Computer Speakers in Addition to the Flex

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  • Question
  • Updated 1 year ago
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I am sure this has been asked before but I can't seem to find much so here it goes.

Sometimes I like to use the Flex's computer for other duties (web search, YouTube).

I currently have my PC speakers plugged into the back on the Flex. How does one hear the audio coming from the computer (music/YouTube etc.)?

Do I need to have another set of speakers plugged into the back on the computer also?

FYI—I have trying plugging my headphones into the front of the speak jack on the PC and still can hear anything from the computer.

Regards,

Larry

n7zdr
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Larry Williamson

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Posted 1 year ago

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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Hi Larry,

You can't really route the PC audio to the Flex. Well, you can but you would essentially be using a DAX device and have to put the radio in transmit and monitor over the speaker. Not really the way it was designed.

A better approach would be to connect the speakers to the PC and just use remote audio from the radio. 

Ria
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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Along those lines, any new recommendations for speakers?  Everyone did like the Bose II Series II but unless you buy it used it has gotten ridiculously priced.  The Bose II Series III apparently generates noise.  So any new models these days that do well in an RFI environment and sound decent?   Thanks & 73 Bob WK2Y
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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I use the Mackie CR4 Creative Reference Multimedia 4" Monitor from Amazon. There's a 3" and a 5" version also. I think the price range is pretty decent but the sound is wonderful if the speakers are placed properly.
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Larry Williamson

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So do I still leave the speakers hooked up to the Flex? Or do I need to install an additional set on the back on the PC?
Thank you
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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You can have two sets if you want (one for PC, one for radio) but you can actually just have one set attached to the back of the PC and use LAN remote audio. This way the PC is generating the audio, not the flex.
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Larry Williamson

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Great--- Thank you, will try it later today.
 

    a.     Disconnect speakers from the Flex and plug them into the back of the PC

    b.     Activate the remote button if I want to hear the Flex audio

If the Flex is OFF, the pc audio should work as normal? 

Thanks,
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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I run a single set of speakers on my computer and use the remote button in SSDR. Sounds good here and lets a fairly costly set of speakers do double duty.

Where I run into problems is balancing out the volumes. Sometimes I'll get blasted out by a windows DING! because I turned up the speaker volume on the computer to hear the radio. It is kind of a balancing act and still I get DINGed! from time to time.

Speakers plugged into the computer will work normally for computer sounds/music even with the Flex off. The Flex is just another audio source and I guess the computer is just a simple audio mixer.

73,
Kev K4VD
(Edited)
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Ken Hansen

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You should be able to dial down theI OS system notifications in the Windows mixer control panel
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Larry, that is correct. For me that is the best way to maximize use of the speakers at the operating position, and as Kev pointed out you can have your speakers do double duty. 
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Mark WS7M

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Or... purchase a small mixer that accepts stereo inputs and has stereo out.  Route Flex output into one mixer input, route PC audio into another mixer input.  Speakers come off the output.of the mixer.

If you spend a little more money you can have some equalization on each input as well as mute.  This also makes it really easy to do things like pan the radio left, computers right etc.

I bought a really nice rack style mixer that I cannot remember the make / model of but I will post an update when I get a chance.
(Edited)
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Bob Craig, K8RC

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This is the official "alpha-geek" method! Nicely done.
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Delbert McCord

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What I do is have 2 sets. I have a better set connected to the Flex, for me I can hear better on them than the less expensive computer speakers.
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0041QBAIA/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

These is the link where I purchased my second set (I have 2 Flex 6300's one for my cabin). The are also beautiful wood case. I think I paid 34$ for them. 
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Ken Hansen

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Nice, like the two inputs and headphone jack.
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Ken Hansen

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LikeRia said, connect speakers to PC, click 'remote' and have Flex route audio to PC.


I bought, but haven't tried the ComSPKR from west mountain radio, they are amplified and purport to be RFI-shielded. About $40 at HRO.


http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pi...


(Edited)
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Rick - N4RZ

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I have the ComSPKR and it works very well.  The cost is $38 from R&L Electronics.
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N0AZZ

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I have used a set of these3 for 3 yrs. or so on my Elecraft K3's and found them to be as good as external speakers from Yaesu and Icom of better than the $300+ sets for them.
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David-N5PSM

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I use the Bose speakers that have dual input jacks,  One for the flex and one for the PC.  I also use audio isolation transformers to eliminate ground loops.
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Clay N9IO

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Exactly what I did including the isolation transformer, works great.

I plugged in to the front speaker connection on the PC.

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David-N5PSM

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I also took a small project box and used a mobile mike holder and DPDT switch.
  When I pick up the FHM-1 it is active.  Whan it's hung-up the Heil-pro-7 is active
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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What does the isolation transformer help with  AC hum, RFI, all the above?
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David-N5PSM

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Ground loops between the speakers and the flex cause issues. A good ground isolator off amazon works fine

 (PAC SNI-1/3.5 3.5-mm Ground Loop Noise Isolator Works with iPod/Zune/iRiver and Others)
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Jay / NO5J

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Or you could do what I do, and treat the speaker/out jack on the radio as a stereo line out jack, many Realtek motherboard soundcard drivers allow you to reconfigure some of the output jacks used for surround sound, to be used as stereo line in's. Then to avoid any ground loops instead of just using a direct 3.5mm line cable, connect the radio out and PC input with a ground loop isolator. Then connect your PC speakers to the speaker out jack on the PC.
The radio's audio will still come out of your PC speakers, but now you can mix that audio stream with every other audio stream being produced by the PC, using the PC/OS audio mixer, so you won't need an external mixer, or any of an external mixers connections that might also need ground loop isolation to avoid ground loop hum in what you hear coming out of the PC speakers.

73 Jay / NO5J
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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There are a variety of options:

1) Many brands of computer speakers have two sets of inputs.  Some use a switch to connect the proper device.  Others, like the Bose Companion that I use, simply use both inputs simultaneously.

2) use a cheap external switch to choose between your rig and computer with your powered speakers.

3) Use a small mixer between the rig & Computer and your powered computer speakers or an external amp & speakers.  (I at one pointed used a small lepai amp and a pair of Dayton Audio speakers.  They sounded very good.)

4) Use a second set of powered computer speakers.

5) Port your computer audio to built-in speakers on you monitor, if you have any.
I am using two 24 inch 1080p TV's as my dual monitors.  They both have internal speakers.  Sometimes I use the TV speakers with the computer instead of paralleling them into my Bose Companion 2 Series 3.  (I haven't had any undue RF noise from MY pair.  Others have reported that they do.)

NOTE:  One problem some people have had with options 1-3, including myself:

When connecting both the computer and rig to the same speakers either with a small mixer, switch, or speakers with dual inputs, there can sometimes be a ground loop between the three devices.  The result is that when transmitting the small ground loop current appears on the audio input of the amp and is amplified.  It sounds like you have RF in your amplifier, but is not removed by using ferrite beads.  The solution is to add an inexpensive ground loop isolator to ONE set of inputs - either from the rig or the computer.  This is simply a small box with a pair of audio transformers and cord that isolates the ground returns of one device from the other.  You can find them on Amazon for under $10. I added one and the problem was cured.

Good luck.

Ken - NM9P
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Larry Williamson

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Thanks for all the replies---- It sounds like there are many different ways to make it work. I do have the Flex front headphone jack going into a mixer (I use a small laptop pc to receive web SDR) this is then mixed into my headphones.
Regards,
Larry  
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David-N5PSM

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My PC does not need to be on :-)

to each his own
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Larry Williamson

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If you radio is less than 7 years old--A PC will be running;)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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My PC is always on!
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Jay / NO5J

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When the pc is off, it doesn't need speakers at all. when I'm working digital I often turn off the PC speakers, But I still use the PC to run the digital mode software. With or without speakers My PC has been running continuously since I assembled it. I figure why not use it for something besides providing fan noise in the shack. 

When I use my Maestro I don't really "need" the PC at all. But the PC stays on doing other things. The radio's usually only on, when I'm in the shack, but I realize many other operators leave the radio on 24/7, and only turn the PC on when they are in the shack. Different stroke for different folks, I suppose.

     SDRgadgets

#FlexRadio IRC chat

   73, Jay - NO5J

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Larry Williamson

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It appears like I created a very interesting topic!
Cheers
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Rick WN2C

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Ken Hansen

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Those are Series III, I thought they gave off RFI/noise?
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Clay N9IO

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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Some have experienced it....like a rogue carrier wobbling and drifting across the band. But not like a comprehensive hash/trash all over the place.

Mine haven't been troublesome. And they sound good!

Are there better out there? Probably. But I have these, and the Lepai/Dayton combo. But the Dayton's would need me to break out my mixer.
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Ken Davis

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All said above will work and work well. My audio issues ended with the installation of a 8 Channel mixer on my desk. I port all audio into the mixer and send the audio to a pair of JBL Control 2P monitor speakers. I even connect my hand held scanners to the mixer. 

Ken
W0KRD
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Phil - WG5D

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I've never even plugged any speakers into my Flex - I always use the PC speakers or a headset plugged into the computer.
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Mark - WS7M

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This is the mixer I use.  I talked to Art Pro and this has ground loop isolation built in.

It fits nicely under the monitor and has plenty of space to expand.  FRS audio sounds great and I can mix in the level I want with the PC audio. 

http://artproaudio.com/mixers/product/mx822/

I drive this into these bose speakers:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bose-MusicMonitor-desktop-speakers-Mdl-302481-001-Silver-w-Remote-Great-Soun...