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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:35 pm 
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I just got a new laptop so my Echo PCMCIA card isn't an option anymore. Does anyone have a suggestion for a USB sound card they like these days?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:02 am 
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kbuxton wrote:
I just got a new laptop so my Echo PCMCIA card isn't an option anymore. Does anyone have a suggestion for a USB sound card they like these days?


I like the GigaportAG card (8 outs, 4 stereo pairs) or the Maya44 (4 in/4out, 2 stereo pairs in & 2 stereo pairs out). They are both in the <$100 range.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:34 am 
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
If you liked the Echo, they do make expresscard versions of their cards. They're pricey though ($200+)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:35 pm 
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Location: Austin, TX
I think I got mine (Echo Indigo DJx) for around $200. Worth every penny.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:23 am 
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It's definitely worth getting familiar with USB sound devices on your laptop.
At our local club, there is a direct USB input to the mixer. This seems to give the best sound quality: I guess it goes digitally into the actual mixing circuit. It seems to ignore the volume control on the PC though, but the hardware controls on the equipment are more useful anyway. I use my laptops internal sound for preview; for preparing I have a USB audio plug that cost like 5 €. It's cheap chinese crap, but as long as you only turn the volume up to 90% it will work just fine, and it definitely allows me to make sure I have my software configured in a way that will just work at the venue. I didn't need to DJ at a venue so far where I actually had to use analog output, I have no idea if that plug will sound very crappy. On my home stereo I can't complain, but I wouldn't call myself "audiophile".

These kind of mixers with USB input are really cheap nowadays, so that is definitely an option for your average small dancing venue. I have no idea how common it is for high end mixers to offer a USB plug. A friend of mine who is working a lot as DJ although in a slightly different music community owns equipment enough for a medium venue. The 19" mixer he chose also offers two USB inputs amongs its channels. Given that the mixer cost more than my laptop, probably does digital mixing anyway, and by using the USB channels could get the data in digitally without any loss in quality, that seems to be the option offering the best audio quality.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:58 am 
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At the Fed in Austin, I upgraded the mixers to 19" Numark CM200USB mixers. (Numark has since replaced them with an "upgraded" model.) We have 2 CD decks, 2 USB ports and a line in that are all accessible.

We still have a few DJs who use CDs and iPods.

I personally use the analog line with my Echo card, since Traktor won't let you pick outputs on different sound cards, and I use my Echo to drive my headphones also.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:10 am 
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Location: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
I just bought an NI Audio 2 DJ. This is a USB powered audio card with two outputs. These can both be used as output to an amplifier or for headphones. So far it seems to work really well with my Samsung NC10 netbook. I did have to put the latency to a high value, but as far as I can I can tell, that does not impact my intended use (playing and previewing songs at a dance).

The only thing that bugs me is that any fade in and fade out points that I defined in iTunes are not used by the Traktor software that is delivered with the card, but maybe that is just me handling it wrong.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:26 am 
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There are no tags in the standard audio files (mp3s, etc.) that store cue in and cue out points. Those are exclusively stored in iTunes database, and there's AFAIK no way to easily export those to another program. So, it's nothing you're doing wrong, just a limitation in the way data is stored in different media programs.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:51 pm 
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I recently got a Traktor Audio 2 external soundcard. It has two 1/4" outputs, and in order to use it with my 1/8" headphones, etc, I've had to use converters. I am having terrible issues with sound drop outs (yes, the plugs are all the way in). I assume all 1/8" to 1/4" converters are not created equal: does anyone have recommendations for a brand that **works**?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:51 pm 
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Location: Saskatoon, Canada
As long as there's nothing interfering with inserting the connectors or simply worn out connectors, I doubt that's your problem. I'd suspect a software problem on the computer. Make sure you have only the bare minimum software running when you're DJ'ing. Something as simple as your anti-virus software deciding to scan your external USB hard drive could interfere with the stream of data going to the USB sound device. It could also be the device/sound driver. Google and see if others are complaining about the same problem with the same device.

As for the connectors, any respectable music or audio store will carry adequate quality adapters. The brand name doesn't really mean anything. Long & McQuade has fair prices for a bricks and mortar store. Stay away from the big box electronics stores, they'll sell you the same $3 adapter for $30. Gold plated connectors shouldn't make a difference in sound or price. Adapters are pretty much fool proof but it's good to have a spare just in case you hit a manufacturing defect or break one.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:18 am 
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Toon Town Dave wrote:
As long as there's nothing interfering with inserting the connectors or simply worn out connectors, I doubt that's your problem.


+1

The most common failure mode for a stereo adapter is to completely lose one channel. This happens to me a couple times a year...and I toss the adapter on the spot.

Toon Town Dave wrote:
I'd suspect a software problem on the computer.


+1

What is the program you are using to play music when the sound drops?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:21 am 
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Location: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
I have the same audio card and had the same issue when using it in combination with Traktor. I fixed it by increasing the latency under preferences > audio setup. If that does not work, it might be that your PC performance is too low. Hope this helps.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:52 am 
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Just bought a super cheap Syba USB sound card from Amazon. It works fine but DO NOT BUY IT! for the reason that: there is a very bright LED light that blinks furiously the whole time sound is pumping through it. VERY EFFIN' ANNOYING.


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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 9:15 pm 
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Toon Town Dave wrote:
As for the connectors, any respectable music or audio store will carry adequate quality adapters. The brand name doesn't really mean anything. Long & McQuade has fair prices for a bricks and mortar store. Stay away from the big box electronics stores, they'll sell you the same $3 adapter for $30. Gold plated connectors shouldn't make a difference in sound or price. Adapters are pretty much fool proof but it's good to have a spare just in case you hit a manufacturing defect or break one.


I try to use solid metal connectors if I can. My experiences with the plastic formed ones (like this) have been terrible and they break all the time.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 8:01 am 
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Yakov wrote:
there is a very bright LED light that blinks furiously the whole time sound is pumping through it. VERY EFFIN' ANNOYING.


A problem that can be solved with a piece of gaff tape, or piece of electrical tape, or a small sticker. Of course, if you are willing to void a warranty....there are other more "invasive" options.


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