How To Use It

 

Computer Connected to PC Speakers or Headphones

Many users will first install Stereo Workstation Software on their home computers. This usually consists of a desktop computer with internal CD player or Hard Disk as the input Music source and a pair of small stereo speakers or headphones for the output. Even a laptop computer with headphones can be used as your first Stereo Workstation Computer. You can also connect your MP3 Player to your desktop or laptop computer and use it as the Music source. Stereo Workstation Software installed with these configurations will let you create much better Sonic Performance for all your Music. However, the best Sonic Performance that you can achieve will be limited to the performance of your desktop speakers or to your headphones.

Computer Connected To Home Stereo System

If you can locate your home computer near your stereo system, or if you have a spare computer that can be used as a dedicated Stereo Workstation Computer, then you too can experience the benefits of a Stereo Workstation in a big system environment. The main difference is that now you are driving your big Stereo System instead of your small desktop system or headphones. You can even drive your big Stereo System with a Laptop computer. If you already have a multimedia computer driving your home entertainment system then installing Stereo Workstation Software will allow you to improve the Sonic Performance of your stereo source material in a big way.

Specific connections from your Stereo Workstation Computer to your Stereo System cannot be shown because there is too much variability in Computer Audio output configurations and Stereo Amplifier input configurations. If your Computer has an Audio Board installed then you should connect Audio inputs and Audio outputs as indicated in the Audio Board manual. You may have Analog as well as Digital (S/PDIF) inputs and outputs.

If you do not have an Audio Board installed then as a general rule the Computer Analog output will be a single 1/8 inch stereo mini-jack (usually the green one) and the Stereo Amplifier input will be separate left and a right RCA jacks. You will therefore need an adapter cable with a 1/8 inch stereo mini-plug on the Computer side and two male RCA connectors on the Stereo Amplifier side. This configuration of adapter cable is available at Radio Shack and at computer stores like CompUSA.

You might be able to connect a Stereo Workstation computer using the Tape Loop or External Processing Loop connections of your amplifier. These Loop connections can be used with Tube and Turntable based systems to improve the Sonic Performance of these systems.

The following abstract views show suggested placements of components for several possible configurations.


Desktop Computer To Stereo System (8 Feet or Less)



This configuration works good when the listening position is located 8 feet or less from your equipment rack. This shows the user with a Graphics Tablet device instead of a Mouse. A Graphics Tablet enables better drawing capability when creating Graphic Equalization curves. The Graphics Tablet can be wireless or hardwired (usually using USB port). A Mouse can of course still be used but a Graphics Tablet upgrade is recommended for best results. Note that the Graphics Tablet or Mouse cable must be extended to reach your normal listening position.

The Stereo Workstation display screens are designed with large plain text graphics that are easy to see from a distance. This configuration shows the Monitor located back near the Computer. This will usually work up to a distance of 8 feet for a 15" Monitor. For larger Monitors you will be able to see the Graphics from more distant listening locations. Also, you might be able to use your big screen TV (if it has a computer video input) instead of a Monitor.

The Computer must be located near your equipment rack because the Computer audio outputs must connect to your preamp or amplifier. We recommend locating the Computer on the floor to one side of your equipment rack with at least one foot of clearance to the back wall. The Computer should never be located in a totally enclosed cabinet.  Without proper air flow the heat dissipation capabilities of the Computer might be impacted.

This configuration has been tested over a period of years during actual use and was found to be the best ergonomic placement, but depending on your custom requirements other arrangements are acceptable. For example, if your equipment rack is located on a side wall then the Computer will also be located off to that side.


Desktop Computer To Stereo System (More Than 8 Feet)



The Monitor should be located on the floor 8 feet or less directly in front of your usual listening position and a Keyboard Tray can be used as a base for the Monitor and as a convenient place to park the Graphics Tablet when not in use. Cable runs must be made from the Computer to the Monitor, Graphics Tablet (if it is a wired type), and Keyboard. These cables can all be hidden and protected by a Cable Cover. Note that the Monitor and Keyboard cables must be extended to reach the Keyboard Tray and the Graphics Tablet or Mouse cable must be extended to reach your normal listening position.


Laptop or Tablet Computer To Stereo System



It is also conceivable to connect long audio cables from a Desktop, Laptop, or Tablet computer (located at your listening position) directly to your amplifier (located across the room). This might be a good quick first try at a Stereo Workstation system configuration. The Laptop computer would not have to be a dedicated computer because it will be easy to connect and disconnect.


Base and Mobile Computer To Stereo System



Stereo Workstation Software can be configured to operate in a Dual Computer mode with a Base computer and a Mobile computer as shown in the Figure above. Ideally the Base computer is a desktop computer located near your Equipment Rack and the Mobile computer is a Tablet PC type computer with wireless capability that is located at your listening position. The Base computer connects to the Mobile computer through a Network Router. The Base computer is usually hardwired to the Router and the Mobile computer usually has a wireless connection to the Router. Note that the Network Router can be built into the Base Computer.

A Tablet PC is a laptop computer that has on screen graphics drawing capability that uses a special electronic pen. The Stereo Workstation display screens are presented on the Mobile computer and the electronic pen is used to click buttons and draw Graphs directly on screen. Of course any normal Laptop computer, that can be connected to the network, could be used as the Mobile computer.

With this type of configuration there is no need to run cables as in the previous discussions. The Mobile computer can be located as far away as your Wireless network will allow. This means for example that you can control your Stereo System that is inside your house from outside on your screen porch. You will even be able to play CD Discs from your Mobile computer that will be transmitted to your Base computer and drive your Stereo System.

Note that the Base computer and Mobile computer can actually be any type of PC based computer that can connect to the network. The Base computer can even be a laptop computer and the Mobile computer can even be a desktop computer (not very mobile however). Both computers can be desktop computers, or both computers can be laptop computers. Also the Base Computer can be connected to the Mobile computer directly with a Crossover Cable which will eliminate the need for the Router.

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