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Old 18th May 2010, 09:41 AM   #1
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Default Music Server and PC based XO & EQ

Hi

Moderators: Not sure if this should be here, in Digital Line Level, or Digital Source. I posted here as I got the idea in the thread Violet DSP Evolution (Thanks guys!)

I want to implement a music server, and (like cuibono’s Violet and twest820) the crossover & EQ for a three way on a PC.

1st, I believe it'd be better to have separate PCs, for flexibility etc.
And PCs good enough to run a music server; and to run a crossover & EQ software are pretty modest cost, compared to the driver cost, and especially compared to the total project time involved. There's the downside of another box, but the speakers will be a lot bigger than the extra PC.

Before I get anything, I need to be sure about the connectivity:

I have a quiet PC with a good internal soundcard, the Delta 410 (24/ 96, dynamic range 100 dB). It has no HD at present but i could put in a big HD.
I’d get a further PC to run the XO etc.

Is this how the connections would/ should work? -

Music server PC's soundcard (Delta 410) Out > digital S/PDIF >

S/PDIF IN on the external audio interface (likely a Saffire Pro 40, I heard from a user that it works well with Allocator, the likely software)

> 6 pin Firewire OUT on the Saffire > the 2nd PC for the the crossover & EQ (aka digital audio workstation ("DAW")) with Firewire

Firewire? as the PC's OUT * > the Saffire’s 2nd Firewire port

D to A in the Saffire, then analog:
> TRS outputs (up to 8, ie in stereo up to 4 audio bands)
> TRS converters to RCAs
> RCAs in preamp

* Can a PC's Firewire port be 2 way, or is a PC with two Firewire ports needed or preferable?

I checked the Saffire manual for its avalable inputs and outputs. I'm mostly unsure about connecting it to the PC where the crossover & EQ is done.

Last edited by otto88; 18th May 2010 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 18th May 2010, 12:30 PM   #2
MaVo is offline MaVo  Germany
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A behringer ultradriver will probably serve you better than a pc crossover. i used a pc xover also and switched to a ultradrive. less hassle with software, less prone to system crashes, easier to transport, no boot time, no software updates needed, produces no noise like a pc does, just more practical in everyday life.
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Old 18th May 2010, 01:31 PM   #3
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I’ll use one initially for basic setting of eg XO Hz. Yes, practical, great value.
But - I have to wait to boot the music server anyhow, and for the tube amp to warm up; I won’t be transporting it, I can get a slow fan in a good case, etc.

The priority is fine tuning the sound. Most don’t want to go that far, but a software GUI appeals to me.
Ultra-Drives are a lot less flexible than software, with tailoring limited (IIRC by the memory).

The speakers are dipole, so I need dipole slope correction, and notches between the midrange’s dipole peak and the tweeter, and driver anomalies, etc.

Hey, it’s not just getting to a good result easily.
It’s a mission, to do the best I can. Something great.
With the right connections . .
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Old 18th May 2010, 01:46 PM   #4
doug20 is offline doug20  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaVo View Post
A behringer ultradriver will probably serve you better than a pc crossover. i used a pc xover also and switched to a ultradrive. less hassle with software, less prone to system crashes, easier to transport, no boot time, no software updates needed, produces no noise like a pc does, just more practical in everyday life.
Do you believe the mods improve the DCX? or do you believe in just having the proper gain structure (max voltage in, VC controls on amps).
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Old 18th May 2010, 01:57 PM   #5
johnYks is offline johnYks  Australia
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Hello otto88_This is a superb thread....

A how to for a PC XO.
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Old 18th May 2010, 02:15 PM   #6
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Thanks John, that is/ was a great thread.

I now recall that from "back then", when it sounded great but too much work for me.
Now I have a liitle more time and motivation, and the hardware is probably a bit less expensive, and the software a bit better.
So I’ll re-read it.

Tho’ if anyone has an answer to my specific question, please jump in.

Cheers
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Old 18th May 2010, 02:41 PM   #7
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It looks like you have a bit of confusion on the firewire ports. A firewire port is bi-directional, so the Saffire hooks up to a single PC via a single firewire cable. The "2nd" port is simply a pass-through to allow hooking up another firewire device (e.g. external hard drive) without needing a 2nd port on the PC.

If you already have an external DAC, you can probably save a couple hundred bucks by going with the Saffire 24 rather than the 40. Aside from the 2 extra analog outs the other upgraded features don't seem to be anything you care about - DSP, ADAT out, 8 mic preamps rather than 2 etc. I have the Saffire Pro 24 and can verify that it will handle what I think you are trying to do - spdif in to 8 channel out (with 2 being over spdif). I haven't tried it with Allocator, but I've been running it with Reaper without problems. Analog output quality seems quite good, although I haven't directly compared it to anything yet.

In theory the Saffire units also work under Linux, but I haven't yet been successful on that front - I think it may be my firewire ports rather than the Saffire, but I'm not entirely sure.
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Old 18th May 2010, 03:15 PM   #8
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Thanks dw, I didn’t know Firewire is bi-directional, that makes it a lil’ simpler.

I don’t have an external DAC.
What the Saffire 40 has that works apparently well with Allocator, is loopback (where a stereo output channel made available as a DAW input), a way of getting around some ASIO limitations. Do you know if the Saffire 24 allows that?
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Old 18th May 2010, 05:08 PM   #9
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I'm only 5% though it, but A how to for a PC XO - what a useful thread

Are many people now using what Shin' thought the most useful part of his PC setup, DRC?
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Old 19th May 2010, 01:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otto88 View Post
Thanks dw, I didnít know Firewire is bi-directional, that makes it a lilí simpler.

I donít have an external DAC.
Okay, that does mean that you'll have to go for the 40 if you want 8 analog outs.

Quote:
What the Saffire 40 has that works apparently well with Allocator, is loopback (where a stereo output channel made available as a DAW input), a way of getting around some ASIO limitations. Do you know if the Saffire 24 allows that?
Yes, it does. All the Saffire units use the same driver, so they'll all be the same as far as this goes.
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