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Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

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Re: Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

Postby blinddrew » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:18 pm

Try playing around with the sub in different positions in the room - the glass wall might actually help as a lot of the low frequency energy will just go straight through, but ultimately, in an untreated room, with a budget sub, it's going to be difficult to get it working well.
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Re: Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:40 pm

I would find a way to add some acoustic treatment, even a few broad band absorbers at the mirror points will make huge difference, the first 70% improvement is pretty easy to get done. If you need convincing borrow a couple of duvets and hang them over boom mic stands at the left and right mirror points and have a listen.
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Re: Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

Postby ef37a » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:41 pm

I tremble to even discuss the same subject as CS70 but... Windows will, I think run the card at 100% volume by default.
THIS is one reason why you need some form of analogue control between the card's output and the monitors. However, it might be as well to check the S/N performance of the speakers? I would expect Genelc to be excellent on this point but 'dogs' have escaped before! Run a tune at a 'normal' level then unplug the feed to the speakers. Does the hiss go away?

If they prove to be silent it might be that you need to change the 'gain' in the card's settings. IIRC many 'pro' cards had a +4dBu and a -10dBV output setting, some were even more variable than that and could be calibrated to almost any output (at say -20dBfs)

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Re: Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

Postby CS70 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:49 pm

ef37a wrote:I tremble to even discuss the same subject as CS70 but... Windows will, I think run the card at 100% volume by default.

Haha no reason! You're right, Windows will do likely do that. My point was that it's not "hot" in any sense that should create noise..
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Re: Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

Postby ef37a » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:58 pm

CS70 wrote:
ef37a wrote:I tremble to even discuss the same subject as CS70 but... Windows will, I think run the card at 100% volume by default.

Haha no reason! You're right, Windows will do likely do that. My point was that it's not "hot" in any sense that should create noise..

You are a gentleman as well as a scholar sir! I am ok with much electronica but hesitate to bandy words with such as yourself on matters digital.

I think it was Martin Walker years ago said that we want to run sound cards (almost all PCI audio back then) at 'all the bits' . I have always done so. I also have the volume pot on my KA6 at max running into the Mackie BK passive by the same reasoning.

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Re: Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

Postby 1024-QAM » Sat Apr 10, 2021 4:39 am

ef37a wrote:
CS70 wrote:
ef37a wrote:I tremble to even discuss the same subject as CS70 but... Windows will, I think run the card at 100% volume by default.

Haha no reason! You're right, Windows will do likely do that. My point was that it's not "hot" in any sense that should create noise..

You are a gentleman as well as a scholar sir! I am ok with much electronica but hesitate to bandy words with such as yourself on matters digital.

I think it was Martin Walker years ago said that we want to run sound cards (almost all PCI audio back then) at 'all the bits' . I have always done so. I also have the volume pot on my KA6 at max running into the Mackie BK passive by the same reasoning.

Dave.

Good points all round. I have the Genelec volume controllers between the card and monitors and that’s all. The monitors are silent when not connected to the card. Windows seems to have seized control over the card to the point that the cards control software dose nothing more than recognise that the card exists. It won’t allow changes to the levels and the Vu meter doesn’t show levels when the card is being used. The other interesting point is that I loose all output from the card when windows volume drops to under 10%

The hiss I mention remains when I use the volume controllers but is attenuated as I turn down the volume. The results are the same via YouTube and Spotify so don’t look to be application related.

I have a DSO in storage I could go get an try figure out what exactly the noise is. Specifics around frequency and levels ect but I am not sure that having that knowledge will help at this point.

I will try find another source to run into the monitors and see how that works out also.

Is there a cheep or free software package that I could run that might allow control over the card ? It may very well be the that the card is probably about 7 or 8 years old and is just showing it’s age. It would have had an almost 100% uptime in its previous life.

I will also try moving the sub around. Currently it’s just under my desk because it make a great foot rest. And made it easy to play with cross over points and levels.

At one end of the room I have a large empty built in cupboard with sliding doors. Could I put the sub in it and “tune” the room by opening or closing the doors at each end? I can easily dampen the inside of that space by storing suitable things in it.

I like to experiment but if it’s a terrible idea I will stick with just trying different spots in the room.

I apologise if my line of questioning and methodology around getting all this together is tedious and or all together wrong. My background is radio communications and the answers for many of our problems are usually found in software or are on the fringes of logical or sane lines of investigation and diagnostics.

Thanks
M
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Re: Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

Postby ef37a » Sat Apr 10, 2021 9:13 am

Did you install an ASIO driver for the card? Can you find one? If not you see, Windows will have assumed command but I don't understand the "10% S or Bust" problem.

You could also try "ASIO4ALL" that might wrest control from Windows. But, have you explored Windows Sounds Control Panel? That should show the card as the default audio input and output device and by clicking through the menus get you to "Level" (top of box) and you can then set a maximum which hopefully reduce the hiss but still leave plenty of level to drive the monitors.
Er? "Genelec controller(s). Do you mean the knobs on the speakers? Not very satisfactory if so. Push-to-shove, a stereo 10k log pot in a tin will serve. Unbalanced but often does not matter for short runs, say sub 3mtrs. Have I mentioned the M-A interfaces in the current mag? Very cheap, gives you control, ok 16 bits but that's CD spec and I doubt you have any better sources?

In any event, any DAW will have a mixer pane and you can crank down the 'master stereo faders'.

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Re: Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

Postby 1024-QAM » Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:39 am

The 8020D,s don’t have a volume pot on the monitor like the older versions they have an in line gadget to do the same thing.

I believe I did install the asio drivers from the manufacturers site.

I am thinking that the mistake I might have made was installing windows 10 with the card installed. Instead of doing the windows install and then installing the card. One of the steps in the installation instructions is to reject windows when it wants to get involved before the driver package is installed.

I might rip it out and do a fresh windows install and try again before I get too far along.
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Re: Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

Postby ef37a » Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:48 am

"
I might rip it out and do a fresh windows install and try again before I get too far along."

It might be enough to just pull the card, start W10 and delete the drivers and all associated software. I know it is old hat these days but I would also disable (not uninstall) the OBS sound, Realtek or somewhich, then start afresh.

For the sake of 25 quid you could get a Behringer UCA 202 and that would tell you if the rest of the system was performing ok. Their replay performance is really pretty good, just look upon it as a diagnostic aid but they are very handy for tape dubbing and as a USB monitor for a laptop.

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Re: Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

Postby CS70 » Sat Apr 10, 2021 2:25 pm

1024-QAM wrote:The 8020D,s don’t have a volume pot on the monitor like the older versions they have an in line gadget to do the same thing.

Isn't there a "sensitivity control" knob on the back?

I believe I did install the asio drivers from the manufacturers site.

The ASIO driver isn't gonna be in play - unless the music player you use has a specific option for using it (e.g. foobar) and you have configured the player to do so.

ASIO is made so that an application can bypass Windows Audio and take direct control of the card (driver), which most Windows applications (music players included) don't need to do.

If you use say Spotify Web Player into a browser, the browser won't use ASIO. Neither the Windows Spotify app, I think.

I am thinking that the mistake I might have made was installing windows 10 with the card installed. Instead of doing the windows install and then installing the card. One of the steps in the installation instructions is to reject windows when it wants to get involved before the driver package is installed.

I might rip it out and do a fresh windows install and try again before I get too far along.

As tempting as it can be to attribute all the evils of this world to the operating system (because it's big, complex and people don't fully understand what it does and how it does it), the most likely explanation is probably more basic and elsewhere: grounding or electrical issues, EMI affecting unbalanced connections in the systems, power issues, or defective speakers. Even the EM isolation of your card from the motherboard, and its position with respect to the power supply, after all in the early 2000s the power used by a PC was way smaller.

Start with only the minimum connections and see if the noise is there. To test the speakers, try and connect them to some balanced output from another non-computer device. Or if the card has outputs for headphones (or can be hooked to an headphone amp) it can be a quick way to see if the noise is there.

Of course, the card is old and out of support, so it is possible that Windows 10 may be asking its (i.e. the driver) to do something that it can't do. Drivers do not necessarily fail with a total crash, but for example may simply ignore certain data requests that have been invented after they were released, or misinterpret commands and data if the format has changed since they were written. But I would first look into the physical aspects.

If Windows has for some reason installed the wrong driver (again unlikely), you absolutely dont need a full reinstall - that's like buying another car because a tire is blown.

Simply go to device manager, locate the device, deinstall the drivers and restart the installation procedure.
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Re: Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

Postby 1024-QAM » Sat Apr 10, 2021 3:14 pm

I have control. It took a little bit of digging but it was a config setting that hands off control to whatever application is wanting it at the time. In this case windows.

The lesson I have now learned is that Windows was in fact not pushing the outputs of the card at 100%. When you push the levels up with the cards software the sound level out of the monitors is for lack of a better word unbearably loud. I thought it might have been because of the pc side supplying a high level and then I was driving that with the cards pre amp on the analogue side but it looks like when you take control via software it leaves any windows settings out of the picture. They do nothing at all. And it doesn’t sound overdriven or show any signs of clipping even at high listening levels.

Another thing I have noticed is it sounds different when you bypass windows. It sounds like windows is discarding some part of the data or filtering it through some sort of DSP. it’s hard for me to describe. It’s subtle it’s like when the card has control there is more detail but not all of that added detail is pleasant. It doesn’t sound wrong but complete but with the good and bad. Could this be a symptom of taking advantage of the higher sampling rate of the card or is that only going to have an impact if your recording through it ?

And running the sub with the card in control it’s now impossible to get it to sound ok. It’ sounds muddy and uncontrolled it did before but it’s 10x worse. But on the other hand now the monitors sound like they could use a little bit of support down low. I had followed the recommended dip switch settings from Genelec that for being on a desk in a reverberant room and that I think applies quite a bit of attenuation below 200Hz. I will try set them back to standard tomorrow and see how that works out. And maybe try get them off the desk onto some stands.

The hiss is still around but is much less noticeable almost barely if I run the card a little bit hotter and control the monitor volume through the monitor volume controls.

Good progress so far onwards and upwards.

Thanks
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Re: Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

Postby CS70 » Sat Apr 10, 2021 3:48 pm

1024-QAM wrote:Another thing I have noticed is it sounds different when you bypass windows. It sounds like windows is discarding some part of the data or filtering it through some sort of DSP. it’s hard for me to describe. It’s subtle it’s like when the card has control there is more detail but not all of that added detail is pleasant. It doesn’t sound wrong but complete but with the good and bad. Could this be a symptom of taking advantage of the higher sampling rate of the card or is that only going to have an impact if your recording through it ?

There may be added effects without you being aware of it? If you right click on the sound icon on the taskbar, make sure you have spatial sound off, then go to sound settings, check the "device properties" (possibly "additional device properties") and make sure all enhancements are disabled.

Good progress so far onwards and upwards.

Good to hear!
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Re: Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

Postby 1024-QAM » Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:51 am

I
Sam Spoons wrote:I would find a way to add some acoustic treatment, even a few broad band absorbers at the mirror points will make huge difference, the first 70% improvement is pretty easy to get done. If you need convincing borrow a couple of duvets and hang them over boom mic stands at the left and right mirror points and have a listen.

I followed your advice. I have dug around the hose and “ Borrowed” anything that might offer some sort of dampening to the room. I have stuffed bags full of anything I could find. Stolen my wife’s yoga mat. I even dragged out the old tent and stuck it in a corner. I hung moving blankets over anything that would hold them up.

And I lifted the sub up off the ground on a shelf. It’s bottom firing and side ported so I have rotated it so the port is pointing into the corner that has the longest path to a corner that has the most borrowed stuff in it. Not sure if this step is worth while but it was pointing into a corner previously.

What it has archived overall is amazing. The sub is now useable. To get a balanced sound by ear that is much much better than I could manage before filling my room with junk. The crossover point is now up around 75-80Hz if the markings on the sub are conceivably reliable which I doubt. And the volume control is now up around 40%.

At this point the existence of the sub is barely perceivable at normal listening levels from quiet background noise to the point my wife complains about the noise from the other end of the hose in her office. Where it shines is when you play something like Angel from Sarah McLachlan. It just brings a bit more warmth and depth to the low notes of the Piano.

Where I am struggling is stuff that is heavy in Bass Guitar or say where a song has a bass line that shifts through the range there is a clear point where you notice the sub come into play. It’s not a brutal transition but it makes you aware there is something not quite right. I have tried to move the crossover point higher but that muddies everything else. And moving it lower seems to take away much of the perceived improvement.

I have wondered down this rabbit hole now and come across room EQ wizard. The only Mic I have is a AKG CK33. The card will provide phantom power to run it but the mic only has a response starting at 50Hz -20KHz. Is it worth playing with?

I suppose my question now is that from where I started just a few days back to where I am now is Amazing. And I am great full for the advice and direction I have been given so far. Have I hit the point of diminishing returns where with the gear I am using In the space I have? Shoul I just be happy or are there other easy improvements to be had. I am limited to what I can do as far as room treatment because we are renting for the next 12 months whilst our old house hopefully sells. My wife is already looking at me like I have gone mad “Storing” things like bags of linen in my office. I don’t particularly want to spend money on extra gadgets that fix a specific problem that I have in this space that may not exist in the next. I am afraid of what will happen when I have a space that I can make changes in. And where I will find my limit for listening to Spotify. I am no Audiophool but I do get into the depths of things and extend into territory that is probably beyond my purposes.

I am quite interested in the science behind it all and will be reading as much as I can on the subject. In my younger days playing in live audio and in my work now it was a case of making what you have work in the space not making the space work for what you have. It’s all new to me and good fun.

Thanks again.
M
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Re: Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

Postby CS70 » Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:49 am

Yes, almost inevitably the room becomes quite quickly your biggest issue, even with technology 20 years old.

There can be a couple reasons for the bass jumping out when the woofer starts to work. One is that your subwoofer volume is simply too high with respect to the speakers; you can also play with the crossover frequency and get it a little higher.

The other reason is the hardest to fix, and you can spot it only when moving into the room.. Bass notes move much air, and therefore carry lots of energy; they also have really long wave lengths (as long or longer than your room walls). That means that they will effectively irradiate in all directions from the speakers (backs included) and, in any "normal size" room, reflect immediately on the walls, folding unto themselves (imagine a large sphere of energy with the speaker at a center, larger than the room volume). The overall result is that (unless they are absorbed and thus robbed of energy, especially at the back and side walls with respect to the speakers) they create very constant interference patterns in the room's volume. The sonic consequence of that interference is that, in certain points in the room, certain bass frequencies are doubled in volume and other disappear (hence you can spot the problem by walking in the room while playing, for example, a repetitive bass riff which is lowpassed from say 80Hz).

The only way to fix that is either to play very very quiet so that the bass sound waves don't have much energy to reflect (but the problems with that approach are obvious), or to use "bass traps" - devices that absorb the bass energy end prevent it from reflecting.

The back of the speakers are a good place to start with (as they kill the immediate reflections from the back) and so are any side corners of the room (corners kill the side reflections before they bounce back, and also double the amount of absorption, due to the geometry involved). But of course also the reflections from the wall in front of the speaker, and the ceiling and the floor should be absorbed - hence the rule of thumb that you never have enough bass traps :D

Unfortunately physics demands that these traps are bulky and unwieldy, so it's difficult to get enough of them into a regular-sized room, which always end up being a compromise. Can be a decent compromise though. Studios use a number of custom techniques (and larger rooms!) to reduce the issue - a studio nowadays is essentially about acoustics, not gear.

For more info, google "room modes".

As a note, "fixing" a room for higher frequencies, with shorter wave lengths, is easier, as they carry less energy, are more directional and therefore require less bulky absorbers on the walls to eliminate or reduce their reflections.
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Re: Few random bits of audio equipment and I would love some advice on how to best utilise them.

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:45 pm

1024-QAM wrote:I
Sam Spoons wrote:I would find a way to add some acoustic treatment, even a few broad band absorbers at the mirror points will make huge difference, the first 70% improvement is pretty easy to get done. If you need convincing borrow a couple of duvets and hang them over boom mic stands at the left and right mirror points and have a listen.

I followed your advice. I have dug around the hose and “ Borrowed” anything that might offer some sort of dampening to the room. I have stuffed bags full of anything I could find. Stolen my wife’s yoga mat. I even dragged out the old tent and stuck it in a corner. I hung moving blankets over anything that would hold them up.

Glad we could help. You are now much better equipped to evaluate (and evangelise on) the benefits of simple room treatment

I have wondered down this rabbit hole now and come across room EQ wizard. The only Mic I have is a AKG CK33. The card will provide phantom power to run it but the mic only has a response starting at 50Hz -20KHz. Is it worth playing with?

I tried 'Smaart' with a proper, borrowed, measurement mic but in my small room the speakers didn't sound any better (worse actually) so my gut feeling is no, don't bother but YMMV.

I suppose my question now is that from where I started just a few days back to where I am now is Amazing. And I am great full for the advice and direction I have been given so far. Have I hit the point of diminishing returns where with the gear I am using In the space I have? Shoul I just be happy or are there other easy improvements to be had. I am limited to what I can do as far as room treatment because we are renting for the next 12 months whilst our old house hopefully sells. My wife is already looking at me like I have gone mad “Storing” things like bags of linen in my office. I don’t particularly want to spend money on extra gadgets that fix a specific problem that I have in this space that may not exist in the next. I am afraid of what will happen when I have a space that I can make changes in. And where I will find my limit for listening to Spotify. I am no Audiophool but I do get into the depths of things and extend into territory that is probably beyond my purposes.

I am quite interested in the science behind it all and will be reading as much as I can on the subject. In my younger days playing in live audio and in my work now it was a case of making what you have work in the space not making the space work for what you have. It’s all new to me and good fun.

Thanks again.
M

I'd say keep it simple, it's very easy to go down the rabbit hole. and never come out again. Do the research, do the work then go back to enjoying listening to music.

When you have a dedicated room/office/man cave come back for advice on how to construct some simple but effective bass traps and broadband absorbers.
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