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I have used REW for the last 2 years for valve amplifier restoration assessment using the spectrum analyser to view hum, noise floor and harmonic levels. My use is not typical as I don't use most of the superb functions and features that REW garners so much interest for.

I have happily used a modified $1 USB soundcard/interface with the Java driver - giving acceptably low noise floor, loop distortion, adequate audio range bandwidth, along with minimal earth loop signal levels when using a ADuM4160 isolator and battery powering, and custom probes. There is always the chance of frying any interface, so my focus naturally targets low cost product.

I have a backup second-hand E-MU 0404 when I sometimes need a comparison or reference with better noise floor or extended bandwidth (96kHz sampling) or lower intrinsic distortion.

Recently I have seen USB 96kHz sampling simple soundcards for well under $10, but the Java driver has a 48kHz limit, so that path doesn't allow extended frequency response for me - which is an area of interest at the moment. So I am looking around for lower/lowest priced USB interfaces with ASIO driver support and extended 192kHz sampling to give a frequency response out to where response issues with hi-fi amplifier output transformers are worth checking.

The comparison post by etc6849 http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/rew-forum/146858-usb-audio-interface-sound-card-comparison-m-audio-presonus-steinberg.html presents three products. Would anyone know of similar interfaces for further comparison, especially any that may have reduced functionality of performance at a lower price point, but still provide ASIO support with 192kHz sampling? The Steinberg UR12 looks promising out of the three manufacturers compared in the post by etc6849.

Ciao, Tim
 

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The UR22mkII looks to have fixed the issues of the previous incarnation, so should be suitable. Note that you don't need to have a card that offers ASIO drivers since ASIO4All can provide an ASIO interface for WDM drivers.
 

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Thanks John -- especially for the ASIO4all nudge, as I hadn't yet appreciated that pathway.

With ASIO4All in mind, what I now haven't been able to reference is whether I can set 96kHz sampling in Windows for an external USB soundcard adaptor that can support 96kHz. It will take a few weeks to get the cheapo soundcard in to test.
 
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