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Author Topic: Using an exterrnal USB Soundcard for SDR?  (Read 5503 times)
KD4SBY
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Posts: 222




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« on: November 18, 2012, 06:48:29 AM »

I am looking for a USB external "Soundcard" to be used for a small SDR on my Laptop, which has only a Mono Mic. Input. I see that there are several  little USB sound adapters available on the market with a Mic. input, but none describe it as a full Stereo Mic. Input.
Anyone is aware of such a product?
Any comments are appreciated.
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KA4POL
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Posts: 1865




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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2012, 07:27:28 AM »

There are many available. To name just one: Creative Technology X-Fi HD Sound Card.
Do a search and check for details so it really fits you SDR.
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WA6MJE
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Posts: 71




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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2012, 07:16:52 PM »

There are many available. To name just one: Creative Technology X-Fi HD Sound Card.
Do a search and check for details so it really fits you SDR.

One of the details to consider is the sample rate.  I think the X-Fi HD sound card is 96 Khz sample rate. 

The sample rate limits the bandwidth of your panadapter.  Typically you would want as wide as possible.  The highest bandwidth in a reasonably priced card is 192 Khz so you might want to check out the Creative Labs E-MU 8740A 0204 USB 2.0 Audio Interface which is 192 Khz. 

And of course, some of the SDR receivers do not need a sound card and they produce wider bandwidth, some over 1 Mhz. 

I am building a station now, and am not sure what hardware, but one of my criteria is at least 192 Mhz bandwidth, which is about half of any given HF band.  I would  like to watch CW and digital modes all at the same time, and  a 96 Khz card will give about 1/4 of a given band, not quite enough. 

If I get a SDR that needs a sound card I would consider the Creative Labs E-MU 8740A 0204 USB 2.0 Audio Interface.  But for example the flexradios do not need a sound card. The Elecraft KX3 does need a sound card.

 
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KD4SBY
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Posts: 222




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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2012, 10:58:02 AM »

Thanks fellows, I did some checking as the result of your posts. Some of the devices are rather high in price, while others really do not state if they use a stereo microphone, or do not have a Stereo Line Input.
I am in the process of finding out if I can use a simple SDR radio as an auxiliary method of listing to the Hambands.  I have one of those little Rock 40 SDR radios and like to use that with my Laptop, so that I can listen to the hambands while away from my main station. Consequently, I really do not want to spend too much money on an audio device and like to have something in the $30-40 range. If I can not get a suitable one in that range, I will just forget about the idea of using my Laptop, it not that important to me.
In the meantime, I like to know if anybody has used one in that price range.
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ND6P
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Posts: 69




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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2012, 03:08:59 PM »

I've got a RX Ensemble II working on a netbook at 48K, using the built-in audio adapter and HDSDR software.  It works pretty good.

On my main station, I've been struggling to get the RX Ensemble II to run at bandwidths greater than 48K.  That is not going well.  I just tried out an ASUS Xonar DX PCI-E card and that was disappointing.  The built-in audio (Realtek High Definition) works better.  The ASUS card would not work with HDSDR at 192K, even though both have support for 192.  And at 96, there was an image that was stronger than the main signal, all on the same side of the LO.

I've got 48K working well at this point and will probably just stick with that, using it as a panadapter for my TS-590.  I have frequency control, TX mute, and mode selection working between the two.  It's pretty cool.

I found that using an audio isolation transformer between the SDR and the computer helped a lot with keeping the LO signal to the minimum.

73 Jim/ND6P
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K8AC
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Posts: 1465




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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2012, 08:33:33 PM »

Go to the Telepost website and read about which sound cards work best with LP-Pan.  There are a number of the USB "cards" that work very well.  I use an old EMU-0202 and there are a few others. 

73, K8AC
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WV4I
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Posts: 136




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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2013, 07:59:33 AM »

Yes, softrocks work on some netbooks, though fact that mic line is actually stereo not documented. Only way to find out perhaps is to stick a 3.5mm stereo plug into it, and see what comes up on levels display. Ditto for a notebook.

For Win 7 PC 32 bit, using M-Audio Audiophile 192 PCI sound card with good results from Softrock. Has RCA inputs so you'll need a 3.5mm male to RCA M adapter. Has lots of other in/out for MIDI devices etc..
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