Gear / Technical Help => Playback Forum => Topic started by: Big Muff on December 12, 2016, 10:33:42 AM

Title: Creative Surround sound options/ideas needed
Post by: Big Muff on December 12, 2016, 10:33:42 AM

Hello All- 

I got a copy of the pink floyd early years set.. with all the quadraphonic mixes involved, i need to get on this.
Haven't used 5.1 or any surround system in several years.

Currently using a marantz 2245
all flac/cd/bluray from the pc via usb into an edirol ua-5 > marantz

I'd like to go small/cheap as i don't want to replace my 2245.. (mostly listening to vinyl and fm radio)
Have a pair of b&w nautilus 805 as mains on the marantz, and another pair of b&w dm600 s3 on the pc in the office running through a topping tp-41.

Considering moving the office gear into the main room and combining it all with something like this :

essentially going out of the pc via usb to the 5.1 device > line in marantz for the front and> line in topping for the rear. 

Have some concerns on latency though, thoughts?

Much appreciated, and happy holidays

Title: Re: Creative Surround sound options/ideas needed
Post by: Gutbucket on January 18, 2017, 10:03:37 AM
That arrangement will work for playing around with a quick and cheap quad setup.

Total latency will not be an issue, which is typically only a playback problem when combining sound + video (lip sync issues), or live monitoring while recording.

However, you are probably referring to a difference in timing between the front and back channel pairs due to using different amplification chains, and you should have no delay issues between the separate front and back speaker signal chains as long as all gear after the audio interface is analog, which seems to be the case with what you've listed.  If instead you were using a digital amp which converts an analog input to digital and back again, you'd get a several millisecond delay through it, in which case I'd recommend using that for the rear rather than the front channels.  That would make for a slight hass delay to the rear channels, keeping the primary image up front in the main channels via the precedence effect.  The other way around (slight delay to the fronts) could draw attention to the the rear speakers and make them overly predominant.  But you needn't worry about that.

You will need to balance the level of the front and back using the volume knobs on the two amps.  Once balanced, you can use the volume control on your software player, or possibly the volume control on that  USB interface, to adjust overall level without affecting the front/back balance.

If you try this, please let me know how it works out for you.

^ I have this similar USB-powered audio interface which works well.  I use it primarily for headphone listening from a laptop, but originally bought it with the intention of building a portable surround playback setup based around a pre-wired pop-up tent canopy to which I plan to attach small speakers.  I can then pop it up in a friends backyard or at my campsite at a music fest, attach the speakers and play my surround recordings.  I bought a 6-sided hexagonal Coleman popup canopy about a year ago, found a lightweight home theater amp with 7.1 analog input on ebay last summer, and just received 8 refurbished Deftech ProMonitor800 speakers a couple weeks ago, so this project is now inching off the back burner.
Title: Re: Creative Surround sound options/ideas needed
Post by: Big Muff on January 22, 2017, 05:28:02 PM
I ended up with an ASUS U5 ( https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1086995-REG/asus_xonar_u5_sound_card.html )
and a SMSL SA50 ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F0H8TOC/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 )

I'm loving how well this is working for me, not to mention cheap!
 the asus software makes it really easy to dial in the f/r balance and switch between 4.0 and 5.1

any 4.0/5.1 mixes you'd recommend?
So far I've been really impressed with the Flaming Lips, Beck, and Steely Dan releases. Biggest Surprise was Neil Young-Harvest. Great mix for such a simple combination of instruments.

Thanks for your response Gutbucket
Could you point me toward your recordings?  I'd like to give them a listen 
Title: Re: Creative Surround sound options/ideas needed
Post by: Gutbucket on January 30, 2017, 11:24:14 AM
Somewhat ironically, I've not really listened to any commercial 4 or 5 channel surround releases, other than the original DSOTM quad release years ago..  but I'm open to good suggestions and have long planned on checking many more of them out.  Thanks for your short list of what you've enjoyed so far.

I'm pretty lax on posting my own recordings.  Years past I mostly did so directly to the artists or burnt discs to hand out to regular patrons at a few regular gigs, but those were always 2-channel stereo mix-downs of the multi-channel stuff I'd play at home in surround.  These days I'm slowing down on recording and intend to pick up the post processing of years of backlogged recordings, so keep your ears open.  I'm hoping to make some of my surround stuff available in the next year or two, and will post notice at TS when I do.
Title: Re: Creative Surround sound options/ideas needed
Post by: Big Muff on February 19, 2017, 04:03:05 PM

Much appreciated Gutbucket- looking forward to hearing your mixes..

my recommendations for 4.0
atom heart mother
best of Aretha Franklin
Marvin Gaye - Let's get it on
Janis- Pearl, Cheap Thrills

Talking Heads - "Brick" box set
All the Steely Dan, Beck, Flaming Lips, Doors
Brian Eno - Ambient 4
Herbie Hancock - Headhunters
Santana - Greatest Hits
Michael Jackson - Off The Wall
Mickey Hart - Best Of
Niel Young - Harvest

Surprisingly the biggest flops - American Beauty/Workingman's

how it appears all put together