AL H/W or S/W Appliance?

aps

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I've used AL for some time to perform x/o and room eq duties for a DIY speaker with great effect. My perennial question, however, is whether there is a set of stable hardware that would allow me to use the system for other (A/V) sources. Is there, for example, there a path to using the filters etc. when the source is an Apple TV via HDMI or (Optical) S/PDIF that is stripped from the HDMI? I've explored this idea in the past and there seemed to be some options that involved routing an audio input to pro-audio interface to a computer for convolution but it never came across as being a bulletproof set-up that could be used by the family. The ideal thing would be a h/w until that just works but assuming that that is a leap to far then a computer OS + S/W build that works with an external audio interface might be the answer. Any suggestions? How are others dealing with (multi-channel) AL with sources other than Roon?
 

hulkss

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I route all system audio on my M1 Mac mini through the multi-channel convolver plugin "X-MCFX" hosted by Kushview "Element" software. Audiolense filters are loaded into the convolver. The system audio routing is done with Rogue Amoeba "Loopback" software. This can be a set and forget arrangement.

You can use any audio interface that will connect to the Mac by USB or Thunderbolt. I use a MOTU 16a for my multi-channel multi-subwoofer system. I use Jriver for playback from computer files. I play online sources with the Safari browser.
 

juicehifi

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What I do …. and prefere to do …. is use the PC (or Mac) as the entertainment center, including TV receiver(web TV), and use the tv strictly as a monitor.
 

HerbertWest

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Same here. I also successfully tested Penteo VSX to real time upmix a stereo music track (or movie, eg YouTube or Prime Video) to 7.1, using the Jriver convolver to apply Audiolense filters for 7 channels and 2 subs. Audiolense convolver would have even lower latency, but didn’t try it yet.

Now I am considering to buy an external AVR to decode Dolby Atmos, and then connecting it’s Pre-outs to an audio interface in order to manage DSP in a 7.2.4 config using Audiolense, instead of Audissey. Curious if anybody tried it :)
 

aps

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I route all system audio on my M1 Mac mini through the multi-channel convolver plugin "X-MCFX" hosted by Kushview "Element" software. Audiolense filters are loaded into the convolver. The system audio routing is done with Rogue Amoeba "Loopback" software. This can be a set and forget arrangement.

You can use any audio interface that will connect to the Mac by USB or Thunderbolt. I use a MOTU 16a for my multi-channel multi-subwoofer system. I use Jriver for playback from computer files. I play online sources with the Safari browser.
What I do …. and prefere to do …. is use the PC (or Mac) as the entertainment center, including TV receiver(web TV), and use the tv strictly as a monitor.
Are y'all using A/V sources other than the computer that does the convolution? The use of o-line sources via web-browser on the (convolution) computer would work if I can get a selection of Netflix, Prime, iTunes via a remote but it still leaves the issue of gaming console such as Nintendo Switch or XBox.
 

hulkss

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I use Netflix, Prime, Apple TV with a web browser. Works great. My MOTU 16a has 16 line level analog audio inputs. I use them for microphones (mic preamp required). I have not connected a game console, but there is no reason that it should not work.

You will need to use low latency DSP filters and a low latency convolver for on-line videos or gaming.
 

aps

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I use Netflix, Prime, Apple TV with a web browser. Works great. My MOTU 16a has 16 line level analog audio inputs. I use them for microphones (mic preamp required). I have not connected a game console, but there is no reason that it should not work.

You will need to use low latency DSP filters and a low latency convolver for on-line videos or gaming.
Are you referring "an Apple TV" (i.e., the box itself) or "the Apple TV streaming service"?

Re Motu: So analogue outputs from an external source (e.g., gaming console via AVR) are sent to the analogue inputs of the Motu before being routed via USB to the (convolution) computer and then routed via USB back to the Motu for D/A and then power amps? Is that the model?
 

hulkss

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Are you referring "an Apple TV" (i.e., the box itself) or "the Apple TV streaming service"?

Re Motu: So analogue outputs from an external source (e.g., gaming console via AVR) are sent to the analogue inputs of the Motu before being routed via USB to the (convolution) computer and then routed via USB back to the Motu for D/A and then power amps? Is that the model?
Yes, the streaming service.

Yes, that is the signal path. I believe most call it "loopback". Some devices aimed more at audio for video may be able to "loopback" HDMI audio. I tried an HDMI audio extractor once. The audio was OK but it could not pass through high bandwidth digital video. You must be careful about latency of both audio and video.
 
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aps

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What I do …. and prefere to do …. is use the PC (or Mac) as the entertainment center, including TV receiver(web TV), and use the tv strictly as a monitor.
Yes, the streaming service.

Yes, that is the signal path. I believe most call it "loopback". Some devices aimed more at audio for video may be able to "loopback" HDMI audio. I tried an HDMI audio extractor once. The audio was OK but it could not pass through high bandwidth digital video. You must be careful about latency of both audio and video.

I've been thinking a bit about this and, with Apple TV and Game Consoles being built into the family routine, the answer might be as per below. That is, the convolution is done via AL Convolver with a digital source selector defining the input. The only concern that I've got is that it looks to me as if it's not possible to get AL Convolver to automatically start when the computer is turn on and off (which will be a problem for the family). Is this the case or can one set-up AL automatically start?

46674
 

aps

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What I do …. and prefere to do …. is use the PC (or Mac) as the entertainment center, including TV receiver(web TV), and use the tv strictly as a monitor.
FYI - I've managed to get the system described in the preceeding post working! So, basically, using mini-DSP DDRC-22D as a digital pre-amp that outputs at 24/96 and a Windows 10 Computer with Audiolense Convolver as the convolution engine. One concern was the delay with video sources (and especially so given that the computer is an old ATOM DN2800MT) but this isn't a problem with the low-latency filters. Another, equally important, concern is whether the Windows 10 based computer can be reliable enough in this "appliance" application - basically, I need to get to a point where the system doesn't stop work as a result of updates etc. and, in the case of a power failure, re-starts ready to work. Any suggestions as to how to achieve this outcome would be great.
 

hulkss

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Just use Windows settings to turn off auto update and set power management to restart after a power failure. Put the apps you need in the startup folder.

I now prefer to use a M1 Mac Mini which can function as an Apple TV, run Roon or JRiver, eliminate the digital preamp, and the loopback. Some audio interfaces will accept S/PDIF so you could loopback external audio sources or use the mini-DSP to convert to AES as shown.
 
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aps

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Just use Windows settings to turn off auto update and set power management to restart after a power failure. Put the apps you need in the startup folder.

I now prefer to use a M1 Mac Mini which can function as an Apple TV, run Roon or JRiver, eliminate the digital preamp, and the loopback. Some audio interfaces will accept S/PDIF so you could loopback external audio sources or use the mini-DSP to convert to AES as shown.
Thanks for all the assistance. I've been a "Windows" person for some time but have started to look at Mac laptops / Mac Mini given that the processors appear to have take a major leap forward over WinTel. Re: M1 Mac Mini: Is it possible to control switching between Apple TV and Roon modes via a remote, and then control within each app via a remote?
 

hulkss

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I use a wireless home theater keyboard that has a built-in track pad.
 
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2234rew

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I've been thinking a bit about this and, with Apple TV and Game Consoles being built into the family routine, the answer might be as per below. That is, the convolution is done via AL Convolver with a digital source selector defining the input. The only concern that I've got is that it looks to me as if it's not possible to get AL Convolver to automatically start when the computer is turn on and off (which will be a problem for the family). Is this the case or can one set-up AL automatically start?

View attachment 46674
This works with an older Apple TV right, which had optical output but but not newest HDMI only Apple TV 4K correct?

Or are you successfully using HDMI audio extractor? Can you share model?
 

hulkss

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Mac OS has an Apple TV app. Just run that. Works just like Apple TV. Probably better as you get M1 graphics and processing power. Plus you can now cast video/audio to the Mac from your iPhone, or Apple TV, or iPad.
 

jhenderson0107

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FYI - I've managed to get the system described in the preceeding post working! So, basically, using mini-DSP DDRC-22D as a digital pre-amp that outputs at 24/96 and a Windows 10 Computer with Audiolense Convolver as the convolution engine. One concern was the delay with video sources (and especially so given that the computer is an old ATOM DN2800MT) but this isn't a problem with the low-latency filters. Another, equally important, concern is whether the Windows 10 based computer can be reliable enough in this "appliance" application - basically, I need to get to a point where the system doesn't stop work as a result of updates etc. and, in the case of a power failure, re-starts ready to work. Any suggestions as to how to achieve this outcome would be great.
Why aren't you using the DDRC-22D for convolution instead of the ATOM DN2800MT? Isn't the miniDSP adequate for this task? I am considering the purchase of a miniDSP product such as the 22D for this purpose.
 

aps

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This works with an older Apple TV right, which had optical output but but not newest HDMI only Apple TV 4K correct?

Or are you successfully using HDMI audio extractor? Can you share model?
Yes, I'm using an HDMI audio extractor. The model is BluStream SW41

Why aren't you using the DDRC-22D for convolution instead of the ATOM DN2800MT? Isn't the miniDSP adequate for this task? I am considering the purchase of a miniDSP product such as the 22D for this purpose.
I'm using the ATOM DN2800MT to execute the Audiolense generated filters to provide crossover between mains / sub as well as overall target curve. The DDRC-22D is a strictly 2-channel component so whilst it can do overall EQ it doesn't do cross-over. Also, the AL filters are the best that I've been able to build in any tool including when just dealing with stereo
 

2234rew

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Yes, I'm using an HDMI audio extractor. The model is BluStream SW41
Thanks! Could be better to keep the signal digital, all the way to the PC?

Using an SPDIF (from Bluestream SW41) to USB converter?

And what is your "Digital Preamp" model?
 
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aps

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Thanks! Could be better to keep the signal digital, all the way to the PC?

Using an SPDIF (from Bluestream SW41) to USB converter?

And what is your "Digital Preamp" model?
The (HDMI) output of the Apple TV is sent to the (BluStream) device which strips out the digital audio as S/PDIF and sends the video via HDMI to the TV. The digital audio is sent to the mini-DSP DDRC-22D which then forwards the signal to the input of my RME audio interface. Alternatively, for music, a Roon End-Point is attached to the DDRC-22D via AES. So, yes, it's digital all the way with the DDRC-22D acting as a digital pre-amp that (i) allows source selection between digital inputs, (ii) resamples to 96kHz and (iii) does (digital) volume control. Re volume control: I appreciate that it isn't "purist" to do this in the digital domain (ahead of D/A) but all this works with equipment at hand and the actual attenuation is quite low. Hope that this helps.
 

2234rew

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The (HDMI) output of the Apple TV is sent to the (BluStream) device which strips out the digital audio as S/PDIF and sends the video via HDMI to the TV. The digital audio is sent to the mini-DSP DDRC-22D which then forwards the signal to the input of my RME audio interface. Alternatively, for music, a Roon End-Point is attached to the DDRC-22D via AES. So, yes, it's digital all the way with the DDRC-22D acting as a digital pre-amp that (i) allows source selection between digital inputs, (ii) resamples to 96kHz and (iii) does (digital) volume control. Re volume control: I appreciate that it isn't "purist" to do this in the digital domain (ahead of D/A) but all this works with equipment at hand and the actual attenuation is quite low. Hope that this helps.
Thanks!

What I mentioned was keeping it digital to the PC.

But I now understand you need a remote control for volume which the miniDSP solves. There's not many/any pro audio interface with wireless remote volume control.

Well there are app based interfaces that let you control via app on phone/tablet but thats not as fast as old fashioned IR volume control.

Do you have any lip sync issue with Apple TV picture and audio? Is there anywhere to adjust for audio delays?
 

aps

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Thanks!

What I mentioned was keeping it digital to the PC.
Yes, that's the case in my system as the DDRC-24 is digital in and out.

Do you have any lip sync issue with Apple TV picture and audio? Is there anywhere to adjust for audio delays?
I'm using the low latency Audiolense Filters and there is no noticeable lip-sync
 

2234rew

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es, that's the case in my system as the DDRC-24 is digital in and out.
Nice, I just noticed the AES3 connection in your block diagram, makes sense to me now.

This is a great solution !
 
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