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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a HTPC loaded with lossless music that I am using with a pair of powered monitors. This is how it is set up;


Coaxial out -> External DAC -> (2) RCA to XLR cables -> powered monitors.


I am wondering If I can run a subwoofer (SVS pb10) with this setup? What do I need in terms of equipment? The Subwoofer only has LFE in so I was wondering if I can just run a 1 Male to 2 Female y cable between the DAC and one of the RCA XLR runs and send the second signal to the subwoofer. Does this even work?


Coaxial out -> External DAC -> (1) RCA to XLR

-> split (1) RCA to XLR

split coaxial to LFE in?


Help?
 

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Your post is hard to follow, but a digital coaxial signal will not work being run into a subwoofer.


You could split a single channels analog output before going into the XLR cable, but that one channel would have a lower signal than the other due to the split. Also, you would only be getting bass from a single channel.


To do this properly, you need some kind of receiver or processor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ah, my chain of components seems to be hard to see.


What I meant was exactly as you said. By lower, do you mean volume? How would this affect the actual sound?


As far as bass from a single channel, how does this affect what I am actually hearing?


One more question, where would the receiver fit into the chain? I would like to retain the use of my external DAC.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by blast8180 /forum/post/15576150


ah, my chain of components seems to be hard to see.


What I meant was exactly as you said. By lower, do you mean volume? How would this affect the actual sound?


As far as bass from a single channel, how does this affect what I am actually hearing?


One more question, where would the receiver fit into the chain? I would like to retain the use of my external DAC.


Actually, I am unsure about how it would affect the signal. Somebody that has had some electrical courses more recently could answer that better. I do believe still that the two speakers would end up being different volumes.


As far as bass from a single channel, think of it this way. Pretty much all modern music and movies are in stereo and have different sounds coming from both speakers. If bass from one channel was going to the subwoofer, then you would only be sending certain sounds to the subwoofer. In a movie, this would typically consist of only sounds on the right (or left) side of the screen being sent to the subwoofer but not both.


A receiver or processor of some sort would take the analog signal from your DAC and take the bass from each channel, combine it together and send it to the subwoofer. The receiver would also send the sound back out to your monitors.


Since you are using powered monitors, you would need a receiver with pre-amplified outputs. The problem with feeding a receiver with a DAC is that most modern receivers convert analog audio back into digital after being input. Processing occurs in the digital realm and then it goes through another DAC before being fed to the amplified and preamp outputs. It would defeat the purpose of your DAC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the info. The way you explained it, the adding of a receiver would defeat the purpose of my particular configuration.


I'm not so worried as to how movies will sound, this setup is used exclusively for music. But even then, I kind of understand what you mean in terms of different channels for bass when I think about soundstage. I had a crazy idea that may or may not work. Bare with me here...


If I were to split both of the analog outputs from the DAC and then rejoin the extra split into a single female...in theory, should this carry both L and R bass channels to the subwoofer?


The problem here is whether the Y splitters are mono-directional, and if they could be used as joiners?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by blast8180 /forum/post/15576016


I currently have a HTPC loaded with lossless music that I am using with a pair of powered monitors. This is how it is set up;


Coaxial out -> External DAC -> (2) RCA to XLR cables -> powered monitors.

It sounds like you have a high-end system, lossless music, and SPDIF connection to the DAC? Did I read that right?


I don't think you can send more than 2 channels lossless over SPDIF, and you want 3 (sub). You need a new connection, SPDIF is a relic from the past.


Unfortunately, this will cause you to buy an HDMI receiver and matching soundcard (expensive), or just buy a high-quality analog soundcard. You could actually get an HDMI/analog soundcard too, and still use the DACs in the soundcard. Then you'll have the correct LFE signal to feed your sub.
 

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Actually-what you need is a crossover. This one specifically will do what you want and it costs $80.

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=248-664


It has Left and Right XLR Inputs (DAC to Behringer w/ XLR cables) Then you would just use the "HIGH" output for each left and right and turn the crossover way down (read frequency) so that you are still sending most everything to your Monitors still (the lowest you can set the crossover point is 44hz--should be plenty for your setup) Then you have a SUB output (XLR) that you would plug into your sub amp (XLR to XLR, or RCA, or 1/4") depending on your amp. The Sub crossover point can be adjusted to how high you want the sub to play. All the channel outputs can also be adjusted to match. You can do this by ear--but really using a measurement microphone (ECM8000) and by using REW (Free sofware) is what you want for actually setting the XO levels properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The powered monitors have volume controls. I usually leave it at reference volume and if I need to change it for night-time listening I change it on the PC.


I think that Behringer is exactly what I was looking for. I'm familiar with the REW software, but in the sense that I've read about it and know what it does. I'll have to get back onto the forum I found it on and do some research to do the fine-tuning. I'll pick up some more XLR to XLR's on monoprice and a XLR to RCA for the subwoofer and I should be set. Thanks!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpotoka /forum/post/15578829


Actually-what you need is a crossover. This one specifically will do what you want and it costs $80.

OK, that method would work too. I think the cost (by the time you buy the extra XLR cables) is pretty similar for either approach.


The analog crossover method still leaves you with only two channel capability, while providing the sub channel via the digital crossover in the soundcard comes with 5.1 or 7.1 channels as a free bonus. Not to mention that doing the crossover in the digital domain provides a more-ideal response and greater adjustability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just curious.


How good are the analog sound cards nowadays? A brief search revealed the ESI [email protected] and Asus Xonar HDav 1.3. The latter I'm finding is geared more toward blu-ray playback which is something I don't need. What else is out there? Also, I'm not entirely understanding how to use a analog soundcard with my configuration. I'm only interested in a 2.1 setup which will likely be kept that way.


I've taken a liking to how my DAC sounds, however, I might be willing to sell it and experiment with something new. The original quest was to integrate my unused svs-pb10 into my 2 ch setup.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by blast8180 /forum/post/15580794


Just curious.


How good are the analog sound cards nowadays? A brief search revealed the ESI [email protected] and Asus Xonar HDav 1.3. The latter I'm finding is geared more toward blu-ray playback which is something I don't need. What else is out there? Also, I'm not entirely understanding how to use a analog soundcard with my configuration. I'm only interested in a 2.1 setup which will likely be kept that way.


I've taken a liking to how my DAC sounds, however, I might be willing to sell it and experiment with something new. The original quest was to integrate my unused svs-pb10 into my 2 ch setup.

The Xonar HDAV is supposed to have excellent DACs and op-amps. It is geared towards Blu-ray in the sense that it will, in conjunction with the right software player, pass full 24-bit/96 KHz audio over HDMI to an external DAC/receiver.


There is also a slightly less-expense card without HDMI called the Xonar D2X (this is what I have) that has high-end analog circuitry without HDMI.


A soundcard with a good analog section essentially replaces your external DAC. Considering that a soundcard does not need a box, remote control, power supplies, etc, it is not very difficult to provide excellent audio quality in a $200 price range. The money is spent on quality circuit components.


Using the PC as the DAC is the approach I use, feeding an ADCOM GFA5500 amplifier directly from the soundcard. For this approach to work correctly it is best to use Windows Vista as it has a better handling of the sound digitally (there are ways to make XP work well, but it's easier to just use Vista).


This approach also uses digital volume control. At extremely low volume levels there will be some degradation of signal to noise ratio. However, at normal listening levels this is not an issue. Remember, the DACs are 24 bit, so lopping off a few bits for volume control does not impact the overal SN.


SPDIF is an old format and carries alot of limitations. I don't think that you can send newer audio formats with 24 bits or higher than 48 KHz sample rate to your DAC using that pipe. I know you can't do the third channel over SPDIF.


The analog crossover approach will work for the specific goal of feeding a subwoofer. The modern soundcard approach will just provide a bit more flexibility and the possibility of high-resolution audio. There are beginning to be some good audio titles released on Blu-ray (Queen Live in Montreal sounds great!). And there is that near-defunct format DVD-Audio which has stunning sound quality compared to CD.


In your 2.1 setup you would use 3 analog outs (L, R, and LFE) to drive 3 channels of amplification (sounds like all three of your speaks include amps). The crossover is done in the digital domain. Equalization and effets are available should you want them, again, digitally in the PC before the DACs. IMHO, since all our audio is digital these days, it is best to do processing digitally rather than subject the signal to extra A/D-D/A conversions, or use imperfect analog crossovers or filters. Digital crossovers are mathematically 'ideal'.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifespeed /forum/post/15581006




The analog crossover approach will work for the specific goal of feeding a subwoofer. The modern soundcard approach will just provide a bit more flexibility and the possibility of high-resolution audio. There are beginning to be some good audio titles released on Blu-ray (Queen Live in Montreal sounds great!). And there is that near-defunct format DVD-Audio which has stunning sound quality compared to CD.


In your 2.1 setup you would use 3 analog outs (L, R, and LFE) to drive 3 channels of amplification (sounds like all three of your speaks include amps). The crossover is done in the digital domain. Equalization and effets are available should you want them, again, digitally in the PC before the DACs. IMHO, since all our audio is digital these days, it is best to do processing digitally rather than subject the signal to extra A/D-D/A conversions, or use imperfect analog crossovers or filters. Digital crossovers are mathematically 'ideal'.

In theory I certainly don't disagree with what you are saying here--but please point me to some digital crossover and eq software that gives you anywhere close to the flexibility of using that Behringer for blending the mains and the sub. I have looked all over for a good software solution to use my PC as a Pre/Pro and was not able to do it. In vista all I could find was a button that says "Enable Bass Management". What amount of flexibility does your Xonar drivers provide?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpotoka /forum/post/15585634


In theory I certainly don't disagree with what you are saying here--but please point me to some digital crossover and eq software that gives you anywhere close to the flexibility of using that Behringer for blending the mains and the sub. I have looked all over for a good software solution to use my PC as a Pre/Pro and was not able to do it. In vista all I could find was a button that says "Enable Bass Management". What amount of flexibility does your Xonar drivers provide?

The Xonar control panel has bass management; the crossover frequency can be varied from 50 to 250 Hz. It has a few other useful features also, like mapping the usual 5.1 channels to 2, 2.1, 4 (my setup), or 4.1 speakers.


It is my understanding Vista can offer some very powerful audio management features, but there are some tricks to exposing them, and the drivers have to be written a certain way. Here is a thread about this subject .
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Very interesting thread you've linked. I've read through a couple pages and it has certainly piqued my interest. I may reconsider getting the Behringer after all!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifespeed /forum/post/15587001


It is my understanding Vista can offer some very powerful audio management features, but there are some tricks to exposing them, and the drivers have to be written a certain way. Here is a thread about this subject .

Great to see people still find use in that old thread
. It found a life of its own beyond the topic itself....
 

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To me the key was "the drivers have to be written a certain way". I have nothing against the software route--I just want to warn the OP that it isn't a plug and play solution like an external XO.


Just for my information--what are the increments you get to set for the bass management between 50 and 250hz?\\


Thanks
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpotoka /forum/post/15589505


To me the key was "the drivers have to be written a certain way". I have nothing against the software route--I just want to warn the OP that it isn't a plug and play solution like an external XO.


Just for my information--what are the increments you get to set for the bass management between 50 and 250hz?\\


Thanks

I think "written a certain way" is for things like room correction, but I'm not sure. The Xonar driver has bass management out-of-the-box in 1 Hz increments.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifespeed /forum/post/15591853


I think "written a certain way" is for things like room correction, but I'm not sure. The Xonar driver has bass management out-of-the-box in 1 Hz increments.

Nice to have the 1hz increments--is there by any chance adjustable slope as well? Do you have options for things like double bass (send to subs and mains) or can you redirect your LFE channel to the mains if you don't have a sub? Not to suggest at all this is possible with the Behringer--I am just interested. And is the driver supported fully under vista x64? I should probably just start a new thread.
 
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