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Old 27th March 2004, 03:25 PM   #1
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Default Which Spectrum Analyser??

What is the better spectrum analyser to have?

A Tek 5L4N on a 5113 mainframe with a dynamic range of 80dB for $220

or

A software package such as SpectraPlus 132 for $300 or more with plug ins.
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Old 27th March 2004, 03:50 PM   #2
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I prefer stand-aone gear. I can take it where I need it, without having to lug a computer.

Not familiar with that model, but I have had troubles with a Tek mainframe/analyser combo at my last job. Could have been a fluke, but it spent more time at Tek than my lab.

Jocko
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Old 27th March 2004, 04:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Which Spectrum Analyser??

Quote:
Originally posted by fmak
What is the better spectrum analyser to have?

A Tek 5L4N on a 5113 mainframe with a dynamic range of 80dB for $220

or

A software package such as SpectraPlus 132 for $300 or more with plug ins.
Whilst like Jocko I prefer standalone equipment, in this case the PC based solution is superior. You need to factor in the cost of a good soundcard and don't rely on some of the published numbers from the cheaper vendors. However, you can easily beat the 70dB spurious free dynamic range that the 5L4N provides. Unlike a spectrum analyser the inputs on a sound card are usually fixed level so a set of attenuators or amplifiers may be needed for some applications. The flexibility that a software packages can give you with a cheap soundcard is hard to match in the audio range unless you are willing to move up to much more expensive equipment.

James
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Old 27th March 2004, 05:10 PM   #4
sam9 is offline sam9  United States
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Any advice on suitable sound cards? Lynx is out my price range. Santa Cruz or Audigy are more like it but reviews in PC mags emphsize a lot of game related DSP features which I suspect are of not benefit and might actually get in the way.
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Old 27th March 2004, 05:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by sam9
Any advice on suitable sound cards? Lynx is out my price range. Santa Cruz or Audigy are more like it but reviews in PC mags emphsize a lot of game related DSP features which I suspect are of not benefit and might actually get in the way.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Terratec 24/96 is quite clean and no src. Audigy is rubbish; nos game; A weighted result; srcs everything; crap software; -ve overload margin.

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Old 27th March 2004, 05:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jocko Homo
I prefer stand-aone gear. I can take it where I need it, without having to lug a computer.

Not familiar with that model, but I have had troubles with a Tek mainframe/analyser combo at my last job. Could have been a fluke, but it spent more time at Tek than my lab.

Jocko
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jocko

Any recommendation for an affordable unit with good dynamic range? I too prefer hardware although computer is more powerful.

Fred
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Old 27th March 2004, 07:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jocko Homo
I prefer stand-aone gear. I can take it where I need it, without having to lug a computer.
Yes, and you carry a 5113 mainframe with plug-ins easily around, do you?

Nowadays a laptop PC + good external soundcard is easier to handle and can be used free of a mains socket. There is a huge amount of threads about this subject on this board.

Cheers
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Old 27th March 2004, 07:34 PM   #8
Bricolo is offline Bricolo  France
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Quote:
Originally posted by sam9
Any advice on suitable sound cards? Lynx is out my price range. Santa Cruz or Audigy are more like it but reviews in PC mags emphsize a lot of game related DSP features which I suspect are of not benefit and might actually get in the way.

Terratec is good, M audio is very good
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Old 28th March 2004, 02:50 AM   #9
BrianL is offline BrianL  United States
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There is a BIG difference between your two choices, fmak.

The Tek is a swept analyzer. The PC soundcard mit software
will be an FFT analyzer.

The two are not necessarily interchangable. Each has pros
and cons.

The Tek stuff can be flakey and IMO they never really figured
out how to make a spectrum analyzer, modular or one-piece.
But for $220...

If you're only wanting audio, look for an HP3580A.
__________________
bel
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Old 28th March 2004, 04:06 AM   #10
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I second the m-audio card. I've written a bunch of data acquisition routines and analysis codes in labview which do a lot of speaker testing (t/s parameters, in room sweeps, quasi-anchoic, etc). I used to use a Soundblaster live which is a good performing card for the money (think $20), but my M-audio kicks butt.

I still use the soundblaster in a lunchbox computer combined with Loudspeaker lab as a great portable speaker measuring tool.

Sheldon
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