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Thread: Laptop sound processing in a HT setup

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    Laptop sound processing in a HT setup

    I posted this on DIYMA and got directed here. I have general car audio knowledge, but have never done anything HT-wise, or used a laptop for more than gaming and internet use.

    I have a little money saved up and this summer I want to take on a small HT build. I would really like to use my laptop as a source, but I don't have 5.1(or 7.1 obviously) sound. I looked at some USB add on cards which supported it, but is this the way to go? Or should I just suck it up and get a receiver, DVD player, etc? Also how does sound processing, EQing, and crossing over work in a laptop situation? Any information about a laptop as a HT source would be really appreciated.

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    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    my gut says a home theater forum might be better, but i expect they would just send you to a computer forum, who would send you back to a home theater forum... such is the issue with combining technology(this site is mainly for putting a computer in your car, so it really doesn't have much to do with surround sound, or ht computers)...

    the 2 audio processing programs(vst hosts) i know of are audio mulch, and console--the only difference being that they each have a different 'feel' to the software. they both work great for effects processing, but i have no idea how to setup anything for a multichannel surround sound system.

    i have a hunch that you should be able to use a program like Virtual Audio Cable (or VAC), which supports mulitple audio streams, to send the audio into one of the programs for processing, and then out to the speakers, but haven't the slightest idea wheather it would work or not...

    i also think that you would still need a amp of some sort to get the signal to a adequate listening level.

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    Thank you VERY much for this. You gave me a lot to look into. I realize this forum does not expertise in HT or surround sound, but I figured you guys would know how to get the best quality sound out of a laptop, which is why I wanted to post here

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    Constant Bitrate Lincolnman's Avatar
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    You know, my initial reaction was "wow, another clown lost in the wrong forum" but on the other hand if there has not been much work done on multi-channel audio here than perhaps it ought to be covered. Has anyone else done this sort of thing for an automotive environment.
    Oh, no. I can hear Darque coming this was to tell him to go away and for me to search...
    Electronics work on magic smoke - don't let it out.

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    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    there have been a couple members that have wanted multichannel setups, though, in a car environment, it is not great, and is much, much tougher to setup-- none of the speakers are equal distances, they are different heights, some have partial enclosures, and others don't.

    it is much more benificial to use it in a home setting like what you would like to do, though, like i said, i am not too familiar with home theater pc's at all.

    one other note: try not to keep the focus on the laptop-- you are still using a computer, and the setup would be the same weather it was a laptop, desktop, or super computer, and i think that to some people, the laptop itself will make them give you a different answer than what software they would recommend for a standard htpc...

    oh and a quick googling for htpc forums:
    http://www.htpcforums.com/
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forum...p?s&forumid=26
    http://www.overclockers.com/forums/f...play.php?f=155

    though none of the links seem to be as active of boards as diyma, or mp3car, and i didn't come across any answered eq program questions...

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    Constant Bitrate Lincolnman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    there have been a couple members that have wanted multichannel setups, though, in a car environment, it is not great, and is much, much tougher to setup-- none of the speakers are equal distances, they are different heights, some have partial enclosures, and others don't.
    Forgive me if I fail to see how this is difficult. Is there really no software out there that analyzes via (a) microphone(s) and will automatically set the surround staging? I mean, every surround sound receiver worth bringing home pretty much comes with this sort of automatic setup now, why in the world would it not be offered in computing?
    Electronics work on magic smoke - don't let it out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lincolnman View Post
    Forgive me if I fail to see how this is difficult. Is there really no software out there that analyzes via (a) microphone(s) and will automatically set the surround staging? I mean, every surround sound receiver worth bringing home pretty much comes with this sort of automatic setup now, why in the world would it not be offered in computing?
    as far as i know, there are no sound setup programs for computers that simply use a mic to correct all the speaker issues (there are programs to view audio/room responses from a mic, and programs to adjust audio, but i don't know of any that are combined).

    there are auto components that have that feature, (Alpines IMprint system comes to mind) though i do not believe that they support surround sound.

    i think the biggest reason there is no computer solution is that the hardware plays a huge role in it (any component peice that has a mic setup is not user serviceable), and in the world of computing, there are too many variables to be able to get consistant results from a program like that. You can swap out almost every part of the computer, and replace it with a different manufacturers part, which could affect how the program sees and manipulates different audio streams... though that is just a hunch on my part...

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