Multi USB Audio Interface

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by Matt Stephens - AV, Apr 2, 2024.

  1. Matt Stephens - AV

    Matt Stephens - AV Newbie

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    Hello my fellow audio lovers,

    I have a conundrum for you all.

    I regularly engineer conferences and have mulitiple laptops on the go,
    1. Powerpoint Master
    2. Powerpoint Backup
    3. VT Master
    4. VT Backup
    5. Background/Breaktime Music

    As you can all appreciate this means I have 5x UMC202HD's stacked up which is a pain

    What I wish to pick your brains with is this;

    Is there a audio mixer on the market that can accept multiple USB inputs?

    or

    A multi USB audio interface with multi outputs?

    I have attached drawings of my current and both ideal setups so you can see what i am trying to acheive.

    Yours in the AV world
    Matt
     
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  3. Garamondo Furbish

    Garamondo Furbish Audiosexual

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    why do you need usb for output, why not just use the native 3.5mm audio jacks on the laptops into a mixer?
     
  4. Matt Stephens - AV

    Matt Stephens - AV Newbie

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    I prefer USB over 3.5mm Jack as I get less audio noise interference from the laptop power supplies if I USB
     
  5. sisyphus

    sisyphus Audiosexual

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    No, that's not gonna work, as there will be a clocking nightmare.... even Apple's aggregate device has issues that race to the bottom with multiple interfaces/usb I/O etc..

    I just took a quick look, but in all reality I would imagine running the analog outputs of the 5 devices into one mixer or interface, or having one as the 'master' with the rest going analog in, and going that route.

    Multiple USB Audio interfaces freewheeling with their own sense of timing and all wanting to be in control is not going to work...

    I would try and keep it simple.

    I don't know what outputs your laptops have, and what the demands are, but honestly I would just take the 5 audio outputs into one mixer and have that work...

    (and you can get shielded audio cables which will help, as certainly Behringer usb interference has it's own set of greater issues imho...)

    But right now, if you already have the interfaces, I would just run their analog outs to a central point and attenuate what you have to... if they had light pipe or something, there could be something else... but I wouldn't overthink it with what you have...
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2024
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  6. Garamondo Furbish

    Garamondo Furbish Audiosexual

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    use shielded cables,
    and perhaps clean your 3.5mm port with canned air to make sure you have a clean metal to metal contact.
    keep it simple...

    if you are getting rf from your power supplies try sheilding them with aluminum foil.

    however you may not have RF interference, you may be experiencing ground loop related hum. try putting all your power supplies on one power strip and plugging that into your power socket, so they all share the same ground. worst case get a small isolation transformer. it will be a little heavy (iron core on transformer) but it will get rid of the noise.

    if you're power supply are vented for air flow, the aluminum foil won't be a long term fix, just a quick test.
    but most modern power supplies aren't vented unless they pull a metric shit ton of current, so the aluminum foil will merely act as a heat sink/radiator to help cool the power supplies. keep this in mind, if you cover a vented power supply it will eventually blow a fuse or worse. you can visually identify if it has vents or not.
     
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  7. Hans242

    Hans242 Producer

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    For a pro environment you should consider a Dante network.
    And then integrate all 5 laptops via USB into one Dante network.
    That would be the royal road.
    You would need 5 of these here:
    https://www.thomann.de/de/dante_avio_usb_io_adapter_2x2.htm
    But you need to learn how to set this up and you need a Dante enabled mixer.
    I guess this would be the most professional way.
     
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  8. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    you don't even need all 5 running audio simultaneously. 2 of the laptops are backups? Does break time music require it's own computer?

    I bet you could do this with 2 of the laptops audio ever being used at one time. I think you are overcomplicating it.
     
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  9. Garamondo Furbish

    Garamondo Furbish Audiosexual

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    breaktime music from mp3 player, ipod touch or other device...
     
  10. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    oh, like if he can't put the media files on one of the computers? that would work, or even just a pendrive. extra computers and interfaces are unnecessary redundancy. Showing up with 5 computers and 5 audio interfaces does not look professional. It looks like they hired the high school AV department TA.
     
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  11. Garamondo Furbish

    Garamondo Furbish Audiosexual

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    its good to have a simple audio source you can run if you have to reboot your computers or if you have software issues, ipods are idiot proof, so even if you are flustered cause shit is falling apart on stage, you can still just press play and people will be soothed by some mad beats and you can take your time dragging your ass out of the fire and get it right and go on with the show...
     
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  12. sisyphus

    sisyphus Audiosexual

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    All the guy needs is 2 machines and one interface apiece from what I read, and the 2nd one is acting as a BACKUP ready to go.

    Shit goes wrong, switch over seamlessly to the B rig...

    That's how I do things with my stuff even if different from what the gentleman is doing....
     
  13. tzzsmk

    tzzsmk Audiosexual

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    Dante or Ravenna (or any other decent recent AoIP tech) would be your best bet, won't be cheap though, you'll need router with DHCP reservations (for reliable operation) and bit of IT networking knowledge,
    if you need functional internet simultaneously, you'd better avoid DVS (Dante virtual soundcard), versatile choice would be something like 5x RME Digiface Dante because it also serves as a mixer and can be controlled via tablet from network computer is connected to,
    also be aware those aforementioned protocols cannot receive multiple streams within a receiving channel, and also at certain scale whole audio network needs to be reconfigured from unicast to multicast


    ps: 5 laptops are overly complex setup and waste of money, just sayin'
    :chilling:
     
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  14. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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  15. Garamondo Furbish

    Garamondo Furbish Audiosexual

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    he doesn't need an interface he needs a mixer.
     
  16. tzzsmk

    tzzsmk Audiosexual

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    btw there's nothing fundamentally wrong with using audio interface with each device, all then wired to a physical mixer,
    there are few USB DI boxes if you want something reliable and "driver-less" (handy for guest computers for sure), I think Palmer is no longer available, but Radial still is:
    https://www.radialeng.com/product/usb-pro
     
  17. sisyphus

    sisyphus Audiosexual

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    He's already got the interfaces, so I was suggesting how to make it work with what he has already. But yeah, a simple mixer would help.
     
  18. Garamondo Furbish

    Garamondo Furbish Audiosexual

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    less points of failure makes for a more robust setup. the more stuff you pile in there, the more things that can break or get unplugged or get miscabled, etc.
    what is the VT app? is that VideoToaster?
     
  19. Matt Stephens - AV

    Matt Stephens - AV Newbie

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    thanks for all your input however reply #4 answered my question, thanks for the input all
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2024
  20. sisyphus

    sisyphus Audiosexual

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    Tip: as a newcomer, and how you presented your question, I'd suggest being a little more grateful to the people that chipped in to help suggest what might work best for you. We don't know your "signed agreements" and what spec they require etc, and you didn't put that in your OP. As a matter of fact, you said: "As you can all appreciate this means I have 5x UMC202HD's stacked up which is a pain".

    No, we COULDN'T understand why it means you have to have 5 of all that, as your layout provided was overkill on what you said you were running etc.

    People here were just trying to help out, and your response, and having the condescending nature of giving "us" a "tip" comes off like a bit of dick.
     
  21. Matt Stephens - AV

    Matt Stephens - AV Newbie

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    fair play and agreed i am new here and i appreiciate the help bringing my old systems upto date i have been in the AV industry over 20years so looking to always improve the systems, plus long night shift hours doing my second job as a ambulance driver plus working hard to re-ignite my buisness from covid and a 2 month old in the home means i am constantly tired, i have corrected my statement and apologies to all those I offended.

    tip to self: think before you type lolz
     
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