First to select backend software then hardware then design the rest of the Car PC around that
Recourses at hand,
Personal recording studio (hundreds of plug-ins and plenty of hardware to try)
Basic sound engineering (digital and analogue)
Challenge – Never actually worked with Car audio acoustics
First goal – each individual speaker must be controllable which means I need multiple channels on the PC – minimum of 4 full range channels plus 2 sub channels
So I have done some road testing on the workbench,
Desktop P4,3gig, 2gig ram XP pro with a Juil@ card (has ASSIO and directwire) with console sound modular studio v1.6.1,a heap of plugins and itunes.
First I need to rout itunes internally to console then out to various outputs
In console to test this I just routed a stereo input direct to a stereo output.
Then using directwire routed the MME output to the ASIO input…
Findings - although this does work unlike most pro recording apps you can usually turn off the direct monitoring channel, I would have through this was an ASIO control. As my sound is routed through console with aprox 5ms latency I also have the original signal routed directly to the soundcard (sounds kinda funky in a digital sorta way). Time to play around, I need to some how turn off the direct signal. After about 4 hours and 200litres of pepsi I found a solution.
Here it is –
iTunes ---> ASIO---> S/PDIF output (channel 3/4)
Directwire S/PDIF output (channel 3/4) ---> ASIO input (channel 1/2)
Console ASIO input (channel 1/2) ---> VST plugins ---> ASIO output (channel 1/2)
I now have iTunes running with whatever VST and direct x plugins I want
With the only sacrifice of losing 2 channels (S/PDIF) for a speaker output but that problem can be solved by inserting more sound cards.
Lets continue testing – I need to route parallel signals to multiple outputs on multiple cards.
Turn on the onboard soundmax chipset jump into console to find the only card I can see is the Juli@.......
Ok. 456 smokes and 23L of pepsi later, Problem solved
Throw in another 3rd party card – cobra AW-840 (2 outputs)
Windows Audio Device --> ASIO Multimedia ---> S/PDIF output(ch3/4)
Directwire MME output (ch3/4) ---> MME input (ch3/4)
Console MME input (ch3/4) -----Split signal x3(stereo) ---> ch1/2 – Juli@ card
+-> ch3/4 – Soundmax
+-> ch5/6 – AW-840
Perfect 6 mono channels all with any plugins I want.
Ok for anybody who cares! Here are my discoveries
ASIO drivers appear to be software specific not hardware
Console modular sound studio does actually do what it says it does, but….
The ASIO driver is not full featured so some advance functions are not available
Unable to turn off direct signal monitoring means you are required to use Directwire or similar losing 2 channels of outputs
So to use this setup you WILL need a primary sound card with at lease 2stereo outputs
I also recommend using another ASIO driver with testing functions to setup Port buffering and sample size for each card. I used the Cubase ASIO software and tested each port then transferred all the settings to the Console setup and Save Save, Save…. Did I mentioned to save all ya settings!! Testing card buffering can be time consuming
I do not recommend using default ASIO settings in over ten years working in studios
I’m yet to be convinced that these settings are stable in fact I always retest every time I install new software/hardware then I retest every couple of months. Since I’ve been doing this I have never had a problem with digital hiccups etc.
Next, Things to be aware of,
Using the ASIO multimedia Drivers will increase the latency, Currently I have 600ms latency (not a problem if you are aware of this) all this means is it takes ½ sec to hear my music after I press Play on itunes. This will only be a problem if you are intending to use visuals directly from your media player (eg. EQ’s visuals will be ½ sec infront of what you actually hear)
As I intend to use only visuals from my plugins in console they will be in real time.
Intended output routing
Ch1/2 -> Front L/R
Ch3/4 -> Rear L/R
Ch5 -> Sub
Ch6 -> Aux Comms (eg, Phone etc)
Anyhow I’m happy for now, Now onto power supply design…. Will post below!!!
i'll come back to pc design when my brain recovers.. anyhow have fun!