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Old 9th March 2008, 01:07 PM   #1
fotios is offline fotios  Greece
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Default Visual Analyser, LX.1690 Analyser kit and other MAGICS!!!

In my previous thread, i had occupied with the Silanum Software Visual Analyser (which used from many members as i know) and an oscilloscope-spectrum analyser kit named LX.1690 created from the magazine Nuova Elettronica concretely for using with the Visual Analyser. Both the software and the kit have origin from Italy. From curiosity i bought the main kit and two auxiliary kits (one calibrator for the sound card and one bandpass filter) and thus i paid 130Euros + 35Euros! shipping. The shipping cost it is very expensive and i don't want to express my oppinion. For experienced persons it is obvious.
Anyway, my conclusions after examining this kit, are that is intended probably for use with notebook PCs because usually they don't offer more than one phone output and one mic/line input from its build in sound card. Maybe some very expensive laptops they offer more valuable sound card, i don't know.
This kit is just fine for such cases, because it offers a sampling rate of 44100 Ks/s and a ADC/DAC of 16 bit stereo. It is easy to construct each one by alone if he has the possibility to solder a SSOP device the T.I. PCM2902 which except the double ADC inputs and DAC outputs incorporates ready a USB 1.1 interface (when connected in PC it recognized as USB Audio Codec Device and thus can be used also for music play by the Win media player for example). This chip costs about 10Euros. You can download the full article with schematics and instructions to build this kit from the site of Silanum Software.
In conclusion this kit it is for fun for my demands.
Now about the Visual Analyser of Silanum Software. It is a deficient program, with very narrow band and very coarse especialy in the region from 3KHz and below. Also i discovered that for the bad measurements the main responsible it is its medium to bad quality wave generator. Take into account that the same it is in effect also for the "RMAA"
I tried these all in my workstation PC which revealed all the shortcomings of these systems. And finally i suppose that i will use the kit LX.1690 for music play only or to offer as a gift in anyone want this and he is disposed to paid the postage cost.
Now i am turning back in the begining to find a usefull software. From my research i have located at least two powerfull softwares which also use the PC sound card for making a lot of measurements. The one it is the "SpectraRTA" of Sound Technology Inc. and the second it is the "Multi Instrument Pro-3" of Virtins Technology.
I have compared the two softwares, and proved that the SpectraRTA it is a little more powerfull from the Multi Instrument Pro3. From the other hand the SpectraRTA has a big disantvantage it runs only up to 32-bit operating systems (WinXP for example). On the contrary, the Multi Instrument Pro3 it runs and in 64-bit O.S. (WinXP x64 for example).
Let me now to explain the situation in which i am found this moment. I have for 2 years a P4 3,2GHz P.C. and because i had problems of hung-ups and loss of data when i used my CAD software EDWinXP 1.50 (especialy in the case of Spice simulation) i asked from Visionics an advice to solve this problem. Then, they suggested me to build up a 64bit compatible PC and to install a 64bit O.S. such as WinXP x64, to run my application without problem. Their suggestion indeed proved later absolutelly right. Accordingly, i was builded a powerfull PC (C2D E6850 3GHz, 8Gb DDRAM, MB Intel DQ35JO) so as to be a workstation. In this PC also i was removed my SB X-Fi Platinum from the old P4 P.C. In this 64bit whole system, the X-Fi has a great behaviour in comparison when it was in my old PC. And proved that it takes great assistance from the power of CPU, from the O.S. of 64bit (we must know that the big difference between the 32bit and the 64bit O.S. it is that the second can use all the DDRAM memory which is installed in the PC and thus in my case during the execution of complex program routines, never used a part of HD drive from the swap file of Windows because the big size of memory allows the execution "on the fly"). I have instaled in my 64bit system a trial version of Multi Instrument Pro-3 and his wave generator can produce great waveforms because i can place without problem the X-Fi in a sampling rate of 96000 (i tried also the 192000 and it works in the 8bit mono mode!) and in 24bit (mono mode) and there is not problem! Thus can produce perfect shaped square waves (my great demand from the begining) eliminating thus any addition of IM distortion on the measured signal.
Well, from yesterday after the trials i can confirm that: In a whole 64bit system a sound card can be used for the data aquisition from a DUT in a good Real Time Analyser software and we can get very accurate measurements.
As for the cost?
1) C2D E6850: 225 Euro
2) 8 GB DDRAM: 170 Euro
3) MB Intel DQ35JO: 115Euro
4) SB X-Fi Platinum: 160Euro
5) WinXP x64: 115Euro
SUM: 785Euro

The Multi Instrument Pro-3 costs 200USD
Thus, by upgrading a PC in 64bit and by installing the Virtins Technology software, with a total cost of 930Euros approximatelly we can get proffessional grade measurements. Also we have a powerfull P.C. for our other works.
I don't know the cost of SpectraRTA 1.32 because this offered only by email from Sound Technology and after a request for this.
In this subject have any of you a suggestion? There is a real quandary (dilemma) here: The most powerfull SpectraRTA 1.32 in a less trust system of 32bit, or the less powerfull Multi Instrument Pro-3 in a powerfull and stable 64bit system which can tire to death the capabilities of any sound card?
Your comments or your experience will be precious to me and to EVERYONE else which is confused and "draged here and there" from the "smart" and "free" solutions proposed from many people here or out of the forum. I ask from you, in a counterbalance to mine time-consuming, the tiring attempts, the spiritual and the money cost, some serious comments, responsible answeers and suggestions. The conclusion of course it is that; you may pay to get something good without a prohibitive cost.
What do you propose to us authorities of this forum?

Fotios
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Old 12th March 2008, 03:08 PM   #2
ltxapas is offline ltxapas  Spain
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Hi Fotios,
I was looking for information about the Visual Analyzer and Ive came across with your posts about the Nuova elettronica kit. Its very interesting and you have saved lot ot time (and money) to me. Nevertheless, Have you sent an email to the creator of Visual Analyzer? I think that your experience and comments will be very appreciated for him...
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Old 12th March 2008, 09:37 PM   #3
fotios is offline fotios  Greece
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Quote:
Originally posted by ltxapas
Hi Fotios,
I was looking for information about the Visual Analyzer and Ive came across with your posts about the Nuova elettronica kit. Its very interesting and you have saved lot ot time (and money) to me. Nevertheless, Have you sent an email to the creator of Visual Analyzer? I think that your experience and comments will be very appreciated for him...
Hi ltxapas from the beautyfull Catalunya. Viva Barcha!!!

From my previous post have passed enough days and during this time i made further investigations.
From a first view i am so crazy to construct everything by alone such as i believe also you.
1) Take a look in www.emu.com and from the main page open "usb audio/midi interfaces". In the new window opened you can see two nice external sound cards with fast USB2.0 interface: a) EMU-0202 for 99Euros b) EMU-0404 for 199Euros. Make a little tour in their tec. specifications. Yet the small EMU-202 can make the job of data aquisition (or A/D convertion) by far much better from the LX.1690 due to its 24bit depth and its Sampling rate up to 192000s/s. Also a very important point it is that these cards offered from local agencies and thus you don't have to pay a postage cost of 35Euros to Nuova Elettronica for delivering the kit. I don't speak about the drawback of assembling work to build the LX.1690 kit because i like very much to solder parts on PCBs! The local agency of EMU (EMU is a section of Creative labs) in Greece for orders above 60Euros don't charge shipping cost. Thus the next day of order i can deliver the EMU shipped from Athens to North Greece - where i am living - via a courier service in my house by paying only the cost of sound card. From the contrary, you must pay 95Euros in Nuova Elettronica for the kit and 35Euros express air mail postage to deliver it after one week!! Some times i order parts from a Sweeden company named ELFA and for simple shippment by the ordinary mail service for 13Euros i deliver the order in two days! The same from Farnell.UK. And so on.
2) I have examined thoroughly this software of Virtins Technology www.virtins.com the Multi Instrument Pro-3 which you can download free and full working for an evaluation of 21 days. Its base module (scope, analyser, voltmeter and the nice signal generator) license key costs 200$=130Euro and at any time you can by keys for the rest add on modules (a Spectrum 3D plot, a usefull Data logger, a LCR meter which can also measure the Zin of any amplifier, and a device test plan which can summarize a total of 8 different measurement plots). Each add on module cost 100$ thus with 600$=390Euros you can get the full software. If you buy at once the full package virtins offers a discount of 100$ thus you can get it for 500$=325Euros with unlimited licences for all of you PCs.
Enough the advertisement for virtins tec. I hope they appreciate it and make a better price to me.
From the other hand there is also a more (as i think) proffesional software of Sound Technology www.soundtechnology.com but the men they are rarely seen. They offer only their SpectraRTA 132 for evaluation only for 11 days, they don't offer any price on line, but only after an email request - i have mailed the requests before 5 days and i don't received yet any response - thus my suggestion it is you are not occupied with them. Moreover the SpectraRTA 132 intended most for acoustic measurements because its generator offers only pink noise, sinus etc. Also it does not runs in 64bit systems, while the virtins software altough it is also a 32bit application it runs and in 64bit (although i have some little doubts about the stability on 64bit because during the 3 days of evaluating under WinXP x64 it has presented occasionally hung-ups (3 or 4 times) in big sampling rates of 96000 / 24bit but this seems like caused from my X-Fi Platinum sound card drivers of 64bit. For this reason i was turned in the external sound cards, moreover the USB2.0 transfer protocol it is most faster from the data transmition rates which demands the M.I. Pro-3 software.

Fotios
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Old 13th March 2008, 12:58 AM   #4
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Default Sound Technology Software ...

check out http://www.spectraplus.com/ for the package from the software's authors, who licensed it to Sound Technology ...

Their top package is about 1,000 usd, while ST is multi-kilobuck !

they also have price lists online ...

good luck ...
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Old 13th March 2008, 09:48 AM   #5
fotios is offline fotios  Greece
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Default Re: Sound Technology Software ...

Quote:
Originally posted by torroid88
check out http://www.spectraplus.com/ for the package from the software's authors, who licensed it to Sound Technology ...

Their top package is about 1,000 usd, while ST is multi-kilobuck !

they also have price lists online ...

good luck ...
Many thanks for the link; i tried already the SpectraPlus before 4 days and indeed it is some true that you refer about the license. Unfortunatelly it is intended mainly for sound spectral measurements and me i need a software to make more extensive measurements (such as THD or TIM A weighted or the Zin of an amplifier) because i am occupied with electronic audio projects such as preamps, power amps etc.

Regards
Fotios
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Old 13th March 2008, 02:15 PM   #6
ltxapas is offline ltxapas  Spain
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Hi Potios
Im just looking for a system to get the frequency and phase response of some kind of compontents (mainly capacitors an inductance). Im not an audio expert so I dont understand many of the limitations of Visual Analyzer you talk about. In fact, apart from being free, it has the capabilities to measure phase response (I havent seen this in Virtins soft). Based in your experience, do you think that Visual Analyzer can be suitable for this application? Any advice about how to carry out this task?

By the way, I like a lot how Ronaldinho, Etoo and Messi play footbal but... live in the Basque Country and Im a supporter of Real Sociedad (currently in the second division )
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Old 13th March 2008, 03:41 PM   #7
fotios is offline fotios  Greece
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Quote:
Originally posted by ltxapas
Hi Potios
Im just looking for a system to get the frequency and phase response of some kind of compontents (mainly capacitors an inductance). Im not an audio expert so I dont understand many of the limitations of Visual Analyzer you talk about. In fact, apart from being free, it has the capabilities to measure phase response (I havent seen this in Virtins soft). Based in your experience, do you think that Visual Analyzer can be suitable for this application? Any advice about how to carry out this task?

By the way, I like a lot how Ronaldinho, Etoo and Messi play footbal but... live in the Basque Country and Im a supporter of Real Sociedad (currently in the second division )
Although i haven't examine thoroughly yet this part of Virtins M.I. Pro-3, i am sure that can be done easily because the incorporated seperate LCR module. To my big surprise, day after day, i discover many new capabilities of this software which are amazing for so little cost. Make a download of Multi Instrument Pro-3, it is free for 21 days of evaluation, and the most important it is that all the available modules are included in the trial version and also are working under the true manner. No one menu or submenu it is locked! As for the free Visual Analyser i have point out in my previous post that it has a very coarse representation under 3KHz and you must make continuous zoom to see most clearly the lower part of spectrum. Think it by alone if this is a handy process.

Viva Real Sociedad

Fotios
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Old 17th March 2008, 12:58 PM   #8
ltxapas is offline ltxapas  Spain
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Hi Potios,
Im quite busy now but Ill try it ASAP. If I have success perhaps Ill open a thread becasuse it can be interesting for someone.

thanks for your help
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Old 18th March 2008, 01:48 AM   #9
fotios is offline fotios  Greece
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Quote:
Originally posted by ltxapas
Hi Potios,
Im quite busy now but Ill try it ASAP. If I have success perhaps Ill open a thread becasuse it can be interesting for someone.

thanks for your help
Hi ltxapas

I delivered the EMU-0404 before 3 days and i make continuous tests. It is realy a nice sound card. In the same PC, it has better performance from my PCI SB X-Fi Platinum of 170Euro. And because my PC it is as i wrote before a powerfull original 64bit system, the EMU can run under 192ks/s at 24bit. I tried the same in my old system of 32bit but it is limitted at 96ks/s at 16bit. Where is the difference? Probably in the much better IMD. The M.I. Pro-3 it contains several ready multitone signals for a direct estimation of a parameter according to international standards. A such it is a signal accomplish the SMPTE IMD measurement. It is an unusual parameter which not given by the most constructors, but very interesting. By looping back the outputs of EMU in its inputs i looked amazing things in the Spectrum Analyser of M.I. Pro-3. With its generator and its analyser placed at 192ks/24bit and by taking FFT samples from 65536 and above (in this point there is the need of patient because the long time of 15 sec for each cycle of calculation as well the power of the 64bit processor and the 8G of DDRAM to avoid hung-ups) but i taked nice results, from 0,2% to 0,08% (some times) IMD or from -72dB to - 87dB! I have seen NEW things my friend from this sound card! I tried also the new RMAA 6.6 but it hung-up in 192ks/24bit. For 199Euro the DAC of EMU it is comparable with Hi-End DAC units of 1000Euro and above! I have seen this by injecting a square of 1KHz in its input from my Hameg HM8130 generator and by observing its output by my Hameg DSO. The difference it is that the EMU contained in a plastic case, insteed the Hi-Ends contained in expensive aluminum cases. I think that, the cost of EMU-0404 in conjuction with the base module of M.I. Pro-3 (total 330Euro) it is comparable with the new economic series of USB1.1 Pico Oscilloscopes which offered with the Pico Scope v6 with FFT analyser included, but from the other hand it is the dynamic range of 113dB offered by EMU and the much more measurements and flexibility that offers the M.I. Pro-3.

Fotios
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