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Old 14th August 2006, 07:47 AM   #1
Jennice is offline Jennice  Denmark
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Default USB sound card

Hi all,

I am looking for a USB sound card, which I want to use for speaker testing (building my own speakers).

I understand that Creative's cards aren't suitable for this. Can anyone explain why?

Can anyone suggest which USB card to use, as the on-board cards usually aren't good (so people say)? (price is a factor for me )

Jennice
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Old 14th August 2006, 11:03 AM   #2
sangram is offline sangram  India
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USB itself is not so great when it comes to soundcards, too much and not sufficiently predictable latency.

Actually onboard sound would be better in that respect except that its self-distortion would be unacceptably high.

You may want to consider a Live 24-bit or entry-level soundcard like a Chaintech AV-710 which is getting some decebnt reviews.

If you definitely want a USB soundcard, try one of M-Audios entry level offerings. I forget what it's called.
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Old 14th August 2006, 11:31 AM   #3
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I can thoroughly recomend the M-Audio 'Transit' USB audio interface. I use this both at home and at work for speaker and other audio transducer testing, and I 've had no problems. I use both 'True RTA' and 'Sample Champion' software.

The Transit measures well on the RMAA self-test.
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Old 14th August 2006, 12:11 PM   #4
Jennice is offline Jennice  Denmark
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Hmm... I can't seem to find the transit card locally.

Heard about the JamLab or FastTrack devices from M-audio?
I can get those here in Denmark (DK).

---
EDIT: Seems that Pinnacle represents M-audio here in DK.

Jennice
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Old 14th August 2006, 12:15 PM   #5
Jennice is offline Jennice  Denmark
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It's for my laptop, but I guess I could get a firewire card for it. (It has USB, so it would probably be cheaper that way), but what ideas do you guys have for FireWire cards.

Nothing exotic and excessively expensive, I hope.

One of you mentioned the Live 24bit. I can get those here, but I thought I should avoid Creative - they seem to be criticised here on diyaudio - although I don't know why. Is it their phase which is lost in it's DSP?
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Old 15th August 2006, 07:27 PM   #6
Jennice is offline Jennice  Denmark
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Hmm... anyone out there ?
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Old 15th August 2006, 07:48 PM   #7
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Default recommendations:

" I am looking for a USB sound card, which I want to use for speaker testing (building my own speakers). ..."

Most built in sound cards simply don't have enough power / performance to drive decent sized or decent quality speakers ... unless you actually like this cute little "computer speakers" that go for $10 a set. No output power, no clarity, not decent power filtering, no

" ... I understand that Creative's cards aren't suitable for this. Can anyone explain why? ..."

IBID above.

" ... Can anyone suggest which USB card to use, as the on-board cards usually aren't good (so people say)? (price is a factor for me ) ..."

Best suggestion: a stand alone USB or FireWire interface sound "card" / audio adapter. 1) This gives you many more options than a built in sound card plug-in. 2) Upgrades are much easier when the time comes (we don't own these computers, we simply rent the technology with replacement coming every few years), 3) generally the USB or FireWire connected audio interfaces are of much better overall quality and compatibility, 4) since you need an external amplifier (pre-amp and/or combo) connectivity is easier, better, cleaner, cheaper (in many cases) ... etc.

----
disclosure: I am in the biz of selling audio interfaces and other electronics for computers, but what I say above I believe is gospel for those interested in the quality of digital to analog audio.
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Old 15th August 2006, 07:53 PM   #8
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Default blatent commercial announcement

" ... I can't seem to find the transit card locally. ..."

FYI: see http://3dotaudio.com ... we ship world wide. We also happen to import from Denmark and I believe international shipping is about US$45 for the M-Audio transit ...

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Old 16th August 2006, 05:45 AM   #9
Jennice is offline Jennice  Denmark
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FastEddy:

Thanks for the reply. I don't plan on using the on-card amplifier.
Just the line level signal. I intend to use a seperate amplifier to drive the speaker.

The USB cards don't seem to have "power" (speaker) outputs anyway, du to the limits of the USB.

Still, I've seen people comments on the creative cards, but I can't find a precise argument on what people don't like about them.


I found the transit card in a danish shop for music instruments (mainly pro - gear), so I guess M-audio is aimed at the somewhat more "serious" user?

Jennice
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Old 16th August 2006, 08:30 PM   #10
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Default line level from sound card?

" ... I don't plan on using the on-card amplifier. Just the line level signal. I intend to use a seperate amplifier to drive the speaker. ..."

Fine ... and I suppose you know about all the efforts needed to clean up the signal = removal of most of the PC power supply noise, etc ...? Works OK without it, but most here understand the problems and take several DIY steps to resolve this ...

The Creative stuff is as good as any, better than some. Still, depending on your PC, noise can get through from the PC switching supply in any case. It is generally better with a FireWire or USB to audio interface as there is additional filtering on most of these external interfaces as well as certain technical relationships between PC digital to USB /FireWire DAC (digital to analog conversion) that works pretty good. Of course the costs of really, really good FireWire or USB DACs can be considerable .... but if you want the best quality results possible, well ...

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