Saturday, August 15, 2015

BugHead Infinity blade SQ - The digital monster sound player

Made by a quirky Japanese audiophile suffering from a serious case of vitamin C deficiency, Bughead audioplayer is a highly configurable music player which sounds pretty darn good. 
bughead player - grizzlyaudio

Mr. Hiroyuki Yokota the software's author complains of suffering from a crazy cocktail of insomnia, migraines and hallucinations, well fortunately his software doesn't inflict the same symptoms, instead this software player prescribes a healthy dose of musicality and detail retrieval. A real treat for headphone users and audiophiles seeking an enhanced listen. 


Actively writing audio software since 2003, Mr. Hiroyuki Yokota's portfolio of software includes Bughead and Rewrite. Rewrite in its self is an impressive file de-fragmentation & optimisation tool aimed at reducing deterministic jitter prior to memory load. In fact both Bughead and Rewrite are squarely aimed at improving sound quality via the reduction of deterministic jitter and its affect on your music. More about this can be read on Hiroyuki's facebook page.


Sound quality philospohy 

Bughead is not your minimalist software package, where less is more. In fact Bughead adopts an equal but opposite approach. 

Research suggests Bughead employs "non disclosed compression" and "active tuning/equalisation/DSP" techniques to improve perceived sound quality. Personally I believe this compression and "audio trickery" can be heard when compared to traditional players such as playpcmwin, foobar, MQn etc..... as small background effects and details are clearly more enhanced and prevalent. 


Whether this is your cup of tee is a personal choice?! at the end of the day you can argue the original mixing engineer intended the sound to be heard differently...... but subjective preferences will always prevail. 


Bughead versions

bughead player - grizzlyaudio
Mr. Hiroyuki Yokota has created 4 versions of the bughead software. 

1.Bughead 

2.Bughead SQ 
3.Infinity Blade 
4.Infinity Blade SQ (Most highly adopted version) 

Tuning Possibilities

Bughead offers up oodles of sound "tuning' options. In fact one could argue there are too many options, making the user experience both confusing and confronting. Combined with a lack of user documentation and a constant battle with google translator (most source articles and videos are natively Japanese) understanding how to use the software and its settings is simply an exercise in trial and error. 

But don't worry you can't break anything.... so have some fun and experiment. 

Lets take a quick look at the software in operation. 

Tuning options Galore


Tuning Options 1.... 

Snake, Slash, Galaxy, Shine and star...... you must laugh at the names used, maybe they were given during a vitamin C hallucination. Whatever the case these tuning options allow the listener to shape the way things sound. 

Don't ask me what each one sounds like, you will need to try these for yourself! 

bughead player - grizzlyaudio


bughead player - grizzlyaudio



Just when you thought 9 tuning options were enough, the menu system provides another 10 tuning options per selection. 

Yes, all these options seem to make a difference to the sound. How they are implemented and what they do..... you will need to discover for yourself. Try them all and see which one suits your setup. 


It appears Mr. Hiroyuki Yokota has been experimenting with different jitter reduction methods and active compression/e algorithms for some time, It is my impression that the tuning options presented to the user represent varying degrees or implementations of these optimisations. 


Tuning Options 2.... 
Here the user gets the ability to alter sound with CPU instruction selection.... tunes via rewrite. 

Rewrite is a small piece of software written by Bughead author Mr. Hiroyuki Yokota.... In a nut shell rewrite de-fragments music files on your computer to reduce jitter issues and improve playback quality, prior to files loading into memory for playback. Click here for more on rewrite. 

bughead player - grizzlyaudio

Tuning Options 3.... 
Just when you thought you already had too many options, you have even more!!! Again these settings make a difference. How they are implemented and what they do... yep.... you will need to discover that for yourself. Try them all and see which one suits your setup. 
bughead player - grizzlyaudio


Interface
Without pointing out the obvious the interface is simple and purposeful. There's no headless operation via a control app here..... unless you implement a windows RDP session or similar, user operation will be via your standard keyboard and mouse..... simply select your file or folder and hit play. 

For those users that love integrated cover art searches, headless control and advanced music cataloging bughead may not suit. 

bughead player - grizzlyaudio


Features

bughead player - grizzlyaudio1. Volume
2. Phase selection
3. Instruction set selection 
4. PCM allows the user to select pcm, or DSD output and its freq... 
5. Tuning options 
6. Left and Right balance control
Volume control (min to max, single digit increments).... Allowing possible use in a system without a preamp whilst in ASIO mode!
7. ASIO status 


Bughead setup page 

To enter the bughead setup page simply click on the opening logo screen.

bughead player - grizzlyaudioOnce this is done you will be requested to select your appropriate asio output device. 

Once completed the next screen presented will be the setup screen. 


This screen allows the user to select a number of configuration points which either improves or degrades sound quality and rendering playback. 


Some of these options include: 


1. Correct clear sound. Enables memory loading of tracks, provides a weighted 40% improvement in sound quality.  

2. Phase adjustment, my recommendation is to select off. 
3. Memory dim tune mode. Optimises memory loading based on your PC's ram configuration. The software suggests this can improve overall sound quality by 20% from the default 50% degradation to 30%. 
4. Shape clear sound - Jitter introduction - I believe this actually adds jitter into the signal. Which some DACs and users may actually prefer. 
5. Oversampling - I would recommend normal. 
bughead player - grizzlyaudio


Download

Either of these links will provide you download access. 
Onedrive account for downloads.......     or 
http://oryaaaaa.world.coocan.jp/bughead/index.html

Supported file formats 

WAV, FLAC, DSD, APE, OPUS, M4A, AAC, WV, OGG, CDA
16-32bit resolution 
44.1khz - 192khz rates 

ASIO compatible  

ASIO compatible and configurable with supported playback devices. Including USB DACS and spdif converters, soundcards, etc. 
Configurable options at setup page during startup..... 
Again more tweaking options!!! God knows what they all do..  Too many options!!

Settings include: 

1. Memory optimsation 
2. LPF force 
3. Correct clear sound 
4. Up-sampling  
5. Shape clear sound 

Have fun.... 





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