[linux-audio-user] A machine for live gigging?

Julien Pierre madbrain at rawbw.com
Wed Feb 18 06:37:05 EST 2004


Frank Barknecht wrote:

>I don't think, this is really true anymore. This was true, when there
>were cables running from the sound(blaster)card to the CD-Rom drive,
>which acted like a kind of antenna to collect electrical noise and
>induce it into the soundcard. But modern soundcards even in the 20
>Euro sphere aren't affected by electronic smog inside a computer at
>all. They might have bad converters or microphone jacks, but e-smog
>generally isn't much of an issue.
I don't know about that. It's still an issue for many sound devices. Try 
plugging headphones into the back of a current model Apple PowerMac G4 
(SMP box). You'll hear every mouse movement you make, hard drive, etc, 
right into the headphones, during playback and recording. Extremely 
annoying, just like the original SB card.

Other Apple users have also complained in those same machines that even 
with a high end card like the Delta 66, there was interference. I owned 
one of those Macs for about 6 months until I sold- it was driving me 
crazy. Apple has serious quality control for their overpriced boxes, 
that was my first and last Mac ... See www.g4noise.com for more info 
(and it's not just the outside fan case noise, but internal noise too 
for people into audio/video).

I have a Dell P530 at work with a built-in analog devices AC97, and it 
suffers from the same problems. Not to mention it blue screens Win2K 
when doing playback of WAV / MP3 (again, it's an SMP machine, dual Xeon, 
and audio + SMP + Windows appears to be a consistent recipe for disaster 
!). Fortunately I can still listen to CDs through the passthrough Analog .

Basically, my experience is that the computer noise interference issues 
are far from extinct.

>Good PCI cards like the many with ice1712 chips even are much cheaper
>than equivalent USB boxes. So there really is little reason for using
>a USB card with a stationary machine. This shouldn't stop anyone to
>use one with a laptop though, in fact USB is the only affordable
>solution there for most cases (that don't require a HDSP).
I would agree for laptops USB is the way to go.

There can be other reasons for wanting to use USB with a desktop. Some 
slim machines have limited number of PCI slots (1 or 2) and they may be 
best used for things that really need the bus speed, such as a SCSI 
controller. So going with an outboard USB sound device can still make sense.

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