Test Equipment Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by jg, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. jg

    jg Guest

    (Hopefully this is right forum for my question...)

    I need to get some test equipment so I can do basic servicing on my Analog gear...
    So far I think I need to get an Oscilloscope, Signal Generator, dB meter, Voltmeter with analog VU...
    Any other suggestions?
    And what type of O-Scope?
    Used O-scopes don't seem to be too expensive these days, but so many options... Plus, what do you think of a PC based O-Scope (like kind you can use with a laptop)... ?

    I mainly want to be able to tweak/calibrate levels in my board & adjust the basic levels on my tape machines.
    I have an analog console (soundworkshop) & 2 tape machines (Otari MX-70 & MX-5050)...
    Stuff has been working fine for a couple years, then it sat idle in my home for a while & I am now getting busy again, but noticing my gear needs some TLC.

    I'll probably buy all my test gear used, so any suggestions on dcent but modestly priced equipment would be appreciated.
    I don't want to spend too much, butr want to make sure I get right gear.


  2. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    Passive VU meter with trim and term ination switch can be DIY'd
    see my site

    Same goes for a signal generator.
    Even CD and MP3 players with a balance line drive make for good sources.
    Simple DVM ... rms voltages are not perfect but close enough.
    CRO .. 20 meg or better ... dual trace ... for audio
    nothing short of 40/50 for video work.

    PC based software is cool but not for fault finding. Great for plotting and printing response curves etc
    GREAT for distortion testing. (FFT analysis)

    most of the useful stuff can be DIY'd and things like the 20 meg CRO can be second hand or budget new
    .... look for specials from both pro and enthusiast stores.

    dummy load for amps etc
    small bench amp ...
    signal tracer ... see DIY Factory
  3. anxious

    anxious Guest

    Here's a list of low-cost, pc-based software that I put together for my field engineers. I would supplement it with a "real" hardware scope, like a used Tek 2430.

    Tascam USB-122. (http://www.tascam.com/Products/US-122.html)

    - USB I/O hardware.
    - Powered from laptop.
    - Microphone and line inputs.
    - Phantom power.
    - Flat, low distortion response. .
    - Requires some attention to set-up to achieve best results.

    Behringer ECM-8000. (http://www.behringer.com/ECM8000/)

    - Measurement microphone.
    - Flat response and low distortion up to ~140 dB.
    - May be calibrated for very high accuracy.

    TrueRTA. (http://)

    - Software RTA.
    - 1-octave to 1/24th-octave resolution.
    - Basic signal generation choices.
    - Basic chirp for circuit testing.
    - Very good display, comparison, smoothing, averaging options.

    Sample Champ Pro. (http://www.purebits.com)

    - Full 2-ch acoustic analysis suite.
    - Very comprehensive MLS- and FFT-based testing.
    - Can do distortion, TD and room acoustics work.
    - Steep learning curve.

    NCH Tone Generator. (http://www.nch.com.au/tonegen/)

    - Applet for generating tones, multitones and sweeps.
    - Simple but well-considered feature set.
    - Basic noise, impulse and burst signals possible.

    Wavegen. (http://www.sumuller.de/audiotester/)

    - Nice shareware emulation of a hardware function generator.
    - Does impulse, adjustable burst and arbitrary generation.
    - Also includes a 2-ch FFT system that is OK, but less powerful than Sample Champ.

    DazyWeb Instrumentation. (http://)

    - A variety of general purpose audio scope and generator utilities.
    - Free, but sometimes buggy under some OS flavors.
  4. jg

    jg Guest

    Thanks for the tips.
    I'm gonna look into some of this stuff & get to downloading.

    It will be cool if I can calibrate most my gear using my laptop & a other basic test gear.
  5. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    try some FREE software for the sound card and see how you like this sort of thing before you by anything fancy

    Audio Tester
  6. anxious

    anxious Guest

    Yes I agree with your suggestion. AUDIOTESTER is included with the WAVEGEN package that I mentioned. It's decent. The problem is that I have yet to find a laptop that doesn't have aggressive highpass filtering on the analog I/O.

  7. Sanity Inn

    Sanity Inn Guest

    Here's one called Audio Test Bench




    tone generator
    spectrum analyzer
    frequency plotter

    let me know if you make a decision on test hardware, I broker CATV equipment in states and operators are always selling off old test euipment



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