2.2 Channel Hardware Requirement to run Audiolense XO (or 2.0)?

Faustchz

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Hello! Newbie here.

My current setup is the following: MacBook Pro (Dirac Live Processor) --> Motu M2 audio interface --> two SVS SB4000 subwoofers --> two Genelec 8341 studio montiors.

The M2 has two TRS outputs and two RCA outputs. The SB4000 has RCA and XLR inputs and outputs. It has an adjustable low-pass filter function but no high-pass filter. The output is only a passthrough. The 8341 can be enabled with bass roll-off using tone control toggles or the GLM kit. Currently, I use M2's TRS output feeding into SB4000's XLR input and then pass through to the 8341. The system is 2.2, but judging by the signal chain, the connection is basically 2.0 as the M2 only outputs stereo signals.

I want to try Audiolense. Should I get the XO version or the 2.0 version? Does the XO version require 4 channel output? Maybe the M2 can output TRS and RCA simultaneously, I haven’t tried it yet. If it did, I could connect the M2's TRS outputs to the 8341 and RCA outputs to the SB4000's RCA inputs, so that the subs and main speakers are fed with separate signals which have already been XO'd by Audiolense.

On the other hand, maybe I can get away with using just the 2.0 version because my stereo version Dirac works pretty well with my current stereo connection because it sees the two mains+subs as two full-range speakers, and automatically corrected the dip in the crossover region. For Audiolense though, What is the benefit of going 4 channels connection and getting the XO version over staying stereo connection and getting the 2.0 version?

In summary, my questions are:
1. Which Audiolense version should I get?
2. Should I change my current signal chain?
3. Should I get a different audio interface/DAC for the XO?

Thanks for all your inputs!
 
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juicehifi

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You have some serious speakers there. They deserve the best.

You should get the XO version because it provides better sound quality ... always.

It often pays off to limit the low frequency extension of monitor and offload more to the subwoofers. You would need a 4 channel dac to try that. Perhaps others know your speakers in particular and can confirm or or challenge the merits of this in your case.
 

Faustchz

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Thanks, Bernt. It seems like I should go get a 4 channel DAC. Off the top of my mind, I can only think of the miniDSP SHD which has 4 digital outputs and 4 analog outputs. It has too many added features, however, like Dirac and crossover, which can be replaced by Audiolense XO. Are there any alternative options, preferably in a smaller box? What kind of DAC or audio interface that Audiolense XO users typically use?
 

hulkss

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Thanks, Bernt. It seems like I should go get a 4 channel DAC. Off the top of my mind, I can only think of the miniDSP SHD which has 4 digital outputs and 4 analog outputs. It has too many added features, however, like Dirac and crossover, which can be replaced by Audiolense XO. Are there any alternative options, preferably in a smaller box? What kind of DAC or audio interface that Audiolense XO users typically use?
For your system I would consider the new RME UCX II: https://www.rme-usa.com/fireface-ucx-ii.html
 

Faustchz

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Thanks, David. I was just looking at the UltraLite mk5. Seems like it does everything I need. The RME UCX II doesn't seem to be available yet in the US. I know Mitchco uses the Hilo but I would like a small form factor gear. I am waiting for a new measurement mic and other stuff so I am not in a rush in buying a new multichannel interface. Before that I would like to learn how to output multichannel signals and which company's driver works on the macOS the best.
 

Faustchz

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Trying the Audiolense now. Seems like it doesn't support the UMIK-1? Had to buy another mic then, just ordered an EMM-6.
 

juicehifi

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It supports the umik-1 but sometimes you have to try different measurement settings to make it work together with the dac.
 

HerbertWest

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Thanks, Bernt. It seems like I should go get a 4 channel DAC.
FWIW I use a RME Digiface USB, which gives me freedom to choose the DACs I want for each channel pair (or group). I like its fiber connections to minimize chance of ground loops from my PC.
Measurement were ok using Umik-1 in usb/direct sound mode - of course un Win10.

For 4 channel use only, the RME Adi2 pro could be an interesting choice - but beware that it will not support RMEs Totalmix. You need another interface for that.
 

HerbertWest

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Ah, I just realized that Genelec 8341 should have digital input (AES in). So you could also consider connecting:

Rme digiface spdif optical 1 (or equivalent) —> spdif converter from optical to spdif coax/AES. -> Genelec digital in
Spdif optical 2 -> random DAC of your choice for subwoofers

In my case, I tried the same scheme with the AES input of the ADI2 pro with a proper spdif to xlr cable (schematics on rmes ADI2 manual). YMMV :)
 

Faustchz

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Thanks for your input, Herbert. I already bought the MOTU UltraLite mk5 and it works for me. I am actually glad that the MOTU has a pair of mic preamps in case the USB mic isn't working on Audiolense (and in my setup it just isn't).
 

Faustchz

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Well, I run into several obstacles…

1. I had no idea using an soundcard and mic as input could be this complicated. As of now I am unable to conduct a successful measurement on either Audiolense or REW. I saw clipping, level too low, or other weird results. Why is that?

2. On Audiolense the measurement contains a weird bliping sound through the sweep. Consequently the measurements were unsuccessful. Is there something wrong with my Windows audio settings?

3. I had no idea that the EMM-6 doesn't come with a 90deg cal file. Might have to make one for myself, but as of now I couldn't even take a measurement with it.

4. Frustrated with the soundcard and EMM-6, I switched back to the UMIK-1, but the still doesn't work after I fiddled with some settings. How do I make UMIK-1 work on Audiolense? (I mean if I can work with the UMIK-1, I don't even want to waste my time with the EMM-6.)
 
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juicehifi

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I am sorry to hear about your troubles, faustchz.

Sometimes this is a walk in the park, sometimes it is a lot of hazzle involved.

Please post some screen shots from the measurement so we can see where you are in the process.
 

Faustchz

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1. When UMIK-1 is used, Audiolense says not supported.
2. When EMM-6 and Motu soundcard are selected, measurement can be started, but I can hear my speakers clipping and Audiolense would also report measurement unsuccessful.
3. My setup and cabling: EMM-6 to mic-in#1, line-out#9 to mic-in#2 (loopback, I think that's how it's done), main-out 1&2 to L&R speakers.
4&5. FWIW, UMIK-1 works on REW, but EMM-6 and Motu on REW gave some faulty results, regardless whether I am on Windows or Mac.
 

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juicehifi

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Hi Faustchz,

1 Umik requires wasapi shared mode (an option under the advanced menu)
2 asio is usually very straight forward. Perhaps you have engaged some monitoring feature in the Motu, for instance so that the recorded audio is routed back out again.
3 there shall be no loop back here.Straight out and straight in, and the two should not "see" each other.



Hope this helps.
 

Faustchz

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Finally completed my first measurements!

The reason for clipping when using UltraLite with ASIO was that the buffer size for the soundcard was too small. Increasing the buffer size resolved the issue.

Still no luck with the UMIK-1, but the other mic works now so I can still precede without resolving this one.

Now I have a decision to make. I have a pretty wide and deep null from 40-70hz on left subwoofer. The subwoofer volume was set to -35db as uusual meaning I still have plenty of headroom. I first used the default max boost of 6db, there were still a -10db null left, so I increased the boost to 12db and the null seemed to be gone.

Now I am thinking about increasing the sub volume to -25db or -20db, so that there would be no boosting but only cutting.

I am not sure which way is better, though, setting sub volume to -35db and allow 12db boost, or setting the sub to -25db?
 

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hulkss

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Set your sub channel analog gain so that at 0 DBFS output from your audio interface the sub amp is at max rated output or at the max rated power of the subwoofer driver(s) whichever is lower. The correction filters in Audiolense should not boost nulls more than a few dB.
 

juicehifi

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Well done, Faustchz!

Boosting is really cutting everything that is not boosted. Look at the plot of the correction filters. It never exceeds -1 dB. This is by design, to avoid digital clipping.

You have a pretty big correction boost in the deep bass, below 10 Hz. This is costing you some 20 dB of gain. You can eliminate this by drawing a target that drops as much as the measurement in that region.

Your sub gain setting looks to be close to optimal as far as I can see.

And you can safely use 12 dB correction boost. Higher too. Sometimes a strong correction boost creates problems due to difficult room interaction, but other times it fixes problems. You will get some indication by studying time domain simulation.
 

Iansr

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FWIW I use a RME Digiface USB, which gives me freedom to choose the DACs I want for each channel pair (or group). I like its fiber connections to minimize chance of ground loops from my PC.
Measurement were ok using Umik-1 in usb/direct sound mode - of course un Win10.

For 4 channel use only, the RME Adi2 pro could be an interesting choice - but beware that it will not support RMEs Totalmix. You need another interface for that.
Can you just expand a little on what the Digiface does and why it allows you to use multiple stereo DACs. How does it deal with the clock sync issue that arises when using separate DACs?
 

HerbertWest

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Digiface is a 64-channel ADAT interface that can be also used in Toslink mode. Jitter, which I think is what you are referring to with “clock sync issues”, depends on clock quality on source/dest interfaces, and their distance. The DACs I use have very low jitter as measured by manufacturer or ASR (audio science review). My fiber cables are like 1m long, so latency is negligible.

Digiface allows me to use Totalmix FX.
This interface “only” has SteadyClock, not the more precise SteadyClock FS, however a video is

For further info, the manual is online and it is very informative.

Another options I’d consider would now be the new UCX2, in combo with my ADI2 Pro.

don’t want to sound like a RME salesman :), I’m sure that there are many options from vendors (like Motu) that are functionally equivalent.
 
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