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sync issue with two amps & one sound card...

Greetings. I am trying solve a sync issue I'm experiencing when I use two amps connected to one PC. I sometimes use these systems separately, and sometimes I use them together (they are in adjoining rooms that open up into each other). Here's the setup:

Windows 10 PC with Xonar Essence STX sound card, with Y splitter. One output from splitter goes to System 1, the other to System 2 (described below):

System 1:
--Onkyo 7.1 channel preamp
--Outlaw 7700 amp
--Musical Fidelity V-DAC MKII
--7 speakers, 1 subwoofer (typically played/used in 7 channel stereo)

System 2:
--Peachtree Decco65 integrated amp
--2 speakers

Also note: System 2 is located approx 3 feet from the sound card, whereas System 1 is located about 50 feet from the soundcard. Despite this distance disparity, my assumption is that the annoying delay I'm hearing in System 1 is caused by a slightly slower DAC/processor (Music Fidelity) than the Peachtree DAC. 

So here's the question:  are there software or hardware products that will enable me to sync up these two systems, maybe by introducing some delay in the Peachtree amp?

Your ideas/expertise are very much appreciated--

Re: sync issue with two amps & one sound card...

Reply #1
Quote
Windows 10 PC with Xonar Essence STX sound card, with Y splitter. One output from splitter goes to System 1, the other to System 2 (described below):
That's a digital connection?

It's not the distance from the soundcard...  Electrical signals travel at (almost) the speed of light.

But it could be the distance between the speakers and your ears.   Sound travels about 1000 feet per second, so 50 feet is about 50ms (1/20th of a second) and that's usually an audible delay.

Otherwise it could be the digital processing but it's not processor speed.   It would be buffering.   (A buffer is a small amount of memory that acts like a storage tank.)    If you have a digital connection there may be some buffering in the digital receivers and any DSP (digital signal processing) usually uses some buffering.   You don't generally need a lot of buffering with dedicated hardware but it could vary from device-to-device.

The buffer would be built-into the hardware so it's not something you can change.

Computers need a lot more buffering because of the multitasking operating system....  It's always multitasking even if you're running one application and the audio processing gets interrupted and you need buffers to keep the audio flowing in-and-out smoothly.    In this case, a faster processor does allow you to use a smaller buffer (for lower latency) but it's not because the audio processing is faster, it's mainly because the 'other stuff' gets done faster and it can get-back to audio processing sooner.


Re: sync issue with two amps & one sound card...

Reply #2
I'm assuming the Onkyo is an AVR? Which model? You could always have a single connection to the Onkyo and use one of it's zones to output to the second amp? This would make sure they're in sync. If you're using a splitter then there's no issue with the Xonar, it'll be the processing in the first setup. If it's an AVR you can normally alter delay etc anyways.

 

Re: sync issue with two amps & one sound card...

Reply #3
Both DVDdoug and probedb mentioned it already: It probably is the DSP chip (or some decoder chip) in the amp that has a buffer that causes the additional latency.

As a simple example, an old Sony TV I have has an analog input to connect the monitor and analog audio out from a PC. When I use it, I have a measured audio latency of around 50ms.

Generally, these latencies cannot be configured from the hardware, and you need some software that can compensate the latency.
Given that you use a single soundcard and a cable splitter, you cannot have different latencies there, so your setup, as it is, is difficult to fix.

But at least you might have identified the cause, given our explanations.

 
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