VOGONS


First post, by Kahenraz

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I wanted to do some recordings off of my MIDI devices only to find that the laptop I use for a lot of my grunt work, a Dell... something. It doesn't actually say what it is on it! It was a headphone jack but no microphone jack. I couldn't believe it! It's not even one of those tri-pole jacks-- it just doesn't have one. The only option for a microphone is the one in the screen.

As a result I had to figure out what I could use for recording. I had a couple of options: a phone (Samsung Galaxy S10), and some USB ADCs (analog to digital converter): a Logitech A-00061 and a Creative Sound Blaster E1. Neither of these are ADCs are premium but I thought that they would still be a reasonable thing to test with.

I'm not an audiophile and I know very little about recording but enough to be bothered by the variance I'm seeing. Between all three recordings I found the most prominent difference to be that the Logitech has the least dynamic range and seems to have a lower maximum decibel but is overall "adequate", the Galaxy S10 seems to be the most correct but this may be a result of compressing the entire dynamic range (it has the loudest "quiet" parts), and the Creative E1 has the widest dynamic range but the lowest decibels seem to be quieter than expected (see the volume at the beginning and the cymbals round 0:33).

Now I have a problem. Because of the wide range of results I'm getting I don't know what it's supposed to sound like. The S10 seems to be the most normalized and I don't know if this is correct or if I'm throwing away the dynamic range (compressing quietest and loudest parts). The Logitech was the best to my ear but it is clearly clipping the higher decibels. And the E1 is so wildly different I wonder if it's just bad at recording. Or maybe the S10 and Logitech are both compressing the dynamic range and the E1 is actually correct?

I would appreciate some help on analyzing this.

Recordings as FLAC:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LRyZIRfvbexY … iew?usp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qauCaSSgfRDx … iew?usp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qeoM9-R5jO6g … iew?usp=sharing

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Last edited by Kahenraz on 2022-01-01, 06:09. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 1 of 21, by weedeewee

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Just an FYI
you mean an ADC, Analog to Digital Converter, for recording analog audio on your computer, not a DAC, digital to analog converter, for playing back digital recordings into the analog domain. Which then gets sent to an amplifier which sends the signal to some speakers which allow us humans to hear & perceive the recording.

Reply 3 of 21, by cyclone3d

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Ideally you want something that has a setting to turn off all processing.. a.k.a flat. and has a super high frequency range and also a super high SnR - Signal to noise Ratio.

As for input, you want something with a Line-In, not just a MIC-in.

I use a Sound Blaster ZxR but of course that won't work with a laptop unless you get an external PCIe enclosure.

For Creative USB products, the lowest I would probably recommend is the X G6.. but it has issues with sustained low frequencies - see here for an actual real review:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/inde … asterx-g6.7016/

The Sound Blaster X7 and X7 Limited Edition uses an external power supply and higher end hardware so it shouldn't have that issue.
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/creative-soun … essions.756102/

Remember for USB products, you are generally going to have some amount of delay. It is just the nature of the beast... Universal Serial Bus was absolutely horrid for MIDI and for recording and even playback when those devices first started being released. The latency was absolutely horrid. It has gotten much better but you will still want to limit your USB devices per USB controller as it is a serial bus.

You also need to take into account that no matter how good your recording equipment is, if you have poor quality headphones or speakers you will not really be able to tell as much difference between poor/good/great quality recordings.

The headphones I use are the Sennheiser HD 630VB. They have an insane frequency response (10Hz - 42kHz) and are not overly bass-y like most Sony and other crap brands are.

I had the Sennheiser Momentum over-ear before this set, and while the Momentum is a decent set of cans, the HD 630VB blows it out of the water. When listening to music in a side by side comparison, the 630VB was able to reproduce higher range sounds that I never heard using the Momentum.

Now any lesser headphones sound like trash.... I ruined myself.. hah.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
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Reply 4 of 21, by misterjones

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You need a pro/semi-pro audio interface.

You can pick up a Lexicon Alpha for about $50 on ebay. Lexicon stopped making them not long ago so they support up to Windows 10 and I'm not too sure if they're going to add Win11 support. I've owned two of them; the second one is now serving as my mobile interface in the event I want to do some stuff while out and about. It'll get you in the door with low latency and accurate recording. This should be good enough for you without breaking the bank.

Pic related, my Lexicon Alpha

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Reply 5 of 21, by BloodyCactus

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yeah an any usb audio interface these days will be amazing, adc + dac quality has come a long way. I use a Native Instruments KA6 but there are lot cheaper options like Focusrite 2i2 and such.

--/\-[ Stu : Bloody Cactus :: http://kråketær.com :: http://mega-tokyo.com ]-/\--

Reply 7 of 21, by SuperDeadite

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I use Yamaha UW500. It's old, but still good enough for MIDI module use. I like it as it can do both analog and digital plus serve as a MIDI interface all at once. Being Yamaha driver support is rock solid, Win10 is supported.

Modules: CM-64, CM-500, SC-55MkII, SC-88 Pro, SY22, TG100, MU2000EX, PLG100-SG, PLG150-DR, PLG150-AN, SG01k, NS5R, GZ-50M, SN-U110-07, SN-U110-10, Pocket Studio 5, Dreamblaster X2, McFly

Reply 8 of 21, by Kahenraz

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I read some reviews and ended up buying a Behringer U-CONTROL UCA202. This is a simple device that is inexpensive and seems like it will be adequate for my recordings. I think this will end up being put away with the rest of my equipment in short order, so I don't need anything fancy.

Another observation I made with recording from the microphone jack is that I lose the right channel. I didn't realize that it would be mono, but it makes sense. Again, I am not an audiophile, but I think I know enough to make all the right mistakes and how to ask the right questions.

Reply 10 of 21, by darry

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Kahenraz wrote on 2022-01-01, 11:20:

I read some reviews and ended up buying a Behringer U-CONTROL UCA202. This is a simple device that is inexpensive and seems like it will be adequate for my recordings. I think this will end up being put away with the rest of my equipment in short order, so I don't need anything fancy.

Another observation I made with recording from the microphone jack is that I lose the right channel. I didn't realize that it would be mono, but it makes sense. Again, I am not an audiophile, but I think I know enough to make all the right mistakes and how to ask the right questions.

The UCA202 and UCA222 have gone through some changes in recent years. The most notable of which was the switch from a TI USB DAC/ADC to a Coolaudio workalike (possibly licensed from TI), so the good things that you may have read about past units may no longer apply to currently available units. The DAC part, at least does not seem great. Iwould imagine the ADC part is likely affected too .

Newer unit based on Coolaudio V2902:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/inde … er-uca222.2036/

Older unit based on TI PCM2902:
http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/02/behringer … review.html?m=1

Reply 11 of 21, by Kahenraz

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Thanks for the warning. I did see the red one while search and I'm glad I opted for the gray as it matched the review I was reading. I'll open it up when it arrives to see which chip it has inside.

Reply 12 of 21, by digger

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Needless to say, in the case of a (fully) digital synthesizer, such as wavetable synthesizers, the ideal mode of recording would be to find a way to tap into the rendered digital stream before it gets converted to analog. Of course that would likely require some soldering. That also makes me wonder why we don't commonly see S/PDIF output ports on MIDI keyboards and other external synthesizers, at least wavetable-based or otherwise fully digital ones.

Reply 13 of 21, by digistorm

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Maybe because instruments are often not used on their own, and syncing up multiple digital sound outputs is not possible with plain spdif. Their are other solutions for that.

Reply 15 of 21, by digger

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digistorm wrote on 2022-01-02, 18:19:

Maybe because instruments are often not used on their own, and syncing up multiple digital sound outputs is not possible with plain spdif. Their are other solutions for that.

At first I was a bit confused by your answer, but then I realized that by "instruments" you meant the entire MIDI modules, not the individual sampled instruments that they can play back. So it's harder to mix when you are mixing outputs from multiple synthesizers, which many recording artists indeed do. That's a good point that I hadn't realized.

Reply 16 of 21, by MN_Moody

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If you want a USB DAC with balanced outputs (to feed a pair of studio monitor speakers), 6-pin MIDI DIN in/out, plus balanced inputs for recording external MIDI devices I'd suggest the Steinberg UR22mkii ($150-170) or the Presonus AudioBox 96 ($80-100).

Reply 17 of 21, by Kahenraz

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I've been doing some recording tests on my U-CONTROL UCA202 and found that I was getting stereo from the built-in monitor output but only mono when recording through Audacity. If I removed the left channel from the synthesizer it would drop only the left from the monitor but it would drop both channels from Audacity.

I checked the sound properties for the device in Windows and found that by default it was configured for mono. So if anyone plans on using this device themselves, be sure to change this option before recording.

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Doom E1M1 is definitely in stereo. If your recording channels don't look like this at the start of the song then it's definitely recording in mono.

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Reply 18 of 21, by SuperDeadite

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Original release of Doom was actually OPL2 and mono. The OPL3 stereo version was actually an undocumented feature at that time.

Modules: CM-64, CM-500, SC-55MkII, SC-88 Pro, SY22, TG100, MU2000EX, PLG100-SG, PLG150-DR, PLG150-AN, SG01k, NS5R, GZ-50M, SN-U110-07, SN-U110-10, Pocket Studio 5, Dreamblaster X2, McFly