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Newbie questions: CD jukebox, software, soundcard

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Anonymous
April 12, 2005 4:54:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

I've been reading this and some other lists, and have found less
information than I expected, perhaps because I'm enough of a newbie to
not recognize the useful posts. My day job is writing embedded systems
software. I'm not a analog electronics or audio engineer, but I am not
a newbie to digital electronics or to computers.

I'm looking to build a PC based jukebox, both for personal listening
and for occasional automatic DJ (background music) use. Either Windows
or Unix/Linux based.

All of the music played will be ripped from my CD collection. I'm an
amateur musician; my ears are well enough trained that I'm fussy about
audio quality. I doubt that I need 24/96, but I can hear the
difference between a CD and most MP3 files easily enough.

Hard disks are cheap, so I'm planning on using lossless compression,
such as FLAC. Computers are cheap enough that I can use a dedicated
one if necessary. Besides, computers I've already got.

For output transducers, I'll most often be using either Magnepan III's
or Koss electrostatic headphones. My electronics are fair (Haffler
220), but I'm considering a newer Crown, QSC, Haffler, etc. pro amp.
For DJ'ing, I'll end up using whatever the hall has available. I'd
prefer both balanced and unbalanced outputs, and digital output would
sometimes be useful. Two channel (stereo) output is generally enough.

I'm setting up a jukebox, not a recording studio, so I don't need
analog inputs or special effects. Eventually I'll may want to edit the
stored files; some of the CDs are direct copies of old (1930s) sources
and could use some cleaning up.

Ripping CDs with a lossless codec is easy enough. The two parts I
haven't figured out yet are jukebox software and audio output.

For software, flexible playlist handling is important, and, obviously,
compatibility with lossless codecs and the audio hardware. If
necessary, ignoring hardware compatibility, I could write something
myself to do the playlist handling.

The hardware, though, has got me stumped, sort of. I started by trying
the analog audio out on the motherboard of one of my computers, and
was unhappy with the audio quality. Ditto a cheap SB Live card that I
borrowed.

There are some very fine cards out there, like the Lynx, Deltas,
CardDeluxe, etc., but they are targeted more towards recording studio
use. If the drivers and applications exist and work well, they would
certainly do the job, but they seem like major overkill. There are
basically similar but less expensive cards, like the cheaper AP 2496,
E-MU 0404, etc. Price is something of an issue, but $400 +/- cards are
not out of range. Excess complexity is a larger issue, along with
software compatibility.

USB devices, like the M-Audio MobilePre USB, look interesting, but USB
1 is slow, and I haven't found any USB 2 devices yet. Firewire devices
are also possible, but they don't seem to be much less expensive (or
more expensive) than the pro cards.

I would think that a digital output (SP/DIF?) could be fed directly to
an external DAC, but I haven't seen any products like this.

Any suggestions for jukebox software and especially for hardware would
be appreciated.


R J Ladd

(The return address on this post is bogus. Please post responses to
the list. Not meaning to be unfriendly, but I hate spam.)
Anonymous
April 12, 2005 8:23:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"RJLadd" wrote ...
> There are some very fine cards out there, like the Lynx, Deltas,
> CardDeluxe, etc., but they are targeted more towards recording studio
> use. If the drivers and applications exist and work well, they would
> certainly do the job, but they seem like major overkill. There are
> basically similar but less expensive cards, like the cheaper AP 2496,
> E-MU 0404, etc. Price is something of an issue, but $400 +/- cards are
> not out of range. Excess complexity is a larger issue, along with
> software compatibility.
>
> USB devices, like the M-Audio MobilePre USB, look
> interesting, but USB 1 is slow,

"Slow" for what? USB 1.1 is quite fast enough for two channels
of audio. Or were you looking for 5.1 or something?

> and I haven't found any USB 2 devices yet. Firewire devices
> are also possible, but they don't seem to be much less expensive (or
> more expensive) than the pro cards.

You might look at something like M-Audio Audiophile 2496
http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Audiophile2496-ma...
If you only have 16-bit @ x 44K data from ripping CDs, then you
likely don't need 24-bit or 96K sampling rate, but the low distortion
and high SNR would be attractive. I just checked www.froogle.com
and saw them for as low as $70

Of course if you are looking at alternative OSes your choice is
limited to products that have drivers available (unless you want to
contribute to the collective and write a driver for a good high-end
card)

> I would think that a digital output (SP/DIF?) could be fed
> directly to an external DAC, but I haven't seen any products
> like this.

What does "haven't seen any products like this" mean? Lots of
choices for S/PDIF output. Lots of motherboards come with
S/PDIF output integrated on-board. (But few with S/PDIF in-
put, but that is my issue, not yours :-)

> Any suggestions for jukebox software and especially for
> hardware would be appreciated.

You might want to look at the kinds of software used by radio
stations. I believe some freeware. Your only hardware requirement
appears to be the output methodology. Or do you have other
requirements for remote-control, etc?

There are also network "appliances" which use your LAN to
grab files from your server HD and function as a human-interface
(song title display, etc.) and D/A converter to feed the audio into
your conventional sound system. Some likely have digital output
so you can use a high-quality audiophile A/D coverter. Like this...
http://www.turtlebeach.com/site/products/audiotron/ certainly
others.
Anonymous
April 12, 2005 11:11:39 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

RJLadd wrote:
> I'm looking to build a PC based jukebox, both for personal listening
> and for occasional automatic DJ (background music) use. Either Windows
> or Unix/Linux based.

There are lots of good programs for this purpose. I'm using MusicMatch,
which is working reasonably well for me -- I'm not delighted with its
user interface, but it does what I need for now. I mostly run it in
shuffle-my-entirely-library mode, which yields some odd but interesting
programming.

My CD collection -- on the order of 300 disks -- fits happily in about
15GB as MP3 files, and plays back with adequate quality for that
purpose. Eventually I will I'd investigate better encoders, but the
ones built into Musicmatch are sufficient for now.

If you don't like the sound card you've got, the easiest upgrade is to
plug in one of the semi/pro USB-attached audio boxes (Edirol, M-Audio,
or equivalent)... though those are arguably overkill for CDs, which are
only 16-bit samples. In my case, playback's currently running through a
USB-attached S/PDIF-output adapter so it doesn't get into the analog
domain until it hits my reciever.

> Eventually I'll may want to edit the
> stored files; some of the CDs are direct copies of old (1930s) sources
> and could use some cleaning up.

That's a different question from jukeboxing; it's basically a
remastering task. I'm moving in that direction myself, but I already
have a serious DAW package (Sonar) installed so I'm operating at a
higher level than you may need. (And I've got access to a more serious
studio, which I'll need when I get around to dubbing off the 78's.)

> USB 1 is slow

Depends what you mean by "slow". USB1 is fast enough to support 4
channels full-duplex (4 in, 4 out, simultaneously) at 24 bits depth and
better-than-CD data rate, which means it's already more than you need
for this application (as noted above). USB2 is roughly equivalent to
firewire, and firewire can handle 24 channels at 24 bits and pro data
rates; massive overkill for your task.

> I would think that a digital output (SP/DIF?) could be fed directly to
> an external DAC, but I haven't seen any products like this.

As noted above: They exist. I'm actually using one that came with my
minidisk recorder, but they're available and -- if all you want is
stereo output -- fairly cheap.
Related resources
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 12:22:14 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On Tue, 12 Apr 2005 19:11:39 -0400, Joe Kesselman
<keshlam-nospam@comcast.net> wrote:

>RJLadd wrote:
>> I'm looking to build a PC based jukebox,
>There are lots of good programs for this purpose. I'm using MusicMatch,

Thanks. I haven't looked at it closely yet, but MusicMatch is in the
right neighborhood.

My most common need will be to pick a particular playlist, and shuffle
play from it. Many tracks will be in more than one playlist.

>My CD collection -- on the order of 300 disks -- fits happily in about
>15GB as MP3 files,

My CD collection is on the order of 2000 disks, but hard disks are
cheap enough. I'm not entirely sure how much space I'll need, but a
quick back-of-the-envelope suggests that a terrabyte or so would
probably be enough.

>If you don't like the sound card you've got, the easiest upgrade is to
>plug in one of the semi/pro USB-attached audio boxes (Edirol, M-Audio,
>or equivalent)... though those are arguably overkill for CDs, which are
>only 16-bit samples. In my case, playback's currently running through a
>USB-attached S/PDIF-output adapter so it doesn't get into the analog
>domain until it hits my reciever.

Overkill seems to be the name of the game for this use. The USB boxes
mostly look like less overkill than the decent quality sound cards.
How does the sound quality of the USB boxes compare to the better
sound cards for 16/44 samples? Sound quality is a high priority.

>> Eventually I'll may want to edit the stored files;
>That's a different question from jukeboxing; it's basically a
>remastering task.

Agreed, and its obviously a much more complex task than jukeboxing. I
suspect that it requires more complex software, but not necessarily
more complex hardware, at least not for CD -> cleaned up CD. I'll deal
with that task later.

>USB1 is fast enough to support 4
>channels full-duplex (4 in, 4 out, simultaneously) at 24 bits depth and
>better-than-CD data rate, which means it's already more than you need
>for this application (as noted above).

I'm used to thinking of USB 1 as too slow for most applications;
perhaps I am mistaken.

>> I would think that a digital output (SP/DIF?) could be fed directly to
>> an external DAC, but I haven't seen any products like this.
>They exist. I'm actually using one that came with my
>minidisk recorder, but they're available and -- if all you want is
>stereo output -- fairly cheap.

I would either need an amplifier that contained it's own DAC and could
directly accept digital input, or a separate DAC to feed am amp. The
latter sounds like a better solution; that's the version that I looked
for and didn't find. Could you suggest some products that do this?


Thanks,
R J Ladd
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 12:42:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On Tue, 12 Apr 2005 16:23:12 -0700, "Richard Crowley"
<richard.7.crowley@intel.com> wrote:


>> USB devices, like the M-Audio MobilePre USB, look
>> interesting, but USB 1 is slow,
>USB 1.1 is quite fast enough for two channels
>of audio. Or were you looking for 5.1 or something?

Stereo is enough. Perhaps I am underestimating USB 1. I've used it for
other applications, and am used to thinking of it as very slow.

>> and I haven't found any USB 2 devices yet. Firewire devices
>> are also possible, but they don't seem to be much less expensive (or
>> more expensive) than the pro cards.
>You might look at something like M-Audio Audiophile 2496
>http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Audiophile2496-ma...
>If you only have 16-bit @ x 44K data from ripping CDs, then you
>likely don't need 24-bit or 96K sampling rate, but the low distortion
>and high SNR would be attractive. I just checked www.froogle.com
>and saw them for as low as $70

The M-Audio 2496 is on my short list if I go the internal card route.

>Of course if you are looking at alternative OSes your choice is
>limited to products that have drivers available (unless you want to
>contribute to the collective and write a driver for a good high-end
>card)

I could use almost any version of Windows or *nix. Given a choise, I
would prefer BSD Unix over Linux, Linux over Windows. But it doesn't
matter very much.

As for writing a driver...if the manufacturer provided doc for the
card, I could do that, in my Copious Free Time(tm). Which means I
might even finish it before the card is completely obsolete, at least
for a long-lived card. :-)

>> I would think that a digital output (SP/DIF?) could be fed
>> directly to an external DAC, but I haven't seen any products
>> like this.
>What does "haven't seen any products like this" mean? Lots of
>choices for S/PDIF output. Lots of motherboards come with
>S/PDIF output integrated on-board. (But few with S/PDIF in-
>put, but that is my issue, not yours :-)

Getting the ditial signal out of the computer is not hard, but I
haven't found any external DACs to convert the digital signal into
analog for an amplifier. I'm not using a receiver with a digital
input. At the moment, I've got a simple power amp. In the fairly near
future, I intend to get a better, but still simple, new(er) pro-grade
power amp.

>> Any suggestions for jukebox software and especially for
>> hardware would be appreciated.
>You might want to look at the kinds of software used by radio
>stations. I believe some freeware. Your only hardware requirement
>appears to be the output methodology. Or do you have other
>requirements for remote-control, etc?

I've looked briefly at some radio station software, but it generally
has many functions that I don't need. That approach could be made to
work, but I was hoping for something simpler.

Yes, my hardware requirement is stereo output only. Remote control
would sometimes be helpful, but it's not necessary.

>There are also network "appliances" which use your LAN to
>grab files from your server HD and function as a human-interface
>(song title display, etc.) and D/A converter to feed the audio into
>your conventional sound system. Some likely have digital output
>so you can use a high-quality audiophile A/D coverter. Like this...
>http://www.turtlebeach.com/site/products/audiotron/ certainly
>others.

I hadn't spotted that. Something like that might work. Unfortunately,
the Turtle Beach web site lists it as "Currently unavailable",
although a few vendors still list them. Any idea if they are being
discontinued? Or replaced with a newer version? A quick web search
turns up a few other, similar products by Rio, Phillips, etc. I tried
looking for something like this before, but apparently I didn't know
the magic keywords.


Thanks,
R J Ladd
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 1:05:30 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"RJLadd" wrote ...
> Getting the ditial signal out of the computer is not hard, but I
> haven't found any external DACs to convert the digital signal into
> analog for an amplifier.

Google returned 11,300 hits for my search phrase...
spdif external adc

>>http://www.turtlebeach.com/site/products/audiotron/ certainly
>>others.
>
> I hadn't spotted that. Something like that might work. Unfortunately,
> the Turtle Beach web site lists it as "Currently unavailable",

It was just an example of the genre. I wasn't necessarily
recommending that particular device.
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 10:34:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

RJLadd wrote:

> The hardware, though, has got me stumped, sort of. I started by
trying
> the analog audio out on the motherboard of one of my computers, and
> was unhappy with the audio quality. Ditto a cheap SB Live card that
I
> borrowed.

You were feeding near the bottom.

> There are some very fine cards out there, like the Lynx, Deltas,
> CardDeluxe, etc., but they are targeted more towards recording
studio
> use. If the drivers and applications exist and work well, they would
> certainly do the job, but they seem like major overkill.

What's been happening is that the cost of a given level of quality has
been dropping. For example the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 (which is
really the entry-level Delta card) has dropped from about $200 to $100
in about 3 or 4 years. The new AP 24/192 is remarkably close to the
LynxTWO level of quality, given the vast difference in price.

> There are basically similar but less expensive cards, like the
cheaper AP 2496,
> E-MU 0404, etc. Price is something of an issue, but $400 +/- cards
are
> not out of range. Excess complexity is a larger issue, along with
> software compatibility.

Since you are interfacing to consumer gear, the AP2496 might be a good
choice. It is clearly head-and-shoulders above motherboard audio or a
cheap SoundBlaster of yesteryear.

> USB devices, like the M-Audio MobilePre USB, look interesting, but
USB
> 1 is slow, and I haven't found any USB 2 devices yet. Firewire
devices
> are also possible, but they don't seem to be much less expensive (or
> more expensive) than the pro cards.

If you feel comfortable opening your computer's box and installing a
PCI card and driver, then forget USB.

> I would think that a digital output (SP/DIF?) could be fed directly
to
> an external DAC, but I haven't seen any products like this.

In fact you have, given that you admit that you've looked at the
AP2496. Yes, the AP2496 has a SP/DIF output. It's a good one - bit
perfect and all that.

Even most of the better SoundBlasters have SP/DIF outputs. They are
typically resampled, but the latest versions are pretty good. They
aren't an AP2496, but they are typically quite a bit cheaper.
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 12:18:08 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

RJLadd wrote:
>>>Eventually I'll may want to edit the stored files;
>>That's a different question from jukeboxing; it's basically a
>>remastering task.
> Agreed, and its obviously a much more complex task than jukeboxing. I
> suspect that it requires more complex software, but not necessarily
> more complex hardware

That's correct. You need good playback to hear what you're doing, but
any decent sound hardware (and amp, and speakers -- don't forget that
end of the system!) will do that for you. The cleanup's all happening
inside the software, and most of today's processors are more than fast
enough; it's mostly a question of how clean you want it, how much you
want to work, and how much money you're willing to invest in smarter
software.
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 5:43:56 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On Wed, 13 Apr 2005 06:34:55 -0400, "Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com>
wrote:

>RJLadd wrote:
>> The hardware, though, has got me stumped, sort of. I started by trying
>> the analog audio out on the motherboard of one of my computers, and
>> was unhappy with the audio quality. Ditto a cheap SB Live card that
>> I borrowed.
>You were feeding near the bottom.

Understood. I'm looking for better.

>> There are basically similar but less expensive cards, like the
>cheaper AP 2496,
>> E-MU 0404, etc. Price is something of an issue, but $400 +/- cards
>> are not out of range.
>Since you are interfacing to consumer gear, the AP2496 might be a good
>choice. It is clearly head-and-shoulders above motherboard audio or a
>cheap SoundBlaster of yesteryear.

Consumer gear? Meaning 16/44, or am I misunderstanding?

For 16/44 output, is there going to be much audible difference between
an AP 2496 and a LynxTwo, assuming a pro amplifier and high quality
output transducers?

>If you feel comfortable opening your computer's box and installing a
>PCI card and driver, then forget USB.

Extremely comfortable. I've built all of my computers for the last 20
years from parts.

Some of the USB devices (M-Audio Audiophile USB, Edirol UA-25, etc.)
look very convenient to use, but I have yet to find any objective test
data for them. That makes me nervous.

>> I would think that a digital output (SP/DIF?) could be fed directly
>> to an external DAC, but I haven't seen any products like this.
>In fact you have, given that you admit that you've looked at the
>AP2496. Yes, the AP2496 has a SP/DIF output. It's a good one - bit
>perfect and all that.

I wasn't as clear as I should have been. The part I hadn't seen was
the external DAC. I'm aware that most sound cards have S/PDIF output,
although it isn't always apparent from the manufacturer's info if they
are resampling.

Another poster suggested a Google search phrase that I hadn't tried.
Got some results from that, although the S/N ratio was poor.

>Even most of the better SoundBlasters have SP/DIF outputs. They are
>typically resampled, but the latest versions are pretty good. They
>aren't an AP2496, but they are typically quite a bit cheaper.

Cost is an issue, but for this application a $400-ish card is not too
expensive.

At the moment, I'm leaning towards the LynxOne. Seems unlikely that
I'm going to notice any difference between it's 16/44 output and any
more capable solution's 16/44 output, and Lynx appears to have good
driver and third party software support. In most respects it's more
card than I need, but compatibility is important.

There's one problem with the LynxOne: I need to be able to output to
either a power amp or to a headphone amp. I could switch the cables
from the card, but that would get old fast. I either need a switching
device or some kind, perhaps a small mixer. A consumer-style preamp
with switchable inputs and outputs and a volume control would work,
but I'm leery of overhyped consumer audio equipment. This is a major
advantage of the Gina/Layla cards, with their external breakout boxes,
but they don't seem to have the same degree of driver and application
software support as the LynxOne.

Any suggestions?


Thanks,
R J Ladd
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 12:32:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

RJLadd wrote:
> On Wed, 13 Apr 2005 06:34:55 -0400, "Arny Krueger"
<arnyk@hotpop.com>
> wrote:
>
>> RJLadd wrote:
>>> The hardware, though, has got me stumped, sort of. I started by
>>> trying the analog audio out on the motherboard of one of my
>>> computers, and was unhappy with the audio quality. Ditto a cheap
SB
>>> Live card that
>>> I borrowed.
>> You were feeding near the bottom.
>
> Understood. I'm looking for better.
>
>>> There are basically similar but less expensive cards, like the
>>> cheaper AP 2496, E-MU 0404, etc. Price is something of an issue,
>>> but $400 +/- cards are not out of range.
>> Since you are interfacing to consumer gear, the AP2496 might be a
>> good choice. It is clearly head-and-shoulders above motherboard
>> audio or a cheap SoundBlaster of yesteryear.
>
> Consumer gear? Meaning 16/44, or am I misunderstanding?

Your misunderstanding. I'm talking about RCA jacks versus TRS and XLR
connectors.


> For 16/44 output, is there going to be much audible difference
between
> an AP 2496 and a LynxTwo, assuming a pro amplifier and high quality
> output transducers?

No.

>> If you feel comfortable opening your computer's box and installing
a
>> PCI card and driver, then forget USB.

> Extremely comfortable. I've built all of my computers for the last
20
> years from parts.

Go for it!

> Some of the USB devices (M-Audio Audiophile USB, Edirol UA-25, etc.)
> look very convenient to use, but I have yet to find any objective
test
> data for them. That makes me nervous.

They work OK when they work. They are more prone to clicks and pops
due to dropped data.

>>> I would think that a digital output (SP/DIF?) could be fed
directly
>>> to an external DAC, but I haven't seen any products like this.
>> In fact you have, given that you admit that you've looked at the
>> AP2496. Yes, the AP2496 has a SP/DIF output. It's a good one - bit
>> perfect and all that.

> I wasn't as clear as I should have been. The part I hadn't seen was
> the external DAC.

You buy those separately, if that's what you want to do. No real need
if your card is a AP2496 or better.

>I'm aware that most sound cards have S/PDIF output,
> although it isn't always apparent from the manufacturer's info if
they
> are resampling.

SoundBlasters do resample, Delta cards and Lynx cards don't.

> Another poster suggested a Google search phrase that I hadn't tried.
> Got some results from that, although the S/N ratio was poor.

If you ask me a specific question, I may know the answer off the top
of my head.

>> Even most of the better SoundBlasters have SP/DIF outputs. They are
>> typically resampled, but the latest versions are pretty good. They
>> aren't an AP2496, but they are typically quite a bit cheaper.

> Cost is an issue, but for this application a $400-ish card is not
too
> expensive.

You ain't gonna get a LynxTWO for that. You can get a Card Deluxe for
that. It's a better card than the AP2496, but probably just
competitive with the AP24192.

> At the moment, I'm leaning towards the LynxOne. Seems unlikely that
> I'm going to notice any difference between it's 16/44 output and any
> more capable solution's 16/44 output, and Lynx appears to have good
> driver and third party software support. In most respects it's more
> card than I need, but compatibility is important.

The LyxnONE is probably the best 44 Khz sound card around.

> There's one problem with the LynxOne: I need to be able to output to
> either a power amp or to a headphone amp. I could switch the cables
> from the card, but that would get old fast. I either need a
switching
> device or some kind, perhaps a small mixer.

You shouldn't have any problems just splitting its output with a
Y-cable.

>A consumer-style preamp
> with switchable inputs and outputs and a volume control would work,
> but I'm leery of overhyped consumer audio equipment. This is a
major
> advantage of the Gina/Layla cards, with their external breakout
boxes,
> but they don't seem to have the same degree of driver and
application
> software support as the LynxOne.

It is true that the driver support from Lynx Studio has been IME first
rate, and a tad better than M-Audio.
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 11:56:29 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

For what it's worth, I just ordered an M-Audio Transit. These can
sometimes be found as low as $65-plus-shipping if you shop around.
Pocket-size box, USB from/to stereo analog or S/PDIF, up to 24 bits by
96Khz. The specs are good and the reviews seem to say it meets those
specs. Mostly aimed at laptop users who need better sound hardware, but
there's nothing that says you can't use it with a desktop box.

It'll be good enough to hold me while I try to figure out whether to buy
something like the Tascam FW-1884 or wait another year for competition
to drive features up and price down.
Anonymous
April 15, 2005 1:17:14 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On Thu, 14 Apr 2005 19:56:29 -0400, Joe Kesselman
<keshlam-nospam@comcast.net> wrote:

>For what it's worth, I just ordered an M-Audio Transit.

I considered devices like this. Using a USB connection would be very
convenient. But I have some other USB-based devices attached to
various computers, and I'm not comfortable with the possible total
bandwidth requirements.

If the audio device was USB-2 or Firewire, I'd be more interested.

Thanks for the pointer, though.

R J Ladd
Anonymous
April 15, 2005 1:46:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On Wed, 13 Apr 2005 20:32:18 -0400, "Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com>
wrote:

>> Consumer gear? Meaning 16/44, or am I misunderstanding?
>Your misunderstanding. I'm talking about RCA jacks versus TRS and XLR
>connectors.

Today, unbalanced RCA jacks.Tomorrow, pro amp with balanced inputs.
eBay seems to have a fair selection of Alesis, Crown, QSC, etc amps
available.

>> I wasn't as clear as I should have been. The part I hadn't seen was
>> the external DAC.
>You buy those separately, if that's what you want to do. No real need
>if your card is a AP2496 or better.

Right, but I had not been able to find any external DACs until the
suggested magic Google search terms. I looked, but I used the wrong
words.

Any of the sound cards would be able to do what I need, but even a
simple sound card also does much more than I need. Even the SB does
more than I need, although it doesn't seem to do any of it very well.
I was (past tense) looking for a simpler solution.

>> Another poster suggested a Google search phrase that I hadn't tried.
>> Got some results from that, although the S/N ratio was poor.
>If you ask me a specific question, I may know the answer off the top
>of my head.

The question would have been: "Are there any companies that make
decent quailty external DACs, good enough for clean 16/44, output
quality comparable to the AP 2496 or better, costing under $500? If
so, who?"

Getting the answer on the record might help someone else who is
following a similar path, but for me it is now moot. I've ordered a
LynxOne. It does far more than I need, but it will do what I'm looking
for well, and Lynx seems to have better-than-average technical
support. I'd rather not take the time to write a driver, but it looks
like I could probably get the info I needed if a custom driver became
necessary.

>> There's one problem with the LynxOne: I need to be able to output to
>> either a power amp or to a headphone amp. I could switch the cables
>> from the card, but that would get old fast. I either need a
>> switching device or some kind, perhaps a small mixer.
>You shouldn't have any problems just splitting its output with a
>Y-cable.

Or a simple DPDT switch with something to supress switching noise. Or
I could save some time and get something like a Mackie Big Knob. The
extra capability isn't needed today, but it might come in handy
tomorrow.

Any info about the Big Knob? Since it has a volume control, it must
have at least some minimal electronics in the signal path. Depending
on how it's designed, that could be a lot more than minimal, and might
cause audible problems. Their web site is not very specific.

There's also the PreSonus Central Station, which claims to have a
passive signal path (although it also has a volume control), and is
more expensive than the Big Knob.

A volume control is not required, but would sometimes be handy. Ditto
for the PreSonus remote control. Not today, but perhaps tomorrow.

Looking at the Mackie and PreSonus web sites, I don't see a common
term for products like this, which (once again) makes Google searching
more difficult. Are there any other source/output
switches-with-headphone-output-and-volume-control products available?
Preferably with passive signal paths?


Thanks,
R J Ladd
Anonymous
April 15, 2005 11:57:42 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

RJLadd wrote:
> On Wed, 13 Apr 2005 20:32:18 -0400, "Arny Krueger"
<arnyk@hotpop.com>
> wrote:
>
>>> Consumer gear? Meaning 16/44, or am I misunderstanding?
>> Your misunderstanding. I'm talking about RCA jacks versus TRS and
XLR
>> connectors.
>
> Today, unbalanced RCA jacks.Tomorrow, pro amp with balanced inputs.
> eBay seems to have a fair selection of Alesis, Crown, QSC, etc amps
> available.
>
>>> I wasn't as clear as I should have been. The part I hadn't seen
was
>>> the external DAC.
>> You buy those separately, if that's what you want to do. No real
need
>> if your card is a AP2496 or better.
>
> Right, but I had not been able to find any external DACs until the
> suggested magic Google search terms. I looked, but I used the wrong
> words.
>
> Any of the sound cards would be able to do what I need, but even a
> simple sound card also does much more than I need. Even the SB does
> more than I need, although it doesn't seem to do any of it very
well.
> I was (past tense) looking for a simpler solution.
>
>>> Another poster suggested a Google search phrase that I hadn't
tried.
>>> Got some results from that, although the S/N ratio was poor.
>> If you ask me a specific question, I may know the answer off the
top
>> of my head.
>
> The question would have been: "Are there any companies that make
> decent quailty external DACs, good enough for clean 16/44, output
> quality comparable to the AP 2496 or better, costing under $500? If
> so, who?"

Just about everybody.

> Getting the answer on the record might help someone else who is
> following a similar path, but for me it is now moot. I've ordered a
> LynxOne. It does far more than I need, but it will do what I'm
looking
> for well, and Lynx seems to have better-than-average technical
> support. I'd rather not take the time to write a driver, but it
looks
> like I could probably get the info I needed if a custom driver
became
> necessary.

>>> There's one problem with the LynxOne: I need to be able to output
to
>>> either a power amp or to a headphone amp. I could switch the
cables
>>> from the card, but that would get old fast. I either need a
>>> switching device or some kind, perhaps a small mixer.

>> You shouldn't have any problems just splitting its output with a
>> Y-cable.

> Or a simple DPDT switch with something to supress switching noise.

Added complexity and for what?

> Or I could save some time and get something like a Mackie Big Knob.
The
> extra capability isn't needed today, but it might come in handy
> tomorrow.

Added complexity and for what?

> Any info about the Big Knob? Since it has a volume control, it must
> have at least some minimal electronics in the signal path. Depending
> on how it's designed, that could be a lot more than minimal, and
might
> cause audible problems. Their web site is not very specific.

Added complexity and for what?

> There's also the PreSonus Central Station, which claims to have a
> passive signal path (although it also has a volume control), and is
> more expensive than the Big Knob.

Added complexity and for what?

> A volume control is not required, but would sometimes be handy.
Ditto
> for the PreSonus remote control. Not today, but perhaps tomorrow.

> Looking at the Mackie and PreSonus web sites, I don't see a common
> term for products like this, which (once again) makes Google
searching
> more difficult. Are there any other source/output
> switches-with-headphone-output-and-volume-control products
available?
> Preferably with passive signal paths?

The headphone output requirement pretty well precludes a passive
device. Most headphones have too low of an impedance to be hooked
directly across the line output of an audio interface or a DAC. One
exception would be the Sennheiser HD580/600/650.
Anonymous
April 15, 2005 12:01:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

Joe Kesselman wrote:

> For what it's worth, I just ordered an M-Audio Transit. These can
> sometimes be found as low as $65-plus-shipping if you shop around.
> Pocket-size box, USB from/to stereo analog or S/PDIF, up to 24 bits
by
> 96Khz. The specs are good and the reviews seem to say it meets those
> specs. Mostly aimed at laptop users who need better sound hardware,
> but there's nothing that says you can't use it with a desktop box.

The discounts being offered on this device seem to suggest that a
USB-2 sequel might be in the offing, and soon.
Anonymous
April 16, 2005 12:20:29 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

RJLadd wrote:
> convenient. But I have some other USB-based devices attached to
> various computers, and I'm not comfortable with the possible total
> bandwidth requirements.

Even basic USB should be plenty for a stereo recording; think about
M-Audio's Quattro which can record in quad. If you're worried about
total bandwidth, just don't use the other USB devices at the same time
that you're recording, or unplug them, or plug into a different USB port
rather than going off the same hub.

> If the audio device was USB-2 or Firewire, I'd be more interested.

Massive overkill for your needs, but that's available too; it just costs
more.
Anonymous
April 16, 2005 12:25:14 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

Arny Krueger wrote:
> The discounts being offered on this device seem to suggest that a
> USB-2 sequel might be in the offing, and soon.

Could be. It's worth what I'm paying for it, and can be treated as
almost-disposable if I decide I want to invest in 8 channels, preamps,
zero-latency mixing and/or control surface after all.
Anonymous
April 16, 2005 11:36:57 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

Joe Kesselman wrote:
> Arny Krueger wrote:
>> The discounts being offered on this device seem to suggest that a
>> USB-2 sequel might be in the offing, and soon.
>
> Could be. It's worth what I'm paying for it, and can be treated as
> almost-disposable if I decide I want to invest in 8 channels,
preamps,
> zero-latency mixing and/or control surface after all.

Agreed. For $70, it's almost a throw-away.
!