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SoundTech Lightsnake

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Codemonkey, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    SoundTech Lightsnake Instrument Cable
    OK, they're the cheapest of cheap ($40) and probably with low quality ADCs, says in the spec that SNR: 83.1 dB.
    However, these are a step up from my onboard audio, are cheap, and don't come with extra crap like SPDIF or MIDI.

    Cutting to the chase, can I use 5 of these on one machine, and set up some Cubase-esque software to record them separately?
    If it's simply added as another Recording device in the Windows recording device list, then that should work, yes?

    Oh, and should I be worried about the "Complaint with USB2.0 Full Speed Operation" in the specifications? :p
  2. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    I don't think you want to do that. For $200 you can get a multiple input ADC/Pre if you shop around. Plugging 5 of these USB snakes into an external USB Hub sounds like a recipe for disaster. I imagine the bottlenecking alone would make you want to pull your hair out.
  3. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    The way I see it, 44100 * 16 * 5 = 3.4Mbit/sec
    Which, even allowing that much in overhead, is enough for a USB1.1 device to handle. Since they're all USB2, and I have USB2.0 ports coming out of my ears (I count 12 including 2 inside the case) I'd imagine there won't be too much bottlenecking especially if they're not on 1 hub.

    I've just found the answer buried (deeply) in the Soundtech forum...apparently you can use more than one. My only worry is the amount of problems people are having.

    I can see the advantage of an interface, but finding one which fits...6 1/4" inputs (TS or TRS), and nothing more - no SPDIF, no MIDI, no outs. (I can monitor via the mixer...) I'd rather try and find long lost treasure.
  4. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    I would recommend do it.

    Does one usb port use one interrupt? How many interrupts are laying around free on a board after a full boot?

    It seems a bit anal to request an interface specific to your needs with no further expansion room or flexibility. Even still, they do exist if you are willing to allow yourself the freedom to recognize these various methods of input/output are available for a reason. Mainly due to some smart cats that can see further down the road then we, as users, may can see.

    (I had wanted to be a programmer many years ago, but it is sooo routine:) so routine, that's, ah...anyway.)

    If the maximum data transfer rate in usb 2.0 is 480 Mb/s, wouldn't the above equation read more like 480/x (x being the total usb port count)? So if you had five ports it would be 480/5=96Mb/s per port. Assuming all 5 ports were moving at once. I guess technically it isn't a bottleneck.

    A member of the USB Technology Team @ AppleComputer says...

    "If you define latency as the amount of time between when the device has data available and when your callback is issued, then you will have the following time periods contributing to that latency"

    But not being one to put ideas in a cage or build walls around them, I say go for it...I reckon'.
  5. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    OK, I spent a bit o' time on the soundtech forum. What I've read is pretty promising. Though apparently USB hubs are frowned upon.
    So, I guess if you go forward with this you'll be the first here to experiment with the lightsnakes. An RO pioneer!
    I look forward to reading (hopefully hearing) your results.

    I'd really like to hear what some others here have to say about this, though - I don't want myself and Space to end up with egg on our face, ya know?
  6. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Well I won't hold anything against anyone so I won't be the egg flinger (unless Fedex or someone do transcontinentals...:p)

    Space: My mobo has 6 built in USB2.0s, and I have a PCI expansion with 6 (including 2 inside the case).
    I have 8 with cables in at the moment but for recording I can strip that down to 2 (mouse + keyboard) which leaves plenty of room.
    I get the routine joke (subroutines...?) but the concept of interrupts is beyond me.
    I will be recording at 16 bit 44.1K (unless anyone recommends the gigantic improvements offered by 48K and resampling later).

    I was actually going to put (links to) at least one or two recordings up here, mainly if Cucco was interested in the choral songs from the coming concert...he'd given recommendations on mic placement.

    I'm confident these WILL be an improvement on anything so far. The best recording so far was a lucky mix, done live, recorded into an ultra-noisy mono computer mic in, complete with ground loop and 6.3K squeal.

    Now I just need to find 5 of these things in 12 days. Amazon.co.uk has none. Ebay has one for £30+£5 P&P and I'm worried - the product page says:
    "order now in time for Christmas!!"

    Input impedence is listed as 1 MOhm. I -think- the outs on the mixer which I'll be using are 10KOhm, possibly 1K. Is this bad news?
  7. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    I guess if you can live with "lucky" then you go ahead on.
    Run the experiment in spare time, this setup you are hellbent on doing is going to cause you much frustration. Latency. In this 5 USB cable configuration you have no latency buffer. None.

    One USB cable, sure, punch it in and track it. 5? aw hell nah!

    I wouldn't put all my eggs in one basket even with Easter as close as it is. I like your "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" motivation, but your money is going to be better spent on something designed for this input purpose.

    Do yerself a favor and move past the notion....
  8. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Said lucky mix was done using a computer which just happened to be available. It was lucky because the FoH sounded good on it's own. I've since decided to use another computer with less buzzy inputs.

    What I do largely depends on what budget I can get from the church.
    $4-500? Magic. I'll go get a fairly good interface with 6 or maybe even 8 :shock: discrete analog ins.
    $200? (More likely) Then unfortunately lightsnakes would appear to be the way to go. Plus I could easily spread them across 2 computers and double my odds of success.

    Unless you know of an interface with 6 discrete analog line ins for about $300? Which is available in the UK and can get here in 12 days. Yes, I've looked. What I've found generally has 4 channels plus as many SPDIFs as I could never imagine using.

    So I stick with the lightsnakes. I run the risk of losing a song from the recording. I get cleaner sound but with a dice roll every time the CPU spikes or the hard disk misses a beat.
    However this is the Budget gear forum. The idea is to get things for cheap, suffer the consequences and later, upgrade to something better.
  9. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Delta 1010LT. I have one so naturally, for your money, I would recommend it.

    There are many many options available at your price range but I'm not going to look for ya ;)
  10. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Heck, that's a good bit of kit.
    I've probably missed it because it's PCI. Not the best solution but I suppose this gives me a reason to have a fast computer to hand. I'd use it for both recording and to feed the projector (dual screens: I have (made) software to help with this).

    My ignorance cripples me. Thank you for recommending this.
    Although, what're the drivers/software like for it. Besides the evident "reliable" requirement can I use this with any recording program and not just a specific one? It's not too clear on this on the site and the only program mentioned is Pro Tools.
  11. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    I have used it with Cakewalk products, Sony, Krystal, Tracktion, FruityLoops, etc. with no issues between product. This is my experience with this card.

    Drivers are...drivers...what, they work s'all I know. It has a patchbay like interface that is mostly set-and-forget.

    My ignorance doesn't cripple me, its whenever I open my mouth to prove it:)

    More selection of PCI type cards

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