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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:07 pm
Posts: 9
Hi Y'all,

I'm finally, now in the process of moving the PC downstairs to my living room/home theater, making the cables and figuring out how to hook everything together. Fortunately (or not, depending on your point of view) I no longer have a "better half" at home to dictate the interior decoration of "her" living room and the college kid just thinks it's cool...as long as he can get to his PS3.:lol: Gotta create a clean "new" account under WinXP that will be for Surround Sound only with nothing else loaded at startup. I want to have all the power of the processor available for SPEC and Plogue. Right now I've got 3 Gigs of ram and am thinking that I'll install a couple more, up to 8 if I can afford it and the slots are available.

I think I've located a pristine DTS 610 that a guy is willing to sell for $25, which will make my monitoring and specifically bass management, a lot less complicated. I'll just let the receiver handle it since I'll be feeding it a DTS bitstream.

Finally, a few quick questions..spam reading through a bunch of posts in the forum, and because I use a Mac in my day-to-day work (but not planning to for upmixes), I saw a post from 2010 by Zeerround from back in 2010 regarding ripping and creating .cue sheets on a Mac using XLD. This is actually something that I may do since the Mac is otherwise available. With the latest version of XLD, its a very easy process and I would just rip to an external drive. My questions are this, in the sequence of instructions that Zeerround gives for the XLD ripping process, he mentions that he .FLAC encodes the ripped .WAV file. Why do we want to do this? Will SPEC sill accurately upmix a compressed audio file, even if it's "lossless" from FLAC? What about monitoring? Does the FLAC have to be decoded somewhere in the process for accurate monitoring? And finally, since I will be using a PC and not a Mac, do I even need to worry about using FLAC at all? It seems to me that the advantages of size and time constraints that any type of compression, FLAC or otherwise, are not really an issue with the large external drives we typically use these days and since we (most likely) aren't working under any deadlines.

Thanks again guys (and/or gals) for your patience with a noobie. Hope to get started soon. Now I've just got to figure out what a good CD will be to start with! :?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:16 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:01 am
Posts: 656
Quick response between flights. We're using the 32 bit version of plogue so more ram wont help for now ( but something that uses threads is in the works).

Flac just saves disc space. Doesn't affect quality.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:24 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:07 pm
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jaysound55 wrote:
I think I've located a pristine DTS 610 that a guy is willing to sell for $25, which will make my monitoring and specifically bass management, a lot less complicated. I'll just let the receiver handle it since I'll be feeding it a DTS bitstream.

Well, its been a little over 3 weeks since my last post and I finally got the PC moved downstairs into my home theater. Got the video hooked up to my HDTV via HDMI and was able to get the above-mentioned, never used DTS-610 for $30 including shipping, from a fellow in Texas who originally bought it thinking it was a DTS de-coder and has kept it in the box for about 5 or 6 years. He ran a classified on his local equivalent of Craigslist about a year ago and never got any inquiries. Believe it or not, Google found (or had cached) it and I was able to contact him and spam it!. I just got it in the other day and it is like new. It also turns out that my sound card has 5.1 spam outputs to feed the DTS-610 so I won't need the FireWire digital I/O I thought I was going to have to use. In reading some of the other posts on this forum, it looks like I need ASIO4ALL too. This appears to be a software interface between the output of SPEC/Plogue and the input to the PC sound card. Is this correct? Otherwise, I think I'm basically good to go!

I've just downloaded the latest version of SPEC but I want to confirm the correct version of Plogue Bidule that I should use. Plogue has 3 current versions of Bidule listed for download:
    1) Standalone (version 0.9724)
    2) VST 2.4 (version 0.9724)
    3) Standalone discrete processing test version (version 0.9724)
Is it the #1 Standalone version that I need to work with SPEC?

As I had mentioned in an earlier post, I use a Mac and ProTools in my work, but unfortunately it isn't practical to move my sound edit bay to my home theater/living room. that's why I'm using the PC. I'm not too familiar with the audio signal flow in a WinXP machine, but I'm hopeful your tutorials will walk me thru it okay. Hopefully I'll get thru the tutorials and do my first conversion in the next few days.

Are there any other specific plugins or software apps that you recommend I should acquire? Fortunately I have a DTS encoding plugin for ProTools which I'll use for my final output files so I think I'm basically set.

Any other comments or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks for everybody's help and comments so far...I'm really excited to get going with this project! :D


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:19 pm 
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Jay,

Glad you are making progress.

RE: asio4all, if you are happy with the multi-channel spam out driver you have, then you don't need anything else.

Asio4all would possibly be part of a "Spec on the fly" method, to let you do casual listening of stereo sources through SPEC. Think of it as "soundflower" or a "composite device" for windows.

Also might be a solution if you're getting glitching or some other problem with your sound card driver, but as I said, if that is working fine then don't fix it! ASIO on windows is used to bypass all the crappy windoze audio software, so it insures that other applications won't interrupt your audio, that you have "bit perfect" audio between the application and your sound card, and (which we don't care about for conversions) you have low latency.

If you sound card has an ASIO driver you can choose that inside plogue and see if you like it any better than other the other options. If your card dosen't have an ASIO driver, ASIO4ALL gives you a way to take advantage of ASIO anyway.

Re: Plogue; you always want the standalone 32bit version EVEN IF YOU HAVE A 64bit OS. That's important because the VSTs and plugins that are part of the SPEC layout are 32 bits. If you use the 64 bit version, you get a bunch of red boxes, instead of working bidules.

The Spec installer should tell you that, if you don't have a Plogue version as high or higher than it requires.

The other thing you need is the "Standalone discrete processing test version". That is just the "p2" plogue exicutable so you get that AFTER you have installed the regualr 32 bit standalone version. You uncompress it and just put the exe file in your Plogue\Bidule\ folder.

The Spec Installer will do that for you (and make a P2 shortcut on your desktop), but ONLY if you don't already have a P2 exe file in your Plogue\Bidule\ folder.

Hope all that is clear.

Other (free) stuff you may want:

AudioMuxer from this site; swiss army knife for getting audio onto DVDs, AVCHD, BluRay, etc.

Foobar2000, for audio conversion, making cue files, and playing back all formats of audio, including dts encoded.

imgburn; for burning discs

Exact Audo Copy; for ripping discs

As far as VSTs, nothing really, unless you want some different/better mastering/compressor/limiter tools than what we have built in the SPEC layouts (best of what's free). FYI many folks have found that "less is more" and just use the limiters, but most people do start out adding a lot of processing in their conversions. Of course it's source dependent too.

Being a pro tools user, I'd love to hear what plugins you prefer for that platform. I'm currently lusting after the UAD-2 stuff (I drive by Universal Audio every day), but as I will be working almost exclusively in 5.1, I'm gun shy to plunk down a couple grand to find out if I like it or not.

By the way, using SPEC to upmix a stereo stem (say drums mixed to stereo) is a usefull tool for working in 5.1 in Protools. Can be done on the fly with rewire and or the AU version, but I usually do it off line.


Cheers,
Z


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:20 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:07 pm
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Thanks for the info re ASIO4ALL and the "Standalone discrete processing..." version of Plogue which I understand is used in addition to the basic standalone vers. I will D/L AudioMuxer and Foobar2000 as you recommend. I've used NERO for years for CD & DVD burning. Are there any advantages to using imgburn? I've also used EAC for ripping CDs for many years so I've already got that one.

I am a dialogue editor for episodic television (on a new series called "Revolution" this fall on NBC) so I use a relatively small set of 3rd party plugins in ProTools. Primarily Sonic for de-clicking and de-crackle, iZotope spam for broadband and hum reduction as well as fixing clipped waveforms which has saved a number of takes, SoundSoap on occasion and finally, VocAlign Pro for tightening up lip-sync for ADR and alternate takes. I'll also occasionally use a WAVES limiter (can't remember the specific one) because it's so clean. For general time compression/expansion, I use the TCE plugin included and installed with PT because it is amazingly clean and effective with almost no digital artifacts. For most of my purposes the included ProTools EQ plugins as well as several of the others, e.g. invert, reverse, gain, DC restoration etc., do everything I need. I try not to change the original audio too much...that's best left to the mixers on the dub stage. ;)


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