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Author Topic: Does high $ sound card make a difference?  (Read 2270 times)
K7NHB
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Posts: 226




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« on: November 19, 2010, 06:55:39 PM »

Word once was, if you get the sound card out of the computer it will make the most difference. So we started using external 16 bit Sound Blaster boxes, then 24 bit. When Flex SDR came along, they wanted us to buy $140 Delta-44's or higher.  And I saw a site that had steps to modify the Delta-44!  Is it a "day and night" experience going from something like a 24bit Sound Blaster to a high priced sound card - after all, the card is now going back inside the noisy computer. Is all the money for design and component to make it quiet inside the computer when for a lot cheaper you could just move it outboard and connect with USB?

For example, a person can spend hundreds of dollars on stereo speakers, but if they are content to wear a headset, the experiential sound quality is just as good with a $50 pair of headphones. I'm wondering if the internal expensive sound card and the inexpensive external box (like SoundBlaster) are like that?

Thank you and 73,
Paul
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W8JX
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010, 08:09:42 PM »

If you are using it for digital decode and encode, it is a waste of money. I recently added a cheap little USB card card to a old laptop I use in shack to free up laptop sound for other functions while using digital and it works as well as built in card and is the size of a tiny USB zip stick 1 inch long.
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K8IZ
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Posts: 17




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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2010, 10:26:14 PM »

But for SDr something with a wider bandwidth makes the difference. You want something like a 192 Khz sample rate sound card for a good SDR set up. A 44 Khz sample rate card you will limites the signal viewing bandwidth you desire.
Have a look at www.hpsdr.com
 
Gary K8IZ
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12854




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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2010, 06:53:48 AM »

The sound card does not "encode or decode" the digital data. All of that work is done by the software running on the main processor. The sound card functions only as the A/D and D/A converters.

Some will tell you that the more expensive sound cards have less computer noise. My experience however is that the receiver background noise FAR overrides any internal sound card generated noise. Sure, if you disconnect the receiver and look at the waterfall you might notice a difference in background noise between sound cards, but connect the receiver and the receiver noise takes over.

The bottom line is that a standard sound card has plenty of bandwidth to handle the normal digial modes. You will probably need a better sound card if you are trying to run a DSP receiver.
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W8JX
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Posts: 5883




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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2010, 07:17:57 AM »

The sound card does not "encode or decode" the digital data. All of that work is done by the software running on the main processor. The sound card functions only as the A/D and D/A converters.

Some will tell you that the more expensive sound cards have less computer noise. My experience however is that the receiver background noise FAR overrides any internal sound card generated noise. Sure, if you disconnect the receiver and look at the waterfall you might notice a difference in background noise between sound cards, but connect the receiver and the receiver noise takes over.

The bottom line is that a standard sound card has plenty of bandwidth to handle the normal digial modes. You will probably need a better sound card if you are trying to run a DSP receiver.


Good answer. Smiley
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