Why do audiophiles like HQ Player?

#1

I just don’t get why audiophiles like HQPlayer. Seems to me that if the goal of audiophiles is “transparency”, and HQPlayer helped with that, then it wouldn’t need so many filter options.

I’ve been told the many filters are due to different DACs. So, I have a Wolfson WM8524 192/24. What should I use?

Which HQP Filter are you using?
(Andrew Cox) #2

Electronics is about compromises. All the filters in HQP make different compromises in various ways. There is no one “right” filter in the same way that there is no one “right” speaker. Read the CA threads in this post. It may be that another user can tell you what their experience has been with your DAC, but ultimately you need to listen to them.

Some of the filters in HQP have been included for completeness in order to demonstrate what particular things sound like and are not recommended for universal use. I’d suggest listening to the ones I’ve described above and then letting us know what you think.

(danny2) #3

DACs also have filters. So transparency or lack thereof isn’t the issue. The difference is that HQP gives you the ability to try different ones and use the ones that sound best to you. You have to try some and see what you like. Different people like different ones, even on the same DAC.

I prefer the poly-sinc mp filters in general. I listen mostly to Jazz and Rock, some Classical. I will have to experiment more when listening to Classical, as it may sound better with a different type of filter.

#4

Sounds like what we use to do in the 1970s with an equalizer.

(Andrew Cox) #5

It’s more like different RIAA curves.

Edit: Different phono stages is a better simile. A reconstruction filter can also shift noise from the ADC conversion into inaudible frequencies, in which case it is known as an apodising filter.

The aim of audio digital signal processing remains transparency or fidelity to the “original signal”, but there are different ways of going about it.

(danny2) #6

It’s not like filters and equalizers. Again all DACs have built in filters, and for the most part we are unaware of them. To create an analog signal from a digital one, you have to employ some kind of filter.

What HQP actually shows is that when we talk about the sound of a DAC, we are actually often talking about the sound of the filters with our systems.

Unlike John above, I’m using poly-sinc-shrt-mp and loving the sound. Different system, different DAC, different ears. YMMV.

#7

I get that DACs have filters and that is part of what we are hearing. From what I understand HQP bypasses the DAC’s filters by upsampling to the DAC’s maximum and then applying it’s own filters to the music. So, we’re just exchanging one set of filters for another. Seems to me there would be a transparent filter that wouldn’t alter the bits. If that isn’t possible, it seems tome that when one uses HQP one is just trusting Miska’s filters over the one chosen by the designer of the DAC. One of my many questions is, why?

(Andrew Cox) #8

There is a difference between a theoretical filter curve and the real life implementation of that curve. The filters in HQP all have names and descriptions that can be looked up if you are interested in signal processing.

Miska/Jussi’s filters have two advantages:

  • They run on a general purpose computer, rather than the less powerful dedicated hardware in a DAC. His closed form FIR interpolator has 16,000 taps (delay line series module equivalents) compared to 2,048 in the Chord WTA filter;

  • They are designed by an audio enthusiast with extensive experience in signal processing (including SONAR).

Now you can read all about signal processing or Jussi’s professional experience online, but isn’t the real answer to this discussion to try the free trial and see how it sounds to you ?

#9

I am in the midst of the free trial. The range of choices and the stark differences in the sound they produce left me wanting and reminded me of the equalizers of days past. Listening to music is supposed to fun. I want what I play to sound as close to what the artist intended, and I can’t see how HQP helps with either.

(Andrew Cox) #10

Ok then, you’ve tried it out and HQP is not for you. It’s not for everyone and the reasons you give are sensible. Let’s all continue to enjoy Roon in different ways :grinning:

(danny2) #11

I’m sort of thinking you don’t actually understand the function of the filter.
Yes, we’re exchanging one set of filters for another. And no, there is no such thing as a transparent filter. The bits have to be turned into analog, therefore there is always a filter that has certain sound characteristics.
One isn’t just trusting Miska, one is listeining and deciding what one likes best. Miska has extensive experience in the field and spends more time designing filters and listening to them than other designers. So it’s certainly possible his filters are superior to those found in most DACs. Remember, most DACs have 1-3 standard filters in a chip. Miska gives you multiple options you can adjust in software,and power that software with a much more powerful processor than found in any DAC. So he can offer somethings that DACs can’t.

Whether this gets you closer to what the artist intended is a question you have to answer; but there is no reason to assume HQP can’t do it as well or better than a DAC.

But in the end, if you don’t enjoy his approach, don’t use it.

1 Like
#12

I may not understand it. What does “superior filters” mean when it comes to manipulating music? Seems to me it is a subjective choice as to which filter sounds “best”.

I’ve asked the question several times which filter in HQP would make my DAC sound it’s best. No one appears to be able to answer that because it is a subjective choice.

Seems like Miska has provided filters that a lot of people like more than those in hardware. It makes the music sound better to their subjective ears. It may sound “better” to mine, too. Just like food that is salted tastes “better”, too. Same for butter.

At some point we are listening to the filter and not the music. And tasting the salt and butter instead of the food they grace.

(David Orgel) #13

Not “at some point” but always. There’s just no converting digital to analog (or vice versa) without filters (er, in a way that would sound good to anyone).

It seems like you’re assuming that the filter(s) in your DAC are superior to any of those in HQP. As others have said, if you like one or more filters built into your DAC better than any of those in HQP, that’s fine, but there’s really no reason to assume they’re empirically better than Miska’s; it’s actually easier to make the case that Miska’s are better, for reasons enumerated above.

(Daniel Beyer) #14

Just to clarify. That is where CHORD started. The Hugo has 26,638 taps in the FIR interpolator. Not sure about the 2qute but I believe it is the same. the DAVE dac on teh other hand has even more.

(Daniel Beyer) #15

The question is whether or not your DAC applies its filter on top of what it is fed from HQP. In this instance you are hearing the result of both HQP and the DAC’s filters applied.

#16

Yep. That is why I have been asking about the best HQP filter to use with my DAC.

(Daniel Beyer) #17

I see that you use a Wolfson, but what product is it in?

#18

I don’t think you mean that. I usually don’t hear folks admit they listen to the equipment and not the music. You’re missing out on a lot if that’s the case.

I’m not assuming any filters are superior. I tend to believe that bits are bits and that all audio equipment is a subjective choice, and the filters are a small part of that. I obviously realize that lossy digital formats are inferior to lossless, but I am not convinced of either the superiority of vinyl, high res or DSD, though I am open to that, thus I want to give HQP a try since it up samples outside of the DAC. I do think that could make a positive difference, but needing to choose the appropriate filter for my DAC (and my Mac Mini’s processing power) is a bit out of reach for me, or at least I am not interested in the tedious trial and error that would be needed. My system needs to be simple enough for the family to use. HQP doesn’t fit that bill, at least as far as I can tell.

Music is something I enjoy listening to. Equipment isn’t.

#19

It’s in a PS Audio Sprout.

(Andrew Cox) #20

This was a question I had and have never seen an adequate answer. Why are the HQP and DAC filters not additive ? Is it something that varies with DAC design ?