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PC in another room... how to connect thunderbolt ?

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PC in another room... how to connect thunderbolt ?

Postby maxsnet » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:00 pm

Hello,

I am building a PC for my mixing room and to get the quietest mixing environment possible I'll put it in another room.

The keyboard and mouse will use Bluetooth and the screen a 19ft cabel, but I don't know how to do for the thunderbolt audio interface: long thunderbolt optical cables are expensive (and are they reliable?).

One solution is to let the interface in the other room too, but as I use external gears that would mean a bunch of audio cables going back and forth and I would rather have the audio interface in front of me.

What are the solutions available to me ?

Thank you for your help !

Max
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Re: PC in another room... how to connect thunderbolt ?

Postby ef37a » Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:23 am

Thunderbolt cables are copper not optical as was the first idea.

The maximum length seems to be 10 feet, 3 mtrs and I would not trust any extension device to work reliably for an audio interface.

Do you have the interface yet? If not you might consider USB or, if cost is not much of a problem, Ethernet.

But THE best, bomb proof solution is to have the AI with the PC and on a good quality cable of modest length. Running multiple audio lines is mature and easy technology. A monitor controller can be used "your" end for level control.

Dave.
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Re: PC in another room... how to connect thunderbolt ?

Postby Agharta » Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:36 am

If you are building a PC from scratch then it's not difficult or expensive to build a silent one unless you are using a CPU with a high power consumption.
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Re: PC in another room... how to connect thunderbolt ?

Postby maxsnet » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:42 am

Hello, thank you for your replies !

My budget is as tight as possible but I’m ready to extend it for innovative solutions that work well.

I already have the AI (UAD) and a monitor control; therefore audio cables is a an effective low-cost solution.

Audio over Ethernet might do it! I don’t know anything about it (I shall read this article https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/ethernet-audio ). Does that (just) mean to plug an ADAT cable from the AI to an AoE device in the first room, then an Ethernet cable to an AoE DAC device in the mixing room and that’s it? Are there cost-effective solutions? Whatever RedNet is very expensive...

I mix at low volume and any sounds not coming from the speakers become a disturbance, and building a quiet PC was my first idea:
fanless CPU cooler, fanless PSU, Noctua fans, mid case (pretty big for better airflow). But how to know if my PC will not run too hot? Are fanless devices really a good idea?
I’m going to use the latest i7 or i9 CPU with an ATX board, no GPU planned for the moment.

To put the PC in another room instantly solves the problem, and reduces the cost of the PC - I’d rather spend my money in audio cables or (learn) AoE.

Thank you all for ideas and help!
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Re: PC in another room... how to connect thunderbolt ?

Postby Humble Bee » Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:26 am

While I’m not an expert in the field I would very much doubt that computer noise would be much of a problem if you plan to run powerful processors like that. Even more so when you use UAD DSP’s to take some of the load of the computer. There are great sounding, processor-light vst plugins today that lets you do comercial level mixes without overloading i7 or i9 processors. And if you use a lot of virtual instruments we’ll just bounce them down to audio and go from there.
But running a balanced stereo 20ft from your Apollo to your monitor controller as Dave mentions along with a HDMI to your screen would be the no hassle solution if the computer proves to be to noisy.
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Re: PC in another room... how to connect thunderbolt ?

Postby Wonks » Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:09 pm

Any protocol/medium conversion device is going to add latency, so unless you have devices that natively run AoE, then I wouldn't bother.

Why do you need the AI with you? It would be easier to have that remote with the PC, and then run audio cables out and have a patch panel with you for inputs and outputs and a monitor controller for controlling speaker/headphone levels.
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Re: PC in another room... how to connect thunderbolt ?

Postby ef37a » Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:17 pm

I am even less an "expert" than HB but if a really silent computer is the aim then there is always a chance it won't turn out so for a home build. Not likely these days I agree with modern cooling systems and cases and of course SSDs but just a chance.

I am far more at home with wires! Pretty foolproof solution to stick a wall between PC and sound source. If cost is an issue look at making up your own tie lines (you need to get them through bricks anyway?) Don't buy fancy, rugged mic cable, go for ~4mm OD foil screened cable. Much cheaper, you can get more down a given "hole" and it is a dream to strip and solder.

Ethernet audio? Don't wanna mess with that! Except it is a good idea to put in couple of CAT 5e/6 cables as well. Always stuff as many ways as you can fit/afford in when it comes to cables. You don't have to terminate them all until you need them.

Hi Wonks. OP can run headphones down a CAT5.

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Re: PC in another room... how to connect thunderbolt ?

Postby wireman » Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:22 pm

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Re: PC in another room... how to connect thunderbolt ?

Postby Wonks » Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:42 pm

ef37a wrote:Hi Wonks. OP can run headphones down a CAT5.

You could, but why use that instead of a proper audio cable? Thin Cat 5e cabling is going to lose more power than thicker audio cabling. Far better to have the headphone amp near the user otherwise you need a good method of remote volume control and input selection.
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Re: PC in another room... how to connect thunderbolt ?

Postby Watchmaker » Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:55 pm

I went through this exact dilemma and wound up with a Focusrite 8PreX on my desktop where I could interact while in the listening position and my noisy old Dell sat in a closet 30' away. The solution was a 50' Corning thunderbolt optical cable I bought within the first week they were introduced. I think I paid $180 USD for it and it's worth every penny. tough and flexible, thin yet strong, has been a totally flawless performer.

Thunderbolt cables are active, meaning they code and decode at the terminals, which is one reason they're so expensive.

Now things are different, software controllable preamps are a gift from God and the unison pres in the UAD gear are better than my needs will ever be. But, when I go big I have to toslink my Apollo 8 to the 8prex and my audient asp880, the latter two require me to gain set at the interface so they needs must be on my desk. back when I was a windows guy, that got crowded and slightly warm.
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Re: PC in another room... how to connect thunderbolt ?

Postby maxsnet » Sun Feb 24, 2019 2:39 pm

Hi everyone !

Thank you all for your advice :thumbup:

I have read about RedNet the whole morning and understand this is an overkill solution for me - amongst the price, 1000% out of my budget.

I have concluded that the easiest, most affordable, no-latency and reliable solution is... audio cables! Indeed, I don't need the AI in front of me.

The computer will be in the other room with the Apollo 8p and Out 1-2 will go to a monitor controller, and Out 3-8 to the audio patch in the mixing room. IN 1-8 will go to the audio patch too.

The other room is the recording room - hence the Apollo 8p to record with the Unison preamps. At first I had planned to buy another UAD AI for mixing but with the computer in the recording room I don't need that anymore.

ef37a wrote:If cost is an issue look at making up your own tie lines (you need to get them through bricks anyway?) Don't buy fancy, rugged mic cable, go for ~4mm OD foil screened cable. Much cheaper, you can get more down a given "hole" and it is a dream to strip and solder.

It will go under the door, there is enough space for that.


Humble Bee wrote: But running a balanced stereo 20ft from your Apollo to your monitor controller as Dave mentions along with a HDMI to your screen would be the no hassle solution if the computer proves to be to noisy.
My2c

I actually use the cheapest screen ever, DVI or VGA.
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Re: PC in another room... how to connect thunderbolt ?

Postby ef37a » Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:06 pm

Wonks wrote:
ef37a wrote:Hi Wonks. OP can run headphones down a CAT5.

You could, but why use that instead of a proper audio cable? Thin Cat 5e cabling is going to lose more power than thicker audio cabling. Far better to have the headphone amp near the user otherwise you need a good method of remote volume control and input selection.

As my dear old mum used to say Wonks.."be buggered for a tale". The loop resistance of CAT5e is under 2 Ohms for 10mtrs and most headphone outputs are 100 Ohms or so and the consequent loss even into 32 R cans negligible. If the OP takes the AI headphone feed via CAT cable and plugs it into a controller or headphone amp there will be no loss at all. Then, there are 8 wires so, two per channel, two for common sleeve, less than an Ohm.

But the cat can be skinned many ways.

Dave.
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Re: PC in another room... how to connect thunderbolt ?

Postby maxsnet » Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:29 pm

Actually I will take the main outs of the AI to a controller and plug headphones on it.
The volume of headphones outputs of the Apollo 8p can only be controlled on the device itself.
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Re: PC in another room... how to connect thunderbolt ?

Postby Nathan-VST-Plugins » Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:53 pm

One option are PC silent fans, they are not expensive.
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