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Author Topic: External Sound Card  (Read 1006 times)
W5DXP
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« on: November 06, 2017, 07:00:10 AM »

I want to buy an external USB sound card to dedicate to my digital ham stuff and leave my PC's internal sound card operational for other purposes like YouTube. I've looked on the web for external USB sound cards and find everything from $2 to $200. Will the el cheapo $2-$20 devices that look like a flashdrive work for what I want to do? Any recommendations besides the $50+ devices?
--
TNX & 73, Cecil, w5dxp.com
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ON5MF
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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2017, 10:29:38 AM »

I'm very happy with my Signalink USB
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Mostly (low power) rtty contesting using OQ6A, sometimes dxing using ON5MF
in november '14,'15,'16,'17 and '18 also OP5MF, special prefix in commemoration of 100 years WW 1

www.on5mf.be
AA4PB
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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2017, 11:10:56 AM »

I was happy with my SignaLink-USB but am glad that I upgraded to a RigExpert TI-8. It's more expensive but it does a lot more: CW (including WinKeyer), direct PTT (in lieu of VOX), CAT, and direct FSK. The TI-8 also comes with software that manages the virtual COM port assignments so that they don't get reassigned if you disconnect and reconnect the USB port or do a Windows update.

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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
N2NL
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2017, 11:11:11 AM »

I have a couple Sabrent USB sound card adapters I got from Amazon.  $7/ea.  They have worked great for me for WSJT/sound card digital modes, and no issues with drivers on WIN7/WIN10 PCs.  I am using one of these on a media server PC and often listen to music with the motherboard audio chipset while working guys on FT8 with the USB sound card at the same time.

I've also got a Signalink USB which I use for FSK which also works well, but for FLDIGI/WSJT the Sabrent USB has worked perfect for my needs.

73, Dave

« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 11:14:10 AM by N2NL » Logged
W5DXP
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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2017, 04:13:25 PM »

I have a couple Sabrent USB sound card adapters I got from Amazon.  $7/ea.

Win10? What is inside the black box? A fixed sample rate A/D and D/A?
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VA3VF
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2017, 04:28:26 PM »

I want to buy an external USB sound card to dedicate to my digital ham stuff and leave my PC's internal sound card operational for other purposes like YouTube. I've looked on the web for external USB sound cards and find everything from $2 to $200. Will the el cheapo $2-$20 devices that look like a flashdrive work for what I want to do? Any recommendations besides the $50+ devices?
--
TNX & 73, Cecil, w5dxp.com

You won't find a better USB sound dongle for the JT modes for this price.

https://www.amazon.com/Syba-Digital-Optical-Output-SD-AUD20101/dp/B006SF68P2/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510014326&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=syba+external+usb+stereo+sound+adapter

A little better than my Signalink USB. I have one running 24/7 on a Raspberry Pi3. Yes, it does work on Win 10, that's where the second one is connected.  Wink
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 04:31:32 PM by VA3VF » Logged
NQ4T
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2017, 07:04:19 PM »

Most of those el-cheapo little dongle sized USB cards should be sufficient for JT or any other digital mode. I bought one five years ago from a place because it was $.99; while I never used it for ham or used it for anything really....it provided a basic sound interface.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2017, 08:16:02 PM »

Hey Cecil;

You buy the SignaLink/Rigblaster type boxes for convenience and ease of connections.  The price of admission is commensurately higher for the plug and play.  If you don't mind making up cables/isolators, and setting up a separate serial path for rig control you can get the discrete devices and do your own "glue". 

73,

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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W5DXP
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2017, 05:09:36 AM »

...you can get the discrete devices and do your own "glue".

Hey Mark, long time, no see. Are you on PSK31? I would rather do my own "glue". I've added a USB-->RS232 device and installed an Easy Digi board. I've got my PC sound card running PSK31 and it works well if I unplug my PC sound system. If I plug in the sound system, the sound is too loud. I use the PC input on a Sony TV for my monitor and use the TV speakers for my sound. Strange thing is, if I decrease the TV sound volume with the TV remote controller, it decreases the amplitude of the audio to my IC-756 and thus decreases my transmitted power. If I unplug the audio cable from the TV, plug in headphones to the TV, or mute the TV, the result is zero transmitted power even though the transmit LED is on. I don't understand the feedback path that allows the TV remote controller to control the power output of my IC-756 on PSK31. The PC knows that I am using a Sony TV for my monitor even though I didn't tell it and it must have installed some Sony TV drivers.

So I am planning to add a 2nd sound card to my PC hoping I can use one for PSK31 and the other for YouTube videos. I had no idea that there were hundreds of choices of internal/external sound cards ranging from $2 to $200+. So I ordered an $11 external sound card. If it doesn't work, all it costs is a couple of Big Macs.
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N1EU
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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2017, 10:13:41 AM »

I just picked up a Syba SD-AUD20101 usb soundcard on eBay for $11.  I saw a recommendation for it and also saw it reviewed on the LP-PAN Web site.  It installed seamlessly on both a Windows 7 and Windows 10 laptop/tablet and works fine with WSJT-X.

73, Barry N1EU
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VA3VF
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« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2017, 10:29:19 AM »

I just picked up a Syba SD-AUD20101 usb soundcard on eBay for $11.  I saw a recommendation for it and also saw it reviewed on the LP-PAN Web site.  It installed seamlessly on both a Windows 7 and Windows 10 laptop/tablet and works fine with WSJT-X.

73, Barry N1EU

I've been recommending this one for a long time. Tried many others, some worked - barely, others would not work at all.

It compares well against the Signalink USB and the ASUS Xonar U5. The ASUS was the best of the 3, but not by much. I still have the Signalink USB, the ASUS is gone.

It does not apply to you (N1EU), but for those thinking about buying it, see the Amazon link above, make sure it's the Syba SD-AUD20101. The reason for the emphasis is that there are other dongles, even cheaper than the Syba, that use the same case, but not the same chip inside.  There are also other Syba dongles, with different cases and chips.

One last observation, some descriptions say that the dongle operates up to 192k. I still have not managed to get past 96k. This is irrelevant for use with most digital modes. WSJT-X requires 48k, nothing more.

Oh, and before I forget. I have no interest in Syba, Amazon, yada yada. I'm a user of this one particular USB dongle, nothing more. Paid full price. YMMV. If the symptoms do not go away, go see your family doctor.  Grin
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 10:49:29 AM by VA3VF » Logged
VA7CPC
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« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2017, 11:03:09 PM »

Most of those el-cheapo little dongle sized USB cards should be sufficient for JT or any other digital mode. I bought one five years ago from a place because it was $.99; while I never used it for ham or used it for anything really....it provided a basic sound interface.

Some years ago, QST ran a test of sound cards, including some high-priced versions.  There were measurable differences in performance, in the lab.

But when they tested their effectiveness at decoding noisy digital signals, they all worked equally well.  So I think you'll be OK with a USB sound card "dongle".

.   Charles

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