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Why use an interface when you can use this?

Discussion in 'DACs' started by Shakedown, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. Shakedown

    Shakedown Active Member

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    237
    This is not a DAC question but related (ADC), I am looking to hookup a turntable preamp to my computer for capturing.

    I have had no luck with those messy USB interfaces such as M-Audio and Focusrite, and I say messy in reference to their fragile design that has broken on me twice in the past two months.

    If I'm just looking for a straight A-D conversion without internal pres or gain control, I would not need an external USB interface correct? Any benefit to using one though in my circumstance, is it because they bypass a computers terrible sound card and this would not?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    I guess I don't understand the question. I'm not familiar with the device in the picture but provided it is an ADC isn't it a USB interface?
     
  3. dshoaf

    dshoaf That high voltage buzz Subscriber

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    The USB dongle pictured appears to be a pretty stock USB-based outboard audio soundcard. It would enumerate out to an additional stereo Line In and Line Out, assuming there's a Mic input.

    If there are special drivers for it, you may be able to reconfigure the Input to be either a Mic-level or Line-level input. If the device, however, depends on the operating system to assign a standard audio driver, you may not have the option. You'll have to test it to find out as most of these products are very low cost and have little/no documentation.

    I'm not clear what you mean by 'fragile' for the M-audio/Focusrite gear. I've been using that sort of gear for years for recording bands live. They'll work well but are, indeed, a bit of overkill for ripping vinyl - but they're very good at it. They do have those 'special' drivers I mentioned for a reason: they're quite configurable for a lot of applications. That, however, can get messy if you're not tech savvy enough with PC sys admin functions.

    Just check that the device can handle a Line Level input device and you should be fine with the use of a RIAA preamp input.

    Cheers,

    David
     
  4. ilusndweller

    ilusndweller Super Member

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    If you are going from analog to digital, you will need to set levels. Every A>D Ive seen has level controls, whether going line in or mic in.
     
  5. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    It just looks like a variation of a Behringer. You need RCA inputs to connect a TT to a computer and an ADC. There would be 2 sets of RCAs for a DAC like that.
     
  6. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

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    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    There's a switch on the side of the device labeled In/Out. I would presume that means it can be used as an ADC or a DAC.
    FWIW: I use a Behringer UCA-222 as an ADC. It allows me to rip LP's at 16/48 which is adequate for me.
     
  7. Shakedown

    Shakedown Active Member

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    So basically if you use any A>D convertor you are stuck with the max resolution of that adapter, regardles of what interface you are running it into.
     
  8. Shakedown

    Shakedown Active Member

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    237
    I'm really looking for a small HiFi adapter that will convert an RCA signal into a 24bit SPDIF digital signal.
     
  9. ilusndweller

    ilusndweller Super Member

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    4,609
    How much are you willing to spend? I was fairly familiar with the options back from 95-01 when I used to tape to DAT. The best sounding back then was Apogee, specifically the AD-1000 followed by the AD-500. Neither did 24 bit, the 1000 was 20 and the 500 was 18 if memory serves(may have been 20). They followed those up with the Mini-Me which does 24, but it only has XLR in (could get custom cables or adapter). It can be found for about 300. Im not sure what products they had between the Mini-Me and their current lineup but maybe you can find a deal on a certain site by entering certain search criteria and being patient. When I google A/D converter I see Apogee is still in the game and still very expensive. Most A/Ds are much, much cheaper. But if you want a great sounding A/D, I dont think any of their products will disapoint. Definite top of the line sound.

    http://www.apogeedigital.com/products

    // looks like their current lineup only offer products for Macs. May have to check out some their older stuff like the Mini-Me.

    http://www.apogeedigital.com/pdf/minime_usersguide.pdf

    https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/439391-apogee-mini-me-equivalent.html

    etcetcetc.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017 at 2:13 PM
  10. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    I haven't been doing ADC recording long, but my Behringer UCA 222 doesn't seem to have a level control. Just a "volume" control that seems to be just for playback as it makes no difference when using Audacity to lay down the data. I set my levels from within Audacity itself. Is this correct procedure?
     
  11. ilusndweller

    ilusndweller Super Member

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    Ive been out of the loop for 16 years so Im going off gut feeling. Though I cant think of any other possible way for the UCA222 to work. I actually had just thought of this in the past couple of days and was gonna say something but I wasnt sure and didnt do any research. Anyways I suspected in this day and age that some A/D converters probably have a "generically-set-to-a-fixed-gain-that-applies-to-a-wide-variety-of-music A/D that-is-more-than-likely-set-too-low-but-hopefully-at-least-doesnt-have-peak-compression-built-in". That device has rca analog ins and usb digital out, but no built in preamp to adjust levels. It has a built in ADC that sends 0s and 1s to computer. Then you are able to use the Audacity software to adjust levels. When it does this, it is doing some type of mathematical calculation in the software that is essentially a D>D conversion. So it is going thru an extra "D>D conversion" and when the A>D conversion happens the levels are probably less than optimum. Having said that, I could still see it sounding pretty darn good, even at $30. Like I said, gut feeling.

    // This applies to the device in first post as well. And numerous others as it appears this is the norm now (back in the day none were like this, they are simplifying/lessening the cost of things to appeal to many many many many more people than they did 15-20 years ago).
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017 at 4:04 PM
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  12. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    I think this is likely true, my Behringer ADC would have a fixed output and then just lays the digits down. I often add 3db to the gain in Audacity, sometimes even 6db, but there were recordings (rips) where I never bothered and because I playback with JRiver it automatically adjusts for output. Probably not the best practice recording wise but I suspect the noise floor is pretty low with digital and to be honest I never noticed the difference, unlike tape where you needed as much signal as possible to lessen the hiss.
     
    ilusndweller likes this.
  13. Shakedown

    Shakedown Active Member

    Messages:
    237
    I just got my hands on a "USBPre1.5" made by Sound Devices, it has an SPDIF input which will bypass the internal mic pre.

    [​IMG]

    It also has what appears to be RCA inputs, but not sure they would also bypass the internal pre.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017 at 11:36 PM
  14. ilusndweller

    ilusndweller Super Member

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    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017 at 9:31 PM
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  15. Shakedown

    Shakedown Active Member

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  16. ilusndweller

    ilusndweller Super Member

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    Thanks! Im confident the only issue will be making sure they have software to support your operating system. The manual says up to Win XP, but they may have updates on their website for other more recent operating systems. Without that, the box does you no good.

    Dont tell me this site aint got no soul.... IMG_2552.JPG
     
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  17. ilusndweller

    ilusndweller Super Member

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    4,609
    The only thing the SPDIF input does is change that signal to USB format so it can go digitally into your computer via USB. Use that if you want have a cd player (or anything else) with coax out and want to digitally get the audio into your computer. I have a product called an Opcode Datport and that is the only thing it does. Thats how I got my dats digitally into my computer. Tascam DA-P1 dat>coax out>datport>computer. So the SPDIF has nothing to with the preamp or the dac.

    The rcas are just a line in and what you will go into from your phono pre(unless for some reason youd rather go into the 1/4" jacks). The signal will go thru the preamp followed by the A>D and then into your computer. In addition, the XLR jacks can be used for both microphones as well as line ins from balanced gear.

    Flexible piece of gear. The coax is in/out so you can also send music from your computer to external dac via coax. My datport was the same but I forgot about this feature even though I used to use it in this manner.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017 at 12:13 PM
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  18. Shakedown

    Shakedown Active Member

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    I have seen third party drivers kicking around, too many give them away thinking they will not work on 64 bit operating systems. SD has even pointed to it, but does not endorse it of course.

    http://www.usb-audio.com/

    Maybe you had too much too fast? :D
    :beerchug:
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017 at 5:56 PM
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  19. ilusndweller

    ilusndweller Super Member

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    4,609
    Now I know where to go for a driver should I decide to fire up the opcode datport, thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017 at 1:39 AM

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