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New Cheapo Audio Gizmo


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Just browsing the AMS catalog that came today - Rolls has a GCi404 Audio Computer Interface, for taking up one of your drive bay spaces with. :D 1 XLR, 1 1/4", 2 RCA pairs, 12v phantom...interesting little device for $99. Sounds like a version of the JoeMeek thing, without being JoeMeek of course. Anyone seen one of these?
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Interesting. Here's a link to the [url=http://www.rolls.com/new/gci404.html]product[/url] . The ducking feature looks pretty nifty although, I don't know why the bothered having phantom power if it's only 12 volts. Still, for the price it looks fairly cool.
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It was funny to read the Features list: ---------------- FEATURES *Microphone input with phantom power *Instrument input *RCA Line Input, Stereo 1/8" Line Input, RCA *Phono Input with Ground post and RIAA equalization. *Individual Level controls for Mic, Instrument and Line Inputs *Automatic "Ducking" or talkover feature for Mic Input *Stereo RCA, 1/8" TRS stereo, or 4-pin header connector Outputs *Microphone input with phantom power *Instrument input *RCA Line Input, Stereo 1/8" Line Input, RCA *Phono Input with Ground post and RIAA equalization. *Individual Level controls for Mic, Instrument and Line Inputs *Automatic "Ducking" or talkover feature for Mic Input *Stereo RCA, 1/8" TRS stereo, or 4-pin header connector Outputs It was funny to read the features list :D

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Sure Gus, say it twice... Sure Gus, say it twice... Only the GusTrax would see that. Only the GusTrax would see that. Good eyes Gus. Good eyes Gus. EDIT! Hey, Duh... I was thinking, hey, that's a great little tool & was about to throw out an order. Then I thought, hey, I already have a mic input through my mixer. I can throw in a cd input too, as well as a line in. Damn, a piece of gear that's extraneous?. What advantage would there be with this, or JoeMeek's version? Am I missing something?

 

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Well, with the meq1 you get a baby channel strip, essentially, with EQ and compression. Depends on what you like I guess - I have a friend who has one; he likes it great for recording his guitar direct, he also uses it to track news stories for the radio, but I do know he had some noise problems - lots of interference in a computer chassis! The other would be ideal, I think, for a basement internet radio rig - that's where the ducking would help the most, IMO. Still interesting, though...
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[quote]Originally posted by Franknputer: [b]Well, with the meq1 you get a baby channel strip, essentially, with EQ and compression. [/b][/quote]You mean... with JOE MEEK EQ and Compression ;) That's the point, since the AD conversion depends on your sound card. [quote]Originally posted by Franknputer: [b] The other would be ideal, I think, for a basement internet radio rig - that's where the ducking would help the most, IMO. Still interesting, though...[/b][/quote]Or for a SuperMarket... you just take your computer full of -pirate- MP3's and use the little gadget to make anouncements to your customers...

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[quote]Originally posted by dayvel: [b]Putting low-level audio circuitry inside the electrically noisy environment of a computer is just a bad idea. It's bad enough having your sound card in there, let alone a mic pre.[/b][/quote]Ya know, I used to tell people this all the time, and I still agree in theory, but let me tell you a little story. When I bought my Echo Layla24 soundcard, I also bought my brother an Echo Gina24 for his Christmas/birthday present. Both units consist of a PCI card and a breakout box for the audio I/O. So, I kinda assumed that both units had the A/D and D/A circuitry in the box, keeping all analog audio outside the computer. Right before placing the order, I noticed on the data sheets that my Layla has a 15ft cable, and the Gina has a 6ft SHIELDED cable. Hmmmm, this got me thinking enough to email the retailer about it and he found out from Echo that the Gina's converters are on the PCI card afterall! Anyway, I told him that this would make for a noisier audio path and that I was thinking about canceling that part of the order. He, in turn, went to ask Echo about it and he forwarded me their response, saying basically that I was misinformed and that the Gina's audio actually specs out a little better than the Layla! Now, this defies all logic to me but, I must say, it bears out in actual use. The two devices sound pretty much identical and there's just no noise appreciable from the Gina (or the Layla) at all. They must have some good shielding in their design. It still makes me cringe thinking about the analog stuff going into the computer, but I guess as long as it sounds good...
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Looks kindof like a starter recording interface for the Soundblaster Audigy crowd, or a computerized Mr. Microphone, except I wish I had a Mr. Microphone. ;)

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Rog is right, there is no real reason why equipment with adequate shielding cannot yield professional results when housed inside a PC. When I was at NAMM I noticed that the RADAR system houses it's converters on the PCI cards, and that thing supposedly sounds great. Other companies who have their converters inside include Lynx Studio and Digital Audio Labs.
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In the case of the JoeMeek box, my friend's experience was that the mic was noisy, but the unit itself was OK, running a guitar through the front input jack. The way they set it up is having an XLR tail coming off the back of the box & coming out of a notch in the rear slot that holds the other IO jacks. To me, that's asking for noise - I suggested that he try running the cable out the front, away from the internals of the PC - I'm not sure that he got around to it, I'll have to ask him about it.
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[quote]Originally posted by dayvel: [b]Having line level and converter circuits inside the computer is probably cool, but having a mic pre with 60db of gain in there is quite a different story.[/b][/quote]True enough. The tiny little signal coming directly from a microphone would be very susceptible to bombardment with the digital noise and EMI present inside a computer. Hell, have you ever gotten a guitar's pickups near a CPU and listened to the output? It can be pretty amazing and that's OUTSIDE the case...your average condenser mic's output would probably be along the same order as a guitar's output or less. The only advantage the mic signal might have is its ability to reject a certain amount of the garbage by virtue of its balanced properties. Even so, I'd imagine it's possible for someone who's done their homework to come up with a workable shielding scheme. Personally, I'd rather avoid the whole thing and that's what I did by buying my Layla. No analog signals get within 10 feet of my computer!
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