The All Purpose Advice Thread - Part 2

Discussion in 'Advice Threads' started by shotgunshane, Mar 27, 2022.

  1. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Friend

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    I have a potentiometer conundrum and need some advice.

    Background: I'm burning in a new headphone amp, the Kinki Studio Vision THR-1 (mfr's URL below). I plan to use this in my main system as preamp & No. 1 headphone amp.

    https://www.kinki-studio.com/thr-1

    But this well reviewed amp has 2 outstanding issues:
    1. No remote; and
    2. it's insanely powerful--with any headphone other than a high impedance dynamic or power-hog planar, I'd never be able to get the volume pot (which zeroes at approx. 7:30 on the dial) beyond ~8:00 on the dial, if that
    I can resolve the gain issue by placing my sonically transparent, transformer-based passive volume controller in line between the DAC and this amp; or between after the amp. I did the former setup already in my burn-in station and it works well: the PVC lets me knock down the gain of the THR-1 to any degree I like, with no apparent sonic degradation...so far, so good

    So here is my question: which of the following component wiring scenarios makes the most sense electronically:
    • Option-1: Wire in the PVC after the THR-1; set the volume pot of the THR-1 to 10:00 or 11:00 on the dial; then control the actual system volume via the PVC's volume pot (or)
    • Option-2: Wire in the PVC between the DAC and the THR-1; set the PVC to a known workable gain setting (currently ~12 noon on its dial); then control the actual system volume via the THR's volume pot
    Option-1 would be far more convenient than option-2. But what I can't wrap my head around is whether there is some advantage of one method vs the other?
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2022
  2. fastfwd

    fastfwd Friend

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    The THR-1's volume pot is almost certainly right after the input jacks, before any of the preamp gain stages. So all the noise introduced by the THR-1's circuitry will be after the volume pot and unaffected by it.

    Therefore, a high volume setting on the THR-1's pot will give you a better signal-to-noise ratio than a low volume setting. All else equal, the best signal-to-noise ratio will be achieved with the volume turned all the way up.

    Place the PVC after the THR-1, so the PVC will attenuate not just the music, but also the noise generated by the THR-1.

    Set the THR-1's volume pot to get the best signal-to-noise ratio. You'll have to experiment; if the preamp distorts at high levels, the best signal-to-noise ratio may actually be at some level below max -- a rule of thumb is to set the knob to around 2/3 of its maximum rotation.

    Leave the THR-1 pot there, and use the PVC's pot to adjust system volume. If the PVC pot doesn't have enough usable range (i.e., the system is way too loud at low volume settings), turn the THR-1's pot down to allow more rotation of the PVC pot.
     
  3. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Friend

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    Thanks for a most informative reply. I think I will do as you suggest.

    In my burn-in station I'd already played around with this THR-1 first/PVC second scheme. My main concern was whether running the THR-1 at a fixed volume setting might cause it to overheat.

    I'm kind of laughing about that concern now. I have yet to feel any temperature at all from this extremely powerful amp. No matter what the volume pot is set to or for how long, it's no more than room temp.

    Thanks again!
     
  4. supertransformingdhruv

    supertransformingdhruv Almost "Made"

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    I'm looking to double the number of XLR outputs on Freya S so that I can send a balanced signal to both my headphone amp and my speaker amp. There's no reason I'd want to run signal to both at the same time. I've found three options that seem reasonable, and was wondering if anyone has experience or advice.

    1. My first inclination is to go with something like this Nobsound switcher.
    2. Goldpoint makes a switcher too and known to make good stuff, but it costs quite a bit more.
    3. Can I reasonably get away with a pair of XLR splitters?
    Thanks!
     
  5. dematted

    dematted Friend

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    Hi there everyone! My partner wants to get involved in producing music (Indie neo-soul and singer-songwriter), and we're looking for a good recommendation for an all-in-one Audio Interface as well as a Mic. Budget is around $350 all-in. I know that the Motu stuff has a good rep around here - does anyone know anything about Mics? Pinging @Psalmanazar for an angry rant!
     
  6. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    What will the mic be used on?
    My all around suggestion is to get an Shure SM57 and either a mic preamp with sufficient clean gain built into the audio interface or a Cloud Lifter due to low output of the mic (and most dynamic mics.) SM57 will give decent results on almost anything and is nearly indestructible.
     
  7. dematted

    dematted Friend

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    Plan is to use the mic for recording vocals on an audio interface of some type - was looking into the audient iD14.
     
  8. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    The iD14 mic gain is +56 dB. Dynamic mics tend to need 65 to 70 dB.

    If I was to begin all over again I'd acquire a Sound Devices MixPre-3 and a pair of SM57 mics. Covers a huge range applications / instruments. No need for a Cloudlifter CL-1 or Radial McBoost as it has 76 dB of ultraclean gain.

    I've used the MixPre-3 for remote recording, minimalist stereo recording, dialog capture, room acoustic measurements, etc. with mics ranging from SM57 to Schoeps CMC62 and Bock Elux 251.
     
  9. kee7a

    kee7a Rando

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    I had a similar problem I was trying to solve, but I was trying to split it out of the DAC. I found that splitters out of my DAC did not work at all. I'm not sure what all it did to the sound, but it didn't sound good to me (I think it was a lot of rolloff and issues with the highs, but it's been a while). You might have better luck out of the freya though (not sure).

    I have a nobsound switcher on order and can let you know how that goes soon, but I'm really skeptical that the goldpoint provides 7x worth of value given the prices. That being said, I have not used either at this point.
     
  10. kee7a

    kee7a Rando

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    Do you know how the Sound Devices MixPre-3 compares with the Focusrite or Apollo offerings? Those offerings are all I seem to hear about from my music friends.

    As an aside, if its the sound devices I think it is, they are right down the road from me in WI :D
     
  11. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    Sound Devices is located in WI.

    MixPre-3 II is a location recording system. Add mics and headphone and appropriate cables and stands and you have a complete system. No external computer necessary though it can be connected to one and used as an audio interface. So in that respect, it isn't directly comparable to the Focusrite or Apollo.

    MixPre-3 II has no fan, makes no noise, uses standard Sony L series Li-on batteries. Completely portable.

    Here is a comparison of mic preamp residual noise performance I made a few years back.
    20191228-1310 cal 1KHz 100mV  mixpre-3ii 94dBSPL=-16dBFS - annotated.png
    Calibration procedure: with ACO 7020 mic inserted in B&K 4231 mic calibrator adjust gain on mic preamp / ADC such that 94 dBSPL at 1 KHz produces -16dBFS in DAW.

    Then replace 7020 mic with a 160R resistor and record residual noise floor.

    Red: Focusrite Scarlet 2i2
    Blue: True Systems P-Solo
    Green: Sound Devices MixPre-3 II

    Lower is better.
    MixPre-3 II is approximately 20 dB lower in residual noise above 125 Hz
    2i2 has maximum gain of 50 dB
    MixPre-3 II has maximum gain of 76 dB.

    It is easy to see why I have moved to using Sound Devices recorders for most of my recording and measurement needs.
     
  12. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    The current Focusrite pres are not good.

    The Apollo pres are mediocre and have a sound but are less annoying than the Focusrites.

    RME, Apogee, and Sound Devices pres tend to be a good deal better than both.
    Sound Devices are the standard location recorders.
     
  13. Yoshimitsu

    Yoshimitsu Rando

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    Can someone explain to me the difference between a music server, network streamer, and digital audio player? My head is about to explode
     
  14. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    By “digital audio player” I’m assuming you don’t mean an actual portable “DAP” (although it still may loosely fit into what I have below). Based on that assumption, many of these terms are used interchangeably in some cases, also in some cases, one type of product can also support the others.

    If you look at them as discreet options, they typically break down like this:
    • A music server has music files present on it. In other words, a hard drive that holds your music and “serves” it out, either from that device directly, or over the network.
    • A network streamer generally has no storage but can stream music from a server, either from a web streaming service (I.e tidal, Spotify, etc), or from a local network music server (as above). Sometimes these are also referred to as an “endpoint” or “renderer”. They would generally feed digital audio out to your DAC via USB, SPDIF, etc
    • A digital audio player is typically the same as a network streamer, but has a DAC built in, so it can do analog output directly to an amp.
    The trick is, there are many products that do 1, 2 or 3 of these functions. For example, the Bluesound Node is a network streamer (if you use the digital outs), or a player if you use the analog outs. Also I believe you can attach a hard drive of music files to it, so you may say it becomes a quasi server as well.

    Something like the Innous servers could actually act as all 3 - a server only supplying audio over the network to another device, a network streamer using its digital out (USB) or digital audio player via the analog outs.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 20, 2022
  15. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    “digital audio player” can mean different things if the words are interpreted literally. However, in consumer electronics and the audio community, the common usage of “digital audio player” (DAP) refers to portable music players such as iPod, Astell & Kern, (digital) Sony Walkman, etc.
     
  16. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    What are the latest recommendations for cheap Bluetooth IEMs or clips that have a good seal and are durable? I need a set for the gym when streaming Qobuz from my phone. Durability is probably more important than ultimate fidelity as long as the sound is decent. Preferred budget is <$100.
     
  17. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    I'm using the Nobsound 3-in/1-out to switch the other way around: 2 DACs to 1 amp. Works fine for me. Only negative was that it tied all the grounds of the SE RCA outputs of the DACs together, defeating the 1-to-1 switch I have for those. But this shouldn't be an issue switching from 1 DAC to 2 amps.

    I saw the Nobsound switcher being used by both Schiit and GoldenSound, so figured it likely wouldn't suck.
     
  18. Boops

    Boops Friend

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    Sound treatment help needed. I rent a co-working space with basic sheetrock over studs for walls. Sound-proofing between me and the offices on either side is mostly ok, but there is a bump-out in one of my walls near some windows where sound comes through much more easily than anywhere else. The bump-out goes from floor to ceiling, which is about 10-feet high. Ceiling is square textured panels with hollow space up above.

    If aesthetics are not a consideration, what would be the right approach for mitigating the sound leakage from my office to my neighbor and vice-versa? Sketch of floorplan is below for reference. Sound attenuation is good between me and the neighbor to the top of the sketch, but not good between me and the one to the bottom.

    Floorplan sketch:

    floorplan.jpg
     
  19. supertransformingdhruv

    supertransformingdhruv Almost "Made"

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    I picked the nobsound switcher up a few days ago. Simple passive switch, so no impact on sound (that I'm hearing). Good knob feel-- it really chunks into place when you switch. Only downside appears to be that there's a bit of sound leaking through between outputs, which isn't a problem if you turn off your headphone/speaker amps when not in use.
     
  20. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Is the excess sound coming exclusively from that bumpout area? or the entire bottom wall?

    Because my gut feeling is that the top wall has insulation but the bottom one doesn't.

    If you don't care about aesthetics, then quickest with minimal effort is to slap a couple sheets of foamboard insulation on that wall (airgap or little foam spacers though, not full contact on wall). More effort is maybe some *heavy* curtains, propped up with cheap pipes and fittings. Even more effort is build some panels.
     

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