It's possible that my ears are tricking me.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:24 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 3:30 am
Posts: 163
UPDATE:

Great news! I figured out what was going on. By default, the web player version of WMP9 has "Quiet Mode" enabled by default (enhancement).

Also, by default, the stand-alone WMP9 has "Graphic Equalizer" turned on by default. Even though it is set to "flat", it still colors the sound.

This means that all those years ago, when I ripped the audio stream URL from the web player and played it via the stand-alone WMP9, it was playing the same stream but with Quiet Mode compression off and Graphic EQ on..

Mystery solved. Thanks for the help! :)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:46 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:03 pm
Posts: 154
Location: Utah, USA
Glad you got it figured out.

_________________
America's Country
Hot Country Hits!


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