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SRS for Car? WOW-Thing Box

3362 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  fogd00d
I've been forced to switch from WinAmp to Windows Media Player finally.

I'm suffering the bulky and slow interface now for a killer feature that I am finding I can't listen to audio without: SRS.

Its not prominently featured in the WMP interface (click Now Playing tab and in the bottom left, click the "Now Playing Options" icon and select "Enhancements ... SRS WOW Effects"). It is off by default.

I should say that I've never liked artificial surround or DSP gimmicks to enhance my music or make up for crappy speakers. I've tried to buy and put together systems that sound great with a flat EQ, but even on crap equipment I'd rather have crap do its crappy thing than have artificially enhanced sound (other than compensating with a bass and treble knob.)

Well, thats changed.

My main listening environment is my home office where I have a 4 speaker Klipsch system with matched subwoofer, rated at 60W per satellite and 160W for the sub -- in a small to medium sized room its more than I could ever ask for. Every other system I've listened to has always come back to a comparison with this listening environment for me.

Even on this near-reference (to me at least) system, SRS deepens and spatializes the audio in mostly transparent and otherwise totally tangible ways. The sound-stage for acoustic instruments, especially for live recordings, takes on a dramatic 3D presence without sounding like its being messed with and the bass is deeper without feeling like its unnaturally boosted.

The effect is even more pronounced when using headphones. Listening to music at work, I used to get ear-fatigue after a short period of time, but with SRS enabled, the sound is a lot more ... I don't know ... natural and relaxed ... and I find I am inclined to listen to music for longer periods of time, and at lower volumes. Know how when you have well amplified system you find you don't need to have the volume as high to feel you're hearing everything? Its a bit like that, plus the soundstage thing.

Long story short ... SRS Labs makes a small box, the WOW Thing for Computers for hardware SRS processing. Its not built for car environmnent, but considering trying it there.

Give it a try in Windows Media Player, especially if you listen through headphones a lot. When you enable it for the first time, it'll feel wierd in your ears for a little bit but stick with it for a few tracks, especially ones you're well familiar with -- especially live or with acoustic guitar. Once you get used to it, turn it off mid-track. Bet you'll find it hard to believe thats what it used to sound like.

If you've got a subwoofer, dial back the TruBass but otherwise the default settings are pretty good to start with.

Unfortunate gimmicky product name.
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Thanks dude, I never knew it was there... . . I really like the added depth it gives to just 2 small harmon kardons that i have on my entertainment center. . . . . Cool find. .

While SRS does improve the sound quality in WMP9 and WMP10, you really should go back to Winamp and get the Enhancer plugin...does exactly what you're looking for from SRS, but it's infinitely more tweakable. You can control the spatializing effect and volume, you can adjust the wet/dry signal of the plugin, drum bass, harmonic bass, treble, and add a total volume ceiling for all recordings (sort of live normalizing for those songs that are unnecessarily loud)

Try Enhancer for Winamp and tell me which is still better!
When I first read this topic, I thought it was going to be about some sort of airbag conversion for a CRX. SRS="Supplemental Restraint System", aka "airbag." LOL
auTONYmous said:
Try Enhancer for Winamp and tell me which is still better!
This the one?

If I can get the same or better for Winamp, I'm all over it ... everything else about WMP bugs me.
OK, I'm running Enhancer for Winamp (link in previous message) and going to live with that for a while, on a non-extreme preset, for my ears to get well used to it before reverting to SRS.

So far, its minimally at least as dramatic an improvement as SRS, but will need to review a few very familiar tracks.

Thanks, auTONYmous, you may have saved me from the bulky, overwrought Windows Media Player.

Still think I'll add an SRS box to the car though, unless anyone knows of other similar hardware-based soundstage enhancers ...
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