USB Audio Interface

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IngoQ
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USB Audio Interface

Post by IngoQ » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:29 am

Hi,

I am looking for a decent USB audio interface for capturing audio from retro audio components and computers. Since I want to do quality comparisons and -measurements, it needs to be decent quality. Since i am not a musician, XLR mic inputs and instrument inputs are not needed. Although the would do no harm, of course :)

There are of course a lot of them available, but I want something that has at least one output and one input of line-level stereo. Most interfaces that I have found have separate mono inputs, where you have to match gain levels manually. I already have a Behringer UCA222, but the quality sucks, so I need something better.

Andy ideas or recommendations?
Ingo :geek:

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Re: USB Audio Interface

Post by IngoQ » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:25 pm

... found this one: https://www.tascam.eu/de/us-1x2.html Anybody know it?

Seems to be having 2xCinch inputs and 2x Cinch outputs on the rear.
Ingo :geek:

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Re: USB Audio Interface

Post by rpineau » Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:54 pm

Tascam is an excellent brand with high quality product and the US-1x2 is definitely going to beat your UCA222.
As your goal is high quality measurement and comparison, the fact that the US-1x2 can do 24 bit at 96KHz is definitely a plus.
I've seen Tascam equipment used in a lot of professional studio, not so much Behringer in studios ;)
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Re: USB Audio Interface

Post by IngoQ » Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:23 pm

Thanks, that is really helpful :thumbup:
Ingo :geek:

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Re: USB Audio Interface

Post by Neffers » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:44 am

Ah... Teac.

I have a few of their devices, DA 38, and a DA 88, DA 20 DAT. They are good... when they work.

No matter the device you choose, make a common ground between all connected devices. From the console to the recording devices interface, and back to the PC. Any bit of wire will do. The problem you will encounter is a sort of floating ground (not all devices are connected and they can't decide which is 0v, they all "float" and argue)

Your PC's ground will be different to the connected devices for example, the sound interface included, you'll get noise (enable spread spectrum on your mother board if possible - it can help). This can be mitigated by isolation (a passive DI box) but it's not guaranteed.

It's just like having to ground turntables.

This is what you are trying to avoid. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_loop_(electricity) Most consoles are just happy not to be earthed, double insulated PSU's
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Re: USB Audio Interface

Post by exxos » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:47 am

:goodpost: glad to see the real reason for ground issues posted. You know I tried to explain exactly that to people years ago and nobody understood it and most forum discussions never even considered the floating gnd with double insulated equipment,

I actually blew the audio out on my falcon due to such issues. Amplifier being double insulated had no reference to gnd. So when I plugged in the audio jack it fried the audio circuit. IIRC it took out the gnd track on the motherboard.

Another issue I used to get shocks if touched my amplifier case and VCR. How double insulated equipment is allowed to be manufactured is beyond me, its not safe!

I investigated this like 25 years ago and found one transformer core actually floated over 2,000 volts above gnd! So then you plug that device into a grounded device and kiss it goodbye .

One issue for noise and hum is cheap audio cables. I wrote a article on this a while back. Double insulated equipment will try and float the gnd upwards. The other end of the cable can be at gnd levels. So you develop a voltage drop across the cables gnd and hum is the result and nobody can figure out why. Then people tend to get obsessed with differential stuff to solve it, where they could use a solid built screened cable to reduce the voltage drop and reduce the hum, or connect the gnd of the double insulated equipmemt to gnd, sometimes it helps, sometimes not.

A bit off topic.. Though I remember somewhere late 90s the jukeboxes we worked on, the law changed and all metalwork had to be connected to mains gnd to due safety. Thing is, it caused so many shocks it was stupid. I mean customers used to walk across pub carpets and touch something metal on the machine, even if it was just the lock and zap! Same issue with some fruit machines. People walk across carpets, holding metal coins, insert into the coin spot, a spark would jump inside the machine and kill it, oh, also shock the customer. How this was all passed by law to improve safety is beyond me :roll: it probably be safer to connect the metalwork to mains live instead :lol:
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Re: USB Audio Interface

Post by Neffers » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:06 am

Yeah. I learned the hard way. I started volunteering for a studio run for disadvantage kids, coming up to 20 years ago. When I got there everything just sounded trash, midi would freak out etc. etc. I think the guy who first assembled the desk and outboard gear etc must have been an apiarist and accustomed to the buzzing noises. There was a mixture of isolated and unisolated rack units (using those silly cups on the rack screws), regardless if the unit was on a wall wart or kettle lead. It was a proper cluster f**k. I rebuilt it all once the guy who took me on trusted me enough.

EDIT; Oh and had that been my Falcon, I'd have cried. Never owned the machine yet still have a crush on it. I did the same with a Speccy and a separate CD player, I recorded tapes onto CD, put it in my player, used the headphone out, there was a little pop n fizz. RIP speccy. I didn't give it a thought, despite knowing better. Dumb mistake.
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Re: USB Audio Interface

Post by IngoQ » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:52 pm

I know these issues as well. They come to a whole different magnitude, when doing IT installations in industrial or canteen kitchen environments. I've seen network devices litteraly going up in flames due to potential differences on the GND line. We had a POS system fried because of inductive noise, put a USV as a filter in front of it, and see that fried as well.

But the worst thing I have ever seen was a red glowing mass cable between building parts.... it was solid 10mm² cable.... :o

But in any case, I will pay attention to common grounding on these components, thanks for the reminder. I will have to check the DAC, but I guess, as long as the host and the sound source have a common ground, this should'nt be an issue.

Additionally especially here in Germany you have to check the orientation of the wall plug. They are symetrical, so you don't know on which side the phase is unless you measure the ground potential.

Oh and I really did not know, that Tascam was TEAC, thanks for that ;)
Ingo :geek:

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Re: USB Audio Interface

Post by DrF » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:20 pm

Neffers wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:06 am
I did the same with a Speccy and a separate CD player, I recorded tapes onto CD, put it in my player, used the headphone out, there was a little pop n fizz. RIP speccy. I didn't give it a thought, despite knowing better. Dumb mistake.
Don't feel bad I did that too :p
Had some app that turned the .wav tape dumps back into tapes.. thought I could bung them on CD to speed things up, thinking they was only audio after all... yeah I learnt that like you :p

I mean CodeMasters did it http://www.olivertwins.com/TheCDGamesPack but with a special cable

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Re: USB Audio Interface

Post by rpineau » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:36 pm

- Ground your shit !!! that's what the small screw or tab on the back of most equipment is for, the one with a ground sign on it ;) , mostly for things without a proper ground on the AC, but also to ground all equipment to the same potential.
- Use fiber connection if available.. no ground loop there.
- If you use a Rack .. ground the RACK too !! (Mine is grounded with a 7mm diameter coper wire directly to a 1.5cm x 5 meters rod in the ground).

If you can, use a multimeter to check the grind on 2 equipment before connecting them.. to be sure it reads 0V.

I've worked in data center where we had rows and rows of racks, with 2 independent power rails, network connection (CAT5, 5e, 6 and now 7), twinax 10G coper connection and what one.. so imagine if the ground was floating ... big data center on fire !!!
Working ones : MegaSTE (68020) / TT030 / Falcon with AB040 & Eclipse / 1040STF
Need testing : Falcon with CT2

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