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Author Topic: Question regarding USB / microphone input adapter  (Read 1802 times)

Offline JCMaxwell

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Question regarding USB / microphone input adapter
« on: December 14, 2019, 2229 UTC »
I plan to do some CW decoding on a Dell windows laptop connected (hopefully) to a standalone receiver.  The laptop does not have a mic input, like most recent models, but of course it has several USB ports.

I have seen devices on Amazon which purportedly transform a USB jack into a headphone/microphone jack.

Has anyone used one of these devices successfully and if so is there a brand/model you would recommend?

Thank you
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Offline JimIO

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Re: Question regarding USB / microphone input adapter
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2019, 2306 UTC »
Get a generic "usb sound card". Don't pay more than a few $$.

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Offline Josh

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Offline redhat

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Somewhere under the stars...
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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Question regarding USB / microphone input adapter
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2019, 1557 UTC »
Get a generic "usb sound card". Don't pay more than a few $$.

Been down that road, got the t-shirt. Those cheap USB sound devices usually have horribly inaccurate sample rates, and also often drop samples.  Caveat emptor.

I have had excellent luck with the Griffin iMic, which you can still find now and then on eBay, often new in an unopened package.
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Offline JCMaxwell

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Re: Question regarding USB / microphone input adapter
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2019, 1649 UTC »
Thanks for all the input.

Once I review and decide and get it setup, Iíll report back on my results.
IC-R9000L, FDM-S2, Belka DX, HF+ Discovery, RSPdx, IC-R30, BC125AT, PL-880 <- W6LVP Loop

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Offline JimIO

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Re: Question regarding USB / microphone input adapter
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2019, 1652 UTC »
He wants it for CW decoding, not recording studio mastering.

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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Question regarding USB / microphone input adapter
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2019, 1754 UTC »
Dropping audio samples can screw up CW decoding. And will be fatal for SSTV decoding, should he go down that route later on.
Chris Smolinski
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Offline JimIO

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Re: Question regarding USB / microphone input adapter
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2019, 1938 UTC »
Fatal is a Windows term. A Usb sound card is just a DAC/ADC with a USB 1.0 IF.
If samples are being lost it must be a software problem.

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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Question regarding USB / microphone input adapter
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2019, 1951 UTC »
The [poorly implemented] USB interface is where the samples are lost. You can confirm it's not a software issue by changing the USB sound device and watching the problem go away.

There's other issues with the cheap USB sound devices, such as really poor quality A/D converters. I wonder if some of them are really just 8 bits instead of 16. Kind of like the Pride of China electrolytic capacitors with a smaller, lower value, cap inside the case. Or the AA batteries that are light weight because they really have a AAA battery inside.

Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
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Offline JimIO

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Re: Question regarding USB / microphone input adapter
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2019, 2031 UTC »
Must be a bitch to set up the machines that make those   ;D

Offline Josh

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Re: Question regarding USB / microphone input adapter
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2019, 2302 UTC »
At least they used rubycons.
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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Question regarding USB / microphone input adapter
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2019, 1210 UTC »
At least they used rubycons.

That's probably a fake shell also, with a fake 100 uF capacitor inside it,  and so on and so on... You finally get down to a 47 pF ceramic cap. Chinese Matryoshka Capacitors.

Saving a buck and spending hours of troubleshooting time is not frugal.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2019, 1212 UTC by ChrisSmolinski »
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 900 ft Horz skyloop / 500 ft NE beverage / 250 ft V Beam / 58 ft T2FD / 120 ft T2FD / 400 ft south beverage / 43m, 20m, 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop / Discone in a tree

Offline JimIO

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Re: Question regarding USB / microphone input adapter
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2019, 1625 UTC »
About AA batteries. I have a radio that takes 3 AA's. I use 2 "Fake" AA's and a 14500 instead. Works perfect.

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Offline chanito

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Re: Question regarding USB / microphone input adapter
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2019, 2320 UTC »
Stick with name brand USB sound devices. Anything cheaper than about $30 is garbage. Anything that comes from eBay with the drivers on an unmarked mini cd is bound to be malware. Some of the really crappy ones will destroy the USB port.


USB sound devices should be absolutely plug n play these days until you get up into the high end recording hardware.
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