Author Topic: Old soundcard projects ?  (Read 2887 times)

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Offline MathWizardTopic starter

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Old soundcard projects ?
« on: January 29, 2024, 05:04:37 pm »
I have 2 retired soundcards, both under 15yo though. Did I read that people hook them up to computers to use as oscilloscopes, or low frequency spectrum analyzers or something like that ?

Can any of that be done without being a programmer ? Have people made open-source programs just for this ?

1 of them had a problem, and I removed some parts years ago, so I'll have to do some reverse engineering to get that one put back together, since I have no idea what or where the parts are anymore. But that will be fun. I hope a rare chip is not the problem.

But I want to do something with 1 of them, so any project ideas along the lines of homemade test/lab equipment ?
 

Offline themadhippy

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Re: Old soundcard projects ?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2024, 05:09:47 pm »
Quote
Did I read that people hook them up to computers to use as oscilloscopes, or low frequency spectrum analyzers or something like that ?
yep,plenty of software about to do such things,for  example https://artalabs.hr/
 
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Offline BeBuLamar

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Re: Old soundcard projects ?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2024, 11:42:50 pm »
But very likely any computer you are going to install these sound card already has a soundcard built in to the motherboard.
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Old soundcard projects ?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2024, 01:46:50 pm »
http://baudline.com/
One mod you can do is to make the input DC coupled, that will require a bit of reverse engineering the front end.
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Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Old soundcard projects ?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2024, 11:05:25 pm »
You may want to tell us what kind of card they are. If USB, chances are you'll be able to use them with any recent computer & OS. If PCI(e), obviously you may not have such luck.
One point to consider though is bit width. If the card is USB, but oldish, and originally supported 24-bit with a specific driver, chances are that it will only work at 16-bit on a newer OS with the standard UAC drivers. Just something to know. That was a very common "issue" until UAC2, and relatively few cards until recently (just a few years) actually supported UAC2, reason being that it took ages for Windows to get native UAC2 support.

You can use them to record audio... obviously. And analyze audio, there are certainly software tools for this, as suggested above. You could also write your own with your favorite language, whether Python, Julia, Matlab or myriads of others, there are importers for .WAV files and tons of functions that would get you there rather quickly.

If you design audio circuits, that's a pretty decent way of characterizing them. The sound card will act both as a generator and analyzer.

As far as making a low bandwidth oscilloscope out of one, that's a different story. Keep in mind sound cards are AC-coupled. And amplitude-wise, they are not made to be neither accurate nor calibrated (as far as absolute amplitude goes).
« Last Edit: January 31, 2024, 11:07:38 pm by SiliconWizard »
 

Offline JeremyC

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Re: Old soundcard projects ?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2024, 11:20:41 pm »
Quote
Did I read that people hook them up to computers to use as oscilloscopes, or low frequency spectrum analyzers or something like that ?
yep,plenty of software about to do such things,for  example https://artalabs.hr/

@ MathWizard
Check also the REW project. Link: https://www.roomeqwizard.com/
The WaveForms software used with Analog Discovery is free and will work with sound cards. Link https://digilent.com/shop/software/
« Last Edit: January 31, 2024, 11:31:30 pm by JeremyC »
 


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