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Thread: Soundcard for 4 way active setup

  1. #1
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    Soundcard for 4 way active setup

    I'm trying to find a soundcard I can use for a new carPC project. I've got a 3 way active frontstage plus a mono sub channel, so I need 7 channel output. The problem is, I'd like to handle processing on the PC and avoid needing a stand alone processor. I've been digging through build logs trying to find a setup that's worked for folks in the past, but I'm coming up short. I see a lot of people talking about their systems and the flaws they have to deal with. It looks like 8 RCA outputs might be a stretch since I need internal routing. I'll most likely be using audiomulch to handle processing. I'll be crossing, EQing, and time aligning each channel individually. I've never run an active system via PC, but I have experience with active processing. Software and hardware concerns are somewhat vague for me. From what I've gathered I need:

    7/8 channel output
    Internal routing?
    SQ oriented sound card (I have the intention of possibly competing locally with this system)
    Price isn't horribly important, but if it starts jumping over ~$300 I might have to look around some more.

    I'm planning fairly modern PC hardware bought new. I could go all the way up to an i7 if I need it, but right now I'm looking mostly at an Ivy Bridge i3 for PSU concerns. Ram is cheap and I've got a 240 gb SSD in mind for the OS and temp audio files. I'd like to run windows 8 for the native touchscreen support, but I know that might limit me on drivers for hardware and can compromise there if need be.

    Can anyone help me out here?

  2. #2
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    you can try pming skypainter-- i believe he is running a i3, 4-way setup like what you're thinking about-- it's been a while since i've seen him, so i don't remember his whole setup..


    but first things first, if you have any serious interest in competing, a carpc might be completely out of bounds. i haven't read the iasca rules for a long time, but from what i remember form redgtivr6's posts(she used to compete, and for a while seriously looked into building a carpc devoted to it), the rules state that the setup essenstially needs to be dummy proof, info needs to come straight off the cd, and can't be pre-recorded,-- ie, the tester inserts the test disk, presses play, and it works only off the disk.

    i've also read more than once that audio comps are heavily weighted by the gear installed-- if say kicker is sponsoring the show and you're running all alpine gear, there can be deductions for it, er, maybe it's not brand specific, but i've seen mention of people complaining that if they don't have such-and-such gear installed, they get points taken off tehir overall score because of that-- so much so, that many competitors openly state they keep dummy gear installed just to maintain the points... i've also read that a newer category in iasca comps is related to how clean the install is, so a run-of-the-mill system is going to get lower points than a fully fiber glassed/wire-tucked install, even if the more basic system clearly sounds better..


    otherwise, i stay pretty much out of the loop of available sound cards... i use a esi gigaport hd-- the major downside is that it absolutely requires preamps to get anything more then a whisper in output level, but the upside for me is that allowed me to use the cl-rlc preamps w/ volume control, so i could migrate that feature off the pc.. i just got a email recently that there's a new version, no idea if the same traits apply.. but the card meets the needs of 8 outputs at least..

  3. #3
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    The competition probably wouldn't be IASCA sanctioned. I'm mostly talking about local shows/car shows. The idea anyway is to strip away all the enclosures and do a themed build with all circuit boards showing under plexiglass, including amps. Basically, no stickers or branding visible anywhere (except some onboard LEDs in the case of the amps). I'd like it to be IASCA worthy, but I hear what you're saying on all the rules and other associated BS.

    I've been steered toward an M-Audio Delta 1010LT. It looks to be an older card (PCI), but I assume I can buy a PCIe to PCI adapter to get it to work with a newer mobo. What I'm curious about is, are there issues with this card? I'm told windows 7 and even 8 drivers can be found for it by some of the HTPC crowd. It's loaded up on RCA connectors with 2 Vrms outputs, plus XLR, digital coax, and toslink optical inputs/outputs. It seems like a good fit, and I've seen it mentioned a few times here and there in older threads. Just wondering if there are problems I'm not seeing right off.

    I may try PMing skypainter per your suggestion. This would be my first crack at a carPC. I need to limit the variables and headaches as much as I can for the first shot.

  4. #4
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    no problems with the 1010LT that i know of..


    and the carpc is a massive variable/headache, so limiting it is difficult without eliminating the entire reason you're doing it

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    no problems with the 1010LT that i know of..


    and the carpc is a massive variable/headache, so limiting it is difficult without eliminating the entire reason you're doing it
    I've read that 1010LT can't handle hibernation, but all info I'm reading is 3-4 years old on it, and might be a common problem for most cards. I wouldn't be opposed to full power downs with windows 8 and a modern SSD. Just wondering if this is still the case. If I can figure out the wiring in my car, I might have PC power switching on a remote starter, so it would be fully up and running before I even open the car door.

    Regarding the headaches, I'm becoming more and more aware of them the more I read. I drive a Chrysler product with CAN controlling everything. That's an even bigger headache than the sound card problem. Of course I'm still fuzzy on the PSU too, but I'm working through it with all the helpful folks on here. It seems Opus is the brand most recommend for "hassle-free" operation with minimal radio interference. I'd like the eventual goal to be that my tech challenged sister can hop in my car and drive it without noticing the modifications any more than a new car with a touchscreen media center. It's a slow process. Once I've resolved the sound card and supporting software, all I'll have left is the CAN integration before I'm ready to light my wallet on fire. It looks like a microcontroller proto-board might be the smoothest strategy there. Mostly it's steering wheel controls, but seat warmers, windows, and OBD info down the road once I move into the tinkering phase. Half the reason for this project is experience. I'll be graduating with my EE degree in about a year and I'm getting a little worried about my marketable skillset from lectures alone. This project seems like a healthy cross section of just about every field I'm interested in.

  6. #6
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    I have a delta 1010lt running under windows 8 and it works great.

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