Friday, July 24, 2009

Even more Audio Card Joys

So, I got the MAudio Firewire Solo last weekend. And it went back also.

It wasen't DOA. It lit up when I plugged it into my desktop machine (Vista Ultimate). I installed the latest drivers from maudio, shutdown, plugged in the solo, and booted up. The control panel said no card found when I opened it after boot.

I then installed the drivers on my laptop (Vista Basic), shutdown, plugged in the MAudio into the laptop, used a 1200ma 12vdc universal power supply to power the MAudio, and nothing again - the control panel says no device found.

When I plug in the sound card, it doesn't add any devices to the device manager.

So, it went back... sigh....

Now I need to find an audio card, used, portable, that will work with ARTA and LspCAD and SpeakerWorkshop.

Been looking some more at the boards, and people seem to like the M-Audio Transit and the Edirol UA-1EX for under $100.

I did a google search for 'Edirol ARTA' and found some German audio boards (gotta love Google Translate!) where they complain about Edirol and ARTA, and people who were saying they were switching to the Transit. So, a M-Audio Transit it is...

I hope I don't have any latency problems. My fear is probably unfounded - most of those M-audio complaints seem to be a year or two old.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Audio Card Joys

My Dell-sourced Creative X-Fi card came in today.

And it is going right back out. It is DOA - totally freezes my laptop every time I plug it into the Expresscard slot.

There is a possibility that this is a good thing, not a bad thing. I am getting my $ back for the card. And I just bought a M-Audio Firewire Solo for $120 used online.

Although $40 more than the Creative, it appears to be a favored sound device in the DIY speaker design crowd. It has phantom 48v power for a mic, balanced outputs, and very low latency.

Hopefully my jig is done this weekend, and I should be testing next weekend. Cross my fingers!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Getting Jiggy with it

JustMLS, ARTA, Speaker Workshop - they all have a common theme - they are software packages, not software + hardware packages. Praxis, Leap, Clio, MLSSA - these are packages of software and hardware for measuring speakers.

The software-only packages are a bit less expensive (ARTA and LspCAD Std can be had for $350 USD or so for both), but require the user to rig up hardware capable of repeatable, consistant measurements (average of $50 to create the 2 jigs for them). Praxis ($1000) and LEAP ($1500) provide you with the hardware also, making it easy to just get to work.

Since easy costs a lot more in the cash department, I am gonna try to get ARTA and/or LspCAD&JustMLS to function - that would be maybe $400 for ARTA, LspCAD Standard Edition, and a jig that will function for both products & hold the Wallin Preamp.

JustMLS and ARTA both provide details on the 'jig' necessary to use the software packages in question. A 'jig' in this case is a box with some connectors, resistors, and other stuff necessary to cable your speaker to the sound card.

I have almost ZERO electrical knowledge - kinda bad for someone who wants to create his own speakers. So, I gotta learn as I go thru this.... I bought the parts to create jigs from Mouser, and have some items already in my stock. I have been playing with the stuff from Mouser, and I think I can get the mic preamp, ARTA and JustMLS components all into one project box.

You need a program that can draw basic shapes. I have a friend with Adobe Illustrator on his terminal server, and he kindly gave me access via Remote Desktop and I drew away.

If you order your parts online from a place like Mouser, then each part has details such as the size of the part, and links to everything you bought is in the My Mouser part of the website. This makes it really easy to draw & place drill holes for each part, so you can print your templates, tape them to the enclosure, and drill holes for each component you need to mount.
I have a Hammond enclosure, sized 5.9x3.2x1.8 inches, Part# 1591DSBK. One small side is 3.2x1.8 inches. Easy enough to create a graphic of that size. One larger side is 5.9x1.8 inches - just a different graphic.

Once I create the new graphic, I use the View menu to show the rulers, in inches. Then I can draw exact size circles, squares, or whatever, and label them.

Above are some pictures of the jig that I started today - notice the printed out templates that I taped all over the jig box. I need a few more parts to finish, will post the final product pics when completed. Wonder if all this effort is worth it?