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Author Topic: "What U Hear" Recording Option  (Read 15073 times)
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gortmertl0
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« on: April 11, 2005, 11:43:58 PM »

OK, after years of sticking a stupid boombox mic up next to a computer speaker (starting with my Soundblaster 8-Mono), I always wondered, "Why can't someone have an option where I can record the output from my video card back into an input without having to have an external cable, blah, blah, blah" -- in short, convert that analog speaker signal back into a digital signal for recording.  It was fine for recording bits and pieces of music from SQ1-VGA, SQ4 and Wing Commander onto tape cassettes, but I wanted more -- and better -- sounding tracks!  Eventually, finally, someone did it.

About 5 years ago, I had to install a new sound card (a Sounblaster Live-MP3) onto my old P1-133; I also installed Win98 (up from Win95).  Lo and behold, when I began fooling around with the options for recording, I now had an option called "What U Hear".

I also have this on my more recent computer, a P4-2.4G with a SoundBlaster Audigy card.

So...

In the years since, I have used it off and on, always to great effect.  In fact, I recently recorded the TRON 2.0 soundtrack over Christmas using it.  But I do have a few questions:


1) Does anyone know where "What U Hear" came from?  Is it something special to the newer SoundBlaster cards?  Something for Win98 and up?

2) What are the pros and cons of using this instead of using actual analog line-outs/line-ins for MIDI recordings, etc?

3) Is it a true digital recording?  Digital in the sense that I doubt that the card turns the digital signal to analog-out, then converts the analog-out back to a digital-in (as I had feverishly hoped for throughout the 1990s).

I have always maintained that any copy-protection for Audio CDs is silly, because all one has to do is line-in to the sound card from a portable CD player output, and voila -- a (somewhat) digital version.  Sure, it wasn't a true digital CD-rip from the CDA files, but most MP3-ers don't usually care about quality, in my experience...

Now, I can simply "play" the "RIP-proof" copy-protected CD, record "What U Hear" and still get a copy -- but my question is, is it truly an all-digital recording?


Anyways, sorry for the rambling, but thanks for your help and insight.

Gary
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Marten
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2005, 04:34:08 AM »

Answer:  It is converted from digital to analog and back to digital.  Loopback is part of the AC'97 specification... and actually, Creative botched their implementation, so I wouldn't praise them so highly. Smiley

http://www.sparkysworld.co.uk/soundcards.htm#AC'97%20Audio%20Codec%20(SBLive!%20MX300%20etc.)
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gortmertl0
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2005, 12:09:05 AM »

Quote from: Marten
Answer:  It is converted from digital to analog and back to digital.  Loopback is part of the AC'97 specification... and actually, Creative botched their implementation, so I wouldn't praise them so highly. Smiley

http://www.sparkysworld.co.uk/soundcards.htm#AC'97%20Audio%20Codec%20(SBLive!%20MX300%20etc.)



Eh.  Oh well.  Works fine for me and my own little idiot recordings...

Thanks for the link, the explanation and the help!


Gary
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Alistair
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2005, 01:08:08 AM »

I use 'What U Hear', but never with recording MIDI's digitally. I DO use it for recording sound effects from games, digital songs, and sound effect sequences, like in later VESA games. Works a treat for that.

- Alistair
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jbltecnicspro
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2005, 02:01:52 AM »

Personally, I don't use the "What U Hear" all that much.  Either it's my sound card, but it doesn't seem to work for me... Sad  I have a Sound Blaster Audigy 2ZS notebook.  And for some reason, my SB tends to wash out my MT-32's sound... it makes it louder, but the reverb disappears from the picture, and it sounds less authentic when hooked into my line in.  Any one else have this delima with Sound Blaster?
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Alistair
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2005, 07:54:50 AM »

I used the SB Audigy 2 a lot, don't any more. My opinions:

- It gives a lot more nice treble/bass to the sound (helps MT-32 basses), especially when set moderately, however always sounds excessive and unrealistic.
- It excessively reverberates the sound and often distorts it (I notice, but some don't)
- It 'hardens' the MT-32 sound especially, as opposed to SC's. Makes it a lot less realistic.
-  Cuts off high-volume instruments

Sure there's more, but I forget. Smiley

- Alistair
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jbltecnicspro
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2005, 10:47:09 AM »

Yeah, I did notice that it made my MT-32 sound more "fake."  I've heard good things about Turtle Beach Santa Cruz cards, I might conisder getting those when I get a desktop.
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Alistair
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2005, 11:28:21 AM »

Yep, that's why I stopped using Audigy lines.

I use an external sound card currently. Cost US 130 but well worth it!! Better than the Santa Cruz, I think. Though I also think there's a point where our ears hardly notice the difference.

- Alistair
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jbltecnicspro
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2005, 02:41:21 PM »

What sound card do you use?
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Alistair
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« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2005, 09:10:32 AM »

On my desktop I use a Santa Cruz, but the majority of recordings I use my laptop and my M-Audio FireWire Audiophile (requires firewire port on your laptop).

Very, very nice sounding. I recorded the Eco Quest II Soundtrack CD from my website using it. Smiley

Regards,
- Alistair
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jbltecnicspro
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« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2005, 11:22:16 PM »

Quote from: Alistair
On my desktop I use a Santa Cruz, but the majority of recordings I use my laptop and my M-Audio FireWire Audiophile (requires firewire port on your laptop).

Very, very nice sounding. I recorded the Eco Quest II Soundtrack CD from my website using it. Smiley

Regards,
- Alistair


Nice.  Sounds good.  I'm building a desktop for Christmas, and Santa Cruz (Turtle Beach) is definately going in the box.  Just for kicks, I hooked my MT-32 to the SB card again and played some songs, and then hooked it back into my stereo - BIG difference!! WOW!! I knew the SB made it sound weird, but the SB seems to drop the higher frequencies!  When I hooked it back into my stereo, it cleared up a lot.  BTW: if I may, what speakers do you monitor with?  Currently I'm using a pair of JBL tower speakers (overkill, but sounds great).
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Alistair
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2005, 07:48:16 AM »

WHen mixing or editing, I ALWAYS use headphones. Only way to get panning right and volumes/etc right. Speakers always 'trick' the ears, and you can end up with something totally different to what you aim for.

As in, you think you have a nice solo guitar panned left, for example, and instead it's not left enough and it gets drowned out with the bass when you listen with headphones.

- Alistair
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jbltecnicspro
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2005, 02:39:08 PM »

Very true.  I forgot to mention that I use headphones as well.  Sennheiser HD-280pro, very nice, I might add.  After I mix using headphones, I listen to it on my stereo, just to listen to a different audio source.  Usually, I use the speakers though, because I'm too lazy to find my headphones.   :wink:
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NewRisingSUn
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« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2005, 11:33:39 AM »

Quote
Speakers always 'trick' the ears, and you can end up with something totally different to what you aim for.

Not if you're careful to place and wire them accurately. Headphones also trick the ears because by design they can't reproduce the amount/kind of bass frequencies that real speakers can. You'll have to be careful not to make the basses too loud when using headphones.
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Tom
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« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2005, 12:50:16 PM »

Quote from: NewRisingSUn
Headphones also trick the ears because by design they can't reproduce the amount/kind of bass frequencies that real speakers can. You'll have to be careful not to make the basses too loud when using headphones.


Darn tootin'!  I often find myself having to correct bass levels after mixing with headphones.  You don't get the full resonance of bass frequencies through headphones and I find that I sometimes over compensate for them.  

Also, quiter sounds which seem to mix well in headphones, are sometimes barely heard through speakers.  Sometimes, you have to take into consideration ambient noise levels; quiet sounds may mix perfectly with headphones, but  are drowned out by ordinary ambient noise when played through speakers.  That's another correction I find myself making quite often.
Smiley
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Dustin
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« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2005, 01:00:18 PM »

Quote from: NewRisingSUn
Quote
Speakers always 'trick' the ears, and you can end up with something totally different to what you aim for.

Not if you're careful to place and wire them accurately. Headphones also trick the ears because by design they can't reproduce the amount/kind of bass frequencies that real speakers can. You'll have to be careful not to make the basses too loud when using headphones.



Well said NRS,

 I have tried both headphones and speakers. I found that high-quality speakers when positioned and wired properly, give the most accurate sound.

I have not used headphones in years Smiley
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-Dustin
Alistair
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« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2005, 10:57:15 PM »

For me, it's simple. You have to pan in headphones, otherwise you just don't know where instruments are panned. Smiley Especially subtleties.
And I guess the other side is that both pieces of digital equipment I use don't have bass controls.

Quote
Also, quiter sounds which seem to mix well in headphones, are sometimes barely heard through speakers. Sometimes, you have to take into consideration ambient noise levels; quiet sounds may mix perfectly with headphones, but are drowned out by ordinary ambient noise when played through speakers. That's another correction I find myself making quite often.

I found that with the KQ5CD, lots of so so quiet sounds (not the MT sounds, additional ones you threw in) I could barely hear through headphones when other noise was around me.

- Alistair
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zaphod77
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« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2006, 07:15:39 AM »

"What U Hear" is another name for "stereo Mix"

THis source, on all cards that have it, is everything that is currently goes to the speakers. mic, wave, you name it.  So if you set up the mixer so that mic goes out the speakers, and put on a pair of headphones (to stop feedback) you can record karaoke on the cheap. lol.

Naturally, any processing done by the card is picked up when you record "what u hear", and when youplay it back, this processing is done a second time.

This is what is proobably causing bad results for people who use it.

For better reeeesults, try to turn off any EAX and EQ adjustments when you record "what you hear"
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Alistair
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« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2006, 03:13:36 PM »

Is it another name for Stereo Mix?

I use it with my Santa Cruz now, but I have EAX/EQ off (which I didn't when using 'What U Hear' with my Live!).

- Alistair
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gortmertl0
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« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2006, 11:53:23 PM »

Ah, the thread that refuses to die!   :?

G
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