ADICON Support Forum Applied Digital, Inc.
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#12425 - 02/10/06 03:11 PM Speak Easy Background Noise
Kirby Howell Offline
junior


Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 39
Loc: Atlanta, GA
I just received my Speak Easy and I'm trying to record some wav file messages to it. There is not any background noise when I use the built in mic, but when I use the Audio In input there is quite a bit of noise in the background. I am using the 12VAC power supply that came with the unit.
I have set it up the way various threads suggest. I have a stereo Y cable plugged into the sound card. I have my PC speakers and a six foot stereo cable plugged into the Y cable. Additional PC speakers are plugged into the Speak Easy to hear the playback.
I'm using WMP to play the Wav files.
When I change the jumper to use the line input I get unacceptably high background noise. I have even tried recording without the line in or the monitor out cables plugged in and I still get the background noise.
Any help would be appreciated. I could use the mic if all else fails, but the recordings should be much better with the line in.

Thanks,
Kirby

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#12426 - 02/10/06 05:03 PM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
Guy Lavoie Administrator Offline
Beyond All Hope
*****

Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 6548
Loc: Montreal, QC, Canada
Sounds like you have a ground loop of some kind, or an external noise source when using the line in. Have you tried recording using line in, but without any other audio connections to the Speak Easy (ie: without the monitor speakers)?
_________________________
"If you don't know what you're doing, do it neatly..."

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#12427 - 02/10/06 06:05 PM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
John Warner Offline
old hand
*****

Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 834
Loc: Port Perry, Ontario, Canada
Are you sure all your cables and connectors are stereo? Have you checked their continuity with an Ohm meter?

That's the symptoms I got when I tried a mono cable.

I assume you are recording using the "Audio In" and your amplified speakers are connected to "Mon Out" (again with a stereo connector) and nothing is connected to "Speaker"?

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#12428 - 02/10/06 10:01 PM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
RobertGreen Offline
junior


Registered: 01/17/06
Posts: 36
Loc: Washington DC
It's probably a natural assumption to put a mono cable into a minijack labeled "Mono" - it needs a label on the case that specifies stereo cable only. Using a stereo jack is the smarter choice since it provides more connection options but it's certainly not what I would expect to use from looking at the label.

--
Bobby G.

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#12429 - 02/11/06 04:22 AM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
John Warner Offline
old hand
*****

Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 834
Loc: Port Perry, Ontario, Canada
Actually the label is "Mon Out", an abbreviation for "Monitor Out". The text below the diagram is written out in full:

[CODE]Specifications

Audio: Speaker Output 1W @ 8Ω
Monitor Output 570mV @ 5KΩ
Monitor Input 110mVp-p[/CODE]Here's the link to the manual:

SpeakEasy manual

Since I'm so Pragmatic by nature and knew the SpeakEasy was a mono device, I assumed mono cables but I'd guess most people would just automatically get stereo cables for audio?

It actually does use both stereo channels however but with the same mono signal on each.

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#12430 - 02/11/06 07:41 AM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
Kirby Howell Offline
junior


Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 39
Loc: Atlanta, GA
I have double checked everything. I did a continuity test from the Y cable to the end of the cable plugged into the speak easy. The cables are definitely stereo. I have recorded without any cables plugged into the speak easy (no input and no output) and still get the background noise. I have removed the Y cable and gone directly from the sound card to the speak easy with the same result. I have recorded without the speakers plugged into the mon out all with the same result.

Does this sound like a defective unit?

Thanks,
Kirby

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#12431 - 02/11/06 07:52 AM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
John Warner Offline
old hand
*****

Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 834
Loc: Port Perry, Ontario, Canada
[QUOTE]I have recorded without any cables plugged into the speak easy (no input and no output) and still get the background noise. [/QUOTE]How did you record in this instance? In your earlier post you say the noise is not there when recording with the microphone.

Have you tried adjusting the recording volume from your PC (in the System volume control - Start/All Programs/Accesories/Entertainment/Volume Control). I have best luck with the WAV at max and the Master near MAX. There is also an independant volume control on the WMP screen (bottom left) that you can adjust - that's an easy one to miss.

Start with all 3 Volume Controls set at max for a test and go down from there til you get the best recording. My recording quality is excellent with very little background noise (a small hiss if you listen closely).

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#12432 - 02/11/06 08:42 AM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
Kirby Howell Offline
junior


Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 39
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Hi John,
When I was recording without cables I was just recording "dead air" to see if the noise was induced by the cabling. It turned out that it was not. I noticed that the recordings from the microphone were significantly louder than the ones recorded using the line in even though all the volumes are set to max(WAV,Volume Control, and WMP).
I opened the wav file in Windows sound recorder and increased the volume of the wav file to be several times louder than it was. This helped the recording quite a bit. I still can hear the background noise but it is much lower and at an acceptable level.
I used HomeSeer's SpeakToFile to create the wav files. I didn't realize how soft they were since I was always played them through powered speakers.

Thanks for all the tips.

Kirby

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#12433 - 02/11/06 09:17 AM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
John Warner Offline
old hand
*****

Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 834
Loc: Port Perry, Ontario, Canada
Great!

I use the AT&T text to voice engine which is free online here:

AT&T Text to Voice.

It provides good quality audio and you can keep a text file of the messages you use. I like the voice "Crystal" and select the highest sampling rate.

Perhaps your source audio files are recorded at too low a volume so by the time you amplify them sufficiently, you are also amplifying the noise?

There is a small inherant "hiss" in the SpeakEasy playback but with a good quality recording at the correct volume, it is normally not noticeable.

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#12434 - 02/11/06 03:04 PM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
Chris Anderson Offline
addict


Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 507
Loc: Michigan
John,

The "Text to Voice" thing looks pretty cool. But all I get is gibberish. I'm using the highest sampling rate and making a .wav file. It then opens Winamp to play it and you hear the first word or so then, it's hard to describe, like echoes or something that won't stop until I cntrl-alt-del and stop Winamp. Strange.

Chris

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#12435 - 02/11/06 04:04 PM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
Kirby Howell Offline
junior


Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 39
Loc: Atlanta, GA
John,
I tried the AT&T voices. They are at the same level as my other wav files. I have to go to the windows recorder and increase the volume about 150% to get a good recording(actually I click on the raise volume by 25% six times so its more than 150%) anyway I haven't played with it enough to know exactly how much to optimally raise it. I'm wondering if the gain on my sound card is not as great as yours. I have a C-Media integrated sound card.
I also decided to stick with NeoSpeech's Kate. We have been through a lot together. Kate would be happy to say pretty much anything you want her to from NeoSpeech's web site. at
http://www.neospeech.com/demo/demo_text.php
The sample rate is 64kbps.

Also, I don't know if the sound I get is the same as yours. Its not really a hiss. It's more like a whirling sound.

Thanks,
Kirby

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#12436 - 02/11/06 07:22 PM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
John Warner Offline
old hand
*****

Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 834
Loc: Port Perry, Ontario, Canada
Kirby:

Do you have Line Out and Headphone jacks? My PC has both and I believe the impedance is different for each? I use the rear Line-out connection, not the front headphone jack.

The following comes from an Apple source I found but I expect the same to be true for PC?

"Do not plug headphones into the rear line-out jack. Headphone impedance is 32 ohms and line-out impedance is 1 kilohm".

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#12437 - 02/11/06 07:24 PM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
John Warner Offline
old hand
*****

Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 834
Loc: Port Perry, Ontario, Canada
Chris:

That is odd? I use WMP for the .wav files. Do you have WMP or some other player other than WinAmp that you can try it with?

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#12438 - 02/12/06 08:30 AM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
Kirby Howell Offline
junior


Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 39
Loc: Atlanta, GA
John,
I don't have a separate headphone jack on the PC. I only have three jacks:pink for mic;green for speakers/lineout and blue for line in. I can configure the software to use the green jack for headphones or to use the blue jack for rear speakers. For headphones I use the jack that is on the powered speakers. I did try plugging the speak easy into the headphone jack. The recordings were much worse(muffled).

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#12439 - 02/12/06 03:09 PM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
RobertGreen Offline
junior


Registered: 01/17/06
Posts: 36
Loc: Washington DC
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Kirby Howell:
[qb]I have double checked everything. I did a continuity test from the Y cable to the end of the cable plugged into the speak easy. The cables are definitely stereo. I have recorded without any cables plugged into the speak easy (no input and no output) and still get the background noise. [/qb][/QUOTE]Do you have a portable CD or MP3 player with a Line Out feature that you could plug into the Speakeasy's input jack? If operated on batteries it should eliminate any ground loops issues.

You said you are using an on-the-motherboard sound card. These are notorious for low output levels. A used $10 SB card would provide a better signal in most cases because add-in cards have a lot more space to add amplification. That's why I suggest trying to find something else that has a "Line Out" that you can plug into the SpeakEasy's "Line in" to test to see if you've got low level problems.

Perhaps someone with a SpeakEasy could check to see if recording from an open jack causes noise to be recorded. That doesn't *sound* right to me. It could be an automatic gain circuit going wild because of lack of input or a misconnection inside the Speakeasy. Too bad you're so far away because I have all the stuff to test such problems.

--
Bobby G.

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#12440 - 02/13/06 08:58 AM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
Kirby Howell Offline
junior


Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 39
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Bobby,
I did what you suggested. I hooked the speak easy directly to a sony walkman using the line out connection. The record level turned out to be about what the sound card was producing before I raised the level of the WAV files. When I tried recording some piano music, the background noise was about as loud as the piano.
The more testing I do the more convinced I'm getting that I have a defective speak easy. The only thing I haven't tried is swapping the power supply. I don't have another 12VAC supply, but I think I'll try a 12VDC to see if anything is different.

Kirby

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#12441 - 02/13/06 09:14 AM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
Kirby Howell Offline
junior


Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 39
Loc: Atlanta, GA
OK. I just tried a 12VDC Class 2 power supply and there was no difference in the background noise. I guess I need to contact ADI.
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#12442 - 02/13/06 09:14 AM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
ADI Tech Support Moderator Offline
old hand


Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 721
Loc: Branson West, MO
The Audio will not sound good with a DC power supply. You do need to use an AC power supply for the SpeakEZ.

Kevin Barrett
ADI Tech Support

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#12443 - 02/13/06 09:26 AM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
ADI Tech Support Moderator Offline
old hand


Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 721
Loc: Branson West, MO
I think it is time for us to take a look at this unit here. E-mail me (kevinbarrett@appdig.com) your information and I'll issue you an RMA number so we can look at it.

Kevin Barrett
ADI Tech Support

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#12444 - 02/13/06 09:51 AM Re: Speak Easy Background Noise
Kirby Howell Offline
junior


Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 39
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Done. Thanks.
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