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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

I'm about to embark on this massive learning experience in using the SPL meter and REW.

After reading the first few sections of the help files, I see that I need to start by calibrating my sound card, which is a Hercules Fortissimo III 7.1 (which was around $AU110.. not exactly a cheapie).

I've already made up a 25m cable to run from the SPL meter to my PC, and as yet haven't tested it (I'm not sure if it's going to supply it's signal to left or right channel, but that shouldn't be a problem either way). I dug out my shortest twin-RCA to 3.5mm phono jack splitter lead and an RCA adaptor to use for the sound card feedback loop test. I connected them from the sound card's FRONT SPEAKER output, to the LINE IN input, and selected LINE IN as the recording source in the Fortissimo's control panel.

Looking at the meters within REW it seems that the signal is being read on the LEFT channel. Again, I don't expect this is a problem.

What IS an issue is the graph I'm getting from the calibration test. It's really nothing like any of the graphs on the "calsoundcard.html" page of the help files. For the past 2 hours I've been sitting here reading through every post I can find in this section regarding folks calibrating various brands and makes of sound cards, but there is no mention of the Hercules Fortissimo III. There's also many references to this so-called "monitoring" setting, but I cannot find this to disable it either in the Fortissimo Control Panel, or the "Sound & Audio Devices" section of the WinXP Control Panel. (I have seen an option for "monitoring" in SoundForgeXP 4 WAV creation/editing software before, but I expect that's part of that software and not part of the sound card's control panel.)

Seems I've well and truly fallen flat on my face at the first hurdle... :R

All this begs me to ask the question tho - since there are downloadable files for calibration of SPL meters, is it not suitable to have downloadable calibration files for individual makes/models of sound cards as well ? :ponder:
 

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Re: Calibrating - Hercules Fortissimo III 7.1

That plot is a classic example of how the response looks if there is internal feedback happening, whether through a record monitoring control or a mixer setting. Make sure that your speakers are set up as 2.0 in the Fortissimo control panel, you don't want the card to redirect any of the test signal to the sub output. Make sure that Line In is selected as the record source, and that no EQ is being applied. In the Mixer tab make sure that the output is only derived from the Wave input and that Line In isn't being fed in to the output - if you post a screenshot of the Fortissimo mixer page we might spot an incorrect setting. Also post a shot of the Advanced controls tab to see whether anything in there might be a monitor control.
 
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Re: Calibrating - Hercules Fortissimo III 7.1

Hi John, thanks for replying.

I spent about 6 hours total trying to get the issue sorted before I noticed your post, and I did finally end up with a positive result... but then, after deciding to "start from scratch", I was unable to reproduce the settings ! Aaggghhhhh !!!! :wits-end:

Having said that, 2 more hours was spent checking connections, and changing various settings in various locations (Fortissimo III control panel, XP's sound controls, etc). As is always the way with PCs, any problems that cannot be reproduced are the hardest to solve. But I finally stumbled onto a work-around solution. Why it works, I have absolutely no idea, but it does, so I guess that's better than nothing. I'll do my best to explain it.

Firstly, the version of the Fortissimo III control panel software/drivers I'm using is "v4101, CPL v1.33". From memory, I do remember trying to upgrade my drivers a couple of years ago, but it caused issues somewhere along the way, so I stuck with these.

I did have all my settings correct, as seen in the screenshots below and in the following 3 posts.

I found that after closing REW and deleting all saved settings, when I returned to the sound card calibration screen/wizard, I could not get the VU meter for INPUT to respond - there was no signal getting through.


Main Tab

Time and again, I tried using different settings for the "Record Source". "Stereo Mix" actually works and at least offers a signal reading on the meter, but for accuracy, "Line In" is obviously more preferable.

The answer was to change the output for the "Master Volume" (the pull-down menu). For me, this is usually set to "2 speakers" but I often change it to "Headphones" when required. Although I already had it set to "2 speakers", the VU meter in REW did not report a signal until I had changed this setting from "2 speakers" to something else (I selected "Headphones"), and then change it back to "2 speakers" again. There is no obvious reason why this should occur, but it does. Quirky.


Mixer Tab

As per the REW instructions, "Wave" volume should be set to maximum. I also set the "Line In" volume to maximum here. But this tab is also where the other configuration problem occurred regarding "monitoring". In most instances, the "speaker" buttons below each of the volume sliders on this tab act as "mute" buttons (this is confirmed by comparison with XP's own sound control panel), however in the case of the "Line In" control, this is the "monitoring" control that the REW help file refers to. One would think that it should be set the same as the "Wave" setting (ie, active), but this is not the case. The speaker button below "Line In" should have a red cross over it.


Other Tab

Make sure that "Enable Stereo Expansion" is deselected.


I hope this info will prevent some other poor soul wasting numerous hours calibrating their sound card as I did... ! :dizzy:
 

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Re: Calibrating - Hercules Fortissimo III 7.1

Main Tab - "Master Volume" pull-down menu
 

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Thats how much time you saved me...the muting line in was the key to success tonight and now I am infinitely baffled!
 
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Discussion Starter #9
I guess my work was worthwhile, then... :) Glad it helped... !
 
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