SPCR's Test / Sound Lab: A Short Tour

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MikeC
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SPCR's Test / Sound Lab: A Short Tour

Post by MikeC » Sun Oct 03, 2004 7:57 pm

Exactly what it says...the article includes coverage of the new sound recording gear.

icancam
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Post by icancam » Sun Oct 03, 2004 8:04 pm

Thanks for the tour! :)

sthayashi
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Post by sthayashi » Sun Oct 03, 2004 8:29 pm

Hot damn... I was wondering how you fixed a fan on the OUTSIDE of the Zen. You got clearly got rid of the shroud and used Verax sticks, and you ran the fanmate through the PCI mounting part.

And Holy Mackeral do you have a lot of PSUs.

One question though. How come your wife hasn't killed you yet? Mine would kick my ass if I let my computer parts grow so large.

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Post by MikeC » Sun Oct 03, 2004 8:58 pm

How come your wife hasn't killed you yet?
Didn't I tell you that I took on those lab assistants after my sweetie put me traction at the hospital? :lol:

And half of those PSUs are either dead or just there for robbing parts from.

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Post by acaurora » Sun Oct 03, 2004 11:30 pm

/me ships Mike a few LED flashlights + a dozen cans of compressed air.

Joking =[.


I need to get me one of those mini-tripods to take pics with ~.~

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Post by Lliam » Sun Oct 03, 2004 11:59 pm

Wow serious dedication to the discipline! Thanks for the insights.

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Post by meglamaniac » Mon Oct 04, 2004 12:36 am

Nice setup.
acaurora - I have a mini tripod, I just lack the digital camera hehe (I have a 35mm compact). Probably going to get the Canon A75 before too long to fix that though!

Mike, about these Panaflo 80L's. Are they a US only thing? I'm having a hell of a time finding any. I'm looking at new cases you see, and one of the likely options is a PC6070 which only has 80mm case fan intakes, so unless I can mod it to 92 or 120mm I'm going to need some very quiet fans.

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Post by luminous » Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:30 am

Wow! That is a pure dedication for you. I enjoyed the tour, thanks Mike. Its nice to see where all the info comes from :)

meglamaniac - Panaflos can be bought in the UK from Dorothy Please bear in mind that although the 80mm versions are good, the 92mm versions are pretty poor (imo)

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Post by meglamaniac » Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:21 am

Ta for the advice luminous. I'd maybe consider Papst or even SilenX for larger fans. Guess I'll have to buy the case first and see what can be done with it.

Nice idea to include fan acoustics in reviews I gotta say - gives a much clearer impression of noise than written explanations. Even if we can't set our speakers to the same levels as an actual operating panaflo it still gives an excellent relative noise comparison.

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Post by Spinner » Mon Oct 04, 2004 5:02 am

meglamaniac wrote:Nice idea to include fan acoustics in reviews I gotta say - gives a much clearer impression of noise than written explanations. Even if we can't set our speakers to the same levels as an actual operating panaflo it still gives an excellent relative noise comparison.
And knowing the quality of the noise might help us determine if the reviewed item is right for us. After all, there is always a subjective part to consider.
meglamaniac wrote:I'd maybe consider Papst or even SilenX for larger fans. Guess I'll have to buy the case first and see what can be done with it.
Might I suggest Globe for 120mm fans ? I am very impressed with the one I have.

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Post by tragus » Mon Oct 04, 2004 7:35 am

Delightful and wonderful. I notice that you have no shots of your number one (albeit four-legged) lab assistant.

The acoustic measurement setup looks impressive. I actually followed your pointers for some equipment, but need frequency response beyond 35K, which gets into more specialized gear. Now, you just need to line the walls with acoustic foam AND/OR convert your living room into a cheap anechoic!

As a huge footnote, kudos for the start of implementing on-line acoustic comparison of fan noises. I know it's been discussed over a long time, and there are a number of technical pitfalls. So far, it looks (and sounds) very nice.

colin
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mods to zen

Post by colin » Mon Oct 04, 2004 4:21 pm

Thanks Mike. I'm fascinated by the Zen mods. A couple questions if I may.

1. In mine, with the HD suspended and using a Panaflo, fan noise is definitely the dominant noise, and loudest toward the back. External mounting would seem (a) to remove the barrier between the fan and my ears that the case provides but (b) to reduce case and other internal resonances created by the fan. I take it then that the effect of (b) outweighs the effect of (a).

2. With external mounting, could one skip the fanmate and use the current fan header? I mainly want to be sure the fan is under some sort of automatic control to stop the CPU getting too hot because I don't want to have to worry about manual settings.

3. Would the currently chart-topping Nexus case fan make a difference in all of this?

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That Nexus is noisy compared to the ones I have heard...

Post by NeilBlanchard » Mon Oct 04, 2004 4:22 pm

Hello Mike:

I know this is like comparing apples and kumquats -- the recording of the Nexus is a lot buzzier/raspy than the units (two) that I have heard in cases running at 12volts. :shock: :?

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Post by MikeC » Mon Oct 04, 2004 5:15 pm

Zen mod -- The fanmate1 is very deliberate. The fan control mechanism in the Zen motherboard seeks either a certain current draw or rpm orsome other feedback from the fan; if it drops below whatever default level it's preset for, more voltage is applied. So if you have a slow quiet fan, it does not stay that way for long: The controller increases the voltage. There is a thread on this somewhere here -- maybe the Zen review thread? try a search. Someone else found this out and shared it. In any case, with the fanmate1 at just about min, the CPU temp never rises beyond 60C -- hot summer days, max real app load.

Anyway, even at the same low 5-6V speed, putting the Panaflo fan inside is louder than having it outside. As I said, something to do with air caivity resonance and the sympathetic response of the aluminum panels. Definitely quieter out. (I had some non-tech friends over a few days ago and they could not believe the fan was running. Ditto the computer. )

Nexus fan -- it is not a Nexus case fan, which come in 3 sizes -- 80, 92 and 120mm. This one is a 70mm bugga; I should have taken a photo. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I am planning to include the Nexus 80, 92 and 120mm as ref fans for SPCR. They are that quiet and smooth, generally. (Tho at max they blow less air than just about any other fans -- esp the 80 and 92. )
Last edited by MikeC on Mon Oct 04, 2004 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by flyingsherpa » Mon Oct 04, 2004 6:34 pm

thanks for the tour, very impressive setup.

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Post by slau » Mon Oct 11, 2004 7:32 am

Fascinating tour MikeC. What tripod/head are you using for the photography?

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Post by MikeC » Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:08 am

tripod/head -- Manfrotto tripod with a Manfrotto Proball head. Unipivot w/lock. The latter cost 60% as much as the tripod itself but totally worth it. I thought about a super-high end one that someone in the US customizes but decided for a <1lb digicam, it was total overkill. It would nice to get some photo lighting, but that's probably low on the list of priorities for the lab.

Am slowly getting gear to verify & maintain the accuracy of the instrumentation that I already have -- often means another instrument of the same type or when available, a calbration device. The anemometer and SLM ard both fairly accurate devices, esp the latter, but instrumentation often does go off.

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Re: SPCR's Test / Sound Lab: A Short Tour

Post by aidanjm2004 » Wed Oct 27, 2004 9:36 pm

MikeC wrote:Exactly what it says...the article includes coverage of the new sound recording gear.
How about some pics of the SPCR staff?

jberg
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How hot does the Northbridge get?

Post by jberg » Sat Feb 04, 2006 3:31 pm

I know the ZEN is now an old system but I got so inspired from all the good things I found about it on SPCR so I just bought one and reused some old parts.

I followed the example of the LAB PC. Excelent idea.

However I found that My RS300 (Northbridge) gets very hot when exercising the Graphics. I was wondering if this is normal. I know the graphics is integrated in the Northbridge so it is probably somewhat okay if it gets hot but I messure arround 77C when running 3DMark.

I did swap the 80mm fan for a 120mm fan with an 120=>80 adapter and put a small ADDA 50mm fan on very low speed on the inside of the front pannel and this got it down to 72. Still hot though. I have tried to undervolt the CPU (P4 2.8GHz) and even underclocked it but it does not seem to effect the NorthBridge.

I realize you do not use much of the graphics in the LAB so it is probably not a problem there.

How hot does your NorthBridge get? Anybody?


If you did not know already:
It is possible to monitor the temprature and fan speeds and everything of the Shuttle ZEN in Windows using Sandra from SiSoftware:
http://www.sisoftware.net/

The NorthBridge temp shows up as Board Temprature.

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Re: How hot does the Northbridge get?

Post by MikeC » Sat Feb 04, 2006 5:13 pm

jberg --

So what if it reaches 77C? That's nothing for a GPU. I've never bothered checking the temp & the system stays perfectly stable even after hours of recording / sound analysis. Methinks you worry much about nothing.

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Post by jberg » Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:28 am

Mike,

Thanks for the quick answare! You are probably right 77C is not much for a GPU on a separate graphic card I just wasn't sure how hot the GPU can get when it is integrated into the Northbridge. But if you say it is not a problem then I feel more comfortable.
Have you been running any graphic intensed applications like games on your studio PC for any length of time?
When I just run the PC and watch a video or something like that the Northbridge stays under 60 so that is not a problem at all. It is when it comes to gaming it gets hot.

/Johan

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Post by MikeC » Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:54 am

That PC is used only for recording / sound analysis and occsional file transfers. No games whatsoever.

The main thing is whether it stays stable. If so, there's nothing to worry about. The PC will get unstable and freeze or crash if things get too hot. It's a basic rule of thumb about PCs:

1) If it's stable, don't worry.
2) If it crashes, then something has to be wrong.
3) Overheating (and damage) w/a stress utility is not difficult to do, especially if the thing is left alone by itself on long term testing, but it's very difficult w/ "real" apps because of the crashing and the fact that the user is sitting right there monitoring what's going on most of the time.

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Post by Shadowknight » Thu Sep 14, 2006 10:58 am

Has there been any changed to the setup since the article was written? Do you still use the same computer in the modified Shuttle in the lab, or have you replaced it with newer components such as a P180, faster, but cooler running, CPU, etc.?

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Post by MikeC » Thu Sep 14, 2006 11:18 am

Shadowknight wrote:Has there been any changed to the setup since the article was written? Do you still use the same computer in the modified Shuttle in the lab, or have you replaced it with newer components such as a P180, faster, but cooler running, CPU, etc.?
No changes to the Shuttle, but we do have a new mic that's considerably quieter -- which allowed recording distance between mic & subject to be increased for better realism.

The lab has actually been expanded since this tour was written. It's more than 3 times bigger than before. There are two more rooms, one about 20'x12', the other 12'x11'. We're going through a major cleanup/reorg. at the moment, but once that's done, we'll try to eke out a bit of time to write up another tour. ;)

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Post by Shadowknight » Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:45 pm

MikeC wrote: The lab has actually been expanded since this tour was written. It's more than 3 times bigger than before. There are two more rooms, one about 20'x12', the other 12'x11'. We're going through a major cleanup/reorg. at the moment, but once that's done, we'll try to eke out a bit of time to write up another tour. ;)
:shock:

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