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HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

Connecting Hauptwerk to MIDI organs, sequencers, ...
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NickNelson

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Re: HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

PostTue Jun 23, 2020 4:07 am

Dallastaylor wrote:XLR vs RCA


I wouldn't worry about this for the time being, it will depend on the audio interface connectors.

Dallastaylor wrote:I am in the dark and haven't been able to find a clear explanation of what role the audio interface actually plays.


The audio interface is what turns the digital audio data into analogue audio 'sound'.

Digital audio data is what's in the computer, HW and the organ sample sets. It's just a whole lot of numbers organised in a particular way.

Analogue audio sound is the sort that goes into headphones, amplifiers, speakers and so on. It is a varying voltage.

The audio interface is a mixture of software and hardware which turns the first sort of audio into the second sort.

Part of the confusion is that computers tend (perhaps always) to have some sort of audio interface built into them. The Mac built-in interface is quite well regarded, the Windows built in interfaces are usually thought to be barely adequate. This is why for 'serious' sound production, some sort of external 'professional' interface is recommended.

Most 'professional' audio interfaces also include the right hardware and software to convert analogue audio sound into digital audio data. This isn't usually of any relevance or use in HW setups, but does no harm other than the (generally modest) extra cost of the interface which irritates some people who, not unreasonably, object to having to pay for something they don't want or need.

'ASIO' is a software driver which allows the computer to 'talk' to the interface. It is superior to the ordinary drivers because it more closely controls certain aspects of the conversion (timing being one such aspect) than the default drivers provided by the standard operating system. This stricter control imposes some limitations compared to the basic drivers, but this is generally regarded as a worthwhile trade-off for serious audio production. ASIO4ALL is an example of this class of driver, there are others, 'professional' external audio interfaces usually come with their own ASIO drivers (I think).

'MIDI' is the protocol which allows musical hardware (keyboards and so on) to control the music produced by the computer. It is important to realise that the MIDI information is not of itself sound (either digital or analogue). It is simply a stream of information sent to the computer telling it what sorts of sound it is to generate, when, how long, how loud, and so on. In this regard MIDI is an entirely separate and different information stream from audio. Perhaps confusingly, MIDI functionality is often combined (in the sense of simply being in the same box) with the audio hardware in external interfaces. This is a convenience, but not strictly necessary. So long as there exists some way of getting the MIDI information from the musical hardware into the computer all will be well.

Nick
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micdev

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Re: HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

PostTue Jun 23, 2020 6:18 am

Hello Dallas,

The 4i4 is an excellent choice. Thru USB audio and midi information from/to the audio interface to the computer. Nick explained the role of the audio interface (thanks Nick); as you understand it, the 4i4 will be used (instead of the built-in "sound card"). You will get better sound, better performance (less latency). Your built-in "sound card" will still be usable but you will tell Hauptwerk to use 4i4.

You will use 2 x 1/4 mono balanced cable to XLR (ideally) to connect your 4i4 to you EAC. USB will connect your computer to the 4i4 and your console will be connected to the 4i4 MIDI in connector.

Hope this helps
Best regards
François

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Dallastaylor

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Re: HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

PostTue Jun 23, 2020 10:51 am

Oh my goodness - you have both answered all my questions so clearly. Thank you so much. I believe that I can now move on and buy the right device with some confidence that I won't be wasting my money. Does the audio interface send a "pre-amplified" analogue signal? I am not sure how important this is or whether it is a red herring. I have asked the Allen guy to tell me what the EAC box of tricks does and whether it will simply take what's fed to it and deal with it. Or should it be pre-processed in some way. Thanks again
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Re: HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

PostTue Jun 23, 2020 11:29 am

Hi,

The signal is not amplified; so you connect the 4i4 to the EAC using 2 cables (as I said ideally 1/4 mono balanced to XLR). If you decide to bypass the EAC and use external passive speakers, you will need an amplifier. If using active speakers (monitor type) then no amplifier needed since the active speakers as built-in amp.
Best regards
François

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Re: HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

PostTue Jun 23, 2020 2:03 pm

Thank Francois. Apparently there is a preamplifier on the interface card which they have put inside the organ cabinet which makes it possible to change the volume. The Allen guy has referred me to someone in the UK who operates a midi supply business who knows about all things Hauptwerk so I’ll ring him tomorrow. Thanks again
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Re: HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

PostTue Jun 30, 2020 4:18 am

Hi Francois. Since our last "conversation" I have been in touch with a HW specialist in the UK. To cut a long story short, I purchased the Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 and connected it to the Allen organ EAC device. And disappointingly the sound from the Allen organ external speakers is no better. I use a pair of the cables you recommended to connect the audio interface to the Allen EAC - mono jack to XLR. The first point of concern is that as I plug in these cables there is a quiet hum from the organ's speakers. I don't know what that means - but it doesn't sound right. Secondly the sound from the speakers. The headphones, which are now plugged into the audio interface, produce a great sound - clear, brilliant and loud. Whereas the Allen organ speakers produce a sound which is muddy, muffled and quiet. In fact, the audio interface seems to have had little (or no) impact on the quality of the sound. HW is now using the Focusrite ASIO drivers. It is starting to look as if the Allen devices are getting in the way. But if you have any further thoughts I would be most grateful. I have reached out again to the Allen organ guy as well as the HW specialist to see if they have any thoughts as well.
As always, my sincere thanks
Dallas
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Re: HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

PostTue Jun 30, 2020 6:04 am

Dallas,

Can you verify that the 1/4" plugs on your cables are TRS (tip, ring, sleeve), and are not TS (tip,sleeve).

If your cables are TS, your cables are not balanced and you will get hum and signal loss when connecting a balanced output (Focusrite) to a balanced input (EAC XLR inputs).
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Re: HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

PostTue Jun 30, 2020 6:26 am

Hi,

I have a few clients using the EAC with Focusrite and none complained about sound quality and using it was pretty straight forward once the internal reverb/acoustics disabled and the switches correctly

The only thing that I ca see wrong is that the EAC wasn't installed correctly. Check or have someone check the full installation (maybe something needs to be activated, switched in the console when installing an EAC?)

Good luck
Best regards
François

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http://www.HauptwerkConsultant.com

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Dallastaylor

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Re: HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

PostTue Jun 30, 2020 6:45 am

Thanks Francois. I will pass your message on the the Allen Organs guy. It is encouraging to hear that others are working ok. I'll let you know how it all ends up. :D
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Re: HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

PostTue Jun 30, 2020 8:09 am

Hi Randall. Thanks very much for your points. I think you may have unearthed something. I am a novice and blindly follow instructions. I asked for a mono balanced jack to XLR. However, what has been provided seems to be a TS-type jack. It is indeed mono but apparently not balanced. So I have ordered a pair of balanced cables - which have a stereo jack. https://www.gear4music.com/G4M/XLR-M-Ba ... ble-3m/8KZ Hopefully this will do the trick.
Thanks again
Dallas
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Re: HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

PostTue Jun 30, 2020 11:21 am

Dallas,

I just remembered one other thing from my past battles with hum. Hum and noise can be introduced by your laptop via its transformer. If you are still getting hum after you are using the correct cables, try temporarily unplugging your laptop transformer. If the hum goes away, you have confirmed your laptop's A/C connection. To fix, plug your transformer into a three pronged adapter and lift the ground by bending off the adapter's ground.
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Re: HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

PostTue Jun 30, 2020 1:45 pm

Thanks Randall. I'll certainly try that. Let's hope that the hum wont be a problem! i have bought so many now redundant cables I could set up a shop. :D
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Re: HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

PostSun Jul 05, 2020 2:43 am

An update....I have now connected the new balanced cables and the hum has gone away. The sound too is much better - clearer and, sharper and more natural. But I still have some way to go to make it all sound good in my room. I have done some reading through this forum and the various manuals and reference works available and it seems that there are quite a few variables to look at. In one manual I have read that you should turn the volume down - 10dB. But not seen that elsewhere. In the HW5 manual, there is an option of doing rank by rank adjustments on volume and other variables. The solution I am looking for will solve the problem of too much echo - and some of the notes seem to surge and die repetitively if I hold them down - particularly some of the lower register notes. HW certainly isn't "plug and play"! So if anyone has some suggestions on a simple way of making the organ sound good in a largish room filled with soft furniture, I would be most grateful. So far the info on this forum has been nothing short of amazing. Thank you all very much.
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Re: HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

PostSun Jul 05, 2020 7:32 am

This may be obvious, but if sound you hear through good quality headphones attached to your Focusrite does not match what you hear through your Allen's sound system, the problem is with Allen.

You may want to check with Allen's facebook group, or organforum.com which has an Allen section..
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Re: HW through Allen Organ EAC (Expanded Audio Capability)

PostFri Oct 30, 2020 9:57 am

Hi. Apologies for not replying earlier. The whole system has settled down perfectly. I have now got the hang of most things and managed to understand its idiosyncrasies. I still prefer listening with my headphones but if I connect the Allen amp and speakers up it plays perfectly. Thank you very much for your interest and help. There were some dark days when I wondered why i had done this. But having got used to it and following the tips on this site, I have come through the tunnel and now looking to expand the capabilities.
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