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Bug Head Player

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jls001

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Recently I came across references on forums to this esoteric audio player built by a Japanese gentleman. People who are using various players including foobar, JRiver, JPlay, Audirvana, etc were raving about how much better it sounds than all of these. Intrigued, I installed the program and have been experimenting and enjoying for some days now.

Starting a new thread for sharing setup advices and optimisation tips of the Bug Head/Infinity Blade audio player.

First of all, here's the download link for the latest build of the application:

Bug head

Choose the version 5.24 (10.4 MB file). On installing it will install Bug Head, Bug Head SQ, Infinity Blade, Infinity Blade SQ, and a couple of other programs.

Requirements:
1) 64 bit operating system
2) support of ASIO driver. Latest version no longer supports WASAPI.
3) RAM recommended is very high (32 GB), but you can make it work even on 4 GB by limiting processing. But at least 8 GB is desirable.
4) processor capable of four hyperthreads is recommended. Higher clock speed is a bonus. But even a dual core processor with no hyperthreading will work with the usual reduction in processing. This issue will be explained further.

Caveats:
1) the UI (user interface) is cluttered, looks like a fairly primitive MS-DOS era program interface, has lots and lots of user selectable choices/settings, each of which does something to the final sound. It is therefore confusing where to begin. So when in doubt, start with a lower setting (e.g. Level 3 instead of going to much higher level like Level 7). One can increment the steps/levels as one understands what the initially chosen level does to the sound.
2) there is no real English language manual to speak of. Most of it is in Japanese, with only a tiny section translated into English. So there is hardly any explanation of the meaning or consequences of menu choices. So one needs to experiment to find out the optimal settings, subject to one's available memory and processing power.
3) outside of Remote Desktop type remote control, there is no remote control app for Android or IOS devices.
4) There are hidden menus.

A couple of references in other forums:

Infinity Blade HQ (Bug Head Emperor) worth trying - Page 4 - Computer Audio - JPLAY - hi-end audio player for Windows


http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f11-software/bughead-emperor-19966/index4.htmlScreenshots:

Screenshots and setup instructions follows:

1) This is the initial screen of Infinity Blade SQ.



Click on the image for larger image. Click on setup.

2) It will take you to this screen:



Bug Head recognizes the available ASIO drivers. For example, it recognizes the ASIO driver of my sound card. The ASIO driver for JRiver is also recognized but is not selectable. So if you're using, let's say, an USB or SPDIF DAC with correct ASIO driver, that will get displayed.

3) Click on the driver to configure further as shown in next screen shot:



The menu in red are selected. Those in blue are not selected. On the left half of the screen I usually enable menu items 3 & 4, use phase correction A, and also enable menu items 9 & 10. 6, 7 and 8 are not supported by my computer.

On the right half of the screen, I usually select menu 4 for Upsampling upto 8X. BTW, the program uses something called spline interpolation algorithm to upsample (not that I understand what the gobbledygook that means:)). Then click Start.

4) It will take you to the actual player screen. Below is how the player screen looks after it does some initial processing of its own:



Starting from top left corner of the screen, choose Normal if you don't want to upsample. Else choose x2 or x4. Note that each of these two upsampling rates have lots of further flavours to choose from. For starters, choose the third levels. Later you can try higher levels if your computer is up to it.

There are numbers from Min, 1 to 29 then Max. You will want to choose Max, as this is volume control. Being done in the digital domain, reducing volume here will end up throwing away useful bits. At Min, you'll obviously hear nothing:)

On the right top half of the screen there are more menus to choose from. In sGalaxy, choose one of the options. Similarly, there are two choices to be made within mmx+ menu. Choose something midway so as not to strain your processor too much. If it is too much to process, it will just stop. Not very graceful;)

To the right of the box labeled PCM, there are two unlabeled boxes. One of them is for manging memory and the other is to choose DSD playback options. You may like to play with them.

If you click on the Self Sound Optimizer, you'll get a bunch of icons below it. Each fancily named Optimizer will enhance the sound. On my pisspoor processor, I could go only upto 7 or 8 lines before it hangs up on me. I'm not sure but I think the effect of these optimizers is additive. The more, the better.

Another way of enabling optimizers is to choose Black spells or Random spells using the button below the Optimizer window. This window doubles up later to display album art.

Load a playlist of your favorite tracks, then press Play. Wait while the player processes through a count down, then PLAY, then Envalid count down. You'll finally hear music after 1-2 minutes, depending on how much processing you've configured and the processing mojo of your PC.

The sound: wonderful

One way to get around the issue of low RAM is to use the Secret Menu. After you've done your settings and loaded tracks, Click on the empty space to the right of LPF free and Self Sound Optimizer. A new menu window will open. Enable Command Line menu, then close the window. Start Play. After some time the player screen will disappear. You will not be able to stop, skip, etc. The only way to stop playback is from the Task Manager. But using Command Line, you can get away with 4 GB of RAM.

Do try this at home and share your experience.
 
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omishra

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Thanks Joshua for the write up. Its really bugging my head since I installed it on your suggestion.
 

srisaikat

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Requirements are quite high, have to live with foobar for the time being...........
 

jls001

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To add:
1) you cannot mix different sample rates within the same playlist. Use only one type of file (e.g. 24 bit 88.2 kHz files) in the same playlist.
2) I read on the JPlay forum discussion that when using JPlay ASIO driver, it supports only CD resolution files and not higher.
 

Nikhil

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Thanks for posting this.

I have been looking for the Bughead site but could not find it for some reason.
As always, great write up on getting started.

Will download and see what happens!
 

manniraj

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Having same bitrate songs in the same playlist is kinda bothersome for somebody like me who has combination of songs across different genres and also the requirement to have a either a iOS or Android app as I do not switch on my TV for playback. Not sure whether some universal app like "Monkeymote" or similar kind of apps work on this player.
 

dheerajin

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Joshua,
I have 64 bit , 10GB (upgraded) RAM system. Installed Bughead as per your instruction. Even after 5 mins of the song played there is no sound .
Is it something to do with processing part or speed of the processor? This is AMD machine. Please tell me what to do to get the sound.

cheers
dheerajin
 

jls001

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Hi Dheeraj,
In screen shot 2, do you see ASIO driver? If you see ASIO driver but it's not playing, try selecting ASIO driver in foobar and see if it plays fine.

Secondly, on the player screen (screen shot 4), does the song counter change when the song is playing? When we press Play, the player goes through a countdown. The length of this countdown depends on the number of lines selected in the Self Sound Optimizer (each Optimizer is a line, with the time till playback counting down on the window below the Self Sound Optimizer button), followed by Rewrite countdown, then "PLAY" blinks momentarily, followed by Envalid countdown.
The countdown duration also depends on the number of tracks you've loaded on the playlist.

For example, when I load an album of 13 to 15 songs, with 8 lines selected on Self Sound Optimizer, at x4 Emerald level 3 upsampling to 176.4 kHz, all other settings being at default, the countdown takes about 2m 40sec.

Third, what is the number highlighted in the "Min 1 2 3 ..... 29 Max"? Min is zero volume. Max is no attenuation. Keep it at Max and use the volume control of your pre/amp.

Since you have 10 GB of memory, try allocating it as 3+2+3+2 in the setup screen.
 

spirovious

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I think older archived versions can run on 32 bit. Older versions also supported WASAPI.
I downloaded from same link you provided.I got winrar file and installed from it.Well I found that foobar 1.1.10 has much darker background than Bug head player. BHP has open sound stage though.Song starts playing after 7 secs.
 

dheerajin

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Hi Dheeraj,
In screen shot 2, do you see ASIO driver? If you see ASIO driver but it's not playing, try selecting ASIO driver in foobar and see if it plays fine.
.

Yes , ASIO4ALL is having some problem with windows 10 and 64 bit combination....hunting web for solution now. Foobar and Jriver both are not giving soundwith ASIO....
Though sound is coming from laptop speakers with ASIO in all players including Bughead
 
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jls001

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That's great to know, Spiro. May be other users who have 32 bit system could try too.

PS: I rechecked the BHE page and realized that what I had downloaded is version 5.24, whereas there's already a version 5.54 on the same page. If anyone is planning to try it out, do try the 5.54 version instead of the older 5.24. I will also download and try it.

PS: sorry, I crosschecked - the version I downloaded is 5.52, not 5.24.
 
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dheerajin

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Spiro,

was just curious about lilith player,searched on net and found discussion and 2nd page made my day...read entire dispute....quiet funny..

Lilith Audio Player
 
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jls001

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I used Soundplayer Lilith some years ago. The UI was challenging so I abandoned it (in favour of vinyl playback). Must try it again one of these days.
 

regeHA

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Spiro,

was just curious about lilith player,searched on net and found discussion and 2nd page made my day...read entire dispute....quiet funny..

Lilith Audio Player
LOL... the trolls sure are funny.

Then again you'd better not say something is better without actually providing proof.

Seen a lot of this circus over at Hydrogen Audio... but the fun never stops.

Thanks mate for a good laugh. Needed that.
 

Nikhil

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Installed BHE and have been listening to it quite intently.
For whatever it's worth - this is a seriously good player.

I immediately noticed that it had Balance and Phase controls!
(Why haven't other players offered these two basic features is beyond me)

Figured out that the difference between "Bug Head Emperor" and "Infinity Blade" is that a small amount of jitter is added in "Bug Head Emperor". This is for DACs that are tuned based on players with jitter (such as foobar2000, according to designer of BHE, Hiroyuki Yokota). "SQ" stands for "super quality". No further explanation.

From what I am hearing so far, Hiroyuki Yokota is a genius.
Reading his writings online are cryptic to say the least unfortunately. - Reminds me of the movie "A Beautiful Mind".

Have tried all flavors of the player upto 8x oversampling but after a while the "Normal" filter seems just fine for me. This obviously needs further investigating and frankly is fun. Changing filters adds something to the music in subtle ways - some good and some negligible.

Current Configuration:

Infinity Blade SQ
Normal
Galaxy Symphony Tuning
Tune mmx plus x2boost, mistake

Sound is well .... let's say it's an interesting experience.
Something is happening that was not there with other players I've used.
 
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