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Bunch of questions regarding the improvement of my audio experience!


Capt. Mytre

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Hey guys,

 

So I've got a bunch of questions, all relating to one point, and that is to improve my audio experience. There will be a lot of cringe-worthy things, so beware!

 

First up, I'll explain my current setup.

 

I have the majority of my audio (games/movies/music) being directed out the back of my PC via a 3.5mm jack from the onboard motherboard. I also have some programs (Teamspeak/Ventrilo) directing their audio to the front 3.5mm audio jacks. The reason for this is so when I record my gameplay, I can record the gameplays audio and avoid the audio from other programs being recorded. Now, to hear both, I use a splitter/merger for the 3.5mm jacks to a female-female adaptor and then again to another splitter/merger to split the audio to my headphones and to my speakers.

 

This can all be seen in its ugly glory right here.

 

*ouch*

 

So, right off the bat, you guys should know that this produces a lot of excess noise from sitting amongst the cables at the back of my PC and has reduced audio quality due to the amount of cabling.

 

Now, I've been doing a little research as to how I can significantly improve this. What I'm looking at is getting a DAC with duel digital input with duel analogue output - this should (?) provide the exact same results while providing a far better experience.

 

My motherboard is a Rampage III gene, which has two SPDIF outputs.

 

So, with all that covered, question time!

 

1. Will a duel input/output DAC merge the audio or will it remain separate?

 

2. How common is SPDIF used in quality motherboards (such as when I upgrade, how hard will it be to find this kind of setup again on a motherboard, or would it be better to just get a soundcard?)?

 

3. Suggestions as to what a good DAC would be that has the duel input/output (~$200 would be of decent quality?) if it even exists?.

 

4. I've seen USB is also an option, but unless it's superior, I'd like to keep the USB slot usage to a minimum if possible.

 

5. Is there much variation between cable quality?

 

Anywho, thanks for reading all this, hopefully you can help me with my quest!

 

Capt. Mytre

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Ok......I'm pretty sure that I have little idea on a solution as I don't fully understand the problem.

 

So you're recording gameplay audio effects.......ok

You're also recording something else from other programs?.........like what?

You're doing this simultaneous?.......please explain the reason?

 

.....and then you're 'mixing' the outputs together for listening through either headphones or speakers........but not both at the same time?

 

I think I know what you need but before I suggest anything, I'll wait for a reply.

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5. Is there much variation between cable quality?

 

Capt. Mytre

Yes a big time.

 

And definitely not use onboard audio from motherboard. It has the noisiest / dirtiest / muddiest sound.

 

 

Bunny

 

  • Windows PC + Creative EMU0404 USB DAC w/ stock USB cable
  • Focal CMS 65 speakers
  • Very hyper-end Power cables for all components

 

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If I understood it correctly, he is sending audio from his games to one S/PDIF output, and VoIP audio to another, then "mixing" them together with a little physical adapter. I'm not really sure where he wants to go either, and worse, I may have misunderstood what he was saying too.

 

This does sound like an interesting setup. My youngest son and his friends tend to do things like this, so they can hear the game and each other over one set of headphones.

 

-Paul

 

 

Ok......I'm pretty sure that I have little idea on a solution as I don't fully understand the problem.

 

So you're recording gameplay audio effects.......ok

You're also recording something else from other programs?.........like what?

You're doing this simultaneous?.......please explain the reason?

 

.....and then you're 'mixing' the outputs together for listening through either headphones or speakers........but not both at the same time?

 

I think I know what you need but before I suggest anything, I'll wait for a reply.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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If I understood it correctly, he is sending audio from his games to one S/PDIF output, and VoIP audio to another, then "mixing" them together with a little physical adapter. I'm not really sure where he wants to go either, and worse, I may have misunderstood what he was saying too.

 

This does sound like an interesting setup. My youngest son and his friends tend to do things like this, so they can hear the game and each other over one set of headphones.

 

-Paul

 

Close, but not quite. I'm using 3.5mm analogue jacks, not digital SPDIF.

 

Basically, when I record gameplay, I don't want what me and my friends are saying to be recorded over the gameplay. Thus, I need the audio to be coming from a different source so I can tell the recording software what to record.

 

Ok......I'm pretty sure that I have little idea on a solution as I don't fully understand the problem.

 

So you're recording gameplay audio effects.......ok

You're also recording something else from other programs?.........like what?

You're doing this simultaneous?.......please explain the reason?

 

.....and then you're 'mixing' the outputs together for listening through either headphones or speakers........but not both at the same time?

 

I think I know what you need but before I suggest anything, I'll wait for a reply.

 

I'm only recording gameplay audio, I'm avoiding the recording of other audio on my system.

The mixing via this little setup right here is used so I can still hear what the other channel is producing (friends talking etc), and it is split again to both my headset and my speakers.

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Well it sounds like you're going to need a 4 channel mixer. Not sure how you're recording, so that will shed some light on what configuration you'll need.

 

Take a look at the Alesis MultiMix 4 USB. I'm pretty sure it's you're answer.

 

The recording is done in PC, via FRAPS/DXTORY etc. Nothing fancy. It just needs to be separate audio so that I can specify what I want to record, normally that's not possible unless you send the audio to separate hardware like I have.

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Well it sounds like you're going to need a 4 channel mixer. Not sure how you're recording, so that will shed some light on what configuration you'll need.

 

Take a look at the Alesis MultiMix 4 USB. I'm pretty sure it's you're answer.

 

Apparently I can't edit my post, so I'll post again here:

 

I had a look at the Alesis MultiMix 4 USB mixer, and I have a couple of questions.

 

Is there a single USB connection to the PC, that acts as four audio devices in the Sound > playback option in Windows?

 

Can the jack labelled "Main out", which is also part of a pair (Left and Right audio I believe?) act as a single stereo out jack?

 

What size jacks does the device take? I noticed one of the jacks is labelled guitar in, don't they use a larger jack?

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Ok, so the Alesis MultiMix 4 USB isn't what I'm looking for.

 

I'll post two diagrams for what I have and what I want.

 

Here's what I currently have.

 

current setup.png

 

This is the way I currently mix the audio if you didn't look at the image in the original post.

 

finished setup.jpg

 

Here's how I'd like it to be.

 

future setup.png

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Don't know why the edit function disappears after a few minutes, but I have some more stuff to add.

 

I've mistakenly thought that I had two SPDIF optical outs, I only have one. I'm unsure why it's labelled SPDIF interface (TX0) and SPDIF interface (TX1), other than maybe another port acting under that name.

 

So, as for digital out of my PC, that leaves me with SPDIF optical out, USB and a firewire connection. If there is a DAC mixer that can input those and can output analog that would be great.

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