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

John Check j4strngs at bitless.net
Sun Aug 22 14:33:37 EDT 2004

On Sunday 22 August 2004 06:18 am, Frank Barknecht wrote:
> Hallo,
> 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
> them.
> > 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

That'll only happen on 2 different circuits with different ground potential.
Buy a ground tester for  a couple bucks at the hardware store and tap all
your power off the same outlet. Much cheaper than an isolation transformer.
You really don't even need the ground tester unless you're worried about 
getting electrocuted (like a playing situation).
Although, if you have a lot of equipment, an IT might be worth the investment
as the mother of all surge suppressors.

> 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.)

Actually, to use a phono level signal into regular line inputs you can use a 
matching transformer or a preamp

> Ciao

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