So how bad are 10ft long 3.5mm patch cables (7.1 analog) and how to minimize induction noise?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by DoubleTap, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    In the latest chapter of my ongoing saga of weird audio issues that are (probably) mostly my own damn fault, my 3rd refurb receiver will be here tomorrow.

    The Integra DTR40.2 is one of those rare models with 7.1 Analog inputs.

    I have been using HDMI but I'm just sick of the issues. This receiver was initially better but really, it just has different quirks that, to be fair, could be caused by my monitors.

    Ongoing Issues related to HDMI audio and the requisite "accessory" display:

    1. The Dell S2417DG monitors refuse to remain "disabled" in the audio section.
    I have 3 of them hooked up in NV Surround and all of them are disabled as audio devices but if the system goes to sleep or resets or reboots, or experiences a quirk, then one of those screens gets re-enabled and set to the default audio device. (I think this is a Dell issue and will persist regardless of my audio config.)

    2. I keep having windows randomly snap to my "ghost" 1080P accessory display that is required for HDMI audio. I can mostly use the Windows UI to move things back, but it's super annoying (the NV Array is always the default monitor)

    3. Some windows (mostly Guild Wars 2 and Firefox) keep resizing to 1080P windowed size (on a 1440P monitor) and sometimes get stuck and don't want to get bigger.

    My plan is:

    1. Run Optical to my receiver for stereo / music (maybe a nice DAC later)
    2. Run 3.5mm-RCA patch cords from my PC to my receiver for gaming in 7.1 surround

    QUESTION:

    How big a deal is it to run longer patch cables like that? Onboard sound fidelity is probably passable for gaming, but I could get a USB Xonar U7 MkII and run a long USB cable to place it close to the receiver and use shorter 1-3ft patch cables.

    Or I could get a nicer internal sound card but then I'm back to running 3x 10ft patch cables and I'm not sure if that would defeat the purpose of a better sound card.
     
  2. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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  3. Krixon

    Krixon Limp Gawd

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    You should be fine. Like B00nie above said, just buy a better cable (larger gauge with reliable connectors and a thicker shield).

    As far as the ground loop issue goes, if it does happen (depends on the circuits available to you) you can either get a cheap DI box for each connection (which would add up considering the number of connections you'd be making) or get a decent power conditioner from Furman (the PST-6 is a good choice) to plug your amp and computer in to.
     
  4. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    I get the benefit of twisted pair, but I need 3.5mm to RCA so if I run cables like those ($40) and get 4 adapters ($20-40) I'm looking at an easy $70+ in cables. I was unable to find twisted pair with 3.5mm

    That's approaching the price of an Asus Xonar U7 which I could sit next to my receiver (15ft USB run) and run short cables (which I have).

    That doesn't invalidate your point, but the cost gets run up to the point where it no longer is the best solution as the U7 on short cables surely has better audio than onboard sound on long cables.

    This is what I'm considering (I need more like 15ft to not run cables over the desk) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01D5H8LDM
     
  5. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    That may well be enough for you. It all depends how many noise sources you have in your signal path.
     
  6. djoye

    djoye 2[H]4U

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    I've run four 6-foot 3.5 mm -> RCA cables from my X-Fi to my receiver and heard no noise (and I turn it up loud), these are inexpensive monoprice cables.

    https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=665

    Monoprice must screen the stuff they sell, because I've not had any issues with what I've bought from them and I don't buy expensive cables; also bought their car cigarette lighter USB (4.8A/2) charger that has been awesome and am waiting to receive a replacement wall adapter for my phone charger.
     
  7. Luke M

    Luke M Limp Gawd

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    I don't think you'll have a hum problem, provided that the AVR uses a 2 pin power plug (like all the ones I've seen do) and you're not connecting any HDMI cables to the AVR.
     
  8. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    The RCA ground will bring the hum to the AVR just like the HDMI if it's going to happen. I'd try first with a single cheap cable and then try upgrading to double shielded / twisted pair if problems arise.
     
  9. HammerSandwich

    HammerSandwich Gawd

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    Monoprice 5600 is shielded (coax) for $5 at 15'. Might be worth a shot.
     
  10. WhoBeDaPlaya

    WhoBeDaPlaya 2[H]4U

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    The Denon AH-D600s comes with a 10ft OFC cable.
    Never had an issue with it picking up noise, both at the office and at home (both driven by Onkyo SR606s)

    [​IMG]
     
  11. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    My friend ran a 20ft 'black rubber' cable to his subwoofer and got a bad hum. He tried replacing it with a better quality cable and against his expectations the hum was cured.

    If a cable has small enough gauge grounding line it may cure the hum.
     
  12. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'm in a holding pattern right now - back to using HDMI for surround. No hum and I've never had a hum issue.

    I would prefer not to have to switch devices on a regular basis (because I'm likely to forget) so while using optical for stereo and onboard analog for surround would work, I don't love it.

    If HDMI continues to be an issue, I'll get the Asus Xonar U7 USB - it seems like it has decent DACs and I could use it full time and not have to change things around - I could also use really short cables.

    I am surprised that none of these little D class amp companies have got around to making a 5 or 7 channel amplifier with a sub out. Apart from the amplifier stage, I don't need 90% of the functionality of my receiver.
     
  13. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    You could always get something like this: https://www.minidsp.com/products/plate-amplifiers/pwr-16
     
  14. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    They have some interesting products but I can't justify spending $1100 on just an amp for a home office.

    Reducing complexity is good, but not at 4x the price
     
  15. ashmelev75

    ashmelev75 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I've found a solution for my HDMI audio issues. Plug-and-Play is the cause of this mess and the only way to prevent it is to have HDMI device that does not disconnect or turns off. That is an HDMI emulator plug - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EK05WTY/
    Instead of connecting PC-- hdmi --> Receiver -- hdmi --> Monitor, use PC-- hdmi --> Receiver -- hdmi --> plug + PC -- hdmi --> Monitor.
     
  16. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    I use the Geffen HDMI Detective+ so the PC always thinks it's attached to a "Geffen" HDMI device no matter what is happening with the receiver.

    One of the issues I have is that my NV Surround array will "break" and I have to reconfigure it. It's a muli-step process and then I have to add the 4th monitor (the receiver) and then add back digital audio, then set it to 7.1, then make it default, then configure my PC line in (which is a bluetooth receiver) to play out to it, etc.

    The other issue has not happened for a while, but windows would start opening in the 4th screen (which has no monitor) and it's a pain to get them back into the surround display.

    Just when I was getting comfortable with HDMI again, the surround broke today and reminded me what a house of cards this whole thing is.
     
  17. ashmelev75

    ashmelev75 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Gee.. that's one expensive device.

    For Windows opening 4th invisible monitor, try setting it to duplicate one of the other monitors ( https://i.imgur.com/lMfgBJH.png )
     
  18. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    The HDMI Detective+ was only about $77 when I bought it in 2014. Without it, I would have to reconfigure HDMI audio every time I switched inputs on the receiver or even just turned it off.

    NV Surround binds 3 monitors into a single, super wide virtual monitor so that's unfortunately not an option.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  19. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    I ordered 4 of these cables - I'm going to try running all analog for a while and see how I like it as far as noise goes. I wonder how the onboard audio DAC compares to a 5 year old receiver....

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00V440S3K/
     
  20. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    Cables work great but direct input is really inflexible. Music goes to L/R but not to the sub. No dsp modes at all, works great in games but not otherwise.
     
  21. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    I don't have a center channel speaker - in HDMI 7.1, my receiver just plays the center channel over my L/R speakers - no problem.

    When using direct input 7.1, not having a center channel means you don't hear the center channel.

    I just settled in to play some Fallout 4 and found there is no dialog. It all goes to my non existent center channel.

    I'm going to try the quadrophonic speaker setup and see how it goes.

    Edit: Quadrophonic works well. No missing dialog and surround effect seems as good as, if not better than the 6 channels I was using.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
  22. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    You have to set your 7.1 center channel to 'phantom' mode to play the center through the main speakers.
     
  23. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    Right. That works when I use hdmi, the receiver can process the sound in the digital realm. When I use analog, all those options go away and it's simply "input to output"

    Even if I add a center channel which would fix gaming, this mode will not use the LFE unless it comes from the Sub channel.

    Thinking of selling the receiver and getting a 2.1 + 2.0 amp and running quadrophonic.

    Removing the center in windows supposedly just mutes it but I need to test it to make sure.

    Edit: If you configure your Windows 7.1 speakers without the center, it will play the dialog through the L/R speakers.

    Edit 2: If I run my L/R to the high power inputs on the sub, it should solve the LFE issue in 7.1 mode.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
  24. HammerSandwich

    HammerSandwich Gawd

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    You also could control everything on the PC with something such as Equalizer APO. Phantom center is (all channels) Gain=-6dB, L=L+0.5R, R=R+0.5L.
     
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  25. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    I would consider it but I it says:

    - The application must not bypass the system effect infrastructure
    (APIs like ASIO or WASAPI exclusive mode can not be used)


    I'm not sure what I would get out of it or if that limitation would affect my usage or not.
    I think once I connect the sub in-line with the L/R speakers I'll have everything working properly.

    Ah hell, I just installed it.
     
  26. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    ASIO and WASAPI are used when a specially low delay is needed for music production usually.
     
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  27. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    The sound quality on analog is surprisingly good.

    I was able to get Eq APO working and mix the bass from the main L/R channels to the sub channel so I have play music in 2.1 (the receiver does not do that in this mode).

    HDMI is a lot more flexible on the audio side, but much more of a hassle on the config side. I think I'm going to keep this for a while.