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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:08 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:40 pm
Posts: 10
Hello,
I've been a long-time user of Stereo Tool (plug-in version) (thank you again for the wonderful piece of software), and using a transmitter with it's own on-board hardware stereo coder. This setup has worked well for me, except that it doesn't support RDS.

Based on a suggestion given in this thread, I recently bought the Asus Xonar U5 USB box as I need it to work with a laptop PC (which I'm guessing standard PCI cards are not an option for). I modified my transmitter by installing a direct MPX input jack and a switch to switch back & forth between the jack and the output of the unit's hardware coder... making this my first foray into directly driving a transmitter with ST.

The problem I'm having is atrocious stereo separation (maybe 10dB at best). I've made sure the Xonar card's audio "enhancement" features are all turned off, and I've tried tweaking the volume, phase-shift, and tilt adjustments in the FM calibration section all to no avail.

With my oscilloscope connected to the Xonar card's output, I discovered that the card seems completely incapable of properly reproducing a square wave of any frequency, and it's the same whether I generate the wave using Stereotool, or with another (separate) audio editing software.

(I was going to attach pics of my 'scope patterns but I'm not seeing an option here for it, so I'll try to describe:

The Xonar U5 card:
Output pattern looks like a squiggly line (like sine-waves of different frequencies mixed together), with an extremely thin spike where each square-wave transition from hi to low would otherwise be. There is completely no resemblance whatsoever to an actual square wave.

My PC's onboard sound card on the other hand:
Output pattern clearly looks like a square wave, except that the tops & bottoms have some slant to them (and is what I assume the "tilt correction" feature built into ST would normally be used for). Unfortunately the onboard card is not 192kHz-capable.



Does the OP of the thread I linked above or anyone else here who is familiar with the Xonar U5 card know what I am doing wrong or maybe have overlooked? Or is this card actually is not usable for this purpose? (or is it defective? Listening to normal audio through my speakers it seems to sound fine)


If it matters, I'm using ST 7.50.

Thanks for any insight on this (sorry for the length, I figure the more details though, the better).


.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:47 pm 
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When turning these 'enhancements' off, in some cards it doesn't suffice to just turn them off, you actually have to disable the whole enhancements section or it will still change the audio. Not sure if that applies to this specific card... but might be worth a try.

When things work correctly, the stereo separation should be similar to what you get with the built-in stereo coder. If you use the Composite Clipper you do gain about 2 dB in loudness though.

By the way, why are you using version 7.50? The newer versions sound a lot better... and I think they use less resources too.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:20 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:40 pm
Posts: 10
I did exit out the entire enhancements program for the card that was sitting in my Windows tray after setting everything to Off, and rebooted the system... I'm not sure what else to do to make sure everything is all off. I don't see any other "advanced" or hidden settings on it's panel or within the Windows volume control panel (Win 7 Pro), and the only controls on the card itself are a volume & output jack selector knob and I think a pair of mic input gain buttons.
While doing the calibration (frequency response) adjustments on ST, the card did seem to exhibit a relatively flat response (maybe a gradual increase of the higher freq volume sliders to about 112% for the output at 57000Hz to match with that at say, 1280Hz was needed), though one peculiarity I noted was that I also needed to raise the 320Hz slider slightly (indicating the card must have a dip in it's response around that frequency).


Seeing if this works for those 'scope pics:

Image


Anyone else seen something like this with other cards? At this point I can only assume it's very serious phase errors within the Asus card's internal circuitry.

I just sent a PM to Sandburner14 (OP of the other thread) with a link back to this thread, though it currently shows he hasn't been on here in over six months... Hoping maybe there's an answer to getting this Xonar card to work before I return it and try to find something else.
Quote:
By the way, why are you using version 7.50? The newer versions sound a lot better... and I think they use less resources too.
I guess it's I'm too lazy to calibrate things to my liking again? ... :? lol

I started out with ST 2.10 I think (it was around 2006 or 2007) using it together with a plug-in stacker and a simple input limiting compressor set to run as an AGC, then moved up to ST 3.4something (eliminating the need for the stacker), then again to 4.something, and finally to 7.50... Each upgrade took me through hours of playing with all the adjustments & new features using different music selections to get it sounding how I wanted (though indeed every time afterward the final result was far better than before, so I don't doubt one bit that the newest version would again be an improvement). I guess I've just been content with the performance from 7.50. Perhaps using the MPX features and directly driving my xmtr may change that though, however first thing first: I need to find a USB sound card that will work.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:54 pm 
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Every Creative card has same phase or whatever error.
Asus cards are usually by creative.. so..

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:55 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:04 pm
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I have seen this exact problem before, if I remember correctly it's one of 2 things, either one of your enhancements is still turned on or the sample rate is not set properly. With this Asus card you have to change all the settings twice, once in windows itself under playback devices, and you also have to change everything in the Asus software itself. You must turn off ALL enhancements of any kind, and the sample rate has to be set to 192Khz in both the software and in windows. I can look at this some more when I'm back in the office on Monday, to see if I can recreate it and tell you exactly what is still on. But just for your information, I do not believe the card is bad, since I saw the exact same thing in my testing, but, this card is quite capable of working for FM, as Hans and I have both used it successfully, in fact we were using this card at both NAB and IBC last year in the Stereo Tool booth.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:16 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:40 pm
Posts: 10
Appreciate you getting back to me Sandburner.

Yeah it's definitely working at 192kHz because I am getting stereo reception, just not very good stereo. The card also had no trouble sending the 57kHz volume calibration tone.

I set every item to off on the Asus "Sonic Studio" panel then quit that program entirely. I then went into the Windows control panel and brought up the Sound window and finally the Asus Xonar U5 device properties on the Playback tab. There really isn't much in there that looks like would change the audio other than a setting on the Advanced tab for the sampling rate which is set to "16 bit 192000Hz (studio quality)". I tried it on the 24 bit setting also and same mangled up waveform. Card is set for "Stereo" (not surround) mode.

I even tried turning each & every effect on (observing it's effect) then shutting it back off, just to make sure there isn't one of those software bugs where a feature sometimes gets stuck on until you toggle it's setting on and then back off again.


Yeah if you can reproduce this issue and tell me how to fix so that it makes a square wave, that would be great.

Thank you.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:54 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:04 pm
Posts: 21
Make sure you are set to ASIO on the FM output, but NOT ASIO on the input, they apparently can't both function at the same time, and the FM output does NOT work correctly if not in ASIO. Also, make sure to use the "Front Speaker" output, not the "Headphone" output, the output was not clean on the scope using the headphone output. Additionally, as already stated, make sure all enhancements are turned off in the Sonic Studio, and make sure that the "Profile" at the top is set to "Flat", and then I believe you need to leave Sonic Studio running in the system tray. While I was not able to reproduce that exact same problem, I did run into issues if I didn't setup it up exactly as I have outlined. You should need around +41,521 microseconds of RC correction, that's what mine took.

Let me know if this fixes things for you.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:29 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:04 pm
Posts: 21
Something else I just encountered with that card, you can't use both the Left and Right output, they won't calibrate properly, so you can only use the Left output to feed 1 transmitter, make sure that 2nd output is NOT turned on or enabled.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:34 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:40 pm
Posts: 10
Sorry for the delay, I was outside of town where no internet is available for the last week.


Yes I am connecting just the left (tip) output from the jack labeled "Front" to my xmtr rather than combining the left & right into one (at one point I did try the headphone out also and ST promptly started giving me a "Bad device" error). I don't see any option to actually disable or turn off the right output though (unless you were referring to the "Synchronize FM Transmitters" section in ST, that section is not enabled).


Where do I find the settings for ASIO? I'm not seeing anything for ASIO on the FM Sound Card or FM Transmitter sections in ST, nor in the Asus settings software (I tried to do a search here for ASIO but it tells me the search terms were too short or something).

Thanks again.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:13 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:40 pm
Posts: 10
Any more help?

Do I need to install some extra piece of software or additional component or something to be able to have a setting for ASIO?

Edit:
Ok, I finally just ran across this page in the Help section that explains the ASIO settings...
http://help.stereotool.com/7.50/sound_cards.shtml

The closest thing I have to that on my Stereo tool is a "FM Sound Card" panel which lacks every item listed on that page except what's listed under the "FM Output" section (has the tilt correction and synchronize transmitters settings, and the calibration section).
There's a separate "FM Transmitter" panel that has some SCA stuff, but there's still no ASIO anything.

What is it I'm missing?


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