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Old 30th December 2010, 10:12 PM   #11
PGDO is offline PGDO  Netherlands
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Mickeymoose:
Looks like a good solution together with Pete Millit's soundcard interface.
Only problem seems to be that there are apparently no W7 64bit drivers for the E-MU 0404 at the moment.

Peter
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Old 2nd January 2011, 01:43 AM   #12
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I think Creative Suggests the Vista 64 Drivers. I use them on my 1616m with no issue. I should try setting it my 404 up on my 7 64 bit machine.
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Old 2nd January 2011, 01:18 PM   #13
PGDO is offline PGDO  Netherlands
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SGregory:
Would appreciate it if you could try the Vista drivers for the 404 on W7.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 06:28 AM   #14
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Hi Nevermind,

TiePie claims 16 bit measurements (95db) which should be sufficient (have a look at their application note)

The thing with soundcards is that I don't thrust them that much as they are working in a noisy environment. Besides I read somewhere that their sampling rate is to low?

Also an concern is the high voltages used in tubeamps and the possibility of damaging the soundcard.

Thanks,
Peter
There are a number of issues with sound cards in a computer that simply do not exist with standalone, purpose-built test equipment. Not the least being computer companies and test equipment companies have very, very different attitudes when it comes to specification; if you assume something you may be very disappointed.

For example, there are many, many 24/192 sound cards, internal and external, that can only play back at 192Khz, record (ie your input for your test suite on the computer) is limited to 96Khz. Some have DC at the outputs. Some have poor IM distortion performance or the S/N figures are only valid with a single sine wave and fall with any other complex signal. Reducing level from 0dB means reducing bit depth. I honestly don't know of any 16-bit cards that can resolve more than 12-13 bits maximum; the rest is lost to noise or other issues. Some resample all data, even if you don't tell it to. And so on.

Broadly speaking you will not find good comprehensive specifications on the card from the manufacturer; the tendency is just to say nothing if there is any issue at all. You will have to hunt down tests online performed by competent, knowledgable users (which I encourage you to do) who are much rarer, whenever the word "computer" is involved, than many of us would like, to discover these limitations.
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Last edited by Johnny2Bad; 3rd January 2011 at 06:53 AM.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 12:01 PM   #15
PGDO is offline PGDO  Netherlands
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Johnny2Bad;
I agree with your comments however souncards are a cheap solution to tryout.

The Peter Millit interface together with the external EMU 0404 soundcard looks promising, see Test & Measurement interface for Soundcard
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Old 3rd January 2011, 12:17 PM   #16
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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indeed sound cards can be an issue if PSRR and housing is an issue, but there are many external soundcards that will allow external power supply, as well as some computers and internal cards that have been well implemented, like my RME9632 for example. then you have the millet solution, which I have also had my eye on, looks very good
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Old 3rd January 2011, 03:41 PM   #17
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Go to "Search" on this forum and type in emu0404 for some user comments!
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Old 4th January 2011, 04:31 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by qusp View Post
indeed sound cards can be an issue if PSRR and housing is an issue, but there are many external soundcards that will allow external power supply, as well as some computers and internal cards that have been well implemented, like my RME9632 for example. then you have the millet solution, which I have also had my eye on, looks very good
I agree; I'm an RME owner myself.

But with such a card we are now getting to a point where it's no longer a cheap option, or at least, where standalone equipment, carefully selected in the used market, should be reconsidered value-wise.

My comments were intended to make people aware that you need to proceed with caution and research your interfaces carefully. Many people in the computer field make too many assumptions and view the hardware as completely interchangeable when in fact it does matter. Perhaps worse, I would not want someone to buy something thinking it met their needs only to find later it did not.

I hate to say this, but I believe that sooner or later there comes a time where you need to use both. Purpose-built gear tackles measurement uncertainty with careful implementation of solutions and the confidence of repeatable measurement procedures ... there is a consistency that is valuable. Computer based solutions are complex and there is always the risk that some thing you didn't know about the setup can render previous measurements uncertain ... but the software is capable of tremendous flexibility.
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Last edited by Johnny2Bad; 4th January 2011 at 04:58 AM.
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Old 28th January 2011, 03:54 PM   #19
PGDO is offline PGDO  Netherlands
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Default The Pete Millett soundcard interface

This is the final update to let you know what solution I have gone for.

Pieter from Tribute audiotransformers had a soundcard interface from Pete Millett which I assembled for him. He let me use the interface the past couple of weeks, thanks Pieter.

I have used the interface together with an E-MU 0404 USB soundcard and a couple of measurement programs via the ASIO interface. For most purposes I found the ARTA program the best.

It takes some practice to get good measurement, especially to have a setup and measurement which is reproducible.
All in all a good solution and I decided to buy the interface pcb from Pete Millett for myself.




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The Pete Millett soundcard interface.

Click the image to open in full size.

Arta loopback measurement via the soundcard interface.

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A measurement at 1 kHz 1 watt of an amplifier.

Last edited by PGDO; 28th January 2011 at 03:59 PM.
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