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Old 10th February 2011, 02:15 AM   #1
GR8FLPT is offline GR8FLPT  United States
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Default USB multichannel audio, not surround sound

Is it possible to get a multichannel output from a laptop to a sound card or mixer but not have it in surround sound mode? I need to be able to mix or move sounds between different channels. 7 would be nice, 8 or more would be better.

I need to do this with a laptop due to it needing to be portable & easy to work with in a expo like setting.

I was thinking of having seven or eight channels of different types of sounds that I could send to different speakers. I was thinking of using the digital amps being sold over a Parts Express, but getting the sound out of the laptop was the issue. It only has headphone out so that would only be two channels. I have seen USB sound cards but they all seem to be surround based. I want to turn off the surround mode & control each channel separately.

What I really need is a multichannel preamp, but the source is the issue. Unless I used a multichannel recorder to fed the preamp's. I was hoping a laptop would be able to do this with the right software so I can look at the waveforms also. Is any of this possible, does any of it make any sense. I know what I what to do, but am not sure how to get there without spending $$$$... any thoughts appreciated.
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Old 10th February 2011, 06:28 AM   #2
phofman is online now phofman  Czech Republic
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If all your channels can run at the same sample rate, a regular surround card is what you need. It has several independant channels, running at the same fs.

Another question is how you can make several programs output to various channels of the same card. I have no idea in windows, in linux it is simple.
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Old 10th February 2011, 01:39 PM   #3
GR8FLPT is offline GR8FLPT  United States
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You mean a USB external card or a PCI based model? Most cards I have seen have surround mode for the other channels. I have not seen a way to shut that off. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong types of cards. Any suggestions on a model?

I checked one of the other forums in crossovers but it looked like they were discussing PCI based cards more.

Tell me more about the Linux based mode. I j=have not used Linux but am will to give it a try.
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Old 10th February 2011, 01:50 PM   #4
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You can get USB 8-channel output-only cards at low cost. The ESI Gigaport is one, which simply provides eight unbalanced outputs on phono (RCA) sockets.

Getting a Windows application that allows you to stream independent audio sources on each output chanel might be more of a problem though!
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Old 10th February 2011, 02:09 PM   #5
GR8FLPT is offline GR8FLPT  United States
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Thanks just looked at it. Looks like that could do the trick. I guess your right about windows, next battle is finding software for output control. But Idea seems to start to have legs. I might actually get something up & running by Spring now.
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Old 10th February 2011, 03:10 PM   #6
phofman is online now phofman  Czech Republic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GR8FLPT View Post
You mean a USB external card or a PCI based model? Most cards I have seen have surround mode for the other channels. I have not seen a way to shut that off. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong types of cards. Any suggestions on a model?
The card itself does not know anything about "surround mode". It is simply a multichannel card. This "virtual notion" of surround is created by your playback software.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GR8FLPT View Post
I checked one of the other forums in crossovers but it looked like they were discussing PCI based cards more.
There is no difference between multichannel USB and PCI cards in this matter.


Quote:
Tell me more about the Linux based mode. I j=have not used Linux but am will to give it a try.
It is about configuring the linux sound layer. You can define a virtual device for each channel of your card, or for pairs, such as in .asoundrc - ALSA wiki . Of course all of these virtual devices must run at the same sample rate.
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Old 19th August 2011, 08:43 PM   #7
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Default Multichannel Audio

I believe you can do this with j river media center 16

Please let me know how the sound card is working . Are you running stereo?

Thanks,
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Old 31st December 2012, 11:33 AM   #8
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Default multichannel with right software

I am interested to hear about the such sound card, I am trying to find schematics online to build one myself, given that I cant afford one and also would like to learn to build everything in the sound chain... but that is another story...

About the software, simply use Max/MSP or PureData, the latter is open source, and is very very easy to send any sound to any channel anytime you want, with millions of possibilities in your hands.

Pd-extended — PD Community Site

Cycling 74
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Old 31st December 2012, 12:28 PM   #9
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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dont fool yourself into thinking it will be cheaper to build one yourself

a basic recording interface with multiple channels can be had a LOT cheaper than building a one off USB audio card that needs custom DSP or FPGA, software, perhaps dacs with analogue stages etc. this is definitely one of those times that DIY will be more expensive, given you dont even seem to need top performance so could get by with buying used.

Last edited by qusp; 31st December 2012 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 09:43 AM   #10
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Its funny, because you talk about dac's and i was thinking about adc's, i guess people cannot read my mind haha... however, not only the price, but the desire to learn to craft such a thing... later i found a couple of schmatics, using chips that handle codecs already(PCM2902) , as expensive as 10 pounds per piece, and the rest of the circuitry is relatively accessible, i still think you can make it cheaper, even if you have to program it yourself, which cost nothing (time maybe)...
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