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

Postby 1024-QAM » Thu Apr 01, 2021 2:24 pm

Hi
I have very little audio experience. When I was much younger I did a little bit of time working in live audio in theatres and outdoor live events so I would rate myself at about 3% above useless these days. I am not any sort of musician due to a lack of any talent or coordination. I am however a bit of a nerd and have a pretty good ear and really enjoy the listening experience. Instead of turning to the audiophile crowd for advice I thought the pro audio enthusiast group would be better seeing the majority of the equipment belongs in this world.

I have a small collection of reasonable quality gear that I would like to set up and make the most of. I generally don’t buy into the Audiophile world of unobtainium cables and expensive hifi amplifiers. And honestly my hearing as I am getting older probably wouldn’t be worth the investment in such magical equipment. Most of what I have has come my way through good fortune / luck during decommissioning / upgrading of telecommunications systems.

So to start the gear I have is.

A pair of Genelec 8020B monitors. One has been dropped and the 4 inch driver buckled under the weight of the magnet. I have gotten a price for a replacement driver and will order it shortly. XLR input and can be fed balanced or unbalanced

A pair of Genelec 8020D monitors with a pair of Genelec mono volume controls I think they are 8001’s again the monitors will take balanced or unbalanced. Not sure if the volume controls will deal with unbalanced connections.

A Yamaha active Sub. That I had running on an old surround sound system as a second sub until my wife convinced me to get rid of what she referred to as my “frat boy speakers” it takes an unbalanced input either from what I suspect to be a mono line level input or amplified signal from one of the outputs of the surround amp. I think it’s somewhere around 200W RMS and has an adjustable cross over and volume control.

A VX222HR-MIC sound card that has 2 x analogue balanced outputs via XLR and a pc to run it in I haven’t tried this card out i am not sure if I will need to run a 3rd party application for it to function. The card has options for digital outputs but I don’t really understand how to implement them or if it’s even worth doing

My previous implementation was very basic I mad up a little box that had a 3.5mm input wired to 2 x XLR sockets picking up an output for the sub to a single RCA socket to run the sub. I would provide this with line level output from any source either the standard audio output from a PC, a tablet or a little Bluetooth receiver. It worked but had issues on occasion when I had it running at higher volumes where I would get periods of severe distortion until I reduced the input volume from the source. I tired putting an isolation transformer in the signal path and also a switch to isolate the shielding on the xlr cable from ground. Neither of these had am impact on the distortion issue.

Now I have the second pair of 8020’s and the sound card I wanted to try get the most out of the equipment. I still want to be able to have the choice of input if it’s realistic and probably run in a 2.1 configuration. So 18020D and 1x 8020b on each side and the sub.

I understand that I am trying to mix 2 worlds here with home hifi and professional audio equipment and this seems to be my hurdle. Particularly with not knowing what I am doing

I don’t have a huge budget for additional equipment but don’t mind spending a little to make it all work seeing that I have some nice gear that should produce nice sound if I can get the setup right

My initial thought was some device that would take the balanced and unbalanced inputs with a cross over in it that would deliver balanced outputs to the 4 monitors and an unbalanced output for the sub. Possibly with a valve preamp or some sort of DSP to warm it all up a bit the monitors are great but after listening to a friends Adam monitors being fed from a little dot DAC and valve pre amp they where very nice to listen to.

But I can’t seem to come across this sort of device.

So my question to the educated is what would you do if you had this list of gear to play with for a pleasant listening experience. I don’t mind building components if they are not requiring custom PCB’s and fairly simple I don’t mind using rack mounted equipment I already have a rack with some other gear in it. It will all be set up at my desk where I tinker with different stuff.

One bit of advice I have been given is just run a small mixing desk but finding an affordable small desk that will give me the features looks to be difficult.

Sorry for the long post but I figured that the more info I can give the better the advice would be.

Thanks for any advice that any of you could offer

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 » Thu Apr 01, 2021 4:07 pm

Hi M, assuming you get the Genelecs going you have the makings of a decent playback system there.
I have downloaded and skimmed the interface card manual, proper bit of pro kit that! I shall assume you know how to install it and sort out drivers and such? You could simply connect the XLR outputs to the Genelecs via suitable XLR cables but the problem there is that the only volume control you effectively have is in software (did you mention a DAW? If not just get Reaper) . One solution is a passive monitor controller but all of those, AFAIK come with TRS jack connectors still, adapters and cables are cheap on the web and as you say, there is no benefit in the audiophool types.

The digital connections could be useful. You can buy a "Techole" D/A converter very cheaply that takes the RCA feed and outputs 'domestic' level audio on 2 RCAs.

So, get a listening system working then tell us where you want to go from there?

Dave.
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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 » Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:43 pm

The audio card is a bit long in the tooth and it's no longer supported, but I reckon it was a very good one in its time (a time where there was quite a difference between good interfaces and not), and there should be working Windows 10 drivers, so worth trying at least. Just make sure you have the "right" PCI slots in your motherboard. It's a two in/two out interface so you will be able to record two sources at the same time, and produce stereo audio.

About the digital inputs, they're just that: if you have other equipment that produces digital audio (in AES/EBU format), you can use that in alternative to the regular analogue input.
That means that the converters of the Digigram will be bypassed, and it will work simply as an interface to translate digital audio into PCI data, ultimately mace available by the operating system to any application. They are in alternative to the analogue inputs - as said, the interface handles two channels of audio in all cases.

The 8020D are (I read) more than decent monitors, with a degree of response control to adapt them to the room and position you choose, reading the manual will tell you all that's needed.

All in all, if your PC supports the card, it's a reasonable 2 in / 2 out system. Then it all depends on what you want to do with it. :)
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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 » Fri Apr 02, 2021 1:29 am

Thanks for the responses. At this point it's just to listen to music I wouldn't mind having a play back in the audio world but not beinga musician has its draw backs.

With the info received so far I would like to add to my question. How would people recommend connecting all this equipment up.

Would I buy a little mixer and output to the monitors from different sources. How would I run 2 monitors of a single Chanel what technical hurdles will I need to overcome? And how could I do that. How would I integrate the sub?

I understand that this is information I could find myself but I am finding my level of technical understanding at this point is a barrier. So I am hoping someone will take pity on me and steer me towards a starting point.

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 » Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:41 am

We need more specific information friend..." different sources". Which sources and how many?

For instance, you will surely be able to play out YT and radio from the computer (I do) . You probably have a CD/DVD drive in it so that is catered for. Anything else? If for instance you want to play vinyl records you will need an RIAA corrected pre amp. A tape machine can feed an unbalanced signal into the XLRs but yes, you will need some for of selector system, maybe level control. A mixer could be used but if you need more than a few "stereo" channels that could get expensive and unwieldy.

Why two sets of monitors? I am sure the 8020s will deliver a more than loud enough sound and putting two speakers together per side is going to make the stereo image much less sharp. Again, a mixer with a 2 channel AUX send could feed a line to another room if that is the idea but cost piles on cost.

I would forget the sub, at least for now, it would be difficult to integrate properly with monitors of a completely different maker and, unless of very high quality, will not be of very high fidelity. Of course! IF all you want is "Subaru Man" 60Hz'ish thump I dare say it can be arranged! Most likely it will just spoil the excellent performance of the Genelecs. (and we haven't even mentioned room treatment yet!)

I have another Idea but will wait for some specifics.

Dave.
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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 » Fri Apr 02, 2021 9:21 am

Again thanks for the reply.

Ok inputs would be the PC. A Bluetooth receiver to stream from tablets / phones ect. Possibly a DLP projector that would have a chrome cast as it’s input via HDMI and would output unbalanced stereo can’t remember if it is 3.5 mm or RCA. We do have Vinyl in the house but that’s unlikely to be used here.

The Sub I suppose I would like for times when I am watching a movie that having that punch adds to the experience. And I suppose that I have in the back of my mind that the 4 inch drivers in the monitors could be lacking down low but never having them set up in any sort of optimal configuration this could be completely untrue.

The main reason I want to run 2 sets of monitors is because I have them. If that is counterproductive I am happy to take advice on that option.

As for level control the 8020D’s do have a level controller per side that plugs inline to each monitor. But i am not sure if this would be ideal for what I am doing.

Don’t hold back on your other ideas. I am here to learn

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 » Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:05 pm

Something like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/PHONIC-AM440-C ... 001169WY2/

Would accept the various line inputs and deliver a controlled (linear fader) output* There is also an AUX send that could feed the sub. That mixer is just one I found at random and is I admit an overkill. Behringer do a smaller one with 4 stereo line inputs but no AUX send, however, some subs take line in and send a filtered line out to the outrigger speakers.

My other idea is one I shall probably do myself...get a decent integrated hi fi amplifier and use that to 'gather' the sources and drive some active monitors from the volume control. Ideally you want an amp with an RCA split at the rear "From pre To PA" but these are rare beasts these days. Not bother to me as I shall just build in a pair of balanced drive PCBs. Are you up to such work?

*You would run each side speakers in parallel and ideally stack one atop the other, tweeter to tweeter will make the best of a bad imaging job!

Dave.

Fixed the Amazon link --ED.
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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 02, 2021 12:35 pm

1024-QAM wrote:Would I buy a little mixer and output to the monitors from different sources. How would I run 2 monitors of a single Chanel what technical hurdles will I need to overcome? And how could I do that. How would I integrate the sub?

You could use a mixer but it's cumbersome and probably you would get more stuff that you need (such as different equalizers per mono channel, separate gain trims and faders).

There are "switcher boxes" that allow you to take pairs of mono inputs and select which pair gets output-ed by using a selector (something like this, randomly found on Amazon).

"Sources" may present their outputs on different physical sockets, such as RCA plugs, TS jacks, TRS jack, XLR plug etc.

Basically you want to look at what's the most common physical output type among the sources you want to connect (say RCA plugs), find a box which has inputs of the same type (say RCA sockets), and use adatper cables for the remaining ones (say jack -to-RCA-plug for sources with jacks output, etc).

Given that you have the right adapters/combo for the physical plugs and cables, "sources" may also present different voltages ("microphone", "instrument", "line") but in your case I suspect you will want to deal with line level signals only (already pre-amplified, such as from cd players, mobile phone output, etc), so in general shouldn't be a big deal.

Finally "sources" (i.e. outputs) can be "balanced" or "unbalanced". Most consumer outputs are unbalanced, but here you really need to detail which source, as any source can do as it pleases.
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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 03, 2021 3:27 am

Great info all around. I don't mind having a small 4 or 6 Chanel desk I have the room. And its a fun toy. The idea of the switcher box is also appealing and would probably provide a better outcome removing the option of me fiddling around with it all.

I almost went down the road of a hifi amp that had outputs after the pre amp. I do regret not buying it now. I think it was a NAD amp and the guy only wanted $60 AUD for it

On a more technical question if I where to run 2 monitors per Channel in parallelle would I have issues in matching input impeadance to the output of the source? Or the desk or switching box? By the looks of what I can find on google paralleled I would end up at 2500ohms using unbalanced input to the monitors and 5000 ohms balanced.

I know that when I was looking at valve preamps that running into the relatively low input impeadance of the monitors could present problems with some pre amps.

Anything that I would have connected would be almost guaranteed to be unbalanced with the exception of the pc sound card. I can't see myself buying a bunch of pro level gear that would be using balanced outputs.

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 03, 2021 7:19 am

"On a more technical question if I where to run 2 monitors per Channel in parallelle would I have issues in matching input impeadance to the output of the source? Or the desk or switching box? By the looks of what I can find on google paralleled I would end up at 2500ohms using unbalanced input to the monitors and 5000 ohms balanced.

I know that when I was looking at valve preamps that running into the relatively low input impeadance of the monitors could present problems with some pre amps."

Not a problem if driving the monitors from a mixer, even the very basic ones have source impedances of only a few hundred Ohms whereas I would bet, not looked, the monitors are at least 10k per 'leg'. A load therefore of 5k and will not bother any active device. Should you go for a passive system you will surely get some volume shifts between sources. That is one advantage of a mixer, you can 'trim' each source to even out the levels. You will of course have to use a 'split' Y XLR or TRS cable to the monitors. These can be found on line but how's your soldering? Oh yes, and a passive switched system still leaves you without a local volume control.

Valve pre amps? Nah, you don't want to have anything to do with those. Nasty, dangerous, noisy, distorting, expensive, unreliable things!

Dave.

Dave. (just FYI, my wi fi dropped out before I could post this (hence 2 Daves) but R3 kept running over an RJ45 cable?)
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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 03, 2021 1:03 pm

Righto I think I am getting on track here I think.

Where I am at now I think is a little 4 or 6 Chanel simple mixer that has a secondary monitor output that I can run the sub out of when desired.

Last thought is I have seen those little audio interface boxes any thoughts o if they will buy me any benefits or are they more of a production tool for software interface ?

Some seem to have a few inputs a monitor output that I can run the sub / headphones from feed it all back onto the pc and run the monitors back out of the sound card.

I think a little mixer would be a couple of bucks less and if that old card fails it won’t shut me down.

You have all been helpful I am starting to get my head around it all again now. Probably not a difficult situation in the larger picture but getting the best from what I have is a fun little project.

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 03, 2021 1:14 pm

IMHO get the mixer* and get running. Once you have all your sources linked up and the speakers (two or four) you can then consider a backup system.

You COULD buy an interface with enough line inputs but it will be costly and you won't have level trims. If the sound card dies, just get a decent 2 in 2out interface £100 -£150 buys you something at LEAST as good sound quality as that card I bet.

*You will probably find it tricky to buy a mixer without a USB recording/play facility and I would not struggle to do so, won't save you much and you will always have the backup if needed.

Dave.
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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 03, 2021 11:10 pm

Cool thanks.

With any luck I will come across another decommissiong job before that card dies and if should be a newer version of the same / similar product.

I ended up with the 8020D's because a customer didn't want to have the extended outage required to swap them over for the 8020B's they had running. Simple plug and play swap but the way they where installed would have taken an hour to pull everything apart and put back together. Not only that but they had spares for the 8020b's.

It's not often but when these customers upgrade they would rather us just get rid of the old gear instead of them having to deal with disposal which most of the time is just getting an ewaste bin delivered for it all to go in. Works for me I am more than happy having high quality toys a generation or 2 old just for the effort of dealing with a load of very use specific useless kit at the same time.
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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 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:34 pm

So I have it all up and running. I connected the monitors to the card and the sub to the headphone output of the card and it all came to life. I am blown away by the little 8020D’s. They are beautiful to listen too. The only issue I am having is I think windows 10 is running the outputs of the card as hard as it can because I am getting a hiss through the monitors even at lower volume settings. I have emailed the card manufacturer for advice but being such an old card I am not sure I will have much luck.

Now for the sub. Well it’s not great it adds a little value with the crossover set as low as I can go 64Hz ? And at very low power setting maybe 5-10 percent. Anything over that and it’s lack of quality shines through being run along beside the monitors. Where it shines is when i am not in the same room. About 5 paces out the door and everything seems to be in almost perfect harmony. So good in fact that when I walked through that particular spot it made me double back and stand in place to listen to it. But having the sweet spot in the next room isn’t of much use to me so I think it will be rarely if ever turned on.

The room is a nightmare acoustically long narrow a wall of glass one side. And I don’t think I will go to the effort of trying to make it better for what I am doing which is basically listening to Spotify in the dark.

Thanks for all the help and advice.

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 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:08 pm

1024-QAM wrote:So I have it all up and running. I connected the monitors to the card and the sub to the headphone output of the card and it all came to life. I am blown away by the little 8020D’s. They are beautiful to listen too. The only issue I am having is I think windows 10 is running the outputs of the card as hard as it can because I am getting a hiss through the monitors even at lower volume settings. I have emailed the card manufacturer for advice but being such an old card I am not sure I will have much luck.

It's unlikely it's having anything to do with Windows - it can't "run outputs hard" in any way.
It's much more likely to be the card (or at most the card's drivers) or the cabling, or the grounding of the overall system or even the monitor gain set too high.

Noise is hard to debug and you have to be very systematic and methodical, so start with the minimal system (no mixer, no nothing) and see how it fares.

Now for the sub. Well it’s not great it adds a little value with the crossover set as low as I can go 64Hz ? And at very low power setting maybe 5-10 percent. Anything over that and it’s lack of quality shines through being run along beside the monitors. Where it shines is when i am not in the same room. About 5 paces out the door and everything seems to be in almost perfect harmony. So good in fact that when I walked through that particular spot it made me double back and stand in place to listen to it. But having the sweet spot in the next room isn’t of much use to me so I think it will be rarely if ever turned on.

Yeah 64Hz is little more than moving air. :) The fact that it sounds better out of the room makes me think that it's the room that's the problem? Do you have any bass traps in the room? Unleashing a subwoofer at any serious volume in a small room without acoustic treatment is a guaranteed disaster, irrespective of the quality of the kit.

The room is a nightmare acoustically long narrow a wall of glass one side. And I don’t think I will go to the effort of trying to make it better for what I am doing which is basically listening to Spotify in the dark.

Yeah in that case I'd ditch the subwoofer :)
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