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Computers & Sound Cards SDR capable audio and computers...

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  #1  
Old 06-11-10, 11:26 PM
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Default Real Life Review - Griffin iMic and SDR IQ

The Giffin iMic I won on eBay for $21.50 arrived today. I knew the device was physically small by observing the size of the USB plug and 1/8 inch AV jacks in the pictures. But seeing it in person made it seem even smaller than imagined.



The package contents are minimal. All that's within is the iMic itself, and a one sheet quick start guide folded in half, and then twice more, but no software. Each side of each fold except three contain the guide in a different language, nine in all. Operating systems listed on the outside of the plastic "box" are Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and Windows XP SP3. I also tried it on a Windows 2000 box and it worked fine. I have no idea if it will work with Vista or Windows 7.



I didn't bother reading the quick start guide. Being a USB device with no CD indicated to me that the iMic is plug and play, so that's what i did. And that's the extent of the installation process. I did notice that the iMic makes itself the primary sound device on the computer, so you may need to go into your control panel sound settings to arrange things.

There were rumors and speculation that the iMic is capable of operating at 96k sampling. That's what I was hoping for. The only place to set sampling was the 'Sample rate conversion quality" slider in the "Advanced Audio Properites" in the control panel sound settings. The slider defaulted to the "Best" setting where I left it. Now to the nitty gritty...

I ran SDR-Radio (because it's kind of pretty) and set the input to the iMic. I plugged in the IQ cable coming from a SoftRock 6.3 RXTX transceiver and clicked start. Ah, some kind of sound, but what is that mess on the waterfall display? I knew exactly what it was. It was a 48K sound device running from a program set for 96K sampling. Sheesh! So I downed the sampling rate in SDR-Radio and clicked start again. Now I see and hear signals, but at only 48K sampling. And what's that big mess in the center? Wow! This sound device is REALLY noisy! And volume appears to be surging as indicated by the waves in the waterfall image. I can't hear the waves, but they are definitely there.



So, my conclusion is that the Griffin iMic would probably be ok for use as a secondary sound device for speaker output, and perhaps microphone input but is not suitable for IQ reception. In fact, the Griffin iMic is probably not suitable for anyone but old grandpa recording his vinyls into MP3s. Oh wait... that's me!

And one last note, I always say you get what you paid for...
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Old 06-12-10, 10:58 AM
KU7Y KU7Y is offline
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Interesting. How well do you think it would work as the second card for TX?

Ron, KU7Y
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Old 06-22-10, 09:07 AM
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I haven't tested it for use with a SDR mic but others have. See The Griffin iMic USB Audio Interface... (post 13).
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Old 07-23-10, 04:20 PM
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Last night I set the iMic up on the SDR rig for SSB operation. I resorted to the iMic because plugging the mic into the input on the Audigy 2 ZS resulted in double sideband transmissions. I can't imagine that the mic jack on the Audigy is mono, but that's how it acted. I'll have to research that a bit more. I'm thinking about building an audio control box that has a mic preamp built in. Then I could just feed the mic signal to a line in jack. I'd also like to have a convenient place to plug the headset in.

So how did the iMic perform? At at the beginning my voice echoed. Playing around with the audio volumes, I found that the echo came from the wave control. Muting wave removed the echo. Otherwise, the iMic seemed to work just fine for SSB using PSDR. But when I switched to code, the CW output experienced audio drops and pops. Running the Audigy only while not using any USB audio devices, the signal was clear of interruption.

The ultimate solution will be to buy one of the higher end interfaces such as the Delta 44 or the Edirol FA-66 (preferred for it's 192K sample rate).
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Old 07-26-10, 09:59 AM
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It seems that my M-Audio Quattro USB audio interface was more than the USB on the SDR machine can handle. It was the source of audio pops and drops. The USB (2.0) has always been flakey on this computer.
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Originally Posted by KT6F View Post
the mic into the input on the Audigy 2 ZS resulted in double sideband transmissions. I can't imagine that the mic jack on the Audigy is mono, but that's how it acted. I'll have to research that a bit more.
I researched the mic input on the Audigy2 ZS, and found that the mic input IS mono only. So that disqualifies it for SSB use without an additional mic input. So I connected the iMic back up and used PSDR VAC to feed it to the Audigy. Worked perfectly.
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Old 01-07-14, 11:14 PM
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Thankfully with a product as popular as the iMic, Microsoft built-in the driver to its operating systems since Windows XP. However, if ever in a bind and some device isn't working right or working well, it usually pays to visit the manufacture's site to see if there is a new driver or patch.
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