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Thread: Listening to audio from a secondary computer through the main computer

  1. #1
    OrangeAfroMan's Avatar
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    Listening to audio from a secondary computer through the main computer

    I recently got a 4k monitor (<3 <3), which has been pushing my system to the limit to get 60 FPS with good graphics settings (390X + 4790k i7). I decided to stop using my second monitor, as this took about 10% of my GPU's processing power and makes everything run much better. Instead, I use my Surface Pro 4 to do my browsing/youtube/etc. Only problem is, I can't listen to videos on the SP4 when I have headphones on from my main computer.

    I thought one solution might be to run a 3.5mm aux jack from the headphone output on the SP4 to one of my microphone inputs, then set it to listen to that mic. This does work, but if there is no active audio signal from the SP4, I get a ton of noise - it sounds like when you have one end partially plugged or when you rub your fingers on an unplugged jack), and when there is audio, I have a lot of base level white noise. Listening to the SP4 with normal headphones works great, so I'm wondering if there's something I need to change as far as sensitivity is concerned on my desktop to make this work.

    Other than that, what options do I have to send audio from the SP4 to my desktop?
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  2. #2
    Daneel Trevize's Avatar
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    Assuming Windows for the main PC: Check the Gain setting for the mic input, under audio devices.
    IIRC you can also change which device is default, and how a newly connected one takes priority. The PC should be able to detect connection/disconnection (check you have the mobo's latest audio drivers & software?), unless you have some issue with the physical setup (i.e. a short or lack of pull down/up diode/resistor in the port), which could also explain the noise.

    Beyond that, for a more technical solution via your LAN (wifi), I'd investigate if PulseAudio or some other FOSS mechanism is handling the sound in the (Android?) OS of the SP4 device, and can also run a daemon on the PC, to add a virtual input device as & when you want to route it from the SP to some other output on your network. That probably sounds more complex than it is, I just recall that PA was replacing all the older crufty audio layers in Linux like a decade ago, with one goal being able to split input and output devices/apps such that you could arbitrarily route & loop from any to any, including across networks. And I'm fairly sure PA's available for Windows, as KDE4 is, and iirc some other FOSS apps (possibly Firefox) uses it as an OS-agnostic layer.

    Lastly, iirc you can get Bluetooth or wifi devices to plug in to 3.5mm jacks, or USB sockets, and function as wireless-wires for audio (and/or HDMI/DP).
    Last edited by Daneel Trevize; March 12 2018 at 04:53:21 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by QuackBot View Post
    Idk about that, and i'm fucking stupid.

  3. #3
    OrangeAfroMan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick reply

    The SP4 is Windows 10, as is the desktop

    I zero'd out the gain on the desktop's mic input, and I tried both the port on the front of the tower as well as the one on the back, on the mobo - same issue for both. Good ideas though, and there may well be a resistor that's not working properly.

    I think my next step is bluetooth - the SP4 has BT built in, and I have a USB BT xmitter/receiver that I can use on the desktop, assuming it will allow me to set up bluetooth as an audio input.

    I'll look into PulseAudio - I assume I'd need a client running on both the SP4 and the desktop? I was hoping to avoid a more complicated solution but if that's what it takes I'll figure it out.
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  4. #4
    Straight Hustlin's Avatar
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    Hum on low volume or when you don't have active play back is almost guaranteed to be cross talk on an unshielded 3.5 cable. Do you have a ferrous core ring you can loop your 3.5 cable through?


  5. #5
    OrangeAfroMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Straight Hustlin View Post
    Hum on low volume or when you don't have active play back is almost guaranteed to be cross talk on an unshielded 3.5 cable. Do you have a ferrous core ring you can loop your 3.5 cable through?

    Oh, yeah that would make sense. I actually do happen to have one of those laying around, I'll give that a try today!
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  6. #6
    OrangeAfroMan's Avatar
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    The ferrous ring helped a tiny bit but there was still a ton of noise.

    I found my BT dongle for my desktop and paired the SP4 to the desktop, how do I go about setting them up to send audio via bluetooth? Neither is showing up under my audio devices, do I need additional software?
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  7. #7
    Daneel Trevize's Avatar
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    You need Win 10 to act as an A2DP sink, which it might not by default.
    IIRC some cheap/free BT adaptor from ~ a decade ago had the BlueSoleil stack bundled in (on a miniCD that came with it, cute), so I'd assume finding the drivers & software for your dongle will let it do more than just pair.
    Quote Originally Posted by QuackBot View Post
    Idk about that, and i'm fucking stupid.

  8. #8
    OrangeAfroMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daneel Trevize View Post
    You need Win 10 to act as an A2DP sink, which it might not by default.
    IIRC some cheap/free BT adaptor from ~ a decade ago had the BlueSoleil stack bundled in (on a miniCD that came with it, cute), so I'd assume finding the drivers & software for your dongle will let it do more than just pair.
    Wow, that BlueSoleil website is a train wreck visually, really doesn't inspire confidence in running their software on my computer..

    Looks like my best bet is going to be finding a good network streaming setup. I would use PulseAudio but I looked through their website for a bit and Windows seems to be extremely poorly supported, I'm not sure I could even figure out how to install it.
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  9. #9
    OrangeAfroMan's Avatar
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    Solution: The "Line in" on my mobo (blue 3.5mm jack) is working perfectly. No noise artifacts. \o/
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  10. #10
    OrangeAfroMan's Avatar
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    New problem.... now every few minutes my audio will cut off, and to get it to work again I have to disable and enable my headphones. wtf :l





    I have two audio lines, line 1 is my default, line 2 is secondary and both are being 'listen to' by the headphones. The Line in is coming from the other computer and is being listened to on Line 1
    Last edited by OrangeAfroMan; March 13 2018 at 05:12:40 AM.
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  11. #11
    Daneel Trevize's Avatar
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    Check Event Viewer?
    Quote Originally Posted by QuackBot View Post
    Idk about that, and i'm fucking stupid.

  12. #12
    OrangeAfroMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daneel Trevize View Post
    Check Event Viewer?
    I'll give that a look later today, thanks man
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  13. #13
    vDJ's Avatar
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    Power saving feature ?

    Also, as always when audio on windows is concerned, voicemeeter (same dev as Virtual Audio Cable) probably has you covered : https://www.vb-audio.com/Voicemeeter/index.htm or its advanced version, Banana. Has a "send audio on LAN" feature through VBAN.
    It's also free (donationware actually).

    Otherwise, this might be of interest to you : https://www.audinate.com/products/software/dante-via. More pro, less free.

  14. #14
    OrangeAfroMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vDJ View Post
    Power saving feature ?

    Also, as always when audio on windows is concerned, voicemeeter (same dev as Virtual Audio Cable) probably has you covered : https://www.vb-audio.com/Voicemeeter/index.htm or its advanced version, Banana. Has a "send audio on LAN" feature through VBAN.
    It's also free (donationware actually).

    Otherwise, this might be of interest to you : https://www.audinate.com/products/software/dante-via. More pro, less free.
    I'll look at those resources, I use VAC so I know their stuff is good.

    I think something was overheating. The longer I tested it and immediately reset the headphone output the faster it would happen, eventually only going a few seconds before it cut out. I switched to the general audio out jack in the back of the computer and have had zero problem since. Odd.
    Actually an '06.

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