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Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe Problems

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Anonymous
February 25, 2005 4:31:33 PM

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

The Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe has two input level settings, -10 and
+4. When it is set for +4, it is impossible to get more than about 30%
of full scale input level from a prosumer device, such as a cassette
deck. When it it is set to -10, I can only get to about 60%.

For the last year, I've been operating it at +4, driving it with an SPL
Gold Mike preamp, which I have to almost peg the needles to drive the
card to 90%. If I drive it with an RNC, I have to crank to output
control on the RNC to 100% to get 90% on the card.

Last night, I returned the card to -10. I fed the output of a VCR from
which I need to retrieve some audio through an RNC into the CardDeluxe.
Even though I can drive the card to 90% with the RNC at 1 o'clock, the
audio is distorted. The problem is NOT from the VCR or the RNC. It
sounds as if the input stage of the DAL is being overdriven, but such is
not the case, based on the input level metering for the card.

The input level controls for the card driver, at least in Windows 98, do
not work. The input level is fixed. It sounds like an intermediate stage
is being overdriven, but the VCR output is not distorted, the RNC output
is not distorted, there is nothing electronically between the RNC and
the card, and the input level to the card is not being overdriven, per
the metering.

The input jumpers on the card are properly configured, according to the
manual for the card. Has anyone experienced this problem, or does anyone
have a suggesting for troubleshooting? For this application, I really
don't want to put a console or buffer amplifier between the audio source
and the card's input. (Why should that be necessary?) I'm thinking of
getting rid of the card and buy something else. What less expensive
audio cards are recommended by the group, at this point? Minnetonka
Audio said the SoundBlaster Audigy 2 series is actually quite good. Do
they sample at 48KHz and the down sample for 44.1KHz, like the earlier
SB cards?

I guess I could use an external A/D converter and use the digital input
of the CardDeluxe, but that defeats the purpose of having such a
supposedly high (analog) quality card.

(To be clear, I realize that almost any sound card will have better
quality than the output of a VCR, but the questions above are simply
illustrations of how I demonstrate the problem. Under normal
circumstances, I use the card to record voice overs with a Great River
or SPL mic preamp. They, too, have to be driven hard to get sufficient
input to the card, although they do not distort on the +4 setting.)
Anonymous
February 25, 2005 4:31:34 PM

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

"mcp6453" <mcp6453@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:VMFTd.23837$Yf5.2245150@twister.southeast.rr.com...
> The Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe has two input level settings, -10 and
> +4. When it is set for +4, it is impossible to get more than about 30% of
> full scale input level from a prosumer device, such as a cassette deck.
> When it it is set to -10, I can only get to about 60%.
>
> For the last year, I've been operating it at +4, driving it with an SPL
> Gold Mike preamp, which I have to almost peg the needles to drive the card
> to 90%. If I drive it with an RNC, I have to crank to output control on
> the RNC to 100% to get 90% on the card.
>
> Last night, I returned the card to -10. I fed the output of a VCR from
> which I need to retrieve some audio through an RNC into the CardDeluxe.
> Even though I can drive the card to 90% with the RNC at 1 o'clock, the
> audio is distorted. The problem is NOT from the VCR or the RNC. It sounds
> as if the input stage of the DAL is being overdriven, but such is not the
> case, based on the input level metering for the card.
>
> The input level controls for the card driver, at least in Windows 98, do
> not work. The input level is fixed. It sounds like an intermediate stage
> is being overdriven, but the VCR output is not distorted, the RNC output
> is not distorted, there is nothing electronically between the RNC and the
> card, and the input level to the card is not being overdriven, per the
> metering.
>
> The input jumpers on the card are properly configured, according to the
> manual for the card. Has anyone experienced this problem, or does anyone
> have a suggesting for troubleshooting? For this application, I really
> don't want to put a console or buffer amplifier between the audio source
> and the card's input. (Why should that be necessary?) I'm thinking of
> getting rid of the card and buy something else. What less expensive audio
> cards are recommended by the group, at this point? Minnetonka Audio said
> the SoundBlaster Audigy 2 series is actually quite good. Do they sample at
> 48KHz and the down sample for 44.1KHz, like the earlier SB cards?
>
> I guess I could use an external A/D converter and use the digital input of
> the CardDeluxe, but that defeats the purpose of having such a supposedly
> high (analog) quality card.
>
> (To be clear, I realize that almost any sound card will have better
> quality than the output of a VCR, but the questions above are simply
> illustrations of how I demonstrate the problem. Under normal
> circumstances, I use the card to record voice overs with a Great River or
> SPL mic preamp. They, too, have to be driven hard to get sufficient input
> to the card, although they do not distort on the +4 setting.)

I use the card. It does not demonstrate the symptoms you describe. My
input level controls do work normally. I'd look to a driver problem first.

Steve King
Anonymous
February 25, 2005 4:31:34 PM

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

"mcp6453" <mcp6453@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:VMFTd.23837$Yf5.2245150@twister.southeast.rr.com

> The Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe has two input level settings, -10
> and +4. When it is set for +4, it is impossible to get more than
> about 30% of full scale input level from a prosumer device, such as a
> cassette deck. When it it is set to -10, I can only get to about 60%.

> For the last year, I've been operating it at +4, driving it with an
> SPL Gold Mike preamp, which I have to almost peg the needles to drive
> the card to 90%. If I drive it with an RNC, I have to crank to output
> control on the RNC to 100% to get 90% on the card.

To which I say, so what? I presume that you are capable of editing the
files you record, and that your editing software is capable of making level
adjustements. Reasonable level adjustements in the digital domain have
negligable consequences, and many advantages.

> Last night, I returned the card to -10. I fed the output of a VCR from
> which I need to retrieve some audio through an RNC into the
> CardDeluxe. Even though I can drive the card to 90% with the RNC at 1
> o'clock, the audio is distorted. The problem is NOT from the VCR or
> the RNC. It sounds as if the input stage of the DAL is being
> overdriven, but such is not the case, based on the input level
> metering for the card.

At this point one might wonder whether the input level metering for the card
is inaccurate. It seems obvious to simply back off on the output from the
RNC by about 6-10 dB and see how it sounds.


> The input level controls for the card driver, at least in Windows 98,
> do not work.

That's normal and expected for an audio production card.

>The input level is fixed. It sounds like an intermediate
> stage is being overdriven, but the VCR output is not distorted, the
> RNC output is not distorted, there is nothing electronically between
> the RNC and the card, and the input level to the card is not being
> overdriven, per the metering.

AFAIK there really are no intermediate stages that can be overdriven in the
CardDeluxe. Intermediate stage overdrive usally can't be a problem unless
there are level controls following the intermediate stage, which the
CadDeluxe lacks. IOW if you clip a Card Deluxe input, for all intents and
purposes the clipping can be thought of as happening at the input.

> The input jumpers on the card are properly configured, according to
> the manual for the card.

They're simple enough, agreed.

>Has anyone experienced this problem, or does
> anyone have a suggesting for troubleshooting?

Yes, try reducing the levels going into the card, or simply go back to the
+4 settning and make up the levels in the digital domain. If you record at
24 bits there's resolution to burn.

>For this application, I
> really don't want to put a console or buffer amplifier between the
> audio source and the card's input. (Why should that be necessary?)

Agreed. the Card Deluxe is a 100 dB dynamic range type device, and most
consoles will degrade that.

> I'm thinking of getting rid of the card and buy something else. What
> less expensive audio cards are recommended by the group, at this
> point? Minnetonka Audio said the SoundBlaster Audigy 2 series is
> actually quite good. Do they sample at 48KHz and the down sample for
> 44.1KHz, like the earlier SB cards?

Comparing an Audigy 2 to a Card Deluxe is IME and IMO a sick joke. The
Audigy 2 isn't awful, but the Card Deluxe is whole 'nuther thing.

> I guess I could use an external A/D converter and use the digital
> input of the CardDeluxe, but that defeats the purpose of having such a
> supposedly high (analog) quality card.

Let's get back to this fear you've got of running the card at +4 and making
up the gain in the digtial domain. Is this a software problem? A
philosphical problem?

> (To be clear, I realize that almost any sound card will have better
> quality than the output of a VCR, but the questions above are simply
> illustrations of how I demonstrate the problem. Under normal
> circumstances, I use the card to record voice overs with a Great River
> or SPL mic preamp. They, too, have to be driven hard to get sufficient
> input to the card, although they do not distort on the +4 setting.)

I can't imagine why a Great River couldn't adequately drive a Card Deluxe in
+4 mode. The GR ME-1NV is speced for +24 dBm which is about 10 volts. I
recollect that the Card Deluxe in +4 mode clips with something like 6-7
volts in. How much headroom could one need?
Related resources
Anonymous
February 25, 2005 4:31:34 PM

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

"mcp6453" <mcp6453@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:VMFTd.23837$Yf5.2245150@twister.southeast.rr.com
> The Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe has two input level settings, -10
> and +4. When it is set for +4, it is impossible to get more than
> about 30% of full scale input level from a prosumer device, such as a
> cassette deck. When it it is set to -10, I can only get to about 60%.
>
> For the last year, I've been operating it at +4, driving it with an
> SPL Gold Mike preamp, which I have to almost peg the needles to drive
> the card to 90%.

BTW perchance are you interconnecting with a 1/4 phone cord instead of a TRS
cord? Seems like your experiences are missing about 6 dB, which the cord
could explain.
Anonymous
February 25, 2005 5:03:35 PM

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

Arny Krueger wrote:
> "mcp6453" <mcp6453@earthlink.net> wrote in message
> news:VMFTd.23837$Yf5.2245150@twister.southeast.rr.com
>
>>The Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe has two input level settings, -10
>>and +4. When it is set for +4, it is impossible to get more than
>>about 30% of full scale input level from a prosumer device, such as a
>>cassette deck. When it it is set to -10, I can only get to about 60%.
>>
>>For the last year, I've been operating it at +4, driving it with an
>>SPL Gold Mike preamp, which I have to almost peg the needles to drive
>>the card to 90%.
>
>
> BTW perchance are you interconnecting with a 1/4 phone cord instead of a TRS
> cord? Seems like your experiences are missing about 6 dB, which the cord
> could explain.

The input is with a two-conductor 1/4 phone cord from the RNC output to
the CardDeluxe input. How should I wire the RNC into the card with TRS?
Maybe we're on to something here.

The reason I don't like making up the gain digitally is that I'm
recording at 16 bits. And the card should be level-compatible with
industry standard equipment. The Great River will definitely drive the
CardDeluxe, but I am surprised at how how it has to be cranked.

I was not comparing the SoundBlaster Audigy with the CardDeluxe. My
comment was that Minnetonka Audio suggested it as a good consumer card.
So I ask the question again, what less-expensive-than-CardDeluxe card
would you recommend?

It's interesting that Steve King's audio input controls work. Mine are
grayed out. I guess I'll install the card on an XP or Windows 2000
machine this weekend to see if it is a driver problem. I guess the card
was actually designed for Windows 98 because of its age, but for some
reason the input controls in the driver are not functional, and its
input or output is not adjustable through the Windows Volume Control panel.
Anonymous
February 25, 2005 5:03:36 PM

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

"mcp6453" <mcp6453@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:XeGTd.2273$ha.148835@twister.southeast.rr.com...
> Arny Krueger wrote:
>> "mcp6453" <mcp6453@earthlink.net> wrote in message
>> news:VMFTd.23837$Yf5.2245150@twister.southeast.rr.com
>>
>>>The Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe has two input level settings, -10
>>>and +4. When it is set for +4, it is impossible to get more than
>>>about 30% of full scale input level from a prosumer device, such as a
>>>cassette deck. When it it is set to -10, I can only get to about 60%.
>>>
>>>For the last year, I've been operating it at +4, driving it with an
>>>SPL Gold Mike preamp, which I have to almost peg the needles to drive
>>>the card to 90%.
>>
>>
>> BTW perchance are you interconnecting with a 1/4 phone cord instead of a
>> TRS
>> cord? Seems like your experiences are missing about 6 dB, which the cord
>> could explain.
>
> The input is with a two-conductor 1/4 phone cord from the RNC output to
> the CardDeluxe input. How should I wire the RNC into the card with TRS?
> Maybe we're on to something here.
>
> The reason I don't like making up the gain digitally is that I'm recording
> at 16 bits. And the card should be level-compatible with industry standard
> equipment. The Great River will definitely drive the CardDeluxe, but I am
> surprised at how how it has to be cranked.
>
> I was not comparing the SoundBlaster Audigy with the CardDeluxe. My
> comment was that Minnetonka Audio suggested it as a good consumer card. So
> I ask the question again, what less-expensive-than-CardDeluxe card would
> you recommend?
>
> It's interesting that Steve King's audio input controls work. Mine are
> grayed out. I guess I'll install the card on an XP or Windows 2000 machine
> this weekend to see if it is a driver problem. I guess the card was
> actually designed for Windows 98 because of its age, but for some reason
> the input controls in the driver are not functional, and its input or
> output is not adjustable through the Windows Volume Control panel.

I've just checked. My memory was faulty--- happening more and more I fear.
I do not have input level controls. Sorry. I'm driving the card with a
Mackie set to +4 out. Zero on the Mackie meters gives me -12 db on the
input meters in Adobe Audition, which is a comfortable place to be OMO.

Steve King
Anonymous
February 25, 2005 5:03:36 PM

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

"mcp6453" <mcp6453@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:XeGTd.2273$ha.148835@twister.southeast.rr.com
> Arny Krueger wrote:
>> "mcp6453" <mcp6453@earthlink.net> wrote in message
>> news:VMFTd.23837$Yf5.2245150@twister.southeast.rr.com
>>
>>> The Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe has two input level settings, -10
>>> and +4. When it is set for +4, it is impossible to get more than
>>> about 30% of full scale input level from a prosumer device, such as
>>> a cassette deck. When it it is set to -10, I can only get to about
>>> 60%.
>>>
>>> For the last year, I've been operating it at +4, driving it with an
>>> SPL Gold Mike preamp, which I have to almost peg the needles to
>>> drive the card to 90%.
>>
>>
>> BTW perchance are you interconnecting with a 1/4 phone cord instead
>> of a TRS cord? Seems like your experiences are missing about 6 dB,
>> which the cord could explain.
>
> The input is with a two-conductor 1/4 phone cord from the RNC output
> to the CardDeluxe input. How should I wire the RNC into the card with
> TRS? Maybe we're on to something here.

My recollection is that the RNC does not do balanced I/O so not much to do
with it.

However the Great River has a true balanced output, so moving to a proper
XLR-to-TRS cable would effectively double its output.

> The reason I don't like making up the gain digitally is that I'm
> recording at 16 bits.

If you're worried about 16 bits, record at 24 or 32. The DAL card does that.

>And the card should be level-compatible with
> industry standard equipment. The Great River will definitely drive the
> CardDeluxe, but I am surprised at how how it has to be cranked.

YOu appear to be losing 6 dB with a 2 conductor cable when you should be
using a 3-conductor cable.

> I was not comparing the SoundBlaster Audigy with the CardDeluxe. My
> comment was that Minnetonka Audio suggested it as a good consumer card.

FWIW I agree.

> So I ask the question again, what less-expensive-than-CardDeluxe card
> would you recommend?

The M-Audio Audiophile 2496 looks good. For even less money, the Terratec
Phase 22 looks good.


> install the card on an XP or Windows 2000
> machine this weekend to see if it is a driver problem. I guess the
> card was actually designed for Windows 98 because of its age, but for
> some reason the input controls in the driver are not functional, and its
> input or output is not adjustable through the Windows Volume Control
> panel.

Last time I used my Card Deluxe was about 6 months ago and under XP, so I'm
kinda muddled about what its actual capabilities are.
Anonymous
February 25, 2005 9:33:07 PM

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

"mcp6453" <mcp6453@earthlink.net> wrote in message news:VMFTd.23837$Yf5.2245150@twister.southeast.rr.com...

As Arny mentioned, The DAL card is a serious production card... and it's
levels are referenced to the input so that there is no potential for fluctuation
or variations in level that can be caused by the card itself. There are no
input level controls outside of the operating level jumpers, which I'd safely
recommend that you keep at +4.

> The Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe has two input level settings, -10 and
> +4. When it is set for +4, it is impossible to get more than about 30%
> of full scale input level from a prosumer device, such as a cassette
> deck.

And hence the more professional cards usually require some additional
gain over consumer level devices. They're essentially expecting the
signal be coming from a pro device capable of driving the card's inputs.

Got a decent DAT machine? You could always run through the DAT and
use the SPDIF outputs to the DAL card, increasing the input levels on
the DAT.

If you can get 60% of level to the recording software, even at 16bits,
you shoiuldn't be too afraid of making gain changes in the software.

> I really
> don't want to put a console or buffer amplifier between the audio source
> and the card's input. (Why should that be necessary?)

To resolve your dilemma.... if in fact it is a dilemma.

> I'm thinking of getting rid of the card and buy something else.

I would be happy to make an offer on your DAL card. ;-)

I have two earlier ISA "Digi-Only" cards from DAL, and at 16 bits they
have yielded flawless passage for recording and reproduction of some
high volume (as in, quantity) work without so much as a hiccup for
7 or 8 years now. Never have I needed a volume control or managed
to distort the card's inputs.

> I guess I could use an external A/D converter and use the digital input
> of the CardDeluxe, but that defeats the purpose of having such a
> supposedly high (analog) quality card.

Why? The input is there in full expectation of being used. That doesn't
mean you have to go and buy a $1200 AD converter to use it. If you're
doing voice overs at 16 bits (which is *fine*), you could hit e-Bay and
pick up a used DA-30 Mk-II DAT machine for under $300 and get a tape
backup device in the process. The Mk-II machine allows for an active
AD/DA stage without the need for tape inserted in the machine, as well.

I can't add much more to the previous comments, but remember my offer
for your DAL card should you decide to downgrade. <g>

--
David Morgan (MAMS)
http://www.m-a-m-s DOT com
Morgan Audio Media Service
Dallas, Texas (214) 662-9901
_______________________________________
http://www.artisan-recordingstudio.com
!