Stereo Tool: PC based audio processing

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Baylink
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Stereo Tool: PC based audio processing

Post by Baylink » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:54 pm

From one of Paul Thurst's latest blog posts:

http://www.engineeringradio.us/blog/201 ... ereo-tool/

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Deep Thought
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Re: Stereo Tool: PC based audio processing

Post by Deep Thought » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:48 am

I've been using it for awhile now (couple of years) and like everything else processing-related you can make it sound good and you can make it sound absolutely horrid. The biggest problem I have found is that the adjustments have far too much range...he needs to find the sweet spot in each stage and have a starting point there rather than essentially random numbers. You are as much in the weeds to start with this as you are with a VS-8 out of the box.

Which brings me to my next beef with it: This was written by someone with little (if any) experience in radio engineering. The user interface has places where it doesn't make sense in "our world" (16 bit unsigned integers for settings instead of dB? really?) and the graphical indicators in some places are either useless or missing critical information like input and output levels w/r/t clip points. The latest version attempts to put some of the most used controls on the same tab but it still needs a lot of work to get to the point where it emulates what we're used to for an interface.

But then, it's less than $100 and if you stick with it and make *very small* incremental changes while you zero in on your target sound it can be made to sound very good. And it is not much harder to adjust than some big name processors in "expert mode". It is very easy to go from "hey that sounds good" to "my ears hurt", but that's not limited to Stereo Tool.

One operational note: It'll sort of run on 2.2 GHz P4 but not with anything else running except maybe Winamp and not with the advanced options on. The CPU will be wide open, which means you'll need to make sure the cooling is up to the task, and it will still glitch occasionally. Even on my Core2Duo (P9600, 2.8 GHz) laptop it needs to keep the CPU up near max clock speed to be stable with the clipper running and you can forget running on battery. At the office I have it on a Core2Quad (Q6600) which has no problems with it while doing other things like storing security video on disk or running emulators so that's where I would draw the line for the minimum system requirement. The CPU is over 50% but doesn't stress the box any.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

Baylink
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Re: Stereo Tool: PC based audio processing

Post by Baylink » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:03 am

I saw it mentioned, and thought there might be some interest among our crowd. I guess my next questions, not having set it up, are:

1) Can you save setups, component by component or overall?
2) Are there any sample setups?
3) Is there any community around that?

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Deep Thought
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Re: Stereo Tool: PC based audio processing

Post by Deep Thought » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:58 pm

1) Yes. It lets you save the your configs. The newest version lets you save just the multiband settings, all audio processing settings or everything including the baseband composite setting bits.

2) It comes with a bunch built-in but I found all of them to be insufficient. The user community shares theirs here.

3) http://forums.stereotool.com/

I've attached the settings I am using at my office. Keep in mind that this is configured for relatively low background listening through an inexpensive stereo system and feeds a CCrane FM transmitter via L/R inputs, not composite. There are some compromises here to accommodate what I use it for. It sounds as good as the Chicago FMs here. YMMV. The settings files (*.sts) are text files which contain some insight into how the processor works. Open one in Notepad to see all of the configured stages. NOTE: This site has an rather odd aversion to people sharing information and will not let me upload my config without playing file extension games. Please delete the ".zip" from the file name as it is not a zip file, merely text.

If you decide to play around with this, the current version (7.03) hides the bottom two panels by default when windowed. They include the informative displays of what this thing is doing, so make sure you go full screen to see it all. I pecked around on it for three days before I figured out where the display went... :roll:
Attachments
12-21-2012 office.sts.zip
Stereo Tool 7.03 settings
(15.36 KiB) Downloaded 269 times
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

Baylink
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Re: Stereo Tool: PC based audio processing

Post by Baylink » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:55 pm

roj. tnx.

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BroadcastDoc
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Re: Stereo Tool: PC based audio processing

Post by BroadcastDoc » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:13 pm

Deep Thought wrote:NOTE: This site has an rather odd aversion to people sharing information and will not let me upload my config without playing file extension games. Please delete the ".zip" from the file name as it is not a zip file, merely text.
The site has no aversion to it. The site SOFTWARE is a different story! :evil:

I turned on some other permissions, but if it's an uncommon extension, it chokes. Someday I'll get around to putting together something more useful...
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Deep Thought
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Re: Stereo Tool: PC based audio processing

Post by Deep Thought » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:30 pm

It barfed on ".txt"...

And sorry, it meant phpBB, not you. :mrgreen:
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

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BroadcastDoc
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Re: Stereo Tool: PC based audio processing

Post by BroadcastDoc » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:30 pm

I enabled .txt now. Most of that stuff was turned off by default. Now, back to the topic at hand! :-D
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Baylink
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Re: Stereo Tool: PC based audio processing

Post by Baylink » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:51 pm

Deep (I can call you Deep, right? :-):

What I/O are you using with this? And do you have an opinion on the Delta 1010?

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Deep Thought
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Re: Stereo Tool: PC based audio processing

Post by Deep Thought » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:36 pm

It's just processing a Winamp MP3 playback stream and coughing up left and right analog audio into a little CCrane FM transmitter from whatever is on the motherboard of this Gateway Q6600 (Realtek HD Audio).

No opinion on Delta 1010. I don't usually fly them but it looks like they'll be landing in Atlanta 12 minutes early today. 8)

...oh, you mean the audio card...

No opinion on that either. I'm an RF guy.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

dave
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Re: Stereo Tool: PC based audio processing

Post by dave » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:42 am

Here are two net stations processed by Stereo Tool - open iTunes, click Radio then Adult Contemporary. The stations are "A1A Meditation Radio" & "Abigail". Admitedly, I could spend more time tweaking (and knowing you might tune in will ensure that) - the processing is big & open. I like it.

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Re: Stereo Tool: PC based audio processing

Post by HadYourPhil » Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:04 am

I'm using Stereo Tool on the air and am quite pleased with it.
We improve things by making them worse...

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Shane
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Re: Stereo Tool: PC based audio processing

Post by Shane » Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:38 pm

What are you running it on?
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HadYourPhil
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Re: Stereo Tool: PC based audio processing

Post by HadYourPhil » Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:21 pm

A homebrew box with an 80 gig SSHD. Using Windows XP and (the most important thing) a Marian Trace Alpha sound card.
We improve things by making them worse...

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