Questions

In the following list we've tried to answer the questions that are asked most commonly. If you don't find the answer to your question here then please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to provide you with an answer.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. How do I make sure I've connected the Overture 192 audio interface to my amplifier correctly?
  2. How do I make Windows Media Player use the Overture 192 audio interface?
  3. How do I make iTunes or WinAmp use the Overture 192 audio interface?
  4. How do I play FLAC and Ogg Vorbis audio files?
  5. How do I make sure I get the best audio quality from the Overture 192 audio interface?
  6. Where can I get high quality audio files?
  7. What sample rate should I select?
  8. How do I get the Overture 192 audio from the headphone connector on the front of my PC?
  9. How do I make the Overture 192 Control Application start up with Windows automatically?
  10. How do I stop Windows system sounds coming out of the Overture 192 audio interface?
  11. How do I play music through the Overture 192 audio interface and make Windows system sounds come out of my PC audio output?
  12. My headphones cable doesn't reach the headphones connector on the Overture 192 audio interface, what can I do?
  13. How can I stop my headphones playing when I'm listening to the Overture 192 audio interface through my amplifier?
  14. How can I stop my amplifier playing when I'm listening to the Overture 192 audio interface through my headphones?
  15. Why does my amplifier not recognise the digital output from the Overture 192 audio interface?
  16. How do I use the Overture 192 with my Native Instruments Software Synthesizers?
  17. Will my headphones work with the Overture 192?
  18. The sound out of the Overture 192 sounds distorted - what have I done wrong?
  19. I followed all of the instructions and checked the FAQs but something's still not right - what should I do next?
  20. What's the warranty on the Overture 192 Audio Interface?
  21. How do I get the Overture 192 Audio Interface to work with Windows 7?
  22. Why does the volume control in my application not change the volume of the Overture 192 card?
  23. Why can't I select 82.kHz or 176.4kHz sample rates in Windows Vista or Windows 7?


1. How do I make sure I've connected the Overture 192 audio interface to my amplifier correctly?

There are two main ways to connect your Overture 192 to your amplifier.

Firstly, you can connect using analogue signals. Connect the stereo outputs from the Overture 192 (the red band is the right channel and the white band is the left channel) to your amplifier's R/L inputs.

Secondly, you can connect using the digital outputs of the Overture 192 to your implifier if it has the matching digital inputs. The Overture 192 supports both common types of digital outputs - optical (on the small rectangular shuttered socket) and electrical digital (on the RCA connector at the bottom of the board).

Whichever way you choose to connect you can be assure that the output quality of very high indeed, with 192kHz sampling rate supported on all outputs.

When you have connected the Overture 192 to your amplifier or AV system you can use the test tone buttons on the Levels panel in the Control Application to make sure that you have made the connections correctly.

To get the very best audio quality, we recommend that you use high quality connection cables and we have a selection of these in our Shop.

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2. How do I make Windows Media Player use the Overture 192 audio interface?

Simple.

In Windows Media Player, bring up the Tools menu and click on Options...

In the Options panel, select the Devices tab, click on Speakers and then on Properties.

In the Speaker properties panel you will find a drop down menu for selecting the Sound playback device to be used by Windows Media Player, which contains all of the audio output devices that are configured on your computer.

From this list, select the Overture 192 as your output device and click on OK.

When you have changed the output device you must exit Windows Media Player and then start it again so that your change takes effect.

This will allow the normal computer "bings" and "bongs" still to be sent to the standard system output device, leaving the Overture 192 output to concentrate on your music.

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3. How do I make iTunes or WinAmp use the Overture 192 audio interface?

iTunes and WinAmp, as standard, don't have the same capability as Windows Media Player to be able to output to a specific audio device, so to play music from these applications you simply need to set the Overture 192 as your system output device.

This can easily be achieved in Windows XP by right clicking on the Overture 192 Control Application (either on the system tray icon or within the actual application panel) and selecting the Overture 192 in the System Device menu.

In Windows Vista, select the Overture 192 as the system device by right clicking on the speaker icon in the system tray and selecting the Playback Devices option. Then, in the Sound panel select your chosen device and click on Set Default.

In both cases, use the same method to switch back should you need to.

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4. How do I play FLAC and Ogg Vorbis audio files?

Flac and Ogg are music encoding methods that allow the original source material to be preserved whilst at the same time compressing the data. These are then expanded back to the original at the time of playback.

You can obtain/buy specific player software to do this.

Alternatively, there is an easier way if your player of choice is Windows Media Player, where all you have to do is to install a plug-in codec set that allows a variety of file types to be supported for playback.

Once you have installed such a plug-in you can easily playback a ".flac" file, for example, at up to 192kHz sampling rate - but be prepared for these files to be pretty large!

Here at Cantatis, we've used the codecs from www.xiph.org with no problems.

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5. How do I make sure I get the best audio quality from the Overture 192 audio interface?

There are various steps you can take to ensure you get the very best out of the Overture 192 Audio Interface.

Firstly, make sure that the files you are using are the best possible. Playing a 64kbps MP3 file is always going to sound bad, so have appropriate expectations.

On the other hand, a high resolution, 24-bit, 192kHz sample rate FLAC file will probably sound as good as it gets - files like this are often called "Studio Masters" and for good reason.

Remember a CD is pretty good quality - that's 16-bit 44.1kHz sample rate by comparison, so a "Studio Master" file should sound far better than a CD of the same material.

Secondly, getting set-up properly is important.

Every time some bit of software modifies the audio path then distortions, noise and "bad things" can be very quickly introduced. Therefore, turn off as many of these horrors as possible. For example, graphic equalisers, SRS sound enhancers, 3D effects, room modelling features, spatial enhancements and volume attenuators etc.

Volume controls are really a source of noise and distortion. As far as possible, try to ensure that the output from the Overture 192 is as close to maximum as possible. Use the Level bars in the Control Application to test this. Then use your pre-amplifier/amplifier to set the volume at a comfortable listening level.

Finally, use good cable connections - they can make a real difference. Why buy a premium Audio Interface and then spoil it by using poor interconnect cables. See our Shop for selected cables to allow the best sound to be achieved.

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6. Where can I get high quality audio files?

There are a growing number of websites that allow you to download files at good quality.

Firstly, Linn produce a growing number of fabulous recordings (www.linnrecords.com) at a variety of qualities, including Studio Masters. Some are even available in 24-bit, 192kHz - the perfect choice for really giving the Overture 192 Audio Interface content it deserves.

www.HDTracks.com also has a wide range of very well recorded albums largely by Chesky Records, and many 24-bit, 96kHz FLAC format. Wonderful clarity from a master of recording.

If you are restricted to downloading from iTunes or other download sites, then we recommend checking the format and bit rate before building up your expectations. 16-bit, 44.1kHz files will probably sound "OK", as long as they have been well encoded to MP3 at a higher bit rate such as 320kbps. Try them and see for yourself.

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7. What sample rate should I select?

Well, this is a topic for an entire book!

If you are using Windows XP then the simplest answer is to set the sample rate at "Auto"; this means the Cantatis software will try to use the sample rate of the source file. For example, a CD source will automatically use 44.1kHz, a Studio Master will automatically use 192kHz etc. Whatever is selected to be played will automatically adjust the sample rate setting. You can see this in the Control Application when you play tracks with different sample rates.

Another option would be to set the sample rate at 192kHz. In this case the playback will always be at 192kHz regardless of the source files. This would be termed "upsampling". With Windows Vista or Windows 7 you must select the sample rate you want using this method.

If you are using a digital output to link to your digital amplifier, then you may need to either work out or experiment with the settings. Many slightly-older consumer equipment is limited to processing digital inputs up to 48kHz or 96kHz. In this case you can set the Overture 192 sample rate to a fixed value e.g. 96kHz, and then files will be automatically upsampled, OR automatically downsampled to this rate. Once set, this process is entirely automatic.

This topic is generally an emotive one, and many "experts" will have a strong opinion on this. We'd encourage you to experiment (no damage can be done) and to derive a sampling scheme that you think sounds best.

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8. How do I get the Overture 192 audio from the headphone connector on the front of my PC?

This is very straightforward and is covered in the Overture 192 User Guide - this can be downloaded from here.

The Overture 192 Audio Interface has a 3-pin Front Panel Audio (FPA) header that 'breaks-out' the high quality audio from the headphone amplifier output. This can simply be connected to the existing front panel audio cables that may already be connected to the audio output from your motherboard.

All motherboards are different, so you will need to locate the appropriate cable - perhaps this is most easily done by physically following the wire back from the front panel. Usually the required cable is easy to spot as it is often a small "bundle" of three wires with moulded ends, on which will be something like "L", "R" and "G" for Left, Right and Ground.

Simply connect these to the header on the Overture 192, making sure you have the left and right connections around the right way and that's it!

With this output, you get the very same high quality audio that comes from the top socket on the Overture 192 Audio Interface, so you can be assured of very high performance when using the front panel connection in this way.

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9. How do I make the Overture 192 Control Application start up with Windows automatically?

You can do this in a few ways.

Open the Overture 192 Control Application and right click anywhere on the window to bring up the application menu where you will see the Start with Windows option to allow the application to start with Windows - simply enable this so that it is ticked.

Similarly, you can right click on the Cantatis icon in the system tray and select the same option from there.

For those that like tweaking these things manually, you can drag the desktop shortcut to the Startup folder to achieve the same thing - but this is not as straightforward as the first two methods.

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10. How do I stop Windows system sounds coming out of the Overture 192 audio interface?

11. How do I play music through the Overture 192 audio interface and make Windows system sounds come out of my PC audio output?

When you are listening to your music, the last thing you really want is to hear coming from your hi-fi is the familiar "bong" of an email arriving! Even though it will be at very high quality, and some of the system sounds can sound really good at 100watts output!

If you are using a player that can recognise multiple audio outputs, then we do recommend using a separate output for your system sounds.

For example, Windows Media Player is very easy to set up this way - please see an earlier question on how to set this up.

Other players may also have this same capability.

If all else fails, then you can turn off the vast majority of system sounds in one go, by turning off all of the "Sound Schemes" by going to the Control Panel, selecting Sounds and Audio Devices, selecting the Sounds tab and setting the Sound scheme to 'No Sounds'.

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12. My headphones cable doesn't reach the headphones connector on the Overture 192 audio interface, what can I do?

Simple - purchase an extension cable from our Shop. This offers great value and provides the means to allow your headphones to easily reach around the back of your computer.

It's probably also worth checking to see if your computer has a front panel audio connector as moving a couple of connections internally may give you the Overture 192 headphone output from a front panel socket - this may be all the extra distance you need... and it's free!

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13. How can I stop my headphones playing when I'm listening to the Overture 192 audio interface through my amplifier?

14. How can I stop my amplifier playing when I'm listening to the Overture 192 audio interface through my headphones?

This is straightforward. Open the Overture 192 Control Application and select the Control panel. Here you will see three tick-boxes that allow you to mute difference outputs (the default is that they are all unticked).

The top tick box allows everything to be muted in one go - useful if the phone rings!

The next two boxes allow the headphone output and the main outputs to be independently muted. These are muted in a true "Hi-Fi" manner by utilising small audio-grade relays on the curcuit board of the Overture 192 Audio Interface - you can spot these as the small white "brick" near the connectors. When the appropriate mute box is ticked in the Control panel, you may be able to just hear a small click as the relay is told to mute or unmute the output.

These relays are also used on power up. There is a short delay that keeps the outputs muted while Windows starts up, which avoids and "bumps" and "pops" that can be caused by DC voltages at the output as the computer power supplies settle down.

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15. Why does my amplifier not recognise the digital output from the Overture 192 audio interface?

Normally there is only one reason for this - sampling rates.

The Overture 192 Audio Interface is likely to be more capable than your amplifier in terms of the supported sampling rates over a digital connection. Generally, consumer Hi-Fi tends to only support digital signals up to 96kHz sampling rate at best(!) - some older pieces of kit could even hit their limit at 48kHz.

The Overture 192 Audio Interface supports up to 192kHz sampling rate on its digital outputs, mainly for newer and Pro-Audio applications.

If your amplifier doesn't play the digital music from your Overture 192 Audio Interface, then lower the sample rate of the Overture 192's outputs and try again.

It's also worth checking the "bleedin' obvious" too - it's very easy to put an S/PDIF optical cable into an output on your amplifier rather than an input! On some amplifiers there may also be an involved process required to activate these digital inputs.

If your amplifier supports an electrical digital input on RCA connectors, then things can be easier, but the same checks as noted above remain valid.

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16. How do I use the Overture 192 with my Native Instruments Software Synthesizers?

...or indeed any other software synthesizer or sampler output with your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software.

For many software packages you will have a choice of output types. You will need to experiment a little to find the best software configuration in your DAW software to get the best out of the Overture 192 Audio Interface. Typically, the default settings will work fine - just select the Overture 192 Audio Interface as the audio output device, and this will be all that's needed.

The downloadable (full) User Guide for the Overture 192 Audio Interface contains a specific section on use of software synthesisers with the NI B4 as the worked example using ASIO drivers to really minimise the latency with some tremendous results. One of the Cantatis team uses this NI B4 software and has achieved latency figures down to just a few milliseconds. Quite remarkable!

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17. Will my headphones work with the Overture 192?

Almost certainly.

The output stage of the headphone circuit has been designed for an extremely wide range of headphones. We've used this headphone output on the Overture 192 Audio Interface with headphone impedance below 30 Ohms and over 1000 Ohms, so there really should be no problems driving almost any headphone types from in-ear through to the likes of Grado Audiophile headphones.

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18. The sound out of the Overture 192 sounds distorted - what have I done wrong?

This is almost certainly going to point you at the various gain stages within your computer or your amplifier.

You may, for example, have software in the audio chain that boosts output level - this is a very common trick on some lower-end motherboards and lower end soundcards.

Volume means quality ...right? ...WRONG!

The output from the Overture 192 Audio Interface is designed to be a maximum of 2.3 volts rms. This is chosen to be able to provide the rated performance into a quality amplifier.

If you have a whole bundle of software in the audio chain that's boosting things then the ourput may easily become distorted. See an earlier question on how to get the best out of the Overture 192 Audio Interface... essentially turn-off all of the graphic EQ, "monster-blaster" effects etc.

Similarly, if you have a slightly older consumer amplifier, then that may only be able to take up to say 1.8v rms as its input before its input stages become overloaded. Simply turn down the volume in the Windows master volume control panel to avoid the distortion.

Use the Levels panel in the Overture 192 Control Application to assist with this - the ideal is that the test tone will playout at full volume on both channels with no distortion right the way through to your ears!

Remember the old Hi-Fi guideline of getting the source component as perfect as possible... it's only ever downhill from there. This is true in all types of audio systems - once you get a distortion or excess of noise, you can't really get rid of it further down the chain.

The Overture 192 Audio Interface is designed to be one of the very best source components in your audio system... it turns your computer into the best quality Hi-Fi component you're ever likely to own!

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19. I followed all of the instructions and checked the FAQs but something's still not right - what should I do next?

We apologise for the inconvenience and suggest you contact us at Support and we'll do our utmost to resolve your issue.

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20. What's the warranty on the Overture 192 Audio Interface?

Normal warranty for the Overture 192 is 12 months from the date of purchase. Please see the Terms and Conditions section for details. However, in the event of a problem, please contact us at Support in the first instance as we're sure we'll be able to help.

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21. How do I get the Overture 192 Audio Interface to work with Windows 7?

If you use the latest Cantatis Overture 192 drivers available here then you don't have to do anything special as the latest installer works smoothly on Windows 7. However, if you are installing older drivers then you may need to follow the process below.

Windows 7 is the latest operating system from Microsoft, which is built on the foundation of Windows Vista. As such, the Vista drivers supplied with the Overture 192 will work with Windows 7 but they must be installed in a slightly different way.

We've tested this process and the Overture 192 software on the Windows 7 Release Candidate downloaded from Microsoft to make sure that you can get going as soon as Windows 7 is released officially.

Install the Overture 192 Audio Interface card as described in the User Guide, start up Windows 7 and log in as normal.

Insert the Overture 192 software CD into the CD or DVD tray of your Windows 7 computer and allow the Cantatis Overture 192 Control Application to install then click on Close.

When the installer attempts to install the Overture 192 driver it will not succeed and an error will be displayed. Click on OK to close the error then in the Install Wizard Completed dialogue click on Finish to stop the driver installation process.

Now perform the following procedure to install the Overture 192 driver:

1. Open the Start menu and select Computer, to display the explorer window containing the devices in your system.

2. In the explorer window right-click on the Cantatis Overture 192 CD or DVD drive and select Open from the menu to open an explorer window showing the contents of the Overture 192 installation CD.

3. Double-click on the Driver folder to show the driver installation files.

4. Right-click on the Setup.exe application in this folder and select Troubleshoot compatibility from the menu. Make sure you use the Setup.exe in the Driver folder and not the one in the top level folder of the CD.

5. In the Program Compatibility dialogue, select the Troubleshoot program option then select The program worked in earlier versions of Windows but won't install or run now and then click on Next.

6. In the list of Windows versions that are displayed, select Windows Vista and then click on Next.

7. Review your settings and then click on Start the program... to start the driver installer (there may be a short delay before the installer appears depending on the performance of your computer).

Follow the driver installation process for Windows Vista as described in the Overture 192 User Guide and when the installation is complete and you have restarted your computer then the Overture 192 Audio Interface will function in Windows 7 the same way as it does in Windows Vista.

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22. Why does the volume control in my application not change the volume of the Overture 192 card?

Most well written Windows audio applications such as Windows Media Player or iTunes use the Wave volume control to control the volume of their output as the Master Volume control should really only be changed by the user, not by applications.

However, some applications do use the Master Volume control and because the Overture 192 is a digital output card with both analogue and S/PDIF digital outputs, Windows treats the card as a "digital" output and therefore does not allow the Windows Master Volume control to change the volume of the output (as digital S/PDIF outputs must be at a fixed volume).

However, as the Overture 192 is a "wave" device, the Windows Wave volume control can be used to control the volume of the Overture 192 output. This effectively controls the volume of the sound signal going into the Overture 192 drivers from applications that play sound.

You can access the Wave volume control by right-clicking with your mouse on the speaker icon in the system tray and selecting Open Volume Control from the menu. Then use the Wave volume slider to control the volume of sound to be played by the Overture 192. The volume of other sources of audio can also be controlled here.

For convenience, there are many applications available for download that can "link" the Master Volume and the Wave volume together so that you can use the pop-up slider on the speaker icon in the system tray to effectively control the Wave volume or to allow non-conforming applications to change the volume of wave devices such as the Overture 192.

One such application, called "Volume Tracker", can be obtained here:

http://www.chrisnet.net/apps/VolumeTracker.zip

Extract the VolumeTracker.exe from the ZIP file and put it somewhere useful e.g. on your desktop, so that you can run it when you want to.

If you want the application to start up automatically when you sign in to Windows then create a link to the application in your Programs > Startup menu.

When you run the program, it puts a small icon in your system tray. Double-click on this icon to show the application's window and make sure that the Follower: drop down menu is set to Wave.

NOTE: On some PCs we have found that Volume Tracker can consume a significant amount of processing (CPU) power and this might have an adverse affect on some audio applications. If you are using Volume Tracker and you are having problems with a particular application then you might be advised to stop using Volume Tracker.

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23. Why can't I select 82.kHz or 176.4kHz sample rates in Windows Vista or Windows 7?

Windows Vista introduced a new driver model and audio system that was aimed at making the selection and configuration of audio devices more simple for the user. This new audio system has continued in Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 7.

This new audio system makes it the user's responsibility to set the sample rate and bit depth of the audio output for each audio device in the system and a sample rate converter has been introduced into the Windows system to convert the output from all audio applications into the single sample rate that the user has selected for the current audio output device.

The Overture 192 audio driver is a traditional Microsoft WDM driver and has been tried and tested for many years on Windows systems from Windows 98 onwards. This means that it is very robust, very high performance and is acknowledged as "bit perfect" and essentially "bug free".

This does mean, however, that you must select the sample rate in two places for Windows Vista and Windows 7. First you must select the desired sample rate in the Overture 192 Control Application and then you must set the same sample rate in the Windows playback device control panel.

Thankfully, the Overture 192 Control Application will helpfully open the playback devices control panel for you whenever you change the sample rate to make this easy for you to remember.

The audio system in Windows Vista has a limitation in that it does not allow you to select a sample rate of 88.2kHz or 176.4kHz so these are not available in the Overture 192 Control Application in Windows Vista.

Windows 7 does allow selection of these rates but only at 16-bits so again, they are not available in the Overture 192 Control Application in Windows 7. A later version of software may be released that does allow for selection of 88.2kHz and 176.4kHz at 16-bits. The Windows 7 platform is still in the process of being developed by Microsoft and the audio part of the operating system is still subject to some changes by Microsoft at this time. If you have a particular need to select these rates now then please contact Cantatis Support.

Note that as the Overture 192 audio driver is a highly reliable and well tested WDM driver it does not support the new WASAPI interface that allows for "exclusive mode" access to the device driver so you must select the desired sample rate and bit depth using the Overture 192 Control Application and Windows playback devices control panel as described above.

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