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Discussion Starter #1
I received my talking skull kit on friday and assembled it yesterday. I put a bunch of time into programming the audio, (pirates of the carribbean) using the technique posted by Cessers on the cowlacious website, in which you use a 12-15khz tone to mirror the audio that you want the servo to open with. only thing is that I want to put it on an ipod to stuff in the skull, but it doesnt properly relay the 12-15khz tone. so it works when it is plugged into the computer, but not when plugged into the ipod. does anybody have any ideas? what audio source do you use with your talking skull, CD player, ipod PC etc? what format do you record your audio in. mp3 doesn't seem to work for me. help please!
 

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I'm not familiar with his technique and didn't see it on the site. Is he using Audacity to split the tracks and then have the tone on one track and the audio on the other?
 

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What Halstaff said. You have to split the tracks so that the tone goes to the servo board and the voice track goes to the speakers. You can use programs like Audacity or GoldWave to edit the audio track. You need to get the LameWin (aka RazorLame) add-in for Goldwave to save .mp3 files; I don't know Audacity already has this. When you try to save a .mp3 file in GoldWave it will look for the add-in. If it doesn't find it, it will ask you if you want GoldWave to download and install it for you.
 

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right, i am using audacity. i did slpit the tracks and assign one to left and the other to right. however the scary terry board can be directed to listen in on either or both, they are both passed through to the speakers. and when I export it as an mp3 track it doesnt move the servo. I don't know if it is a limitaion of the ipod or the mp3 format. when I save it as a wav. it works but not when I put it on the ipod. I did have to install the lame plug-in too. what do you use to relay the audio?
 

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Same thing here, I did the mod on my st-400, split my tracks so that voice is on the L and sine wave is on the R, and both are set as mono. I am using audacity with lame and saved my file in mp3 format. I am using Carl's recorder/playback board as well. Audacity tells you that the file will be merged into mono, and the car/p board chip only records in mono. I've tried every way I can think of to record the tracks, I've used mono cables instead of the stereo cables that I bought with everything, and the servo just goes crazy when I play it. I just don't understand, when I hook bucky straight to my laptop and audacity, it works perfect. I do have a small bit of echo in the voice track, which may be part of the problem, but I cannot for the life of me get the voice to play on both speakers, and the echo doesn't seem to affect anything when hooked directly to audacity. I also had to record the voice at 44100 Hz so I could get the sine wave track to record at 22050...this was the only way I could get rid of the "tone" sound in the speakers, and I also had to amplify the sound in audacity to drive the servo board. I am open to any suggestions as the last two weeks of "playing" with it have resulted in nothing but frustration on my part.
 

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Are you uploading a MP3 file into the recorder/playback board? Those ISD chips will accept a MP3 file, which is kinda weird given the type of device, but really work best with .wav files. If you have a stereo file, voice on one track and beep on the other, and it merges into mono you'll have everything on the single mono track. The bottom line is that you can't do the beep track thing in mono. If you have both the beep and the voice going to ST-400, I'm not surprised that that servo is acting strangely. You'll have to lose the beep track and save the voice only as a mono file.
That said, here's how to get the sound to both speakers. Use a mono-to-two mono splitter or cable coming out of the player board. Using a mono cable, plug one side to the ST-400 input and plug a mono-to-stereo adapter into the other jack on the splitter/cable. This will split the mono input signal into two identical mono outputs. Plug your speakers into the adapter and you're golden.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I just went through this as well, what I did in audacity was to download whatever track you are going to use, at the left of the beginning of the track there is the button right above the mute button. press that and select split stereo track. now you can edit each track individually. delete the left or right channel, then import your trigger tone and edit accordingly. when you are done go back and select merge stereo track and it will put it back together. just make sure that you have the jumpers on the board set to monitor the correct channel. this worked perfect for me. Also, when you seperate the stereo track you can adjust the volume for each track. I turned up the volume on the voice track and down on the trigger tone in an attempt to drown it out a bit.

unfortunately, I am running mine off of an Ipod and it just doesn't have the juice to run a 22khz tone at a level that will run the servo, so I had to use a 12khz tone. what I did though was to run a single Ihome rechargable speaker and placed it at the top of the board and "filtered" it through the batting, velvet and the hat it's self. this actually worked. I can hear the servo more than the trigger tone.

here is a pic of it.
 

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Makes total sense to me, off to ratshack to get the extra cord. BTW, audacity will let me do all of the converting I need, correct? Thank you for your help!!!
All you really need to do is to copy your voice track into an Audacity mono file for uploading to the Cow player board. The mono output from the Cow player board will be split into two, one for the servo driver board and one for the mono-to-stereo adapter that you plug your speakers into.
 

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I just checked the manual for the ST-400 again, and I see that it has a stereo input jack for the audio signal, as well as a stereo output for connection to speakers. My ST-300 doesn't have this feature. I can't find a manual for the recorder/player board, but I have to assume that it has a mono output jack given that it can't record stereo tracks. This means that you should be able to record a stereo track on Audacity with the voice on both tracks, and run that into the ST-400. Your computer speakers would plug directly into the stereo output jack on the ST-400 and since both tracks are identical you should get sound thru both speakers.
Hope you get this before your trip to RS.
 

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didn't get it, but thats what receipts are for, lol!! anyway, no problem...yes, the st-400 has stereo on input and output, but the cow recorder/playback is mono, mono. ***EDIT: The manual says that I should be using stereo cables for both input and output on the recorder as well. BTW, this is the CAR/P 325 *******
I understand what you are saying about making a stereo track of the voice in audacity, but how do I add the tone in, or is it a case of "need a second playback board"? Everything that gets recorded into the playback board goes to mono, comes out mono, and IS getting split back into stereo thru the servo board. I would just be happy if I could record both tracks, merge them into one (without it screwing around with the servo board) and be able to hear the voice out of both speakers. You would think that getting both the servo and recorder boards from the same place, they would be built to be totally compatable, go figure????
 

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Is there anything else out there that can be triggered to record this on?

EDIT...I was able to copy and paste my voice track into another stereo track, and now have voice out of both speakers!!! I am now thinking that when I amplified the sound in audacity, I did it too much and that may be causing the servo to go haywire... If I could just figure out how to undo that edit, without undoing everything else, I might have it made!!
 

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Latest findings...The sine wave tone is NOT, I repeat, NOT driving the servo at all. I muted that file and just played the voice (in stereo) and the voice file is what is driving the servo. Not sure if having the voice file at 44100Hz could be the problem, but if I lower it, it really screws up the sound of the recording. This car/p 325 board has four settings with 12kHz being the highest as far as quality...but it lowers the recording time (I only need about 12 seconds for the script).I am really starting to hate this audacity software! At least, with the help I have gotten, we have got the problem narrowed down to software, all the hardware is working like it should!!!
 

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As I mentioned before, the tone track can't be used with a mono player device. If your plan is to have the player board in loop mode then I suggest a cheap MP3 player. Add some silence, say, 30 secs, to the sound file to increase it's length and set it to loop the track. That way you can use a tone track and not have the file play back to back - you've built in a virtual delay.
If you're committed to the Cow player board, you're kinda stuck. Did you try converting the sound file to .wav format? The ISD chip may like that format better than .MP3 and its native mono.
 

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Well, I have sound out of both speakers from the recorder board, and the jaw works half-a$$ed. This is going to have to do for this year. I am really disappointed in having spent this kind of money on these boards to have them work as sorry as they do. If anyone has any suggestions for a higher end servo driver and recorder/playback board for next year, please let me know. Thank you for all of the help that was given to me, Ray
 

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I assume that you've tried all of the adjustments and response options on the ST-400? I have to tweak the daylights out of my ST-300 to get an acceptable jaw action.
If you want to use a better board, I suggest the AutoTalk E2 from Blue Point Engineering. I'm using one of them on a Bucky skull and it has way better action than the Cow boards. They go for $65.
 

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I sure have. Almost destroyed where the screw driver goes on the middle pot, lol! I have seen a lot of your work over the last few years, and anything you suggest, I will take to heart!! Even though it wouldn't get here next week, I may go ahead and order one! Thank you soooo much for your help!!!
 

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As everyone knows around here, its crunch time, and when this time arrives every year, everything BREAKS!! Just got home from work to mount the skull and boards back to bucky, and the wife wanted to see how it worked...I just found out exactly why I was only getting sound in one channel...the audio output on the recorder board just broke completely off. I examined it, and with a pencil soldering iron, I can fix it, but the disturbing part is that I was charged $76 for this board with shipping, and it has all appearance that this had been broken off before and haphazardly repaired...

I just cannot wait to get up in the morning and see what else has fallen apart on its own, while I was in bed...
 
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