diy tacT ambiophonic processor on the cheap. Can it be done? - diyAudio
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Old 7th April 2010, 11:51 AM   #1
poldus is offline poldus  Europe
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Default diy tacT ambiophonic processor on the cheap. Can it be done?

I should have posted this in the PC based subforum. Moderators please feel free to move it over.

After years of using a cumbersome physical barrier between two closely positioned speakers for crosstalk cancellation (see ambiophonics) I finally removed it and used some currently available free software instead. I´m still smiling. It works. I couldn´t be any happier.

Here´s the glitch: Having to use a computer with its fan noise, opening up the software window and clicking here and there to get it going every time. Also I´m going to need a external soundcard (I have a laptop) so I can use my DVD player´s digital out through the software before the amp.

TacT offer a standalone ambiophonic processor that makes me drool. But I can´t afford it, its 1800 euro.

Now, my knowledge about computers and soundcards amounts to zero so please bear with me.

my question is, is there an alternative, like some little fanless, even screenless computer that I could download the software onto, then switch on and off for my listening sessions without the hassle, for cheap?
In other words, can we diy something resembling a tact ambiophonic processor?

Last edited by poldus; 7th April 2010 at 12:16 PM. Reason: wrong subforum
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Old 7th April 2010, 01:27 PM   #2
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I've an Apple mac mini booted into Windows and using Foobar with several plugins (equalizer, crossover, room correction).
You can use the internal soundcard but I recommed an external soundcard og better one or more usbdacs.
Foobar can be remotely controlled via http (e.g. Safari web browser on an iPhone)

And the mini is quiet, very quiet and is the greenest desktop computer today.
Booted into osx and loaded with Plex you get one of the best mediacenters!
Again an iPhone can be used or Apples Remote (keyboard and mouse only needed to install the software and setup).
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Old 7th April 2010, 05:51 PM   #3
poldus is offline poldus  Europe
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The mini Mac seems convenient. I would love for someone to test Stephan Hotto´s four channel ambiophonic transcoder software in it and comment. What with all the bit rates, compatibilites and so on the number of potential snags are too daunting for a computer-ignorant as me to fork out good money to such uncertainties.
I would like to play dvd´s on it and have both front and back channels through the transcoder. Could I have component video out from the mac? Any lip-sync issues?
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Old 7th April 2010, 05:56 PM   #4
durwood is offline durwood  United States
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atom 330 mini-itx fanless embedded board should be plenty + audiotrack PCI card with directwire feature. VST host. VLC player and mediaplayer classic both have video delay.

VNC into it when needed so you don't have to have a screen.
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Old 7th April 2010, 10:31 PM   #5
gooki is offline gooki  New Zealand
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As above, an atom board should be able to do the trick, and if you must have music/dvd playback on the same device the the nvidia ion+atom platform is what I'd look at.

However if you want to do 4 channel ambionphonics, and media playback on one device I'm not sure if the atom is up to the task.

PS how to you want the sound to come out the computer? SPDIF (if so you'll be limited to two channel unless you want to compromise quality), HDMI? Analog?
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Old 7th April 2010, 11:10 PM   #6
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Both analog and digital out would be ideal so I can choose whichever sounds best. I´m using a Yamaha AX1 processor/amp that has analog and SPDIF digital inputs.
So would four channel SPDIF necesarily compromise quality? Would it be possible for the soundcard to route the front and backs to two different SPDIF jacks? (I have three AX1 units so one could be taking the front and another the back speakers at the same time.

I´m already appalled by the boards and cards mentioned. It´s going to take me a while to learn about those. I hope I don´t dismay in the process. Thanks and please keep posting.

Last edited by poldus; 7th April 2010 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 8th April 2010, 12:04 AM   #7
gooki is offline gooki  New Zealand
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Quote:
So would four channel SPDIF necesarily compromise quality?
Over a single SPDIF connection yes because you would have to re-encode to DD or DTS for your receiver to accept it.

Quote:
Would it be possible for the soundcard to route the front and backs to two different SPDIF jacks?
Yes it is possible for software to send front and back channels to two different SPDIF output - either on the same sound card or over multiple soundcards. If you go this way the quality should not be compromised.
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Old 8th April 2010, 08:09 PM   #8
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So far I prefer the atom board idea over the Mac mini on account of the price.

After some quick browsing on the boards and cards that have been suggested and seeing that the audiotrack PCI stretches my budget too far,(the atom boards are more in the neighbourhood) would like to narrow in my requirements:
If I use my dvd player´s digital out as a source and since the AX1 processor features lip-sync correction, I could maybe use a more simple soundcard with digital in-out that can take dts or DolbyDIgital for movies and plain stereo from CD´s? I would then use the four channel version of the ambiophonic transcoder only for videos and the lesser DD or DTS would not be a problem.

As Stephan Hotto´s software seems to require different input/output devices through the transcoder, would I need two soundcards instead of one?

I still don´t see how the atom board could be configured so as to perform the ambiophonic software without the usual computer+screen windows and mouse routine hassle?
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Old 8th April 2010, 10:16 PM   #9
gooki is offline gooki  New Zealand
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If you want to keep it simple I'd avoid sending compressed DD/DTS to a PC soundcard. Realtime decoding of internal inputs can be a huge PITA.

Also look into Virtual Audio Cable. It'll allow you to route audio to various soundcards irrespective if the software supports multiple cards or not.

Quote:
I still don´t see how the atom board could be configured so as to perform the ambiophonic software without the usual computer+screen windows and mouse routine hassle?
Yes you need a screen to configure it. But it should be a once only thing.

There's a few ways to do this - the simplest is to have a shortcut to your ambiophonic processor in the start menu so it is launched automatically on boot. The more complex method is to use HORM (hybernate once read many). You can patch this into windows xp from the xp embedded iso. What this allows you to do is create a fully working xp environment -all software running and setup as needed. Then you create a hibernate file form this state, and once HORM is enabled the PC will boot into the saved state every time it is powered on. The MP3car.com forums are probably the best resource for setting up HORM.

Last edited by gooki; 8th April 2010 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 10th April 2010, 10:26 PM   #10
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I really apreciate your input.
I am going to proceed one step at a time:right now I am looking for a soundcard so I can have my cd player´s digital out processed by the software in real time.
Once I have that going, I´ll aim for the dedicated board as per your suggestions.
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