Winamp Tweak Guide


Shibatch mpg123

Now select the Decoder tab.


Enable. Tick this option to enable use of the Shibatch mpg123 decoder. This provides several useful features over Nullsoftís decoder. Should you wish temporarily to use a different MPEG decoder, Untick this option.

Thread priority. This drop-down menu determines the thread priority level for the Shibatch mpg123 decoder, and itís recommended to leave this set to default unless experiencing choppy playback, in which case try increasing the priority level. You might find it useful to lower the priority level if you have more critical processes running (Though only if faultless playback is maintained).

Output format. The drop-down menu here specifies the output bit depth used during playback. Generally speaking this limits us to 16bit and 24bit options, which will be determined by the Audio device being used. Higher bit depths allow for a greater Dynamic Range (The difference between the quietest and loudest signal), as indicated beneath.

Bit Depth

Dynamic Range









This allows for greater precision and more headroom when processing a track. For example, MP3s are not encoded with a specific bit-depth. For 24-Bit Soundcards (e.g. Audigy 2 ZS, Revolution 7.1) 24bits is recommended as the preferred mode to select.

Users of 16-Bit Soundcards (e.g. Audigy 1, nForce APU) should select 16bits.

Full buffering. Ticking this option sets that tracks are fully buffered in order to avoid playback hitches. If youíre playing tracks solely from your hard drive it should be fine disabled.

Suppress zero samples at the beginning. Ticking this option allows you to remove the silence at the beginning of tracks. This is a matter of personal taste, although in many cases the silence at the beginning of tracks is intended to be there. Untick this option if you wish to experience the track(s) as encoded.

Reverse L/R. Tick this option to reverse left and right audio channels. This is useful for troubleshooting purposes, e.g. incorrectly wired speakers. If youíve no such issues then leave this option Unticked.

Invert polarity. Polarity problems can result in audio quality issues, as discussed here. If you find yourself affected by this Ticking this option may help fix the problem, otherwise leave this option Unticked.

Alternate volume setting method. Ticking this option specifies that Winampís volume control operates independent to the Windows/Soundcards Mixer Ė allowing you to adjust volume at will without having any effect on other applications, although this may introduce performance/latency weirdness on some systems. Untick this option to allow Winampís volume slider to control the Windows Volume level.

Display average bitrate. Ticking this option enables the display of the overall average kbps of VBR (Variable Bit Rate) encoded MP1/2/3s playing in Winampís Main Window, while Unticking this option enables the kbps display to be updated to reflect the actual kbps during playback of VBR encoded MP1/2/3s, e.g. the images beneath indicate the kbps at during playback of a VBR encoded MP3.



Now select the Replay gain tab.


Enable. Detailed information on Replaygain can be found here, but basically it allows for a gain adjustment to be stored in a track, the point being to reduce the need to adjust the volume level during music playback due to varying loudness levels in different tracks/albums. Some of the benefits to using Replaygain are that the Replaygain information doesnít actually alter the track itself, unlike, say, normalizing a track while encoding Ė Replaygain info can be removed/changed as needed (Similar to ID3 tags). Additionally, this also tends to resolve clipping issues with many tracks. Ticking this option allows the use of Replaygain info stored in tracks as described above (recommended). Two modes are available as regards the application of Replaygain during playback.

Track gain. This selects the track gain adjustment which is recommended for maintaining a constant volume level between tracks, regardless of any intended loudness variation between tracks. This may function best when playing tracks from a variety of albums.

Album gain. This selects the album gain adjustment which is recommended to maintain the intended loudness variation between tracks, particularly if playing from a single album.

Unticking this option disables applying ReplayGain adjustments in tracks. This isnít particularly recommended as it can exaggerate volume differences between tracks and increases the chances of clipping.

Files with replay gain info. A preamp is used to boost/reduce signal strength before being sent to an amplifier. As previously discussed ReplayGain scanned tracks will (or likely are) set to a level whereby clipping issued have been resolved/minimized. As such it would be counterproductive to apply a signal boost to such tracks and youíd be best served leaving this set to 0.0dB or if you must, a negative value.

Files without replay gain info. This functions as per the previous option, albeit applies to tracks which have not been ReplayGain scanned. Given most ReplayGain adjustments will be of a negative value, you should similarly give this a negative value for a more consistent volume level when playing a mix of ReplayGain scanned and unscanned tracks (and of course as it may reduce clipping issues in those tracks). Personally Iíve set this to -6.0dB, for a more accurate value, try calculate the average Replaygain adjustment of your collection and use that.

Hard limiter. Ticking this option applies a 6dB limit to audio playback, which eliminates clipping from occurring although can cause noticeable distortion when active (though not as bad as clipping). Again, bear in mind that ReplayGain scanned tracks should have clipping issues resolved in the first place.

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