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cMP - the open source high-end Memory Player

41.183.0.21

Posted on December 30, 2007 at 05:42:01
cics
Audiophile

Posts: 1317
Joined: November 9, 2006
cMP

The open source high-end Memory Player

December 2007

Music delivery is perfected. cMP (cics Memory Player) delivers memory playback (without RAMDisk or other utilities) thereby eliminating disk interference during playback.

In creating cMP, its critical objective was the implementation of fundamental designs that:

  1. Remove disk traffic interference during playback without having the inconvenience of manually loading files into a virtual RAM drive, etc..
  2. Ensure time critical sample delivery to the external DAC. Streaming of samples from precision upsampled (to 24/96) sound buffers to the soundcard must be fast, lean and mean! There's no room for any bottlenecks or overheads here, otherwise we risk increasing jitter and compromise Bit Transparency.
  3. Provide better power supply and remove the need for a ferrite core on the mouse connection.
  4. Provide flexibility to choose any player (Foobar2000, Winamp etc.).
  5. Further minimize the Windows footprint to that more optimal than XP's Embedded SP2 operating system as used in large scale commercial applications. This provides the foundation for the 2nd design goal.
  6. Offer a CD/DVD-ROM drive without impacting sound quality.
  7. Offer proper remote usability as locating that mouse cursor from a distance is cumbersome.
  8. Contain costs but also allow for a complete elegant one box solution.

Such designs in theory should render a stunning sonic experience. Its implementation however was a massive challenge. Did this theory meet the sonic expectations? Yes as evidenced in cMP's bit perfect performance and ultra low jitter.

How does it sound? The most descriptive word that comes to mind is emotional. cMP's sonic purity is truly profound. It grips those musical lines across any genre with remarkable precision. Soundstage improves, there's better layering and even more ambient information. Bass is tighter, with natural vocals & instruments.

FRONT



BACK



More pictures and screenshots are available from the cMP documentation link provided below.

FEEDBACK

Pre-release testing by music lovers located all over the world yielded further insight and perfection of cMP.

  • A music lover based in the US with limited or no computer training:

    This has been a great way to learn about computers in addition to making something very useful for enjoying music.

    Compared to my ###### (read expensive high-end traditional CD transport), even with some tweaking and learning left to do, this sounds much better. Dynamic, yet relaxed (effortless?).

    I started listening last night at 7:00 and had to force myself to go to bed at twelve. Amazing spaciousness. It is truly getting close to GREAT analog and is much better than average analog already. It is simply amazing.

    I found your instructions easy to follow ONCE I understood what I was being told to do. To repeat, I have never done anything like this before, so your instructions were clear without resorting to "hand holding". I think the process was easier than you warned. I kept saying to myself, "that wasn't so bad!"

    After cMP:

    My only audio friends are very analogue-centric. Sometime in January I am going to have them over to audition the cMP. I think they are going to be amazed. Of course, I am confident that JULI@ is going to be the icing on the cake. If this takes the whole thing another step closer I think they will be grateful that one can enjoy listening to CD's as much as LP's. Of course, in many ways your approach does things even LP's cannot do. It is becoming a toss-up, but the best kind; one can enjoy either one equally well!

  • A music lover based in Europe with more than 2000 CDs:

    the quality of sound reproduction is quite amazing. My motivation for building was that I am not wealthy and could never dream of, let alone buy, a high-end CD player. Even this project was considerably more than I could properly afford and I began it with some trepidation. But it's been well worth it.

    After cMP:

    I spent several hours last night testing the latest cMP. I did several A/B runs with cMP on the one hand and Foobar launched via old batch files and reading direct from disk on the other. There is no doubt in my mind that the sound using cMP is a significant improvement even with my modest setup.

    The quality is quite stunning, significantly better than previous. (My partner agrees with this - she's no audio junkie but she is an informed music lover.)

  • A music lover based in Australia:

    I have been wanting to relay to you my own experience with your methods and give you some feedback . So far, I have found your approach produces very good results so I must convey to you my thanks and appreciation. At some point soon I will formalise my thoughts and send them to you or post them. I believe what you have done has become an excellent resource/asset to people interested in PC Audio.


FEATURES

  1. Disk traffic interference during playback is eliminated. Advanced RAM playback is based on available physical RAM (as reported by Task Manager or Process Explorer). This means up to 4GB (XP's limit) can be used allowing for 24/192 RAM playback. Recommendation is to use 1GB RAM (which yields available physical RAM of ~830MB - enough for any CD at 16/44.1). cMP achieves memory playback via the system cache and not through a simulated virtual drive. This approach removes Windows disk I/O overheads (irrespective of whether disk is physical or virtual) hence, it's more optimal.

  2. Extensive Windows & Player (Foobar2000 or other) optimizations yielding much lower jitter and bit perfect delivery. System level optimizations are done at runtime (which cannot be achieved using .bat files and utilities like Process Explorer). cMP is designed to work with 32 CPU cores!

  3. Open architecture. cMP allows for any player to be used: Foobar2000, XXHighEnd, Winamp etc. (player just needs to handle .cue files like foobar2000 otherwise play entire .wav). Any ripper software can be used (as long as it conforms to .cue single file standard like those created by EAC). Additional flexibility is provided, for example use cMP to drive your HTPC playing any movie from any genre (a .cue file for each .iso file is needed).

  4. All .cue files are processed by cMP which means the player focuses only on playing the CD. In Foobar2000, the album list control component is not needed. In techno speak this is called separation of concerns.

  5. Power delivery to the mobo is improved by further reducing interference. The need for a ferrite core is removed.

  6. Full function remote control using a wireless mouse is achieved. Your entire library can be navigated: play any CD, eject it, jump to any track or change volume. This is achieved using just ONE mouse button: the Wheel! Use the mouse as a normal one (left-click) or hold it in your hand (like a remote control) and wheel away using your thumb. Of course other buttons are used for more convenience. There's no need to find that tiny mouse cursor and left click! (You can still do this if needed).

  7. Your entire library that you so diligently ripped is fully compatible with cMP. No proprietary / lock-in stuff here which forces you to re-rip. Just point cMP to your music folders containing .cue and .wav files (or flac or other). cMP supports any content file as long as cue files are defined for them. For flac content files, the known EAC bug of adding an additional .flac suffix to the content file's name must be removed (otherwise your cue's content file directive will not be found).

  8. CD/DVD-ROM drive is implemented without compromising playback quality. For the purist, this can be unplugged without opening computer or rebooting.

Bottom line: cMP is a (one box) highly advanced memory player that's easy to setup and use. cMP's core strength lies in newly developed operating system software components (built in c/c++) that uses XP SP 2 as a foundation. Windows Explorer is done away with while cMP takes over and more. Bit perfect delivery is achieved yielding an ultra high resolution of more than 23.5 bits (a limitation in measuring instruments prevents measuring cMP's perfect resolution). DAC's have yet to achieve this resolution (as a minimum of 141db SNR is needed)! For cMP's bit perfect measurements, see (Bit Perfect Measurement & Analysis ).


GETTING STARTED

Visit cicsMemoryPlayer.com where you'll find detailed easy to follow instructions and much more.

Ensuring clean AC power delivery to equipment is very important. For DAC, pre-amp and amplifiers, use a dedicated AC circuit. For source equipment, use another AC circuit as this is where cMP's main PSU should be powered from. Use another less important AC circuit for powering cMP's 2nd dirty power inlet. Use of quality power cords and line conditioners is recommended.


Special thanks to those that provided such brilliant feedback and suggestions during pre-release testing. cMP's software is at version 1.0b as more feedback is desired. Your input, insights, criticisms, experiences and suggestions all help.

Thank you.

 

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