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Thread: DFP Volume - How loud should it be?

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    Automated Home Sr Member eddr's Avatar
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    Default DFP Volume - How loud should it be?

    Hello (me again!),

    I've finally got audio hooked up now, and thought how lovely it would be to hear the doorbell upstairs and down but er, it is not very loud!

    How loud should the DFP's go? I know its analog audio, and I have put all the volume settings up to max that I can find (including the audio bus ones that are by default on 32 - I have tried uping this to the max and pressing update but it didnt seem to help).

    I dont think you'd hear it if you were in another room...and we only have one by the front door and one in the bedroom.

  2. #2
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    For the PCU the audio bus settings are fixed (the sliders don't have an effect). Instead the volume level is adjusted via the audio mixers (i.e output from PC) and at the DFP itself (Intercom menu settings). If you set the intercom level to 15 then the only other one is the PC audio output volume control (make sure you are changing the channel that is feeding into the PCU). Also check that you have the leads connected the right way around - microphone symbol on PCU connects to mic input on PC and speaker symbol to speaker output.

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    Automated Home Sr Member eddr's Avatar
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    Ok, I did have all the levels up max on the PC.

    I didn't realise the DFP's have their own volume settings - Is this menu physically on the DFP or in its object in Cortex?

    How loud should it go, loud enough to be a doorbell heard from a room or two away?

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    Automated Home Ninja Viv's Avatar
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    Aslo check the audio bus wiring. It is possible to have the earth and audio signal (green twisted pair by Idratek convention) swapped on a DFP and still hear it. Also for DFP's nearer the PC to be still aceptable volume.

    Their is an impedance that can be checked but I'm not sure what it is. Karam can advise.

  5. #5
    Automated Home Sr Member eddr's Avatar
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    Right - intercom works, VERY loud on both so nothing wrong there. They dont seem to be making any noise atall now when they should, i.e a sounds playing? But intercom fine

  6. #6
    Automated Home Sr Member eddr's Avatar
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    Ok, some progress but very odd stuff going on:

    The wirings fine - Proved by making the intercoms into receive mode and plugging my mp3 player into the speaker socket on the pcu, and sound would come out of both.

    So maybe the computer isn't making sound - it is, proved by plugging in some speakers and playing a sound.

    So I then plugged the pcu speaker socket into a laptop - and got sound once again, tested the same way i did for mp3 player.

    So for some very odd reason, it seems the pcu just doesn't like the speaker out on my computer?! I made sure all sound was unmuted and volume up all the way....

    I'm baffled?

    I am going to try a usb sound card tomorow, I just happen to have one lying around.


    On a related note, why does plugging the mp3 player into the mic socket on the pcu also make sound come out (but alot louder) on the DFP?

  7. #7
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    The DFP volume control is via the the intercom object. There are two sliders one which sets volume when sounds are being played from the PC and the other which affects volume of conversation between intercoms. However the volume of sounds from the PC also depends on the PC's volume controls which BTW have different settings when Cortex is running as compared to when Cortex is stopped (since Cortex provides its own controls to the PC sound card mixer). To check if the PC output is ok you can temporarily plug in a speaker instead of the PCU lead into the speaker socket and then issue a sound from Cortex and listen to see if its coming out at all.

    If sound from the PC is verified in this way but no sound comes out of DFPs when the PCU lead is plugged back in then it could be one of th audio related settings in Cortex for example whether you have set the sound to be broadcast or not. Also make sure plugs are pushed fully home in the PCU sockets.

    Regarding audio bus impedance mentioned by Vivian - With IDRAnet power switched off an ohmeter should measure around 220 ohms across the AH and AL connections. This should be measured at the PCU IDRANet plug to make sure that its ok at that point since its quite possible that you have a good connection between the intercoms but not at the PCU.

    ok, I see you managed to sneak in the above message whilst I was writing this one but I'll keep above for general interest.

    By setting the intercoms to Receive mode (Monitor: Speaker) you should not normally hear any sound from anything plugged into the speaker symbol socket on the PCU because this action simply enables the intercom's output amplifier and allows you to hear anything that's going on on the audio bus - which, if nothing else is outputting to the bus, will just be electrical noise. A source plugged into the PCU spkr socket is in fact gated and not simply transmitted to the audio bus. Th PCU is what controls this gate under the instruction of Cortex. In other words if Cortex wishes to direct sound from the PCU to an intercom it first enables the intercom output but then also enables the PCU gate and then issues the sound from the speaker.

    The mic symbol socket on the PCU is actually connected directly to the audio bus although via some impedance. It is meant to be an output from the audio bus to the PC but of course since it has a direct connection it explains why if you plug some source into that socket then you will hear it when the intercoms are enabled for output.

    Aside from gating, audio routed onto the audio bus via the PCU speaker socket pass through a side tone cancellation circuit whose purpose is to enable duplex conversations via some PC sourced telephony such as Skype. The side tone cancellation does have a tendency to reduce the audio level relative to a direct connection.
    Last edited by Karam; 30th June 2011 at 11:11 PM. Reason: update

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    Automated Home Guru JonS's Avatar
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    I have DFPs in most rooms but when the ones in the kids bedrooms are off I can still hear audio alerts when upstairs but not in a room with DFP. In that case though the doors are open & there is not much ambient noise, whether a properly functioning DFP will be heard from another room does depend on what its competing with. Without muting the TV I doubt you'd ever hear it from a room where your attention was on the TV without a local DFP.

    Avoiding whether the DFP / bus / Cortex are optimally set, one thing I have noted is that the recording level of the sound you are using will also make a difference. e.g. of the built in sounds the Ding is quite soft, a gentle reminder; contrast that with Horn which is a blast that scares the pets! I use various MP3 sounds for the door bell, but choose them for the attack of their intro - Caminia Burana is the current choice - tends to grab attention!

    So for testing choose a really *loud* piece of music, as quiet music even with the volume set to 11 will still not be great for grabbing attention. One that is long is also good as it doesn't get repeated if unacknowldged, that way it won't get lost by a transient pan drop / flush etc.
    HTH
    Last edited by JonS; 30th June 2011 at 11:07 PM.
    JonS

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    Automated Home Sr Member eddr's Avatar
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    Karam and JonS thanks for that! Learning by the day about how things are actually working...

    Karam - Ok, thats cleared that up for me, but it still seems to point to the computers soundcard or I really dont have it configured properly.... When I plugged some speakers in to the computer to see if it was making sound, I wasn't using Cortex to do this - so obviously I need to test this first, but if this doesn't work I'll do the testing on another sound card and see how it goes.

  10. #10
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddr View Post
    Karam - Ok, thats cleared that up for me, but it still seems to point to the computers soundcard or I really dont have it configured properly.... When I plugged some speakers in to the computer to see if it was making sound, I wasn't using Cortex to do this - so obviously I need to test this first, but if this doesn't work I'll do the testing on another sound card and see how it goes.
    I don't think the soundcard would have a bearing. It is of course necessary that you test the output from your PC exactly in the same situation as used for testing sound from the DFPs, because its not just a matter of whether the PC generates sound output in general but whether Cortex is doing so and at the right volume level under the specific set of circumstances at the time of the sound request. If you have left and right speaker outputs you can plug one channel into the PCU and the other to a speaker and that way you can check simultaneously (of course ensure any balance slider is set central - which pretty much always is by default). Alternatively a Y splitter can be used on a single output.

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