Loudspeaker Frequency Allocator now available - diyAudio
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Old 11th June 2006, 09:36 PM   #1
Thunau is offline Thunau  United States
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Default Loudspeaker Frequency Allocator now available

I finally got the PC crossover I've been working on for the last 6 months to the point where I feel confident offering it for download as a demo and for purchase.
The current version is still 0.99 as there are a couple of systems (combination sound card/motherboard/OS) that give us some trouble. Hopefully soon we'll be able to solve that riddle and offer the 1.0 for sale.
But for now anyone who can make the demo work on their system with no problems can grab the Allocator 0.99 at 40% off.
Once the 1.0 is available, the upgrade will be free to the 0.99 owners.
For now it's Paypal only, I have a more automated software store solution that will be in place with the 1.0.
Demo of the Phase Arbitrator is coming sometime this week- I'm doing some final interface touch ups and finishing the user guide for it.

Important: you need a multichannel sound card with native ASIO drivers to use the Allocator.

See my website for more details.
Please direct any questions and concerns to the Product Support Forum on my site.
I can't monitor all the forums I'm posting this notification on.

Please visit Thuneau.com for details

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 12th June 2006, 02:20 AM   #2
Thunau is offline Thunau  United States
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Default Frequency Allocator NOT YET available

I rolled out the demo a bit prematurely.
With the latest files some of old problems were reintroduced in the code and I didn't catch it on time. There is a bit of clicking noise in the audio streams that was not there in the last version I thouroghly tested. Sorry to everybody who took time downloading the demo just to be dissapointed with the sound quality. I will fix the core file ASAP and post the demo again.
Jan
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Old 13th June 2006, 07:49 AM   #3
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Jan, very interesting! Makes me wonder if I should start considering a HTPC, which I could also use to rip all my music and favourite movies, as well as a crossover.

Any comments on how this would compare to standalone unit like Behringer Ultradrive?
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Old 13th June 2006, 01:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by paulspencer
Jan, very interesting! Makes me wonder if I should start considering a HTPC, which I could also use to rip all my music and favourite movies, as well as a crossover.

Any comments on how this would compare to standalone unit like Behringer Ultradrive?

BIG step up from the Behringer IMHO, but then I've been a PC convert for quite a while. Aside from the fact that you can select your sound card to match your requirements, the filtering is more flexible, you can do a 3.5/4 way system (important IMHO since many/most folks serious enough to do this right will end up at 3.5 way eventually), and the ability to load FRD files for graphical feedback of actual driver response is a very convenient feature. IMHO the sound quality of cards at the Emu level and above is better than the Behringer as well (as it should be given that they cost 2x the entire DCX unit)
And this doesn't even touch on the Arbitrator - the abilty to properly phase correct is an 'icing on the cake' feature, but a very very nice one.

Taken in isolation, I think it's flat-out amazing for it's asking price. This assumes you've already got an appropriate PC and sound card. Still, my setup is an Emu 1820M, and an old PIII 1GHz pc. Add the Allocator software (and even Console if you want) and you can do it for well under $900 out the door. Not chump change, but that's 1/2-1/3 the price of the DEQX, which IMHO is the better comparison to make.

Disclaimer: I've been beta-testing the software, but I've been playing with using a PC for xover duties for pushing 10 years. Custom code, BruteFIR on Linux, Foobar plugins, VST stuff in console etc -I've tried pretty much everything (not that much VST stuff, due to cost). Hands down the best system I've seen in that time.
About 4 hours of measurement and tweaking on my mono quasi-Unity prototype gave me the best sound of any speaker system I've built to date (okay, given some of my previous efforts, that may not actually be saying much, but it sure sounds impressive :-))

All of the above is in the context of 2-channel audio. For true HT/surround sound, there may be some other issues and considerations, starting with latency. If 5.1 (or 6/7.1) is your primary focus, waiting for more experience to come in may be a good idea.
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Old 17th June 2006, 07:42 PM   #5
Thunau is offline Thunau  United States
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Default Allocator Demo fixed and back up for download.

The Allocator 0.9.10 demo is up on the site again.
If you downloaded the 0.9.9 before, please delete it and replace it with this version.
The little clicking bug has been fixed.
If the demo runs with no problems on your system the full 0.9.10 will as well. If it gives you any trouble such as 100% CPU load, please be patient, I will have it fixed by release 1.0.
Please see my support forum to post your questions. I don't want to take up this forum's bandwidth for my product.
For now there is no need to register to post.
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Old 30th July 2006, 01:14 PM   #6
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Hi
I have become fascinated with this Allocator
concept and so have been looking for low cost
ways or implementing it with a 1gig PC I have spare.
While the Via Envy chips are not the only options
I discovered that there is a whole family of Envy chips and many boards.
Question is Motherboards and Card that lend themselves
to 6 channel or 8 channel independent post Allocator/Arbitrator
outputs to get a low cost system running that sounds
fairly respectable on par or better than the DCX2496
(Now you can get it, now you can"t, silver and black rack box!)

Here are some Envy variants

Envy 24 CHANNELS 8 IN/8 OUT Best Envy chip!
Eg M Audio Delta 10/10 lite ASIO2 drivers Etc.
Maya boards and Firewire or USB2 boards. Others??

Envy 24HT CHANNELS 4 IN/8 OUT Good
Prodogy 7.1 example? Subwoofer crossover frequency Locked @ 40hz??
M=Audio 7.1 ??

Envy 24HT-S 8 CHANNELS 2 IN/8 OUT Good if controllable!
board examples? Chaintech AV710? ASIO2 Drivers??

Envy 24GT CHANNELS 2 IN/6 OUT 3 way crosover good if controllable!
Board examples for 3 way Allocator???
Anyone know what boards and how controllable?

Envy 24PT CHANNELS 2 IN/8 OUT Good if controllable
What boards and how controllable?

TREMOR CHANNELS 2 IN/6 OUT 3 way Ok if controllable
3 way crossover if controllable.

On some bulletin boards I found info on the ASIO4all software
and suggestions to use it with the VIA drivers for
Envy boards. Would we get anywhere with this at a low pricepoint?

Cheapest 2in 8 out Named board I can find is the Chaintech av410 but specs can be deceptive. Someone even had a hack for turnings it into a
Prodogy 7.1 but with no analogue outputs !

Some cards say they only deliver eight channels with Windows Media
Player or such. Windows 2000 needs Service pack 3 for certain functions and XP requires Service pack 1 for some features. It is bit of a mine field out there unless you are willing to go to the Pro level (Envy24) M-Audio, Terratec Maya,RME or other upmarket PCI USB2 or Firewire boards.

A unit that falls between the cracks is the Echo Indigo Dj that has a "virtual 8 analogue channels out" Its a PCMCIA slotcard in a laptop.Has it ASIO2 drivers available to use with the Allocator? Laptop could easily be a PCMCIA Mini/Nano Itx set top box in the future only if it could do the job??

Please advise.

Regards

AnthonyPT
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Old 30th July 2006, 03:26 PM   #7
Thunau is offline Thunau  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by AnthonyPT
Hi
I have become fascinated with this Allocator
concept and so have been looking for low cost
ways or implementing it with a 1gig PC I have spare.
While the Via Envy chips are not the only options
I discovered that there is a whole family of Envy chips and many boards.
Question is Motherboards and Card that lend themselves
to 6 channel or 8 channel independent post Allocator/Arbitrator
outputs to get a low cost system running that sounds
fairly respectable on par or better than the DCX2496
(Now you can get it, now you can"t, silver and black rack box!)

Here are some Envy variants

Envy 24 CHANNELS 8 IN/8 OUT Best Envy chip!
Eg M Audio Delta 10/10 lite ASIO2 drivers Etc.
Maya boards and Firewire or USB2 boards. Others??

Envy 24HT CHANNELS 4 IN/8 OUT Good
Prodogy 7.1 example? Subwoofer crossover frequency Locked @ 40hz??
M=Audio 7.1 ??

Envy 24HT-S 8 CHANNELS 2 IN/8 OUT Good if controllable!
board examples? Chaintech AV710? ASIO2 Drivers??

Envy 24GT CHANNELS 2 IN/6 OUT 3 way crosover good if controllable!
Board examples for 3 way Allocator???
Anyone know what boards and how controllable?

Envy 24PT CHANNELS 2 IN/8 OUT Good if controllable
What boards and how controllable?

TREMOR CHANNELS 2 IN/6 OUT 3 way Ok if controllable
3 way crossover if controllable.

On some bulletin boards I found info on the ASIO4all software
and suggestions to use it with the VIA drivers for
Envy boards. Would we get anywhere with this at a low pricepoint?

Cheapest 2in 8 out Named board I can find is the Chaintech av410 but specs can be deceptive. Someone even had a hack for turnings it into a
Prodogy 7.1 but with no analogue outputs !

Some cards say they only deliver eight channels with Windows Media
Player or such. Windows 2000 needs Service pack 3 for certain functions and XP requires Service pack 1 for some features. It is bit of a mine field out there unless you are willing to go to the Pro level (Envy24) M-Audio, Terratec Maya,RME or other upmarket PCI USB2 or Firewire boards.

A unit that falls between the cracks is the Echo Indigo Dj that has a "virtual 8 analogue channels out" Its a PCMCIA slotcard in a laptop.Has it ASIO2 drivers available to use with the Allocator? Laptop could easily be a PCMCIA Mini/Nano Itx set top box in the future only if it could do the job??

Please advise.

Regards

AnthonyPT
Hi Anthony,

1GHz PC should give you the power to run a 3-way crossover with Arbitrator phase correction. The one big factor that affects the performance is handling of the ASIO buffers in th drivers.
Arbitrator uses large processing blocks of 8192 samples. The closer you can match that number with the ASIO buffers the smoother the operation. So look for the most stable ASIO drivers known for a given chipset with the largest ASIO buffers available to the user.
M-Audio has good drivers, so does the Audiotrak. I'm not sure about Chaintech- I don't have any experience with their cards and I don't think any of my Beta testers had one either.

If you notice that your computer can't keep up with the CPU demand try the Allocator Light. That version uses 64 sample long procesing blocks and needs 60% to 70% less CPU time as compared to the full version. That is the version for users with slower computers and inexpensive ASIO cards. You give up the phase correction, but that is in itself deserving of a more ambitious, audiophile setup.

ASIO4All adds a lot of CPU overhead to the operation. I don't recommend using it with multichannel cards as it results in 2-3 times the CPU usage a native ASIO driver exhibits. I tried it on the free standing Phase Arbitrator (2 in, 2 out) and while it works, the CPU usage is really jerky and spikes up at times.

Using cards with native ASIO drivers gets you out of the whole Service pack X, WMP limitations etc. ASIO is a mature technology that works well all the way back to Win98.

Out of all the inexpensive sound cards the best ASIO or ASIO2 drivers come with Audiotrak/EGO systems cards. While the options in the control panel can be overwhelming at first, once dialed in, you have a very stable system that lets you send your audio from a media player of your choice to the Allocator internally, across different drivers (WDM out to ASIO in for example). Too bad they seem to have very limited presence in the USA market.

The Indigo DJ card you mention has only 2 stereo outputs, so you could do a 2 way speaker with it, or use it as mains to sub crossover. The 8 virtual outputs don't do you any good as they are internally submixed into the physical outputs. If you tried to use it with the Allocator, your midrange and high outputs for example would appear on the same output jack, so you could not use them as intended.

By the way, the Allocator and Allocator Light are now in version 0.10.1. Multiple instances are fully supported. One of my customers is running 5 instances of the Allocator Light to process a fully active 8.2 HT system. I'm not sure what is his sound card, but he needs at least 18 outputs. He uses the Console for routing.
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Old 31st July 2006, 06:58 AM   #8
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Hi Jan


Thank you for you very clear and comprehensive reply.
Finding a good inexpensive analogue 2in 8out card with native
ASI02 support seems a challenge. As you say the ASIO4all is processor hungry, I might try Console. The M-audio 7.1 or Prodogy 7.1 might be a better entry point for the money and time spent setting up. Any comments on the Prodigy 7.1 sub channel having a fixed crossover point?
Also the future of using a ITX motherboard solution with onboard Via sound chips for 6 channel or adding a M-audio or Prodogy 7.1 card in the only slot with Allocatorlite would be nice if it works ! When I was in Kosmic Sound last week (a big prosound vendor) they were keen on the Firewire cards and were not PCI or USB advocates. Certainly if upgrading PC hardware is on the cards and PCI slots are replaced; using Firewire cards make sense and even more sense if one has Macs and PCs. Of course this is no longer budgetware! I wonder what card you client with the HT multichannel is using.

Regards

AnthonyPT
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