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Author Topic: Cleanest computing platform  (Read 2297 times)

Ken Webster

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Re: Cleanest computing platform
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2019, 04:15:37 am »

Hi Ken.  If USB really scares you that much, why not consider an ethernet solution such as Dante?  I'm reading through this thread though and am not really understanding what it is that you're trying to accomplish.  When in doubt keep it simple!  Hope this helps!

USB doesn't scare me, I am just trying to sort out what will work best and continue to do so for a reasonable time into the future.  Best includes sound management issues plus sound quality, little things like S/N, clarity, cuing and controlling video feeds to the projector.  I know that computers have come a long way but they come from a history that is riddled with very poor S/N mainly due to internal RF, unstable noisy earth, processing jitter, interrupted processing due to other processes running etc.  I have seen and heard demos where for example simply playing a compressed file causes enough processing load to make audible jitter.  My laptop I am trialing this on right now has several times interrupted the playing bit stream simply because I opened a window.  That doesn't happen when I simply use the internal DAC and headphone port.  The wisdom is to use an external DAC to improve S/N which it does but also allows other actions to interrupt the audio bit stream.  So I am just trying to find out how to get around these things so it works smoothly and professionally.  I don't recall having these interruptions with and HDMI stream passing through an Audio extractor.  I should test that again I guess.

We have been trialing a video laptop at church with that arrangement.  However, the extractor supplied by the AV business has a somewhat dud DC socket (poor spring tension).  When the power breaks, the video stream passes through passively but the audio extraction fails.  The laptop then takes 5 min or so (dead air) to detect this fault and switch audio back to internal analogue.  I was then able to Jerry rig a 3.5mm jack to RCA to get sound back again.  Not ideal but it got sound.  However extractor DC was restored and after another 5 min or so (dead air) the laptop switched audio back to the HDMI stream.  Personally I'd like to remove the DC socket and simply solder the DC lead directly to the board because this is just the most reliable way to go with it despite it being a warrantied item (low cost though).   In the end, we will likely replace this item with a HDMI switcher that includes this function anyway.

So basically I just want all this to work reliably and to a high standard which has never been the case previously as the original implementation was a bit amateurish in terms of cuing and signal clarity.  This was initiated because of the age of the current computers which currently have no faults.    So I want to take the opportunity to upgrade the implementation to fit our use well.

I just don't like replacing old USB 2 gear with USB 1.  That seems like the wrong direction to me, even if it is adequate.

Ken
« Last Edit: May 27, 2019, 04:19:10 am by Ken Webster »
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Paul Miller

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Re: Cleanest computing platform
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2019, 06:12:28 am »

Ken please don't take this the wrong way, but...

This thread has been going on for 6 weeks and it seems like you're no closer to a solution that makes you happy. I have a phrase for when I find myself in one of these situations: Paralysis by Analysis. It happens when we're too caught up in scrutinizing the minutiae of every possible solution, and it keeps us from moving forward with a project.

So here's a suggestion: Buy a Peavey PV USB and use that for now. It doesn't have a world class DAC, it may be USB 1.0, I don't know and I don't care. It's less than $60, it's class compliant, has ground lifted XLR outs plus a mono/stereo switch, it just works. And I sincerely doubt this will be the weak link in your audio chain. Plug in, make noise, be happy. Life's too short.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Cleanest computing platform
« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2019, 09:40:45 pm »

It is my understanding that USB ports are identified by the highest standard they support.  Devices that plug into the port are rated by the earliest/lowest standard they require.  If the data stream a device creates only requires 1.1 speeds, labeling it as 2.0 unnecessarily indicates it can't be used with a 1.1 port.

It is unlikely that any of the $60 class USB interfaces-whether USB 1.1 or 2.0 will be outdated/obsolete before your current smartphone.

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Steve Swaffer

Ken Webster

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Re: Cleanest computing platform
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2019, 08:21:03 am »

Ken please don't take this the wrong way, but...

This thread has been going on for 6 weeks and it seems like you're no closer to a solution that makes you happy. I have a phrase for when I find myself in one of these situations: Paralysis by Analysis. It happens when we're too caught up in scrutinizing the minutiae of every possible solution, and it keeps us from moving forward with a project.

So here's a suggestion: Buy a Peavey PV USB and use that for now. It doesn't have a world class DAC, it may be USB 1.0, I don't know and I don't care. It's less than $60, it's class compliant, has ground lifted XLR outs plus a mono/stereo switch, it just works. And I sincerely doubt this will be the weak link in your audio chain. Plug in, make noise, be happy. Life's too short.

No problem, not taking it the wrong way.  The holdup is not technical, I am moving forward on this.  I need to present options to the church for funding approval and well, I haven't managed to get a slot yet as there are other things under discussion.  I have also been a bit tied up with some HDMI over cat 6 installation and a component warranty replacement / testing etc.  Oh and HDMI bleeds RF so I'll have to get onto that too (kind of expected that possibility though).

I did get feedback from Radial when I queried the use of USB 1.1.  Series 1 allows the device to plug and play without a driver.  So I'm pretty reconciled to that now.  Thanks for the heads up on the cheaper Peavey option, I'll check it out.

Ken
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 08:46:06 am by Ken Webster »
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Ken Webster

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Re: Cleanest computing platform
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2019, 08:39:50 am »

It is my understanding that USB ports are identified by the highest standard they support.  Devices that plug into the port are rated by the earliest/lowest standard they require.  If the data stream a device creates only requires 1.1 speeds, labeling it as 2.0 unnecessarily indicates it can't be used with a 1.1 port.

It is unlikely that any of the $60 class USB interfaces-whether USB 1.1 or 2.0 will be outdated/obsolete before your current smartphone.

You probably correct, at least I will avoid the aural implant as long as possible. ;)
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Ken Webster

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Re: Cleanest computing platform
« Reply #25 on: August 21, 2019, 05:06:31 am »

Well, the good news is that among dealing with some restructuring, constitutional and procedural changes, I have funding approval for replacement PC and associated items.

I did not get approval for a an AV switcher, they opted to support a single video source instead.  People now have to provide video files or links in time to add them to the video presentation.
No more last minute DVDs.  Solves the problem.

Major equipment has been ordered, hope the installation goes well.

What I have learned from this is that computing gear is still very noisy.  The HiFi sector are significantly moving away from computer audio because it is incapable of matching CD S/N without very very significant investment on cleaning up the noise, ground isolation, power and USB filtering for RF and EM ahead of the DAC.

However,  PC provides the convenience of an easily managed playlist the signal is going through a desk and EQ which tend to be significantly weak links anyway (we all knew that though).  The Radial USB-Pro block diagram indicates a filter on the USB input.  The company seem a bit coy about what that actually does but I guess something is better that nothing.  It does provide XLR ground lift and phantom power protection which I count as significant features (isolate PA from PC ground and our desk has global phantom).  So I tend to think this is close to or perhaps a little above what is necessary for the current system.  The desk and EQ are old and use carbon fadders.  Should be replaces sometime soon, hopefully with low noise gear.

Thanks everyone for you input, much appreciated.

Ken
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Cleanest computing platform
« Reply #25 on: August 21, 2019, 05:06:31 am »


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