JPLAY Responds: An Open Letter

There has recently been some hubbub online (and even within some applications!) surrounding the media player JPLAY. Essentially, claims have been made by the people behind two competing (actually complementary) media players that JPLAY is nothing more than a "hoax" and an "audiophile scam". The former claim was leveled by JRiver, both in their software as a warning to JPLAY users as well as online on the JRiver forum (among others), and the latter claim was made by Foobar2000. As you may be aware, our own Steve Plaskin reviewed JPLAY (see review) and found it did in fact improve the sound quality of his system so our position in this skirmish is clear.

A screenshot of the message in JRiver

Josef Piri and Marcin Ostapowicz, the people behind JPLAY, have submitted a response to these claims and I chose to publish it here on AudioStream in our Industry Voice section to allow them the opportunity to speak directly to these claims and offer up their side of the story.


JPLAY Responds: An Open Letter, Josef Piri and Marcin Ostapowicz

'Simpler is better' is an old rule frequently quoted by designers of audio-equipment. However, some say we should completely forget this rule when it comes to computer audio: They say, computers are so 'fast' and audio reproduction such a relatively 'easy' job for a computer, that any computer, regardless of hardware or software used, will sound absolutely identical provided the data is 'bit-perfect' (as in: digital audio bits are not modified by equalization, digital signal processing, etc). And they add that once a computer outputs 'bit-perfect' data then all those who claim to hear a difference between software players or operating systems or computer hardware are ‘delusional’ at best and, at worst are 'scammers' and 'hoaxsters'!

We at JPLAY believe the old rule 'simpler is better' should not be ignored for computer audio—to the contrary: We believe that the less work a computer has to do the better it will serve as a digital audio transport.

Why? Because neither Windows nor the MacOS are designed for 'real-time' operation: In other words, any task involving time is a 'best-effort exercise' as opposed to a 'guaranteed execution'.

Unfortunately, for digital audio, timing is an essential requirement: the official standard for CD playback says 32 bits must be played precisely every 22 microseconds: if this timing is 'off', even by a very, very small amount, the output, by definition, is no longer in line with the technical specification for CD playback. In other words: digital playback must not only be 'bit-perfect' but also 'timing-perfect'. That is why many modern DACs often showcase 'jitter' measurements (denoting a DAC’s timing precision) at the _pico_second level (1 picosecond is only 0.000001 microseconds!).

And that is what JPLAY is all about: improving timing.

What JPLAY does is simply 'slow down' any task in the computer not related to audio (the average PC can easily have hundreds of those). Even more extreme, in JPLAY’s ‘Hibernate mode’ many tasks are stopped altogether, rendering the computer unusable for any 'normal' work and in effect, 'brute forcing' Windows to treat audio-playback as the only remaining job—all in order to give audio the best chance of 'perfect timing' possible!

While some audiophiles will manually optimize the Windows OS on their servers, JPLAY adds to that process by increasing the computer's timer resolution accuracy to the maximum possible. JPLAY uses special ultra low-latency RAM to store music samples and massively pre-queues them so the sound driver can access them faster. It also leverages the lowest latency networking available (in a unique 'StreamerMode' mode involving two PCs) to utilize the smallest playback buffers of any software player on the market. This is all done in a fanatical attempt to attain the absolute minimum number of computer cycles needed to accomplish 'perfectly timed' digital audio playback.

It’s important to note that the corporation accusing JPLAY of being a 'hoax' does not, in fact, deny JPLAY is performing this massive "audiophile re-programming" of Windows. No—Instead, this corporation denies that, despite JPLAY’s actions, JPLAY has any impact on sound quality whatsoever. Their "proof" is that JPLAY does not have any 'technical measurements' to demonstrate an improvement in sound quality.

Sure, we don’t have all the 'technical measurements' we would like: The simple fact is, while there are plenty of DAC measurements regarding jitter, when it comes to using a computer as a digital transport, there simply aren’t any! Nobody has quite figured out how to measure ‘computer jitter’ (or 'computer noise'), which others propose is the "real" cause of the sonic differences in software and/or hardware.

While we’re certain technical measurements will come in time, computer audio is still a new field—and while we're certainly looking forward to working with anyone advancing the state of art, we do believe we have the best measurement equipment on the planet: the ears of thousands of passionate and discerning audiophiles who have tested dozens of JPLAY versions by ear alone…

All of them simply cannot be wrong: 'Simpler IS better' with computer audio.

P.S. A free downloadable trial of JPLAY is available at www.jplay.eu. Please listen for yourself and decide.


For those interested in further discussion on this subject, check out our Media Player Q&A: 10 Questions for 8 Companies. The participants include JRiver and JPLAY and one question posed was, "What makes one media player sound different from another?".
Share | |
COMMENTS
Michael Lavorgna's picture

Jim Hillegass, CEO and Founder of JRiver, has responded to this post via email. Here is his response in its entirety:

Hi Michael,
 
Jplay continues to make false statements claiming superior sound quality of their "bit perfect" player compared to other such players.
 
If two players are bit perfect, they cannot produce different sound unless they are set differently, or they are modifying the sound, in which case, they are not bit perfect.
 
There are two very good technical analyses of JPlay linked from our Jplay warning page.  Both conclude that it does nothing.  That is also our opinion based on listening tests by several people from our staff and another person who is the founder of a well known high end audio company.  It is also the opinion of the author of foobar2000.
 
Please include the link itself rather than a screenshot since new evidence is added as we find it.
 
 
You may publish this e-mail in its entirety if you wish.
 
Regards,
 
Jim Hillegass
hotsoup's picture

jvlata's picture

How Mr. Plaskin wrote "A real audiophile enjoys music; not waveforms." and I found JRiver statement at their website very arrogant.. I have just deleted JRiver from my system.

Jorge

electrao's picture

I am sorry but if they cannot measure their own timing ajustments how did they test their product ?!? This is a computer software so they can control and monitor all the signals/data inside the computer. Moereover since audio is slow compared to eveything else in teh computer you can simply buffer lots os samples to bypass any delay and just control teh data output precisely. No need to cripple the rest of the computer! 

Jonahsdad's picture

I'm puzzled by JRiver making a stink about this.  Does JPlay actually screw stuff up?  If so, say it's not compatible, and we can't support it.  If not, it's one more piece of audiophile mystery meat.  Might as well fight cables and tube amps. 

I tried JPlay.  So if I give up all convenience, I can hear an "improvement"?  I've got a better idea, I'll just hire a string quartet to play in my living room.  Much more lifelike, and I don't have to sit in the dark.

edit:  I forgot to mention that quoting Hydrogen Audio to prove that which can't be measured does not exist is like quoting the Paul Ryan to prove the value of Republican economic policy (no political stance intended; substitute "Chuck Schumer" and "Democratic" if you like).

Excuse me now, must get back to work on my turntable.

Bob Sherman's picture

I am glad you posted the JPlay letter and I hope this foolishness by Mr. JRiver will cease and desist.

What in the world is he thinking. I even called him to politely ask him to please stop invading my computer with his silly re-director.  He is allowed to express his opinion, no matter how ridiculous it is on the JRIVER site or anywhere else he wants, but not on MY COMPUTER with the JRiver software I paid for!!! 

It is really such a simple concept to understand how JPlay can and does sound better. IMO The more stable a platform the OS can be, the less it will alter the music playing.

IMO One can even use simple physics to understand this concept. 

Nobody is asking JRiver to support JPlay in any way, just stop trashing Jplay and stop trashing peoples computer systems.  It now  seem if you run the JPlay demo the new JRiver or Foobar causes JPlay to stop completely. 

How stupid can some humans be. smh...

Why cant I take MY data from MY copy of JRiver and output it anywhere I want???

If I use KS or WASPI output to my DAC, or ASIO to Jplay how does this affect JRiver???

What's next??? Is Microsoft going to stop me from outputting an MS Word document to an Adobe PDF???

regards

Bob

tnargs's picture

Err, you *phoned* the owner of jriver to ask him to rewrite his software for your convenience? Rather than simply delete jriver and us jplay instead? You must *really* love jriver!

ednaz's picture

I decided to try jplay after reading the review here. I've made a lot of audio video decisions by testing, using my own ears and those of friends, family and guests.  

What's that mean?  For my main listening system, I switched to higher end interconnects after testing them against my "came with the gear" interconnects (both RCA and XLR), but didn't go to the ultimate end because when I compared them to higher end (but not ultimate) I couldn't tell a difference.  Not saying that with some other setup there wouldn't be a difference with the ultimate level interconnects - just that with mine, there seemed to be some point of diminishing returns.  I did the same with speaker connect wires - there was a level of upgrade that I could hear improved things, and a level above that where I couldn't.  I found significant improvements in USB cable that seemed to continue to a point well above what I wanted to spend, but found that with a USB/SPDIF converter that shortened the USB run and used SPDIF coax, I got a better sound than even with the breathtakinginly expensive USB cable I'd borrowed.  Interestingly (to me at least) I couldn't find any reason to upgrade my HDMI cables, although maybe that's because they weren't the cheapest to begin with.

On the sound system in my studio, I did the same testing, and got very different answers. Diminishing returns points for different connections were quite different.

So when I downloaded jplay to try it out, I was pretty confident I'd either like what I heard, or wouldn't notice a difference.  I listened to two favorite HD albums that seem to sound better on better gear, worse on worse gear, with Jriver, as I had for years.  Installed jplay, and listened again.  I was surprised at how much difference I heard.  More than switching from heavy duty commercial speaker wire to fancy speaker wire, more than interconnect upgrades.  I uninstalled jplay, and it was clearly missed.

I went through a couple more cycles of playing with and without jplay, over a couple of days time.  Each time I uninstalled I manually checked and cleaned out the registry and driver files.  I tried to tweak JRiver alone to match... maybe using Asio with JRiver instead of wasapi, since jplay uses asio?  No matter what I did, there was clearly a difference.  For a bit I thought that jplay was boosting gain, since that can produce a feeling that there's more resolution and depth, and checked that, but it wasn't boosting the signal. 

I'd just about made my decision, and did one more test using some jazz that both my wife and I like to listen to. When I'd uninstalled jplay and was playing with just JRiver, my wife, who'd been in and out of  the room throughout, came back in and asked me  what I'd done to the system, it sounded flatter and less interesting than before.  She had no idea what I was testing, or which was which, and listening to JRiver as she had for a long time, found it less engaging than what she'd heard with jplay.  I reinstalled jplay a few minutes later, and she came back to the room and said, yeah, that's it, now it's better, what did you do?

So, a relatively disengaged, non-audio-hobbyist passer by heard the difference enough to be concerned that I'd futzed up the system.  She had a very hard time believing that what she had found lacking was what she'd been enjoying before hand.

I find JRiver's reaction to be bizarre. No amplifier manufacturer critiques manufacturers of pre-amps, or speaker wire. Accessorizing and tweaking is part and parcel of many hobbies - cars, fashion, and ayup, audio.  Get over it!

I know for certain that jplay bogs down all kinds of system functions - trying to look somethign up on the web is painfully boggy.  I know for certain that it's buffering and staging the files differently - hit pause, and it takes seconds to get to a pause.  I have no way to determine exactly how it does what it does (I could read the code, but that kind of work is my day job, not something I do for fun at home...)

Jplay is installed on my system to stay.  (Only my main one - I haven't purchased licenses to go with the multiple jRiver licenses that I own, since systems other than my main one are typically background listening and not active listening.)  I love JRiver, and hope they get over their unseemly grumpies, because it too is on my systems to stay. (And I own five licenses, across two operating systems...) I'm willing to wager that there are systems where there's no noticeable difference.  I know that I own one where there is.

Audiofanatic's picture

Perhaps JRiver would be kind enough to explain how come bit-perfect player like JPLAY can degrade sound quality? I mean it's fine that one doesn't hear any improvement, but why JRiver claims jplay adds "a layer of sound processing that can degrade sound quality" when jplay is in fact a bit-perfect player?! What's going on here? 

jhwalker's picture

. . . to limit what "add-ons" can and cannot be used with their product, and to explain their position on their website

I tried "JPlay" myself and heard no difference.   Others have tested and showed the analog output from all the players is virtually identical - no difference whatseover.

JPlay did, however, stuff up my PC so that it no longer worked properly with any other software - particularly JRiver Media Center + JRemote.

So I'm sure JRiver was getting all kinds of support requests for assistance wtih "freezing" and JRemote not working, etc. - common denominator is JPlay.

I'd do the same if I had written and was selling a player that worked and I had to support if some interloper came along and tried to bolt some other piece of software onto my baby.

andy_c's picture

I'm delighted that the JRiver and fb2k authors are calling out these clowns and their by-default enablers in the audio press for what they are.  As to the above poster who states:

I know for certain that jplay bogs down all kinds of system functions - trying to look somethign up on the web is painfully boggy. I know for certain that it's buffering and staging the files differently - hit pause, and it takes seconds to get to a pause. I have no way to determine exactly how it does what it does (I could read the code, but that kind of work is my day job, not something I do for fun at home...)

This is evidence only of incompetence on the part of the Jplay developer and nothing else. Any software developer who gives their own program high priority, regardless of the consequences to the system, is a complete hack who has no business writing software at all, let alone software that people actually pay for.

The father of incompetent audio playback software is XXHighEnd, whose forum is amusingly where the author of Jplay got the idea for his software.  But at least XXHighEnd was a standalone application that did not affect the performance of existing, competently-designed applications.  Once you step into the realm of breaking existing apps, you've opened yourself up to the appropriate response.  And JRiver's response was entirely appropriate in my view.

Martin Osborne's picture

when a demo of JPlay software is available for free download enabling potential buyers to check it out with their own ears?

Listening sure beats flinging marketing copy around. 

Steven Plaskin's picture

I would like to add a few comments to this discussion.

My reviews of JPlay and the MSB Technology Analog DAC should actually have been written as one review. The MSB Technology transport (an optimized computer for music reproduction) exposed the “flaws” in the all-purpose computer we use for music reproduction.

While I feel that JRiver is an excellent program, it does not address the shortcomings of a device designed to perform many tasks.

I will continue to be an “enabler” of whatever it takes to advance my pursuit and passion of music reproduction.

Best regards to all,

Dr. Steven Plaskin

Clive's picture

There's a vocifierous set of people on forums saying all well designed amps and DACs sound the same.  We have the same being said about bit-perfect players too and you must use DBT to validate any claims.  As for DBT - what I find far more useful is long-term listening but I'd better not digress.  I agree that as technical quality has improved it's harder to discern differences, indeed many DACs sound more similar than different but differences do exist.  We all listen to those aspects of music which interest us, we are not all the same.  Some listen more intently than others too.  Whilst some I'm sure genuinely don't perceive differences between amps, DACs and Jriver/Foobar/JPLAY others do genunely hear differences.

When the internet started out it was about freedom of expression - where has this gone?  It seems now the internet is sometimes used to tell people what to think.  I'm all for hearing other peoples' opinions but I do not want to be told what I must think or hear.

BTW I believe the JPLAY guys are doing a really great thing with their product.  I'd like to add that some folks don't seem to realise that JPLAY is not just a plug-in to Jriver, it is also a fully functioning player which works just fine without Jriver.

meraklya's picture

..that's exactly what I thought about it after trying it out for a few days, hoax. In fact, it was so buggy that it was unusable. Of course, that's just how it worked for me. And in case it was an honest effort to write a genuine music playback program, as opposed to scam, then it would have improved in a couple of years... so who knows. I do think that the asking price is unrealistic for what it offers in terms of overall user experience.

rdsu's picture

This behaviour from JRiver is really ridiculous!!!

I changed a few emails with Mr. Jriver (Jim Hillegass) about this.

I told him that they should focus their work on JRiver and live the other applications alone!

Everyone is free to buy whatever they want, so they must stop doing websites like this one http://jriver.com/jplay.html, and take off the detection of JPlay from their software!

It seems that JRiver, besides a Media Software, now is an Anti-Hoax, Anti-Scamware, Anti-Malware and Anti-Whatever...

Then I asked a few questions that have not been answered:

Think about these:
- Why different audio outputs sounds different, even if they are bit-perfect?
- Why do you recommend the use of ASIO, provided by DDC/DAC manufactures, when all outputs should sound the same because they are bit-perfect?

- JPlay is also an ASIO driver, and Mitcho already made a great service to us on proving that it's bit-perfect, like it should be!

- If JPlay is bit-perfect, and I prefer the sound through it, because I clearly listen differences, like we also listen with different DDC/DAC manufactures drivers/firmwares versions, why should I not use it?

 

He just said that he understand my position, but he just don't completely agree.

 

This clearly show that his attitude is not in good faith!!!

 

(I have a JRiver license, and have not yet bought JPlay!)

Vincent Kars's picture

"JPLAY uses special ultra low-latency RAM to store music samples and massively pre-queues them so the sound driver can access them faster."

I wonder how this piece of software is able to mount special ultra low-latency RAM in my laptop.

Clive's picture

"I wonder how this piece of software is able to mount special ultra low-latency RAM in my laptop."

I'm guessing here but probably cache memory which already exists....

gefski's picture

 

I wouldn't play my computer files without JPLAY mini. Despite being clunky and fiddley to set up, it delivers open, dynamic, realistic music, exactly as advertised.

 

Tried and didn't buy JRiver about a year ago. Guess I could have whined about it being a "hoax"  since for me it was not the "...Premier Audio Solution..." they claimed it to be.

 

Shame on JRiver. Why not invest your time in improving your product instead of bashing others?

Priaptor's picture

Until 5.1 I had no use for JPlay.  In fact, I was bummed that I was an early adopter as it was more a pain than it was worth.  However, with 5.1 there was a noticeable improvement with my system, with a caveat.  That caveat was I am using an MSB Diamond and with the prior firmware and Win7 drivers, there was not contest-dual PC JPlay kicked butt over JRiver.

However, new firmware and driver for the MSB and now I find their ASIO + JRiver, with a single PC sounds better than my JPlay solution.  

My point being, there is no "correct" or "definitive" answer as to what is better per DAC as the variables are so numerous.

However, I applaud JPlay in their efforts and the more I learn what they are doing the more I understand.  JPlay has opened up new horizons both on a hardware and software level  I have fortunately been introduced to Paul (Pang) as a result, whose cables and USB card has enabled me to have by far the best music server I have heard to date.  I am not sure if MSB made changes to their USB drivers based on what they heard from JPlay (I doubt it) but I can say that without a doubt prior to their new release of drivers/firmware, JPlay was superior to their Win7 driver/firmware.

The point being, that no matter how you cut it and no matter which side of the JPlay v. JRiver v. Foobar controversy one resides in, JPlay has clearly raised the bar both on the hardware and software side of things and they are NOT a hoax.

Even though my software of choice "currently" is JRiver + MSB ASIO DRIVER, I can and will not refer to JPlay as a "hoax" as prior to the new drivers and firmware from MSB, JPlay clearly was superior.  Plus JPlay has clearly moved the hardware bar up a big notch.   

jaro's picture

I am scared of people who know so little about computer audio and despite of that they pretend to create the audio software.

Michael Lavorgna's picture

Over on the What's Best Forum there's some interesting discussion of JPLAY where Josef from JPLAY offers some additional details  (starting on Page 2):

JPLAY Responds: An Open Letter

There are also two threads on Audio Asylum:

JPLAY Responds

AudioStream posts a response from JPlay

exile_ken's picture

Foobar2000 reference is a red herring

JRivers assertion that their position is supported by one of their competitors, Foobar 2000, is misleading.  Foobar 2000 has long been of the opinion that their player does not “sound better” than other players: 

 

Does foobar2000 sound better than other players?

No. Most of “sound quality differences” people “hear” are placebo effect (at least with real music), as actual differences in produced sound data are below their noise floor (1 or 2 last bits in 16bit samples). foobar2000 has sound processing features such as software resampling or 24bit output on new high-end soundcards, but most of the other mainstream players are capable of doing the same by now.

 

Read between the lines and that tells me that the author of Foobar doesn’t believe that any “software” player setup correctly and with the same feature set available in other players “sounds better” than any other.  You are free to agree or disagree, but the people from JRiver referencing the authors of Foobar to prove their point is disingenuous in my view.

 

I tend to agree with Mr.(Ms?)  Foobar.  My own experience is that about 14 months ago I  installed JRiver on a trial basis and could not honestly say that it sounded better, or even different than my normal setup, which is Media Monkey 4 configured for WASAPI output with Windows 7 OS.   I uninstalled it near the end of the trial and went back to MM, which I still use today.  I also tried Foobar on an alternate, lower end desktop system but didn’t like the reliance on playlists.  So I am still a Media Monkey user and will  continue to be until I find a compelling reason to change.  I realize some on this board may look down their noses at this, but to quote my 12 year old, IDC.

Willakan's picture

I don't find there to be much in the way of "debate" here: the proposed mechanisms by which JPlay improves the sound are at best based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how computers actually work, and at worst are wilfully misleading.

The analogy between the movement of audio data inside a CD player and the movement of data inside the computer is completely defective. Making a comparison between the progress of data on the i2S bus, or through an S/PDIF cable, to how data moves inside a computer is invalid.

If you were to tap into the Northbridge (or maybe the PCI bus if you are using an audio card inside the computer), and intercept the data as you played back audio, you would not be able to find anything even remotely resembling PCM. The reason is that the audio data, as part of a much greater stream of data through the bus, has been split into packets, error-correction information has been added, and then it has been transmitted across the bus. At its destination, it will feed into a buffer of some sort, where it can be attended to at the leisure of the applicable devices.

There is no space in this for jitter, excepting jitter so considerable as to result in uncorrectable errors (suffice to say, if this occurred inside your computer absolutely nothing would work). When you copy an audio file from one hard drive to another, you don't add 'jitter', regardless of what the PC is doing at the time of the copy: you're just transmitting arbitrary lumps of information, which are decoded at the other end to produce yet more lumps of arbitrary information for storage or processing. Timing isn't a problem - it's just numbers, which lack either frequency or timing information.

This procedure is preserved right up until your audio interface: the data reaching it will look nothing like PCM, and will go into a fairly sizable buffer. The jitter at your PC's output will be a function of what the audio interface does with the PCM data derived from what it receives.

Now, at this point, everything Jplay is saying above can be seen to be simply mistaken. If what they said was true, computers as we know them would be completely nonfunctional. However, I suspect either Jplay or their supporters have at some point ventured the additional argument that what the PC is doing at the time that the audio interface is doing its job (whether that audio interface is external, on the motherboard or on a PCI card) could potentially affect the cleanliness of power reaching the audio clocking circuitry.

Such a claim is again, however, pretty unsupportable. PC power supplies must abide by the ATX spec, which ensures they remain within certain reasonably stringent operational bounds (regarding rail voltage and ripple, from 10Hz to 20Mhz) regardless of what the PC is doing at the time (although audio playback is hardly a strain on most any computer from the last decade or so...). Furthermore, the audio interface doesn't take its power directly from the PSU: it will employ some sort of local regulation, and it is the quality of that local regulation which will determine the effects of any power-supply induced clocking issues.

I'm not quite sure why I'm giving this issue the benefit of the doubt so strongly when arguing against it: to date none of the manufacturers can venture any credible measurements to support their claims of lower jitter. I'm inclined to group "audiophile" media players with drawing with marker pens on CDs in the "down to the inherent unreliability of human perception" category.

Michael Lavorgna's picture

...to accept the fact that some people have tried "audiophile" media players and found that they improve the sound quality of music playback even if they cannot explain how and why this is the case. This is, at the end of the day, a hobby concerned with the enjoyment of listening to music on a hi-fi and enjoyment is not governed by ones understanding of the mechanics behind their experience.

But to write off all "audiophile" media players as a product of "the inherent unreliability of human perception" is to miss a few practical benefits most of these media players offer. The most important being automatic sample rate switching and the ability to play back FLAC and DSD files to name just two. I'd imagine that everyone would agree that bit-perfect playback is a worthwhile goal. There are also additional features that some people find useful including software-based upsampling, digital room correction, 64-bit processing for digital volume control, multi-room playback, ASIO and WASAPI support, to name just a few.

Willakan's picture

Yeah, I should have made that clearer: by including "audiophile" in inverted commas I don't mean players that are actually *useful* to audiophiles (by virtue of including such features as the ones you list), but players which promise things which they have absolutely no justification to promise (here drawing on the inverted-comma'd version of "audiophile" people employ when they talk sarcastically about cable elevators or something, I suppose :D)

The difficulty of obtaining bit-perfect playback is also, perhaps, overstated. With Windows XP's kmixer, which was prone to resample things really badly at the slightest provocation, it was more problematic, but even then it was quite possible to get bit-perfect audio out of, say, Windows Media Player. With the more sophisticated Windows Audio Service introduced from Vista onwards, it's not so much of a problem.

Finally, whilst there is perhaps an element of it being "what sounds best to you" at the end of the day, that can only be taken so far: for example, everything I know about how we hear suggests that if I were to sell an audio player which gives the appearance of providing some sort of advanced boost to audio quality (whilst keeping the audio bit-perfect, of course), whilst actually doing nothing, a percentage of users (even perhaps a majority, due to the selection bias of people trying such players and their expectations of results) would report differences - not through wilful self-delusion, but through the simple facts of human perception. Hell, under the most carefully controlled blind conditions people report differences comparing the sound of something to itself around 30% of the time (can't remember the AES paper I read that in, will look for it).

Now, if I were to charge quite heavily for such a piece of software, but provide a 100% money back gurantee to anyone who thought it didn't make a difference, would that be OK, if we're going by subjective impressions being the ones that matter? If they hear a difference where I haven't even made one, and that gives them pleasure, what's wrong with my charging for it?

You could argue that they're paying for the experience of creating the expectations of improved audio quality...I'm not saying this is a watertight argument, but it's certainly food for thought when the spectre of absolute subjectivity raises its head (which is surely what this comes down to if we cast aside why the difference is heard?). The main difference between my hypothetical player that appears to be doing something and some of the real pieces of software on sale is that the sellers of the real stuff perhaps believe their own sales pitch.

PS: I have actually tried JPlay - I even ran some tests on it, with both ears and software. I found it to produce no difference in audio, which is not surprising considering the software I used found that exactly the same data was being sent to the audio interface as with any other bit-perfect player - and as discussed above they can't simply cry "Jitter!" and instantly cast everything into uncertainty.

Michael Lavorgna's picture

Now, if I were to charge quite heavily for such a piece of software, but provide a 100% money back gurantee to anyone who thought it didn't make a difference, would that be OK, if we're going by subjective impressions being the ones that matter? If they hear a difference where I haven't even made one, and that gives them pleasure, what's wrong with my charging for it?

This is not something I'd want to devote my time to so from a personal perspective, no I do not think it's OK. But is it something within the realm of possibility? Sure. Whether I think that's OK or not is of no consequence. And if I'm going to spend my time policing other people's activities, I can think of much more serious matters to concern myself with. 

But to address your question in another way, if a given product provides a consistent and lasting perceived difference and that difference adds to the enjoyment of listening to music on a hi-fi I don't see a problem. People pay extra for "upgraded" finish options on hi-fi gear and I don't find any fault in that choice either.

prerich45's picture

I'm a JRiver fanboy....I mean really!  I love that product, and I will continue to use it and buy it.  However, I can't condone it's actions by placing the warning in the software. If any of the JRiver people are out there reading this, my advise would be to let JRiver stand on its own merit. You don't need to put a warning out - foobar as well.  You will lose customers behind this action.

I actually tried Jplay for about three days about a year ago and I took it off of my machine. My reasoning was I didn't want to give up that bit of convinence for my preceived slight audio improvement (to me there is a slight improvement).

If people want to add JPlay to JRiver or Foobar - to each his own.  Let your products stand on their own merit. 

deftoejam's picture

...since I first tried jplay:

- I discovered that my initial conclusion that things sounded different (and better) with jplay was a combination of a flawed setup, flawed testing, and flawed conclusions by me.

- Jplay was killing my computer: the thermal load by jplay jacking the CPU and shutting down my cooling fan was going to destroy it, and jplay made it clear they felt no liability for such damage.  Getting my money back for buying jplay won't even come close to covering the inevitable damages.  People who post that their computers were damaged seem to have their posts very quickly removed from the jplay site.

- I wasn't pleased to see they misappropriated trademarks and intellectual property until publically called out

[unsupported legal claims deleted. Ed.]

- I found the jplay developers' responses to what appear to be scientifically rigorous tests to be insulting to even my limited intelligence through their heavy use of logical fallacies, inconsistent, evasive, self-contradictory responses completely devoid of any rigorous test results to back up anything they claim.  They even admit to not have tested against what they claim as design goals they claim to have achieved!

I don't care how all of that is characterized as "scam", "hoax" or "to each his own", but I'm just glad I seem to have gotten all of the jplay stuff off my computer before it died, and thankful my natural gullibility and desire for something magical did not separate me from my money and a working computer.

Michael Lavorgna's picture

I've deleted your references to apparently non-existent forum posts and their claims since this does not even qualify as hearsay since you did not provide a reference and even if you did a forum post is hardly credible evidence for the serious nature of the claims you made.

Pages

X
Enter your AudioStream username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.
Loading