Any point in buying a scope for audio work? - diyAudio
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Old 6th March 2011, 08:48 PM   #1
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Default Any point in buying a scope for audio work?

I'm beginning to realize that w/o measurements audio DIY is a hit/miss deal. no point in spending high bucks on boutique parts if something is oscillating and you're not even aware of it.
so... I'm looking at buying some cheap scope for audio-related work. I'm assuming that I can't ask much of it apart from telling if something is oscillating, rough noise measurements or the like. e.g. knowing if the super regulator I've just built is any better than a 7805 if you know what I mean
I don't trust used as that would mean buying from abroad, sounds like really asking for it.
I found some analog Atten (made in China) units that sell for less than EUR 300 new and advertise 5mV/div sensitivity. having used some really entry level digital Tek's at work I'm aware that the calibration is not to be ignored. these Atten scopes being chinese, I don't know what to expect.
I realize that a no compromise scope costs the price of a car (a very good one even) and I know I shouldn't be expecting wonders for less than 300 euros but thought I'd ask. really, I'm not expecting to do jitter measurements with it
would such a thing be of any use in this context? what would you do if you were me?

Last edited by mr_push_pull; 6th March 2011 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 6th March 2011, 09:31 PM   #2
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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I'd look for a used analog Tek scope on eBay from a used equipment broker located somewhere in the EU (keeping shipping and duty reasonable) - someone with a very good feedback rating with well spelled out warranty policies.

IMHO A well cared for used Tek scope is going to be a better and more reliable tool in most instances than a no name scope from China.

I picked up a very good used 2245 on eBay a few years ago for $300, worth every penny I paid for it. (And it was definitely a good deal)
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Old 6th March 2011, 09:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinkr View Post
I'd look for a used analog Tek scope on eBay from a used equipment broker located somewhere in the EU (keeping shipping and duty reasonable) - someone with a very good feedback rating with well spelled out warranty policies.

IMHO A well cared for used Tek scope is going to be a better and more reliable tool in most instances than a no name scope from China.

I picked up a very good used 2245 on eBay a few years ago for $300, worth every penny I paid for it. (And it was definitely a good deal)
You can also look for Hameg, Philips, Trio and some others.
A dual trace 20MHz will do for almost everything.
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Old 6th March 2011, 10:44 PM   #4
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My 20MHz dual channel analogue scope cost about $25 from eBay and it's fine.
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Old 7th March 2011, 04:42 AM   #5
Frex is offline Frex  France
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Hello,

If you think to really use this instruments and buy it as an investment,
i can recommend you the RIGOL DG1052.
Probably the best value for money you could find.
Of course as say Pieter T, you can also find good analog scope on Ebay at very low price. The choice depend on what you really want to do do with, and the money you can spend for !
Regards.

Frex.
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Old 7th March 2011, 11:22 AM   #6
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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A scope is definitely useful for audio. I would say that reliability is more important than an impressive spec. 10-20MHz bandwidth, two traces, and stable triggering are enough to get you started. Make sure you get some 10:1 (preferably switchable) probes too, as some audio circuits won't like the capacitive load of a standard probe cable.
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Old 7th March 2011, 12:25 PM   #7
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I bought a scope off ebay with only one channel working and that has been reliable so far, only paid 60 for it.

I dint get on with second hand dealers very well, they wanted a lot of money just for very old equipment.

Buying new is the ideal thing if you can get a good price.
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Old 7th March 2011, 04:49 PM   #8
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I've got a 20 mhz B&K 2120. Hitachi scope from the same era seem equivalent. My disco mixert was oscillating at 1 mhz, and the only symptom was the fan was running really fast on the power amp and the sound was slightly strange. Not I.M, not H.M. For calibration I use the power line, and zener diodes. It does seem to be stable on gain and the pots are okay.Sync is pretty good. Cost, $40, I could test it with a transistor radio before purchase. Separation of signal ground from power line neutral is important , and a good feature of the B&K that PC "scopes" do not have. No digital power supplies inside to create noise, either.
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Old 7th March 2011, 07:12 PM   #9
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Even the old BKs like my 1477 (20 MHz) work well for audio uses...got mine for about $45 off eBay & after spiffing up the power supply (a 10VDC line was out) it works like a champ.
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Old 22nd March 2011, 09:55 AM   #10
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I found a TEK 2235 on Ebay recently, good at $200. I also have a a recent 20 MHZ Taiwanese and a 16 bit Picoscope even, But I found that oscillation on Mosfet amps couldn't be seen on them. The clear 100 MHz bandwidth is an asset for observing and locating VHF oscillation above the typical 20 MHz CRO limit. Buying a new instrument, even a cheap digital might be a waste of money but like kevinkr suggests, a working analog TEK from a reputable dealer is a great asset.
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