Which sound card and software to use for distortion measurement - diyAudio
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Old 5th May 2010, 08:34 PM   #1
steevo is offline steevo  United Kingdom
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Default Which sound card and software to use for distortion measurement

Hi, I want to measure the performance of an amplifier and have decided
that the best way to go is to use a PC based system using a good
sound card and appropriate software, but i am not sure which sound to select
and which software package to go for. And also what distortion can
expect to be able to messure using a sound card. I was thinking about going
for soundblaster X-FI titanium which boats the following spec

* 24-bit Analog-to-Digital conversion of analog inputs at 96kHz sample rate
* 24-bit Digital-to-Analog conversion of digital sources at 96kHz to analog
7.1 speaker output
* 24-bit Digital-to-Analog conversion of stereo digital sources at 192kHz to
stereo output
* 16-bit to 24-bit recording sampling rates: 8, 11.025, 16, 22.05, 24, 32,
44.1, 48 and 96kHz
* ASIO 2.0 support at 16-bit/44.1kHz, 16-bit/48kHz, 24-bit/44.1kHz,
24-bit/48kHz and 24-bit/96kHz with direct monitoring
* Enhanced SoundFont support at up to 24-bit resolution
* SNR: 109dB

Has anyone had experience using sound card to measurement amplifier performance accurately. I was hoping to measure distortion down 0.01 from 20 to 20khz with the above card, and SNR to -100 db. is this possible
with decent a sound card?????.
Has anyone got any advice.

Cheers
Steevo
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Old 5th May 2010, 11:27 PM   #2
Gordy is offline Gordy  United Kingdom
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There used to be several threads on here about that... try the search facilities.

I think the E-Mu 0404 is worth looking at: E-MU Systems - 0404 USB 2.0 - USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI Interface

For software I think that ARTA and RightMark are popular:
ARTA Home
Latest News. Audio Rightmark
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Old 5th May 2010, 11:36 PM   #3
Slowmo is offline Slowmo  Latvia
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Yep, that exactly the hardware and software I am using for measurements.
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Old 6th May 2010, 05:27 AM   #4
Bonsai is offline Bonsai  Taiwan
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Originally I bought a Soundblaster titanium when I visited Creative in Singapore on business but it was not very good for audio measurement in my view. Then I bought an M-Audio but was very dissappointed with the DAC - quite high distortion. I ended up giving both to my son.

There are a few people using the E-MU on the forum and they have commented favourably. I think Lynx are supposed to make the best sound cards in terms of specs.

I think Pavel is using E-MU and has plotted a few graphs that show very low noise, but you should check with him.
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Old 6th May 2010, 05:40 AM   #5
EUVL is offline EUVL  Europe
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Anyone tried Terratec Phase X24 ?

Patrick
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Old 6th May 2010, 05:42 AM   #6
jcx is offline jcx  United States
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esi Juli@ has good price/performance for a ~US$120 card

I've seen little noteworthy activity in the last few years at the higher performance for low cost end of the soundcard market
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Old 6th May 2010, 05:49 AM   #7
Bonsai is offline Bonsai  Taiwan
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yes - I also recognize the esi Juli@ as being commented on favourably here on some of the threads
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Old 6th May 2010, 06:45 AM   #8
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Hello

Computer motherboard and power supply could generate noise that are not very good for a sound card inside the computer.

So I use an external M-Audio Transit USB 24 bit/96 khz sound card.

Excellent sounding and also very good for measuring.

Bye

Gaetan

Last edited by gaetan8888; 6th May 2010 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 6th May 2010, 10:29 AM   #9
Bonsai is offline Bonsai  Taiwan
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I never got good results with my M-Audio - also a separate USB powered sound card BTW. Maybe my one had a problem.
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Old 6th May 2010, 10:53 AM   #10
ontoaba is offline ontoaba  Indonesia
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I modify my own soundcard output stage and input buffers, most 24 bit AD/DACs are already with high precision, but some soundcards manufacturers make it worse with ugly opamps.
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