[linux-audio-user] Hardware recommendations for recording under kernel 2.6/Alsa

Frank Barknecht fbar at footils.org
Sun Aug 22 06:18:28 EDT 2004

Jason White hat gesagt: // Jason White wrote:

> My main interest at present is in making archival recordings of
> material that I originally recorded on audio cassette. My system
> currently contains a C-Media CM8738 controller as part of the Asus
> system board, which is recognized by Alsa. I assume that for quality
> results I will need better sound hardware. 

Not necessarily. Cassette tape is not exactly high end material. I
don't think, your recordings will suffer much by recording them with
the onboard card. But I don't know that special board and chip
combination, so I would recommend you just try it out.

If you're not afraid of a command line application, I highly recommend
ecasound for recordings. With the cute "ecasignalview" you can check
the recording levels, tune them with alsamixer, then just use: 

$ ecasound -i alsa,hw:0 -o recording.wav

to record from the first card. 

> I asked this question of a local user's group last year and was
> informed that the M-Audio Delta 66 is of high quality and has good
> Alsa support. 

The 66 probably indeed is overkill for your task. I'd second the
suggestion of a cheaper stereo card based on the ICE1712 chipset, as
the Audiophile or some Terratec or Hoontech cards. There are a lot of

> It was further suggested that one of the USB A/D converters could be
> useful as it would also work on a laptop.

I'd only recommend USB for a Laptop. PCI is much easier to set up and
works more reliable. You also get "more bang for the buck" with PCI
cards, as USB cards tend to be a little bit overpriced. But if you're
on a budget and need one card for both laptop and stationary machine
(or if you hate screwdrivers), then USB is fine as well. It provides
enough bandwidth for high quality stereo recordings.

> To connect to a cassette tape recorder is it sufficient to run a cable
> from its audio output to the input of the sound card, or is an audio
> isolation transformer also necessary (not sure where one would acquire
> this but I have heard that they are sometimes needed)?

Isolation is only necessary if you run into a ground loop: a buzzing
sound when both tape and PC are connected to the power line. You
should be able to directly connect the tape to your soundcard,
provided is has line-level inputs (most cards do). Personally I just
connected my computer to the monitoring Tape2 input/output of my hifi
amplifier, so I can also record from a vinyl record player if I want
to.  (You cannot directly connect a record player to most soundcards
because of RIAA distortion, you need a real phono input.)

 Frank Barknecht                               _ ______footils.org__

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