RiffTrax Forum

RiffTrax Discussion => RiffTrax Player (NEW!) => Topic started by: Cut2Riff on March 14, 2019, 06:35:39 PM

Title: An excellent technique for great sound and more power from the RiffTrax Player!
Post by: Cut2Riff on March 14, 2019, 06:35:39 PM
I imagine this is already known to many of you, but this is for the rest of you (without intending to step on the toes of anyone who has already documented this technique)...

Frustrated by the Bluetooth audio lag with your phone running the RiffTrax Player?

Or, if you use a wired audio connection, would you like better, multi-channel sound?

Is your phone, like mine, not powerful enough to work seamlessly with the player? Or does it barely work at all?

Then, as Joel used to say (mimicking Jack Palance, I think): "Do what I do!"

I have several desktop computers running Windows (7 & 10), and even the slowest of them (about 15 years old) can easily run rings around my older model Samsung Galaxy phone in terms of computational power and speed. And I can't imagine any phone performing anywhere near as well as a more modern desktop computer (note that what I'm going to describe would be far more difficult with a laptop, though it could probably still be done with additional hardware).

I had only recently returned to trying the RiffTrax Player again after the -- shall we say "less than optimal" -- experiences I had in the past (but don't get me wrong, this app is obviously based on amazingly amazing code -- hats off to the developers, from a systems programmer!

But as I intimated, not only was my phone not really up to it, but it has no audio output other than the tiny speaker (shudder) or Bluetooth, and neither was tolerable to me. So the other day, it occurred to me that there was an easy and elegant solution: Run an Android emulator on one of my desktops! (An emulator is a software application that runs on a given hardware architecture that mimics a different hardware architecture -- it's not technically a simulator).

I tried three freeware emulators before I chose the only one that worked well for me: Memu (https://www.memuplay.com/). The other two wouldn't install or run properly, but that certainly doesn't mean that they won't for you, and I didn't try the rest of them, since Memu worked perfectly. YMMV.

But an emulator alone isn't enough by itself because that won't solve the audio issues. What you need for that is TWO audio devices (which is why it would be so difficult with a laptop, since you normally can't add another audio card). Now, that might seem exorbitant, but consider this: Every single other desktop computer owner I know bought an "after-market" HD video card (nVidia or AMD), virtually all of which also includes HD audio support. At the same time, very few (if any) desktop motherboard manufacturers fail to include built-in HD video and audio on the motherboard itself, thereby providing the two audio devices you'll need.

But you still need more, but the rest will probably be quite inexpensive. You'll need a way to send the audio output of one device (typically the after-market card) to the input of the other. Why? Because the RiffTrax Player needs to "hear" the movie audio in order to sync to it, and since you're not using your phone's microphone, you'll need some way to allow the app to monitor the movie's sound.

Most setups that have two audio devices will have the multi-channel HD audio being output via HDMI, either direct to the TV or indirectly to a receiver or amplifier. So how do you extract the audio from the HDMI cable to be able to both (1) Send to the other device's input, and (2) continue to the TV or receiver? You buy a cheap HDMI audio extractor, that's how!

This model from Amazon works perfectly and was less than $19 USD:

ESYNIC 1080P HDMI Audio Extractor HDMI to HDMI + Optical TOSLINK SPDIF + Analog RCA L/R Stereo Audio Video Spiltter Adapter Converter for Blu-ray Player Xbox PS3 PS4 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06VVTQY8D/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_title_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1apter+Converter+for+Blu-ray+Player+Xbox+PS3+PS4&qid=1552612376&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull)

You'll need just two other very cheap items: A short HDMI cable that will connect the output of the aftermarket card's HDMI port to the Extractor. The Extractor includes both an HDMI input connector and an output connector, so the signal still gets to the receiver/TV (it passes it through). The other thing you need is the proper audio cable to take the output of the Extractor and send it in to the second audio device. The Extractor linked above outputs RCA stereo if your second audio card doesn't support anything else, but in my case, my second audio card accepts Optical SPDI/F inputs, so I used one I happened to have around the house (but they're very cheap).

Finally, the Extractor mentioned above requires power to operate, and it didn't come with an AC adapter -- but that's a GOOD thing! Instead, it came with a little USB power cable that plugs into any available USB port and powers the unit that way. Why is that better? Because when you turn off the computer, the unit powers down, whereas if you had to use a separate adapter, it would constantly be drawing and wasting power even when it couldn't possibly be of any use.

That's it for this post. In my next (which I'll probably post tomorrow), I'll explain what settings to use in the Memu emulator for running the RiffTrax Player...

Enjoy the riffs in superb sound!
Title: Re: An excellent technique for great sound and more power from the RiffTrax Player!
Post by: Cut2Riff on March 14, 2019, 06:51:03 PM
I forgot to add another extremely wonderful benefit of doing things my way: You don't have to be quiet! You can laugh and talk as loud and as much as you want without the Player getting confused, because it's monitoring the movie's sound electronically rather than acoustically!!
Title: Re: An excellent technique for great sound and more power from the RiffTrax Player!
Post by: Cut2Riff on March 15, 2019, 05:53:09 PM
Well, it looks like everyone already knows the rest.  PM me if anyone has any questions...