Wow Windows Vista sounds sooo much better

I just installed Vista. I was not happy with the sound I was getting from my benchmark dac1. This thing got such great reviews but it never sounded right to me. It was way to soft with some voices and drums. Like there was this huge suckout. It drove me nuts. Certain ranges were way to low and behind a vail. I knew this coundn't be right. I could never get into the music enough.

Foobar2000 and Asio was better than not having it. But not what it should be. I did every thing. I did the whole asio, kernal streaming, asio4all, bitmatched, etc. Checked all settings. Tried different digital cables. Messed with EVERYTHING in my drivers and foobar2000.

As a last ditch effort before selling the DAC I thought I'd try Windows Vista. After all I knew Microsoft completely revamped its audio section. No more k-mixer was the big plus. Sounded good on paper anyway.... but lets see if it was truely implemented well.

I get home, install Vista (clean install). Go through all the settings first. Turn off any extra junk that comes turned on with the x-fi drivers.

Went to windows settings.... how pleasantly surprised to find setting for 24 bit, 96 khz setting (and any other settings too).

Went to foobar2000... how pleasantly surprised to find an option for "spdif out". That option allows for direct by-pass now. No longer routing through anything in windows. I tried this but it was full blast. I needed a volume control though. Again pleasantly surprised that using windows Vista volume sounds just as amazing. No loss in quality what so ever.

I no longer need any special asio drivers, or kernal streamers or any of that junk. I can now use all my audio and video apps and have just as great of sound.

I'm really floored what a difference Vista makes. All the power and dynamics and soundstage is there. Just how it should sound. A big thumbs up to microsoft for fixing all tha was wrong with xp's sound. I highly recommend upgrading. Thumbs up!
WOW Once again Windows is getting close to what MAC has done for years! Yahoo!!

Sorry, but many MAC folks will harp in with similar replies.....
Thats nice but 99 percent of the people on the planet use windows and a PC. So to make like my post has no value is really unnecessary. And I prefer using windows much more. My other option would be to duel boot with linux if Vista didn't give the sound quality I needed.
Sounds like Microshaft is finally getting it together.
Actually it's closer to 94% but......
Hello Kacz,
How is your PC connected to the Benchmark? Thanks for your post.
Great news, I'm still with Foobar/ASIO for now...something to look forward to when I get a new computer.

Thats nice but 99 percent of the people on the planet use windows and a PC.

That's too bad...

...very sad indeed.

...they'll catch up someday. Glad to hear they're taking steps in the right direction.


What version of Vista is required to achieve this?

A quick look at Staples suggests there are several versions, from about $99-250.00

Glad to hear this solves all the k-mixer, driver etc problems which continued to baffle and annoy me.

I, too, use Windows and although I hate to further enrich Bill Gates, I was never able to get comfortable switching.

A few hours in the Apple store revealed that the conversion is really not yet as straightforward as the ads suggest.

So Apple maniacs confess! How many of you secretly hate authority, all big business, and Republicans?

(Oh and thanks again for letting me know what version of Vista achieves this.)
So Apple maniacs confess! How many of you secretly hate authority, all big business, and Republicans?

I'd say around 99%....thanks for asking!

I admire your ability to say that.

Just wanted to clarify that there is more to the argument than the superiority of the operating system.
So Apple maniacs confess! How many of you secretly hate authority, all big business, and Republicans?

It's no secret. It should be no surprise that we'd question other things that don't work well, are inefficient, and or leave a whole lot of room for improvement... not just PC's!

If it is true that Republicans fall in line while Democrats fall in love(with or not with our candidates) then it is easy to understand why we like our Apple computers.

No, really....I am pleased that Microsoft has noticed that people want to get more from an operating system...
Rush Limbaugh is (or was) a Mac head.
Rush Limbaugh most definitely is a Mac Head.
Rush Limbaugh is a man of many heads.
I was pleasantly surprised with Vista's sound too, clear and dynamic unlike on XP. I have a Chaintech AV-710 and AKG headphones with Vista drivers. I tried the Envy beta drivers but couldn't get them to work.
I agree the Vista does sound better than XP. Not sure if it is better than the USB-ASIO driver.The Vista USB DAC direct may have the edge. Hopefully the Vista version will be out soon, so I can do some real comparisons.

I do prefer the DS: USB output over the spdif direct to DAC. The outboard conversion still has the edge by a fair amount.

Using the 24/48 kHz output upsampled by SRC to 96 kHz, the sound is full bodied.
This Vista Ultimate is packed with so many features I almost don't have time to listen!lol Too much to play with..simply unbelievable.

I can't get the ASIO4all or other ASIO free wares to work with foobar. They do work with Winamp.

Good listening!
OK guys. Tomorrow I install Vista. I'm interested to see how it works with my Wavelength Crimson USB DAC. The USB-ASIO driver for Vista has not been released yet. I'm also interested to see if The Burwen Bobcat works well with Vista.

Just in case, I have XP Pro installed on my 2nd hard drive.

My MacBook Pro may have some competition. But Apple should be updating their OSX soon.

See what the traditional CD crowd is missing!
Any know the release date for Vista's service pack 1? :)
It all depends if a service pack is needed. I understand that Vista will mostly do regular updates. My Vista installation is solid, and has also benefited from Norton 360, some of the best software I have ever used. I can believe myself saying good things about Norton, after years of running away from it as from the devil!

"I get home, install Vista (clean install). Go through all the settings first. Turn off any extra junk that comes turned on with the x-fi drivers."

Could someone walk the new users through the lean mean install of Vista for maximum audio performance?

I am especially interested in turning off "extra junk", so if you have cracked the code here, please do tell.
I'm no expert, but I have been playing with the Vista intensely.Assuming you use a DAC.

First off go into your Sound Devices in the right hand corner of the screen. Make your USB DAC the primary device.Click on the DAC that's enabled and go into properties. Make sure use this device is selected at the bottom of this page.

Go to enhancements. Disable all enhancements.
Go to Advanced and set the output at 16bit/ 44kHz.
Check both exclusive modes.
1)Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device.
2)Give exclusive mode applications priority.

Apply setting. Go back to the Main sound device page.
Click on your on board sound card in playback devices.
Go to properties> general.
Select "Don't use this device(disable)".

Foobar so far seems to be the best playback software with Vista for me. I've tried two versions. The latest version 9.4.2. allows the plugin for kernal streaming.This will give you more selections in the output section. Preferably KS:USB DAC.
The version 0.8.3 doesn't allow the use of this plugin.

I noticed that I can still control the volume on Winamp and Foobar 0.8.3 through the windows sound mixer controls. Not so with Foobar 0.9.2 using KS:USB DAC as the output.

You'll notice with the Vista audio there are no problems with running your screen saver. No popping are pausing of the music when the screen saver comes up.

Correction if you get the 3.63 plugin for Winamp kernal streamimg. It will allow you similar operations as Foobar KS: USB DAC.

Hope this helps a little
Here is a post (#39) of David A. Hoatson, co-founder of Lynx Studio Technology on :

Vista will work just fine if you are only using ASIO, since that bypasses everything Microsoft. If you do use the WDM driver (MME/DirectSound/Direct Kernel Streaming), then you are forced to use Microsoft components, and there are some new limitations with Vista.
The biggest problem at the moment revolves around sample rate support with Vista. Vista wants to be in complete control of the sample rate. That means that any application that used to set the sample rate by itself (CoolEdit Pro comes to mind), can no longer do so. The user must manually set the sample rate in the Audio Control Panel for the device in use. This also means that if you are clocking externally, as soon as the external sample rate changes you must also go into the Audio Control Panel and set the same rate there, otherwise you will not get audio. Some audio cards may get around this limitation with a driver rewrite (the code changes required are not easy), while others may decide that pro audio users really will just use ASIO and leave it at that.

Another issue has to do with device naming. Microsoft completely changed where the device names come from, and Vista the names of the devices by itself (with XP, the driver had complete control over how devices were named). This presents an interesting issue when dealing with a pro audio card that is also used for high-end home theater applications. To allow multi-channel playback for DVDs, the device must be named "Speakers" otherwise Vista simply won't present the Speaker Configuration to let the user select how many speakers they have. In a multi-card configuration, you end up with multiple devices all named "Speakers" which can be confusing to the user.
Just when I thought someone had tamed this beast....
A new version Of ASIO4All is available for download now Version 2.8 BETA 1. Comparing it to the KS: USB DAC output in Foobar.It sounds basically the same too me. So take your pick.

Since I only use this PC for two channel using a USB DAC. I have no concerns. I can run mutli channels from the spdif output if need be. The Vista is sounding terrific none the less.

I just received my USB+Paradisea today. The sound is open and lush. I could spend the entire day listening and never become fatigued by this sound.

Good listening
I was supposed to get a free express upgrade to Vista as a rebate for my new Sony VAIO.

It seems, however, that I have missed the deadline.

Now, I see that there are several versions of Vista.

Can someone please explain -- which version would be best to buy if a) I dont have monstrous amounts of RAM and b) my main concern is streaming WAV files to an external DAC?

Thank you.
here is how my three week old $1500 duocore computer sounded:


That was after a fatal error that froze the computer beyond repair.

BanG Bang Bang. That is my Vista computer after I returned it and it was scrapped.
i think this is the anwser,a lot of audiophiles are making it too this and doing to many things to get the sound.using vista i too am getting great sound.using an outside dac does'nt have to be that complacated.and i am using window media to rip the cd' i will ask this,can i get better sound using another ripping software such as foobar.
I like DBpoweramp myself for ripping. It does sound much better than using WMP to rip the music. Give it a try.

Not complicated at all from where I sit. Vista into USB DAC using Foobar no upsampling. It is very simple and sounds wonderful too my ears.
Let's not forget that this forum is AUDIOgon not CONVENIENCEgon, or UNCOMPLICATEDgon.

We have already established in many other threads that EAC - Exact Audio Copy - is the benchmark for bit perfect rips.

Obviously, an outboard, audiophile DAC of your choice is going to be better than a PC sound card or PC friendly DAC.

So we just need - please - to understand which version and what settings to use on Vista.




I'd like to hear Vista, I only have XP. I started playing around with a Linux operating system the other day (UBUNTU)'s free.

It sounds better than my XP with all the extra tweeks (exact audio copy, foobar, asio). I've now moved my XP drive to "slave" and installed "UBUNTU linux" on another hard drive as my primary boot drive...I think "LINUX operating system" is pretty cool at this point....(3 days in).

I may not even upgrade to VISTA?...although I will give it a listen as soon as I get a chance.

"So we just need - please - to understand which version and what settings to use on Vista."

Set Vista to upsample to 24/96 and use an RME Fireface to
connect to an external DAC.
If you use a usb dac you bypass the vista and sound card settings.i am using a usb interface then to a deqx dac.i am getting great sound from this setup.i ahve a sound card with coaxial digital out but did not get to compare it to the usb.
What's the set up? using internal sound card?

using external USB converter? is user Benchmark USB version?
Gotsouldr -

What's the power source on the USB converter? If its powered by the USB bus, then that's your problem. If its an external power source, see if you can upgrade it to a linear power supply. Boulder Cable in CO does this sort of stuff and they built me one for my Trends UD-10 and it made a world of difference (sounds the same as the battery source I had, WAY better than PC power).

I am just learning why people pay so much for clean power... it's necessary if you want the best sound.

I would also try a jitter reduction unit. I use a MSB digital director. Once you hear it, you don't want to go back.

Taker easy!

Just when I thought the mist was clearing....

I have been struggling with this puzzle for quite some time now - to try and get closer to PC perfection, I continue to use EAC to rip uncompressed WAV files.

At the suggestion of another Audiogon thread, I probably overpaid for a Hagerman Technology USB interface box, which has a SPDIF out connection.

To not blow the budget completely, I picked up a used DAC to use with my desktop system - an Audio Research DAC 5 which outputs analogue to the preamp.

So far, it all sounds surprisingly good.

The midrange and top end are smoother than expected, but the sound lacks a bit of weight (bass?) and the image is a bit flat and lacking in depth, compared to real disks and my Sony SCD-1.

So Kana813 thank to you at last for the clear simple explanation to upgrade to Vista.

But now I need to worry about my USB powered interface and/or change to a firewire setup?
You don't need to change your USB interface with Vista,
but it may not pass 24/96, so you couldn't use Vista's upsampler.
"ou don't need to change your USB interface with Vista,
but it may not pass 24/96, so you couldn't use Vista's upsampler."

One should NOT just accept that 24/96 upsampling will always sound better. Quite honestly, in most of the lower quality DAC implementations this is quite the opposite.

Simply adding random bits doesn't always contribute to the transfer of information from the analog input signal to the digital out, thus carrying no sonic content. Because ultimately the criteria for quality of the converter bits depends wholly on the converter linearity, and with a linear circuit this will insure proper transfer from input to output. Thus retaining the sonic detail and benefits of up converted bits.

In the end the technical difficulty of retaining the linearity grows with each additional bit added, particularly when dealing with everyday engineering formulas and standards. In production-based implementations like the aforementioned equipment, with commodity based DAC chips, this is often the case, with a sonic result that does not sound anything close to music.
"One should NOT just accept that 24/96 upsampling will always sound better."

One should not comment on things they haven't heard.
thats funny, cause I own an upsampling player in my home theater system. But maybe you interested in stopping-by to blow the dust of it for it me? Oh no wait...My Cosecant does that daily.

Nice try though. : )

You really need to learn how to read.

My comments to Cwlondon were about using Vista's upsampler, which you haven't tried.

Have a nice day.
Hello Kacz,

Yes I do believe and agree with you that Vista sound better than XP Pro. PC or Mac it does not matter as well as you know how to operate right? I have both PC and Mac- Vista and Leopard X. I compared PC and Mac on sound only. And YES MAC/Leopard will give you much much better sound than PC/Vista. I don't know that you are agree with me or not but that what I compared and that what I heard. I would not mind to tell you that I'm very fresh to MAC and I have posted my question on Gon to get help from our Fans. I used PC since I was in hi-school and college. I'm very dummy on MAC but after I switch to MAC for "Sound" it gave me a very big impress about MAC. And now as I owned one and learn about it I love it.
Hey, I don't mean to hi-jack this thread... but I have a relevant question. I am about to buy a squeezebox and am running XP. Would it be advantageous to upgrade to vista for this as well? Will the digital audio quality streaming through the squeezebox software also be affected?

That would be sad if vista would be advantageous... because I had Vista... and it strongly resembled dried zebra feces under a file of flies in a dry field in africa. I'm a filmmaker and all my editing software ran like garbage compared to XP... with 4 gigs of fast RAM. So, now I'm back to XP.
xp is fine with Squeezebox. Slimserver sends the file via network to squeezebox player. Squeezebox does all processing on the music file. The pc doesn't do anything other than act as a server.
Rush Limbaugh is (or was) a Mac head.

I thought he is (or was) a pill head?

Rush Limbaugh is a man of many heads.

Don't you mean to say "Rush Limbaugh is a man of many chins?"

In any case, my experience with Vista and sound quality isn't terribly great so far. I still experience a lot of stuttering and other sound issues, especially if I multi-task. I use XP still on my two channel system, since I don't want to bother with all the Vista sound issues.

If I weren't so into PC gaming, I would just use a Mac as a music server. It is a much more efficient and elegantly designed GUI (graphical user interface) compared to any Windows OS (operating system). There is more finesse in the interface design IME. Unfortunately, there are not as many games for the Mac and I can't easily upgrade the components to keep it up to date as a top of the line gaming system...
Yeah. I use Mac at home and PC at work. Yes, PCs have lots of neat software available that is not written for Mac.

Still, whenever it is available for Mac it just runs so much better.