Setting up a PC-based multichannel DSP system - diyAudio
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Old 25th May 2014, 08:26 AM   #1
ra7 is offline ra7  United States
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Default Setting up a PC-based multichannel DSP system

Hi all,

I'm looking to test out a PC based solution for crossover and distributed subs. Right now I have two 2x4 miniDSP units to run one sub and stereo three way speakers (the mid/tweet crossover is passive). I'm building of new speakers that may be 3-way and with at least 2 subs that are down-mixed to mono. So, the current solution cannot work.

I could go for the miniDSP 8x8 or 10x10, but I want to plan for future addition of more channels, either more subs, more drivers per speaker or more speakers (as in for home theater).

I've read some threads on here and it's very confusing about what is the right path. Any suggestions? I'm using Window 7 on a newish laptop.

JRiver appears to be the right software to run because it allows up to 32 channels (or so I hear). And it runs video too, which is perfect. But I don't see very many soundcards with 8 or more outputs for laptops. ESI Gigaport HD?

For processing the crossover and frequency response, there are options too: Bodizo, rePhase, Acourate, others? I'm inclined towards rePhase because I've used it before and it's free. Will JRiver+filters generated from rePhase work?

Another wrinkle is I have a lot of music on vinyl (no, I don't care about the poor playback. Good music is good music). So, the phono preamp output needs to be accepted by the soundcard.

So, please, tell me about your experiences. What works, what doesn't. What's easy, hard, expensive, free, simple...

Thanks!

Last edited by ra7; 25th May 2014 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 25th May 2014, 03:37 PM   #2
ra7 is offline ra7  United States
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Posted late last night.... Any suggestions guys?
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Old 26th May 2014, 07:22 PM   #3
Boden is offline Boden  Netherlands
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Try Bodzio's Ultimate Equalizer. It will do everything you want plus much much more..

Regards,

Eekco
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Old 26th May 2014, 08:09 PM   #4
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Questions:
  • Why "PC based"? It seems like your DSP is hardware based (the MiniDSP units).
  • Why can you not use the existing two 2x4 boards to implement your proposed "3-way plus mono sub(s)"? It is totally possible using one 2x4 per channel (e.g. one for L ch one for R ch via the 4-way advanced plug in) and then mixing the two sub output channels down to mono before or at the amp.
  • What do you mean when you say "processing the crossover and frequency response"? What is this "processing" doing?

Keep in mind if you construct a PC-based system you might be stuck always having to run the PC to listen to it. UE may now have stand-alone capability; my memory is fuzzy on this however.

If you are just looking to design the (active) crossover so that it can be implemented using the MiniDSP crossover(s), you might take a look at my "Active Crossover Designer" tools:
the Active Crossover Designer web page
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Old 26th May 2014, 11:33 PM   #5
ra7 is offline ra7  United States
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Thanks Eekco! I have my eye on UE. Let's see how things work out. Do you have any thoughts on the hardware side? After not seeing a lot of replies, I ordered the USBStreamer and 4 Curryman DACs from miniDSP. This should give me 8 channels for now and I can order another set for 8 more. Two USBStreamers can work together according to one of the threads on the miniDSP forums.

Charlie, while I have two 2x4 units, I may need more channels. Besides, there is nothing wrong with doing the processing on a computer (processing is doing the crossover, flattening the response as necessary, dealing with the low frequencies, etc). Tools exist and the power is unlimited, relatively speaking. MiniDSP is great and I may still use it, but I want to experiment with a PC-based solution, seeing as how you are not tied to any hardware, just need a soundcard or basically DACs, one per channel of output you need.

Right now, the chain is digital (from PC) to DAC to miniDSP and to amps. It's a little less elegant than I'd like it to be. Of course you can feed the DSP units directly with digital, but the PC-based solution gets rid of them altogether.

My PC is running anyway because I use it as the source. It will run now during LP playback as well, which is fine. I'm aware of your crossover designer tool, it's great. Thanks!

Last edited by ra7; 26th May 2014 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 27th May 2014, 02:00 AM   #6
zman01 is offline zman01  Bangladesh
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ra7,

I'll be following this thread. As of now, my goals are more - basically play around with a FAST type of set up, which the nanoDigi should be able to provide easily.

Keep us posted.
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Old 27th May 2014, 06:34 AM   #7
Draki is offline Draki  Macedonia
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ra7

How do you intend to get the external source (phono in your case) into the PC?
Very interesting thread.
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Old 27th May 2014, 03:46 PM   #8
ra7 is offline ra7  United States
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Draki, good point. I probably didn't think this through when I ordered the USBStreamer and Curryman DACs

The USBStreamer does have multiple inputs (I2S and toslink), so I can try to work something through that route. I have the trial XMOS Asyc board and it has an analog input, which I believe can be output through the toslink output. I haven't tried it. Let's see.
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Old 27th May 2014, 05:51 PM   #9
Draki is offline Draki  Macedonia
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I asked miniDSP a while ago about this (i.e. using an outside digital source to the USBStreamer' Toslink input, route thru JRiver, then thru Bodzio EQ+XO and then out thru USBStreamer' I2S outputs): they replied they never tried that configuration and that it (sic) depends on the software.
Very interested what will your set-up be and if that will work.
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Old 27th May 2014, 07:46 PM   #10
jakubg is offline jakubg  Slovakia
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I'm also interested in this. For now I'm using miniDSP but for testing and fooling around a PC based system would be great.
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