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Author Topic: Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System  (Read 18590 times)

scancode

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Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
« on: April 12, 2008, 02:59:41 PM »
Basic Info

App NameBreakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
App URLhttp://www.claessone...ards.com/winmore.htm
App Version ReviewedBreakaway Personal v1.01
Test System SpecsMy laptop: 1.60GHz Celeron M, 512mb ram, crappy speakers, VIA HD integrated sound card, external C-Media chipset USB sound card.
Supported OSesWinXP/2k/Vista (partial)
Support MethodsE-mail; forums.
Trial Version Available?Yep, fully functional trial for 30-days, and after that 30 minutes per run.
Pricing Scheme1/$29.95, 2/$49.95, 3/$69.95
Relationship btwn. Reviewer and Product None as far as I know.


Intro:

Breakaway is an audio processor that runs in WinXP/2K/Vista. It's main function is to enhance whatever comes out of your speakers :) I found it really interesting, because it made my crappy laptop speakers to sound... well, actually, pretty nice.

The website says it all:

   • Multi-band dynamics processing restores spectral balance to your music library.

   • Multiple look-ahead peak limiters provide distortion-free transient control.

   • Makes tunes sound louder and punchier, while bringing out subtleties you never knew existed.

   • Automatically adjusts volume dynamics and spectral balancing.

   • Corrects song-to-song volume shifts and overdriven speakers.

Breakaway_Audio_Enhancer.gif


Who is this app designed for:

Actually, for everyone who uses their computer to listen to music.


The Good


Well, the audio quality is REALLY good, you seriously need to download the trial version and hear it for yourself.
It's pretty light on system resources, and the skin looks just nice.


The needs improvement section


- Copy protection/DRM (WinLicense) is a bit invasive; for example you can't use RegMon (a Microsoft utility for seeing what's going on in your registry) AND Breakaway at the same time: If Breakaway was started before RegMon, Breakaway will quit, leaving your computer silent. Breakaway will refuse to start until you close regmon, and reboot.
- I got a BSOD while attempting to use it with AIMP2, Winamp worked fine tho.
- I'd LOVE if they'd add a 'Profiles' feature, for example: PC Speakers, Laptop speakers, Headphones. So I can save my favourite settings instead of changing them manually each time.


Conclusions

A nice application, still needs a bit of polishing, but nothing beats that audio kwality ;)

Links to other reviews of this application

http://www.winamp.co...tails/216726/reviews (User Reviews on Winamp.com)
http://www.download....2169_4-10824540.html (User Reviews on CNet's Download.com)
« Last Edit: April 21, 2008, 09:34:15 PM by scancode »

CWuestefeld

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Re: Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2008, 07:02:20 PM »
It certainly looks slick. I haven't tried it, but I looked at the other reviews you referenced. It was characterized as a sort of DFX on steroids, and the kind of processing that commercial radio stations use. But the sort of DRM you describe is about 2.5 strikes against it.

If you feel a similar aversion to the DRM, don't mind sacrificing the slick UI, and only need a WinAMP DSP solution, let me suggest a free alternative that's also light-years ahead of DFX. I've been using "Sound Solution" for a long time, and I'm so enamored of it that I won't listen to anything that doesn't support WinAMP DSP plugins. This doesn't look nearly as slick as what you've reviewed, and in fact is kinda hard to use effectively due to the large number of controls. But I recommend checking it out.

Last free version here: http://www.soundsolu...0.html;msg971#msg971

Manual here: http://www.soundsolu...n_manual-t967.0.html

scancode

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Re: Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2008, 07:21:41 PM »
Last free version here: http://www.soundsolu...0.html;msg971#msg971
Manual here: http://www.soundsolu...n_manual-t967.0.html

Will check it out... if there's a bugmenot login for that site :)

scancode

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BUGFIX: Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2008, 09:41:38 PM »
BREAKAWAY+AIMP2 BUGFIX!

Yay! Finally I can use my favourite audio processor with my favourite audio player!

If you're getting a bluescreen while attempting to launch AIMP2 while Breakaway is runing, simply replace Breakaway's driver (on SYSTEM32\DRIVERS, or wherever your weird 64-bit Windows places them), and reboot.

YAY!!!!

Darwin

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Re: Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2008, 09:27:15 PM »
I wonder if there's any chance of a DC discount on this... I can't really hear much of a difference between this and DFX 8.x, but I am impressed with the fact that it will process ANY sound, not just WinAMP, WMP, etc.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Darwin

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Re: Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2008, 10:33:39 AM »
I take it back. I CAN hear a difference between DFX and Breakaway... Breakaway is "brighter" and has more punch.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Darwin

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Re: Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2008, 06:16:27 PM »
I'm loving the sound of Breakaway but hating the bugs... Example: my USB ports were rendered inaccessible, necessitating a reboot, because I put my notebook into Standby with no USB peripherals attached in one location (public library) and attempted to attach peripherals when I got home. I supppose that this means it's time to frequent their users' forum!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Grorgy

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Re: Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2008, 03:31:21 AM »
Is anyone still using this? And if so are the problems surmountable? Im beginning to think i like the idea of a system wide enhancer but not at the expense of too many problems

Darwin

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Re: Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2008, 06:37:56 AM »
I reinstalled it, revelled in the sound, blanched at the bugs, and uninstalled it again a few days later. Watching development keenly, though (nothing so far...).
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Darwin

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Re: Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2008, 09:41:01 AM »
I keep coming back to this... Haven't re-installed it in a couple of weeks but am going to do so. Why? Because it sounds AWESOME and because I am a twit - I no longer recall the bugs that I complained about other than a single instance of the USB port problem I mentioned in this thread. I *must* start making notes when running trials - it's so annoying when coming back to an app that you've already tried and not being able to remember why you didn't buy it/keep using it!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Darwin

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Re: Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2008, 11:43:16 AM »
OK - here are some problems I am having - Breakaway worked great after the first system start. After the second, all I got from my speakers was INCREDIBLY distorted sound. After confirming the problem was present regardless of whether or not I was processing the output to my speakers with Breakaway or not (ie had "Bypass Breakway" selected or not), I messed around with the buffer size in Breakaway. No go. Finally shutdown Breakaway et voila! Problem solved. Restarted Breakaway and revelled in the sound enhancement. Problem appeared all over again on subsequent boot. Same steps taken to resolve the issue. I disabled Breakaway starting with my system and again revelled in the sound processing. Flash forward to this morning (did nothing audio related yesterday and didn't start Breakaway): I thought I'd put it through its paces a bit. Well, well... Everytime I try to start it, I get an "Audio backend is active" message. No problem, I thought. I shutdown my media player and tried again. Nope. Rebooted and then tried before firing up a media player. No joy. Rebooted again. Same problem. I suppose the only solution is going to be to reinstall Breakaway...  well, first I'll try re-enabling Breakaway starting with Windows and reboot and see what happens. Not too impressed thus far...

Any suggestions, scancode? This is really odd because it worked BRILLIANTLY before with each of the media players that I tried this morning. As far as I can tell it hasn't updated itself and I haven't installed/uninstalled anything related to audio output/processing for ages. I wonder if this is something to do with the DRM that you mentioned in your review, though I can't think of a thing that I have changed about my system in the past month.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Darwin

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Re: Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2008, 12:27:07 PM »
Alright - final post in this thread on this problem; I'll be filing a bug report and letting Claesson-Edwards take it from here.

FWIW - I got it working. I enabled (via WinPatrol) Breakaway starting with my system and rebooted. Got an error message: "Error starting audio engine: Child Process not responding". Cancelled out of Breakaway and shut it down. Restarted it. Got the "Audio backend is active" error with this additional info: Input: 44099.99 (the decimal part was dropping slowly), Output: 47999.50 (decimal dropping quite quickly). Underruns=0, Overruns=0, Resets=0". I used the wizard to go into SafeMode and set the buffer to "large" and it started working. Stopped everything, re-ran the wizard and set it to (for want of a better way of putting it) Regular processing and a medium buffer and the sound was garbled (though identifiable through the distortion). Shut down my media player, re-ran Breakaway's wizard and all is now well...

Like I said, I am about to copy and paste this and my previous post and shift this problem to Claesson-Edwards, but thought I'd post here for posterity  ;D

WinXP Pro Sp-3, Centrino Single Core 1.4Ghz, 2GB RAM, SigmaTel Audio (integrated).
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Grorgy

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Re: Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2008, 04:46:29 PM »
Thanks for that Darwin, I'm not 100% sure as, as usual, I was playing around with stuff so it may be something else, but, my little USB disk, when plugged in, now prevents the system from booting correctly. (seems to work ok when not plugged in but removing breakaway doesn't fix it).  Explorer is failing to start correctly, I can get process explorer up and restart explorer and it works briefly but then hangs again, but as I say so long as the drive isn't plugged in these problems don't appear.  Of course it could just be a coincidence and my drive was/is  on the way out anyway and just chose now.  Still it sounds good, and the flexibility compared to dfx for instance is great.

Grorgy

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Re: Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2008, 09:13:22 PM »
Well, it was coincidence, I've been amusing myself with finding HDD to plug in and its only that 1.  So its a hardware error not software, Breakaway or any other.  And breakaway is still sounding good  ;)


Edit: Just to fix spelling
« Last Edit: May 21, 2008, 09:15:14 PM by Grorgy »

Darwin

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Re: Breakaway Audio Processor for Windows System
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2008, 08:55:23 AM »
I've no major problems remaining with Breakaway other than the error message on system start mentioned above. I have to hit "ok", which shuts down Breakaway, and then restart Breakaway and all is well. The developer is looking at the issue and will get back to me.

Fingers crossed!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin