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cMP² = cMP + cPlay

Welcome to cMP², the equation that matters.

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These free open source projects are briefly described below. Use adjacent links to get started. Latest (and most current) optimisations are described here. Please ignore optimisations referred within forums as these are either work in progress or already addressed here.

cPlay (cics Play)

cPlay delivers high quality audio playback using ASIO 2. Playback is achieved using any ASIO compatible soundcard. cPlay is a minimalist audio player using the latest high quality SRC resampler (Best Sinc SNR 145.68db or 121.33db) or SoX (VHQ or HQ). cPlay’s design offers state-of-the-art ASIO-only playback and caters for touch screen users.

Why audio players sound different is a very relevant question? Software Induced Jitter is an advanced subject that explains such sound differences experienced by listeners. Other reasons include software errors (bugs) and/or the level of precision used. In the absence of bugs and using high precision throughout, it is jitter that dictates audio quality.

Setup and use is easy. cPlay operates on Windows XP, Vista or 7.

cMP (cics Memory Player)

High-end audio systems are usually unashamedly expensive – they can cost many tens of thousands of dollars. A key part of a modern system is the CD transport, the device that reads Compact Discs and presents a digital signal for conversion into a musical output. The best of these are magnificently engineered and perform superbly but can cost as much as US$20,000.

Computerised audio dominates the recording and professional music world but has made fewer inroads into the domestic reproduction of music. However, there has been increasing interest over the past year or two in the use of desktop computers as an alternative to CD Transports for high-quality music playback. Such devices have been termed PC-based CD Transports or Computer Transports. CDs are accurately copied (‘ripped’) onto hard disk and played back through a DAC using appropriate software. In audiophile terms, results range from the acceptable to the excellent but few would dispute that good solutions are either expensive or the preserve of hobbyists prepared to experiment at length with a bewildering range of variables.

This site describes an open source audio construction project called the cics Memory Player (a name derived from its instigator’s nom de plume, cics). It describes how to build and configure a PC system costing around $1,000 (including a quality soundcard and case) that does not merely match but exceeds the performance of the very best CD transports.

The project evolved over 3 years and was tested at each stage by members of a PC audio Internet forum. It is now settled enough to justify publishing a site. Central to the project are two new freeware programs written by cics. The first is a replacement for the Windows XP shell (Explorer) called cMP which reduces system overheads (‘bloat’) and configures Windows for optimal audio playback. Second is a music player called cPlay. Its place in an already crowded market is justified by a minimalist approach to quality reproduction, radical run-time OS configuration changes, RAM-based playback and integration with a 24-bit/192-kHz-capable upsampler with a signal-to-noise ratio of 145.68 db. (Audio DACs increasingly accept 24/192 data.)

Tests described below suggest that it is bit-perfect and capable of delivering signals with what is believed to be the unprecedently low jitter value of 51ps Jpp RSS.

Realising performance levels as high as this demands the careful selection and configuration of components such as the motherboard, processor, power supply and housing and calls for a meticulous configuration of the operating system to prune it of all but essential components. These issues are discussed in detail. Building a computerised transport can be daunting but the text is based on the experience of building several working systems. The reader needs basic, but not expert, computer knowledge. It is not essential to master the material in Chapters 2 to 4 though beginners at least should find that they repay careful reading.

The project is ongoing but systems built to date suggest that the design goals are being achieved. Others are invited to join the project to develop the UI, offer additional facilities and so on. It is hoped that this site will provide background material for this.

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Page last modified on May 07, 2010, at 10:00 PM