External volume control

Mr.Pixel

Limp Gawd
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Oct 30, 2010
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Anyone know a way to control speaker volume through an external device? I'd like it to work regardless of what OS I'm using and even if the processor is maxed out, so I think only a hardware-based solution is an option?

Will probably be getting a Klipsch 2.1 setup soon where the volume knobs are not conveniently reachable, so I need something else to control the volume. I think the audio path would be motherboard line out->volume controller->speakers? Is this the best way to handle this noise-wise and is it even possible using the line out?

Thanks!
 

SithSolo1

[H]ard|Gawd
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May 24, 2001
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Isn't the volume knob on one of the speakers?

I assume you are going to have them placed away from where you will be sitting.
 

magnetik

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media center remote works for me. (changing volume is the only thing I use it for) Or you could use a device like Griffin Powermate but they haven't been 100% reliable when I've used them. Both of these options change the volume +/- in Windows so you can leave the volume knobs on the monitors alone.
 

Mr.Pixel

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@SithSolo1
They'll be 3-4 feet away from me to make room for a larger display, and I don't want to have to keep reaching that far every few minutes.

@magnetik
I've found the windows volume controls often take several seconds or more to respond when the system is busy doing other stuff, and I often have the memory/CPU maxed out. Hence why I'm looking for a hardware solution that the OS will not slow down.

@lgthorn
The Axxess looks like it'll do what I want. Are there any side effects to using a device like this? What is the advantage of the more expensive option?
 

Igthorn

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Dec 29, 2002
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Audio purists would probably be against adding something like that to the audio chain. But I doubt most could hear a difference unless it was of really poor quality and added a ton of noise/had poor balance when attenuating each channel (i.e. one side gets affected less than the other). Using it between onboard sound and speakers probably wouldn't be noticable.

Note: I mainly use headphones for music/gaming and a reciever when I'm using my speakers, so I've never used one of these.

The advantage of the expensive one is to be snobby :p
I have doubts any difference would be audible. Of course the expensive one looks better and would visually match a pricy setup better, but I dunno about it being $100 better.
 

digginthis

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Mar 14, 2003
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More and more keyboards are multi media enabled these days. Mine works great for this feature. Does your keyboard have this option?
 

Mr.Pixel

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@lgthorn
Thanks! One more question: What's the difference between the speaker out and line out connections, and would the Axxess be compatible with them?

@digginthis
Nope. I have an old Dell keyboard with just the standard layout, but I love it because there's only a 3mm border around the keys. Using the keyboard buttons would be subject to the same OS delays anyway.
 

digginthis

n00b
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Mar 14, 2003
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I can apriciate the love of an old keyboard....like a trusted old friend. On mine though....there is no lag at all due to the OS or any thing else. Good luck in your search.
 

Igthorn

Limp Gawd
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Line out is unamped signal destined for an amp (like the one in powered speakers) or an analog recording device.
Speaker out is an amplified signal for non-powered desktop speakers or headphones.

I'm sure there are more technical differences like voltage and impedance, but what I said above is what most people will use them for.

Ideally you'll want to use line out to the amp, but I think in most cases you won't really notice a difference using either. If you set windows vol to max then use speaker out to powered speakers and max the vol on the speakers you'll end up amplifying the noise and distorions.

Either should work fine with the Axxess.
 

Mr.Pixel

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Oct 30, 2010
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@digginthis
Thanks. I'd trade it for a silent mechanical, but good luck finding that.

@lgthorn
Thanks for the info. I'll be ordering the parts soon.
 

magnetik

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yeah not sure where the "several second" delay is coming from.. I've pegged my cpu and hard disks and never had a delay in turning the volume up/down in windows. (or at least any that I've noticed)

How about using a simple headphone amp?
 

blood

Limp Gawd
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Jan 31, 2008
Messages
193
i ended up settling for keyboard shortcuts to adjust windows volume, but if i were going to buy a device it would be the SM Pro Audio Nano Patch.

The SM Pro Audio Nano Patch only has TRS and XLR jacks. So you would need a few adapters....
 

Mr.Pixel

Limp Gawd
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Oct 30, 2010
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138
Update: got the Klipsch 2.1s and the axxess and adapters to place it in line with a 3.5mm connection. The volume knob works great, and it doesn't seem to affect the quality of the signal at all.

On the downside the 2.1s have a very noticeable hiss at all volumes (even when unplugged from the audio input), so they'll probably be going back in the next day or so. Anyone know how to find nice speakers with no hissing?
 

SithSolo1

[H]ard|Gawd
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On the downside the 2.1s have a very noticeable hiss at all volumes (even when unplugged from the audio input), so they'll probably be going back in the next day or so. Anyone know how to find nice speakers with no hissing?

Might want to ask in a separate thread listed along with your budget, size constraints, powered or passive, and sub or no sub.
 
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