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I think I'm going to bite the bullet and probably get one of these: U-CONTROL UCA202 or U-PHONO UFO202.

Before I click the "buy" button, I want to check with the veterans around hear (bruce ?) to see if there are any compatibility issues with *either* model as pertains to running them with REW on XP (or Vista). What I like about the UFO202 is that it has a built in phono preamp and seems to have a selector switch between phono and line in - (a feature which interests me). However I have not seen anyone around here mentioning that one yet. If it is not as good of a sound card as the UCA202, then I definitely need to know that up front.

I just want to check first to make sure I don't get something that I would regret later.

Thanks for all your help!!

Elliot

PS - I see on the specs page of the manuals that the UFO202 shows 20-20kHz (+- 1db) and the UCA202 shows 10-20kHz (+- 1db). Everything else is identical. Perhaps they are not really that different, but one wonders why the specs are printed differently. Since I am going to be doing SUB measurments, maybe the UCA202 would be the preferred device??
 

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if there are any compatibility issues with *either* model as pertains to running them with REW on XP (or Vista)
There have been a few people that have been successful with the UCA202, although there is a complaint that they have no control over the input level. This isn't that unusual in the inexpensive external cards. I believe the Edirol UA-1A also doesn't have input level controls.
It's a bit of a nuisance, but not a show stopper for running REW.

I do remember that someone had the UCA202 with a VISTA machine and said that the input level control worked, so maybe that's some progress there.

I have no experience with and haven't heard about the UFO202, but from reading the manual, it looks like they used the guts of the UCA202 and stuck a phono preamp in it. I'm sure it would be the exact same as the UCA202.

brucek
 

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One thing to consider is that if you are using a computer, you don't need phono preamps necessarily. A phono preamp has two functions:

1) Level amplification. The output of a tone arm is very high impedance and thus even a fairly short run of cable will mess with the sound. Not a problem in the case of a USB soundcard, just put the thing right there and have a cable run only inches long.

2) RIAA equalization. In this case not a problem since you are digitizing the signal. Just have your computer apply the EQ.

Now depending on what you are doing, it may be much easier to just get a phono pre, however if you goal it record records on to your PC, you might wish to just forgo it. A digital EQ on your computer will be much more precise than what you are going to get in a cheap pre in a soundcard.
 

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Elliot,

I am currently successfully using the UCA202 sound card. However I am using Ubuntu Linux as the Operating System. Based on my experience, if I can get it to run on Linux, it usually isn't a problem to run it on Windows but, of course, I can't state that with certainty.
As stated by brucek, there does not seem to be any control over input level but it has not been an issue thus far.
For the money, this card seems to be a pretty good value and the calibration file for this particular sound card is available on this forum.
I have no complaints and would recommend this card if you don't want to spend a lot of money with the caveat that if you think you will need to be able to control input level, you may want to look elsewhere.

Lester
 

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I am looking to get the UCA202 and was wondering what applications I would need a level input control on (also what does a input level control, control??). I am mainly looking to use it for REW. Thanks for the help.
 

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One thing to consider is that if you are using a computer, you don't need phono preamps necessarily. A phono preamp has two functions:

1) Level amplification. The output of a tone arm is very high impedance and thus even a fairly short run of cable will mess with the sound. Not a problem in the case of a USB soundcard, just put the thing right there and have a cable run only inches long.

2) RIAA equalization. In this case not a problem since you are digitizing the signal. Just have your computer apply the EQ.

Now depending on what you are doing, it may be much easier to just get a phono pre, however if you goal it record records on to your PC, you might wish to just forgo it. A digital EQ on your computer will be much more precise than what you are going to get in a cheap pre in a soundcard.
Excuse the side issue... but if you're serious about recording LP's to CD, you really want that RIAA EQ done right, and in the preamp. The RIAA EQ curve's purpose is to de-emphasize the low end, and pre-emphasize the high end... due to the way the grooves get cut. Kind of the same as speaker displacement, you get a huge increase in excursion as you go lower... this minimizes it.

Magnetic type cartridges are pretty low in impedance, but the signal strength on all of them is very small. You have to add a huge amount of gain, probably more than a regular soundcard input can supply. Due to the gain (>60dB?) needed you want a very clean preamp, as well as an accurate RIAA EQ.

Key issue, we're talking about 20dB between one end of the spectrum and the other. Most basic digital EQ sliders don't have this much adjustment range, as well as only a few bands of EQ, so it would be hard to do. Also, it's not a flat curve, kind of a dual slope with a flatter kink in the middle, if you don't get it right the record won't sound right. It's such a lot of dynamic range to add later, it's much better to add it at the beginning of a recording chain.

Most phono preamps are within a few percent of the RIAA standard, if you want better, buy a medium quality outboard one. (check out Jim Hagerman's Bugle kit/built preamp as a very nice example, for instance)

Sorry to jump in with this for those just using the card for REW... doing quality dubbing of LP's has been a hobby of mine. For REW of course it's a non issue. Just don't plug the mic into the phono input by mistake! If the non phono '202 really does have an overall flatter response down to 10hz, though, then it's the better choice of the two for measuring. It's possible that the phono model has some kind of rumble/infrasonic filter, and that it includes all inputs rather than just the phono. That would roll off your low end response. Of course, making a sound card cal file could make up the difference...
 

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I use the UCA202, and it works great. There is a volume control switch on it that has to be turned off otherwise you will get low volume warnings (even if the volume is turned all the way up).

Here is an example graph (no smoothing) of my dual SVS PB13 Ultras (using UCA202 and digital RS SPL meter)...

 

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Hello,

Just one simple question.I am a beginner.

If i want to record my guitar and the mic plugged in directly in one of these usb sound cards witch will be better?

I don't need performance. I need to be a fast and cheap setup to record my ideas. I know that the guitar will do just fine but I not sure about the mic. By now i think that U-PHONO UFO202 is the better choice.

Alqi
 

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i think that U-PHONO UFO202 is the better choice.
Why would you think that? Do you require a phono (record player) preamp?

The UCA202 would be the better choice if not.

Either way, you do require a microphone preamp if you intend to use it with a standard microphone.

brucek
 

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Thanks brucek for your reply.
Like i sad I'm a beginner and i don't know what phono preamp means.
I will go then with UCA202.
 

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I have behringer mic200 but i don't want to use it. I like to compose all kinds of songs, but i don't want turn on anything, just push the record button in a simple daw like energyxt and rock on. Probably you are going to tell me that i will have to use mic200 with UCA202 for my microphone.
Maybe you have another suggestion for a usb soundcard in the same price range with a preamp.
Alqi
 

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Probably you are going to tell me that i will have to use mic200 with UCA202 for my microphone.
Yeah I am, because you need to raise the level of a condenser mic up to line level before any soundcard will accept the signal. You also require the phantom DC to run the mic, so the MIC200 is definitely required for a mic (like the Behringer ECM8000).

I don't see the problem with turning on the mic preamp when you have to turn on your computer and boot windows and run EnergyXT to get ready anyway.

Doesn't your computer have an internal soundcard already that you can plug the MIC200 into and eliminate the external soundcard?

Most of the external soundcards with an integral mic preamp are a bit costly..... but they are one stop solution.

brucek
 

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Doesn't your computer have an internal soundcard already that you can plug the MIC200 into and eliminate the external soundcard?
Yes it has.
I became a little obsessed with making thinks a simple as possible. I'm also curios about trying new thing, but not that curios to spend a lot of money, and with a usb soundcard you can easily switch between a laptop and a pc... and you can even go to a friend's house and use his computer to play along...
 

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Thanks brucek for your time.
Your candidates are indeed a little pricey. They are good products but they do more then I care about and I don't think they worth the money.
For now I'll stick with what i have.
Alqi
 
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