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Thread: Sound Processing and X-Meridian

  1. #1
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    Sound Processing and X-Meridian

    Software Needed:

    • Reaper (with Rearoute Virtual Asio Driver). Rearoute is an alternative to VAC, but using ASIO instead of WDM virtual driver. It’s a commercial product, but trial never expires, so you can try it for as long as you want, and when you feel satisfied you can purchase it.

    http://www.cockos.com/reaper/

    • VSTHost (For applying chains of VST plugins) - This is an alternative to console but it’s free!

    http://www.hermannseib.com/english/vsthost.htm

    • Winamp or Foobar Asio Output Plugins (Free)

    http://otachan.com/

    • VST Plugins (Many of them listed on this site). For the sake of reference, I used Rubber Filter (for crossover)

    http://www.kvraudio.com/get/2842.html


    Steps


    In your X-Meridian control panel, enable all 8 speakers (Don’t need SPDIF Enabled). All the rest of the features should be disabled.



    Download and install Reaper. Make sure Asio Driver is installed.




    Open Reaper and create a new empty project.



    Create a new stereo track.



    Once inserted, press the R button for enabling recording and also speaker next to the track until it becomes white (monitoring enabled).




    Make this track stereo, and assign it to rearoute channels 1+2 by Left or Right clicking over the “green area”




    Press the” io” icon on the track and add a new hardware output to Rearoute 3 + 4







    By now, an application can place data onto Rearoute 1-2 channels and Reaper Application can propagate those data to Rearoute 3-4 Channels.

    Now, it’s time to set our player to output a song to Rearoute. Download Winamp ASIO Output plugin, and put it in Winamp’s plugins’ folder (Usually “C:\Program Files\Winamp\Plugins”). If you’re using Foobar, place the appropriate Asio output plugin, into its “Components” folder (Usually “C:\Program Files\foobar2000\components”)

    Now, open Winamp, goto Preferences (Ctrl+P->Plug-ins->Output), and select Asio output plugin to output to Rearoute Asio Driver.



    Pressing the “Configure” button, will present you with a setup window, in which you select Rearoute as your output device. For the rest of the settings, I didn’t find something affecting it, so you can just use the default ones, or copy mine from the screenshot.



    Now, try to play a song in Winamp and you should see that signal is present in your reaper project, on the track you created before.



    So, until now, we managed to configure our media player (Winamp-Foobar it’s similar) to send it’s audio output to our Rearoute Asio Driver. Don’t forget that we configured Rearoute channels 1+2 to send their output to Rearoute channels 3+4.


    Now, proceed to put VSTHost (Probably Console can work also but I’ve never tried it) to work. Download it and extract it to a folder (I preferred “C:\Program Files\vsthost”). Launch the application (“vsthost.exe”) and goto Devices->Wave. On the output port, select Asio: ReaRoute Asio.



    Find and install some VST plugins. For the purpose of this tutorial, I’m going to use Rubber Filter (crossover). I also prefer to install all my plugins into 1 folder (“C:\Program Files\VSTPlugIns”), but I guess this shouldn’t really matter.

    Now, still in VSTHost app goto File->Set PlugIn Path. Indicate the folders you have VST Plugins, for easier access inside VSTHost. You can browse to a folder, or simply type in your VST PlugIns’ folders (One folder per line).





    Now, you can simply add a plugin, by selecting one through File->PlugIns.
    In the example, I use 4 rubber filters (crossovers).



    In order to select the input for a PlugIn, press the button shown below



    In the window that opens, assign the input channels.
    Rearoute channels 3-4 should be the inputs on your first plugin(s) in the chain. Rearoute 5-12 should be your outputs for the last plugins (if you are going to use all 8 outputs of your card).




    In order to select the outputs for your VST plugins (in case of course of the last plugins in the chain), press the button shown below.



    On the setup window, select your output channels (for the first rubber filter, it’s Rearoute 5+6)



    To conclude, I select Rearoute3/4 as the input for all Rubber Filter Plugins, and rearoute 5/6, rearoute 7/8, rearoute 9/10, rearoute 11/12 as the output of each plugin.



    Now, having opened first your reaper project, play something in Winamp and you’ll see animations inside vsthost plugins, indicating reception of signal.



    Back to reaper, goto Options->Preferences->Audio->Device. Select ASIO as the Project’s Audio System. Your Asio Driver should be C-Media Oxygen Asio. You don’t need to enable inputs. In Output Range, first should be 1:L and last should be 8:Rb. This means that all X-Meridian’s analog outs are included in the output range of the Reaper Project.



    In the same setup window, press Asio Configuration, and change Latency to 30ms (you need to try it, since 20ms to 150ms also work for me)



    Now, add 4 more stereo tracks in reaper, with “Record Armed” (click on R button and it becomes Red) and Record Monitoring: ON (click on speaker next to the track and it becomes white). Now, set them stereo, by left or right clicking in the green area of each track and selecting stereo input-Rearoute 5/ Rearoute 6 until Rearoute e 11/Rearoute12 for each of them. To conclude, those are the tracks that are output by VSTHost and are placed inside reaper project. Last step, is to output to soundcard. Pressing the “io” button on each track, allows you to “add New hardware output”. Probably, you’ll need to use outputs 1:L/R, 3:Ls/Rs, 5:C/Sub and 7:Lb/Rb, since they physically correspond to the stereo outputs of you soundcard.



    I’m not including screenshots for this phase, since you should be familiar with this as it has been explained in the beginning of this tutorial.

    By default, reaper’s Master track, outputs to X-Meridian’s out 1:L/R and you’ll probably hear much distorted sound on this channel (every sound seems that is mixed in master). Either mute this track, or remover 1:L/R from the hardware outputs (Press “io” button in MASTER track and then delete 1:L/R output).




    Now, you should be able to play something in Winamp/Foobar and be able to hear it through your speakers (Well, I guess you will try it at home first). Most of the rest of the work needed in order to achieve your desired result is inside VSTHost. It’s pretty intuitive and I don’t think you should have any major problem with that. It obviously offers you a way to chain several VST Plugins. It didn’t take me more than 10 minutes to get to learn it.

    List of Problems that I hope I’ll solve.

    1st Problem: If Reaper’s Window has focus, sound becomes interrupted. Well, maybe this is not a serious problem, since normally we don’t need Reaper on front of other windows.

    2nd Problem: Winamp gets slow on responding (Foobar with Asio output plugin seems OK-Maybe a bug with Winamp Asio Output plugin?). Personally, I have no problem using Foobar, but I’ll try to seek for possible reason/fixes.

    3rd Problem: In Winamp, volume control doesn’t work along with Asio Output Plugin. In Frontend Application then, probably we should use Windows volume control? This I guess we need to avoid, since I think it uses 16 bit calculations and results to lower quality. Foobar it’s ok, and if Frontend allows, we can put windows volume control to 100% and control Foobar’s volume.

    4th This method does not capture WDM sounds. It works through Asio Virtual driver (Rearoute), so windows sounds will get to your speakers, the normal way… Maybe, disable those sounds and use only Applications outputting to Asio? In fact, I’m thinking if VAC provides with a way to capture WDM sounds and send them to any other ASIO Driver (In this case Rearoute’s channels 1+2). I’ll have to try it, since I honestly never tried VAC and I’m not very sure if it functions this way.

    5th VSTHost , doesn’t seem to remember the settings for each plugin. Probably need to search in their forums, because I might have a wrong setting somewhere?

    I think I found it! In VSTHost, goto File->Autosave PlugIn Banks

    6th Reaper has to be started before rest of the applications using it. Maybe we can find a utility doing it, or I can create a small app that can handle it (I don’t think it should be too hard). To be on the safe site, we would need to have Reaper completely launched, before VSTHost and Winamp/Foobar are launched.

    7th Problem : on the C/Sub output, Sub channel (right) seems like it has some sort of low pass filter applied, and I cannot find a setting in X-Meridian control panel to bypass it. Maybe it’s hardcoded (in the chipset itself)? Does the idea of mixing low pass (left +right) into 1 channel sounds reasonable? Thinking of using only the C Channel and mix both Sub channels on it.

    Hope that above information are useful for other people. Looking forward for suggestions on problem solving!

  2. #2
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    Troubleshooting

    space reserved for troubleshooting...

  3. #3
    FLAC greatwhite's Avatar
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    Extensive writeup!

    I'll give it a try when my card gets here.

    Thanks for sharing
    For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.
    Leonardo Da Vinci

  4. #4
    Car Audio Moderator durwood's Avatar
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    Lots of work to make that work but glad you found a way. Cool, thanks for the write-up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by durwood View Post
    Lots of work to make that work but glad you found a way. Cool, thanks for the write-up.
    Thanks for your kind words! Actually almost all info are taken from this forum, i just wanted to present them in a "how to" way. It actually didn't take me more than 5-6hours in total(excluding of course the time i spent reading around).

    Now, i need to find a way to capture WDM sounds and send them onto the ReaRoute input channel i'm using. I used Virtual Audio Cable as my default sound driver for Windows and it seems that it's able to receive sound from all applications that don't utilize ASIO, or at least don't have this ability. This, as i expected, has no negative effect on all my previous work, in fact it prohibits all window sounds from being sent to my X-Meridian! Now, i need to seek for a way to send VAC streams to Rearoute! Theoretically this could be possible if i had the opportunity to use a second installation of REAPER. I'll need to examine this possibility! Does anyone have any idea?

  6. #6
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    Another Update:
    It seems like Reaper provides with VST Hosting also. I gave it a try and i managed the same results w/o using VSTHost. Plus, it loads pretty fast, compared to VSTHost. I'll propably continue with that route. If someone needs info on how to use just REAPER, i can provide them

  7. #7
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    A new update: I've connected my onboard soundcard's line-out (3.5mm jack), to the line-in of my X-Meridian, set my onboard soundcard as the default sound device in Windows, and enabled the line-in as the recording device, in my X-Meridian's control panel(disabled monitoring on this line of course). This way, any sound played by
    Applications that don't support ASIO, is going through onboard card to X-Meridian, and made available in the ASIO software input channels of X-Meridian. From then on, i added a new track in Reaper, with stereo input assigned to X-Meridian's inputs 01/02 and send this signal to my Rearoute inputs 1/2. Everything seems to work as intended. I'm still able to play bit-perfect through foobar (or any Asio supporting player-Tried also JRiver Media), and i'm able to manipulated (eg process) any audio signal coming from non-ASIO applications(this is obviously not bit perfect, but it's not something i care, since it will be mainly for phone applications, rare use of movies and maybe navigation).

    My initial intention was to use onboard SPDIF output and send to X-Meridian SPDIF input, but i didn't manage it. I'll keep trying, since the above method will definitely introduce hiss(noise?) to my output signal, unless of course i mute the ASIO input lines inside Reaper, every time i need to play some quality music using only ASIO (ie foobar).

    That's it for now. I'll keep you posted on any more findings. Hope that i'll manage to connect onboard - X-Meridian through SPDIF the next time ti post in this topic

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by qpwoeiruty999 View Post
    Another Update:
    I'll propably continue with that route. If someone needs info on how to use just REAPER, i can provide them
    I'd appreciate, thanks !
    I can confirm that Console works with Reaper, but moving all VST setup into Reaper would be nice.
    Edit:
    I've found the way to set up a VST crossover plugin in Reaper, I'll post here soon, this is a first try but applies in the same way for any plugin.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flex65 View Post
    I'd appreciate, thanks !
    I can confirm that Console works with Reaper, but moving all VST setup into Reaper would be nice.
    Edit:
    I've found the way to set up a VST crossover plugin in Reaper, I'll post here soon, this is a first try but applies in the same way for any plugin.
    If you can post some info just to make this thread more useful, it would be great!

    FIY, i purchased a cheap soundcard that can output bit-perfect using some third party drivers (I think soundcard is called AUREON and drivers are called Homebrew..something). I then went from SPDIF out of Aureon to SPDIF in of X-Meridian , disabled monitoring on that line and now signal is beign available inside Reaper (or any other VST host of course). I'll post the Winamp plugins that i used to output to Aureon (Kernel straming is the one, i don't remember the others)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by qpwoeiruty999 View Post
    If you can post some info just to make this thread more useful, it would be great!
    Sure: for this example I use a free VST crossover plugin from http://www.rs-met.com
    Reaper as VST host doesn't need any internal loopback anymore, since WinAmp ASIO output drives Reaper's ASIO input directly then everything is made inside Reaper. So you just use "Send" option into first track "IO" window instead of Audio Hardware Outputs, setting up 3 different Sends one for each output from crossover. Remember to set "6 outputs" in FX window and "6 track channels" in IO window:



    on the other side, you need to set up 3 more strips as "Receives". Assuming these will be the output to soundcard, they will have "Hardware" as outputs. Example shown is for Track 3, the "midrange" track. I have ASIO Outs because I am using an EMU 1212m soundcard and I quit its Patchmix software, otherwise you can choose "Out x/y" (the ADAT hardware outputs)



    I think you can add as many plugins as you like and build all the needed routing in Reaper. I could just use any VST host very easily with EMU soundcard because Patchmix can capture Wave audio stream from WinAmp or whatever software player you like and route it directly into ASIO virtual instances which are then used to drive VST host, but I needed to find a good solution for soundcards whose software can't do the same thing, such as RME HDSP 9652, or your X-Meridian. I think Reaper is a good solution when used as VST host together with ASIO players.
    About ASIO players, I noticed that the plugin from Otachan.com makes some kind of noise every time I stop/pause WinAmp. I can see it from Reaper meters, but since I still don't have any DAC I can't hear it. Maybe luckily, because the meters reach 0 dB when that happens. It looks like a "bump" with very wide spectrum (it appears in all the 3 outputs regardless of crossover cutoffs).
    So I tried a different ASIO WinAmp plugin I found on www.winamp.com (Plugins page) and it doesn't show the same issue, but there is another one: the track slider doesn't work anymore with this plugin.
    I also tried Foobar2000 with its ASIO driver, and it works fine. I think Foobar2000 is better than WinAmp as ASIO player, more reliable. The only issue is it doesn't allow higher than 44.1 KHz sample rates or an error message will appear: "Unrecoverable playback error: The ASIO device does not support specified sample rate; please configure resampler appropriately", so you need to configure Reaper in 44.1 KHz mode. This is not an issue unless you need to play some hi-res formats.

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