Moving CPU to closet to reduce noise - USB, HDMI, Thunderbolt over Ethernet vs isobox?

Chud

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Anyone have experience with either building an isobox for their CPU or moving it to a ‘nearby’ closet that would require longer wiring runs than what most passive digital cable lengths suggest/recommend? I’m leaning toward the latter, and have 35-40 ft of wiring run required with that route that would require a repeater/extender setup, and the most popular seems to be over Ethernet.

Anyone here do similar either pro level or at home and can comment on quality/stability? I could shorten the run by going through a wall, but don’t really want to do that.

I do have room under my desk for a cooled/ventilated isobox, but that seems like a lot more work and expense than just buying a few Ethernet repeaters and extra cables. Lol

Thanks in advance for ideas and thoughts!
 
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Alex_C

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Is this a gaming PC? I'm wondering why it is so loud.
I've run HDMI over ethernet, but that is it. The run was about 100ft. Worked well.
 

Chud

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Is this a gaming PC? I'm wondering why it is so loud.
I've run HDMI over ethernet, but that is it. The run was about 100ft. Worked well.
It’s a 2011 Mac Mini server w an SSD and a big old HDD. It’s nearing the end of its useful life, but still has a few years of recording studio use left before it’s relegated to library, backup, or media server duty and I pony up for an M1.

I have a smallish basement studio that is next to the boiler room w very little ventilation, so the room is warm and the fan runs a lot. Just kind of is what it is when using condenser mics, everything gets picked up. The further away I can move it, the better.
 
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fleezinator

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I used this kvm over Ethernet to record my voice overs and tutorials in the closet while keeping the PC in my office.
I don’t have thunderbolt but I was able to connect my monitor, keyboard, mouse and focusrite 2i2 interface mostly without issue. I say mostly because i was getting visual dropouts a few times each minute. Just little blips of black. Audio recorded without issue and no crashes. I’m not sure if it was a graphics card driver or the kvm itself or the run length but in the end I got used to it during the short time I used it. My house is wired for Ethernet I’m unsure exactly the distance but it was probably over 75ft.

I’d recommend it if you can test it and ensure you don’t have any dropouts.
 

Chud

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I was looking at that unit because it does combine parts of both the usb and hdmi that I’m looking for, but my old Mac won’t support two monitors off one output. I have to use the hdmi port for one monitor, and the v1 thunderbolt for the second.

I’m looking at two of these for video:

HDMI Extender 196ft HDMI Over Single Cat5E/6/7 HDMI Repeater HDMI Balun Sender Transmitter Receiver Support 1080p 3D HDMI 1.4a HDCP EDID https://a.co/d/gwrIPrv

And one of these for USB I need at the desk:

USB Extender 165ft Kit with 4 USB 2.0 Hub, Over Single Ethernet Cat5e/6/7 Up to 165ft(50m), Plug and Play, No Driver Needed, USB RJ45 LAN Extension https://a.co/d/0uAI8Bd

The three of those plus all cabling are less than $200 and I have rewards/gift cards for more than half, so I’d be all in under $100. And I’ll still need all of those pieces whenever I upgrade to a new(er) Mac Mini.

I will only need the Thunderbolt over Ethernet if I end up expanding storage and docking options with this at some point:


My trackpad and keyboard are Bluetooth, so I may need a usb Bluetooth extender as well once I actually move the CPU to the closet. I tested both of them from the closet and they worked, but it may be different when the receiver is behind walls vs the transmitters. That’s the least of my worries though. Lol.
 

LutherBurger

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I keep my computer, modem, router, external drive, etc, inside a cabinet that's integrated into my desk. It's attached to a wall and gets air from the next room through a vent in the wall. My equipment rack and mixer sit on top of the cabinet and all of the cables (monitor screen, USB, telephone, etc) run through a small hole in the top of the cabinet.

It's pretty quiet and doesn't require any extra-long cabling. Aside from mic and instrument cables, I don't think any of my cables are longer than 6' or 2m.
 
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Boreas

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My issue with a remote computer usually is the latency increase with longer runs. Have you tried to set it up with minimal use of HD when recording? Perhaps record to the SSD and then move to HDD for editing? Large capacity SSDs are getting pretty cheap, and can be moved to a new computer when you upgrade. Personally, I think I would just throw a comforter over it when recording...
 

Chud

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How long are the physical runs you’re doing where latency becomes an issue? From everything I’ve read, hdmi/usb over Ethernet only adds microseconds, not even milliseconds latency at hundreds of feet. At 50’ it wouldn’t be noticeable unless you had a clock on it. A clock that clocked in microseconds. Lol

Recording to the SSD isn’t a bad idea though, and I’m definitely rethinking my current drive configuration. I’ve always followed the convention of running the daw from one drive and recording to another to make sure there are no read/write bandwidth issues, but that may not really be a thing anymore with SSD’s.
 

Chud

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I picked up all of the extender boxes and cabling to give moving the CPU to the closet a try. Should have time to get everything moved and set up this weekend and will post up some thoughts. Thanks all for the ideas!
 

Boreas

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How long are the physical runs you’re doing where latency becomes an issue? From everything I’ve read, hdmi/usb over Ethernet only adds microseconds, not even milliseconds latency at hundreds of feet. At 50’ it wouldn’t be noticeable unless you had a clock on it. A clock that clocked in microseconds. Lol

Recording to the SSD isn’t a bad idea though, and I’m definitely rethinking my current drive configuration. I’ve always followed the convention of running the daw from one drive and recording to another to make sure there are no read/write bandwidth issues, but that may not really be a thing anymore with SSD’s.

I was curious about this as well, and the answer seems to be - "it depends". I was going to add a "long" run of 10 feet on a USB-C cable to my Scarlett, and everyone - especially the manufacturer - advised against it. Undaunted, I tried a 10 foot cable and I can usually minimize the latency effects, but they seem to change with every session, and even during session. I would assume this drift multiplies exponentially with even longer runs.

But hey, try it and let us know how it works. Just don't cheap out on cables and consider running them through some kinda shielded conduit. Another thing that was suggested to me was to use hubs that amplify signal every so often. Didn't even investigate that because it was getting too complicated for my simpleton recordings.
 

Chud

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I was curious about this as well, and the answer seems to be - "it depends". I was going to add a "long" run of 10 feet on a USB-C cable to my Scarlett, and everyone - especially the manufacturer - advised against it. Undaunted, I tried a 10 foot cable and I can usually minimize the latency effects, but they seem to change with every session, and even during session. I would assume this drift multiplies exponentially with even longer runs.

But hey, try it and let us know how it works. Just don't cheap out on cables and consider running them through some kinda shielded conduit. Another thing that was suggested to me was to use hubs that amplify signal every so often. Didn't even investigate that because it was getting too complicated for my simpleton recordings.
You maybe missed the part where I’m not just doing longer cable runs, but am using active USB and HDMI over Ethernet boxes that manage the signal over the longer runs. There’s going to be a little added latency with the conversion, but it’s on the scale of microseconds so I don’t expect anything even close to noticeable.

I’ll post up my findings, and if it don’t work, it don’t work lol. I’ll return the active boxes and buy a blanket lol
 

Boreas

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You maybe missed the part where I’m not just doing longer cable runs, but am using active USB and HDMI over Ethernet boxes that manage the signal over the longer runs. There’s going to be a little added latency with the conversion, but it’s on the scale of microseconds so I don’t expect anything even close to noticeable.

I’ll post up my findings, and if it don’t work, it don’t work lol. I’ll return the active boxes and buy a blanket lol
I didn't really miss it, I really don't understand the technology that well. I was just passing along my experience in case it would help. Good luck with it and let us know!
 

fleezinator

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I picked up all of the extender boxes and cabling to give moving the CPU to the closet a try. Should have time to get everything moved and set up this weekend and will post up some thoughts. Thanks all for the ideas!
Which ones did you end up going with?
 

Chud

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IT WORKS!!! So far...lol

I made a quick video to show the different components and discuss a bit about what each does and the results. I did some testing with my DAW over USB/cat6 and I don't experience any lag when recording a new track, though it's only a few tracks. That might change with a larger project and all that.



A few things I glossed over in the video is that a) the video monitors are being fed by the two HDMI/cat6 boxes, and b) my mixer/controller operates on ethernet for the mixer itself, and USB for audio recording to the DAW. The mixer run is straight to the router, the DAW run goes from the mixer to the first USB box, to cat6, to the second USB box, and finally to the Mac Mini.

Really cool stuff. It's all a huge mess right now still since I wanted to test before moving everything into place, but it'll all be back in order soon.

image_50381313.JPG image_50369537-2.JPG image_50383873.JPG image_50423809.JPG image_50433025.JPG
 
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Chud

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For a little context on why my Mac mini runs hot. This was at about midnight. Lol
 

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Chud

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Cables are all ran and tucked away, studio is back up and running. Whew! I was going to document but it was way too hot. Lol. I took one pic of laying the 200’ of cat6 cable out to put in the conduit and that’s all I could do. :lol:

FCA35838-4C06-4379-8FA2-42C33FF5BE33.jpeg

Getting all that in place prompted a bit of reorganization that I’ll finish this weekend. With the desk I built last summer, I lost some access to my workbench that’s been bugging me, so I’m finally going to address that.

I slid the desk to the left a bit to make room for the wall of combo amps (and one mini head/cab), and the workbench will move to the wall opposite the desk. I’ll post up some pics when I finish that up tomorrow or Sunday.
 

Chud

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Got everything moved around and reconnected today. Still need to rework some power to give everything full time juice vs switched on juice, but I'm done crawling around underneath things for today. Lol. I have a few usb powered CPU fans arriving today to keep air quietly moving and cool around the router and CPU in the closet, otherwise pretty much done.

Shelving with a few combos and my 5 guitar rack are flanking the right side of the desk now, with my workbench on the wall opposite the desk. So much more room, particularly after I picked up all the random cables and other sh...stuff from the floor that's been an eyesore and obstacle course.

IMG_0598.jpg IMG_0599.jpg IMG_0600.jpg IMG_0608.jpg IMG_0609.jpg IMG_0604.jpg IMG_0595.jpg

And most important of all, it's dead quiet...
 
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Chud

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So the bluetooth keyboard and trackpad were working fine in the main room with the Mac Mini in the closet until it got really hot and humid. Then they both became laggy and unusable. I picked up a $15 bluetooth dongle, plugged it into my USB hub at the desk, ran one line of code in the terminal, and I'm back in business. Gotta love technology.
 
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