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Hardware Review: USB-SA Andrea External USB Soundcard & SuperBeam Microphone Bundle

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by , 12-30-2009 at 07:05 AM (2468 Views)

What is it?

A USB based sound card with SoundMAX Superbeam array microphone.

The Verdict:

Most parts for any CarPC tend to run for a minimum of $50. With the bundle coming in at just less than $50, this is a value for anyone looking to add a sound card and microphone to a system. The microphone is clearly the more valuable part in the bundle and works very well in most environments. The straightforward installation and good sound with impressive microphone pickup make this a good buy.

See this product on the mp3Car Store here.

What’s in the box?

PureAudio USB Sound Card
Soundmax Microphone
CD Driver(Mini CD – Won’t work in slot load CDRom)

Description:

This product is very basic, almost too basic. With only headphone and microphone jacks you are not able to add additional audio in connections. Because of this all testing of the sound card was done on a home PC, the microphone was attached to the internal sound card in my CarPC. This allowed for Audio IN and my HD Radio to continue to work. The cable on the microphone is long(~84”), this is very handy when connecting to a sound card that is in the trunk.

The Positive:

The microphone works very well, and the length of cable is very helpful. The install is also very easy once you download the software from their website (http://www.andreaelectronics.com). I tested voice commands with the top down on the convertible in a very loud garage and it recognized all the commands on first try. This is a drastic improvement over most microphones I have used.

The Negative:

The shape of the microphone is designed to sit on top of a monitor, but it does not come with any double sided tape or Velcro to keep it in place. The sound card works but without an Audio In, I am unable to connect external radio sources to my PC.

The Verdict:

Most parts for any CarPC tend to run for a minimum of $50. With the bundle coming in at just less than $50, this is a value for anyone looking to add a sound card and microphone to a system. The microphone is clearly the more valuable part in the bundle and works very well in most environments. The straightforward installation and good sound with impressive microphone pickup make this a good buy.

SuperbeamArray Microphone Specifications
Acoustic
Microphone ConfigurationTwo unidirectional microphones with

individual channels to a stereo output
Recommended operating distance12” - 48” (Varies with application)
Acoustic signal reduction @ 1 KHz and 180º>10 dB
Electrical Characteristics
Mic bias Supply Voltage for rated 4 VDC

sensitivity
4 VDC
Operating Mic bias Supply Voltage Range 2.5 to 5 VDC

(with up to 3 dB sensitivity variation)
2.5 to 5 VDC
Supply series resistor2 KOhms +/- 0.5K
Operating Current (each channel)0.6 mA
Output Impedance @ 1 KHz<200 Ohms
Max SPL Input @ 1 KHz115 dB (3% THD @ 3.7V)
Max Output (THD <3% @ 1 KHz)120 mV rms
Sensitivity (Re: 1V @ 0.1 Pa)-44 dB, +/- 4 dB
Frequency Response50 Hz - 8000 Hz
Noise20 uV
Operating Temperature0O C to + 70O C
Connector3.5 mm jack, left mic power and left audio

on “tip”, right mic power and right audio on

“ring”. Sleeve common ground.
Size4.3” length x 1.7” width x 0.9” height




See this product on the mp3Car Store here.

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Last 3 Posts

After my limited use of Destinator, I really am looking forward to my uninstall.

The look and feel of it are alright, though a little mattel-ish, but the functioning is just missing so many things.

The one GLARING oversight is a "back" button on each screen. Take this image you posted:

You click on the "show traffic map" and it moves you right over... great! Except you can't get back! You're stuck there. You have to quit the app and go through it's long startup routine again.

That was one example, but there are several that stick you in the same dead-end routine.

When comparing it against an established software package like Navigon, I don't think there's a legitimate debate to be had. With a good software update there is most definitely potential for this to be a competitor to those market leaders, but right now it's not ready.

Edit: I should add, I think the software is very easy to use once you get the hang of it. City, Road, #. Quick, easy, gets you there.

Few other bugs:
-When you have the lady's voice disabled, it still fades the music when it was planning on saying something
-On the highway with signs up ahead, it removes the map and just shows the upcoming signs on top on a white background. It's obviously meant to be an overlay, like:

but all that's coming through are the road signs.
-Playing music from your iTunes library doesn't always go smoothly. I selected one album and another started playing. Really weird when you pick Rolling Stones and Gorillaz starts up.
-The scrolling info across the bottom NEVER gets to finish its scroll. Sometimes it only gets 1/4 across, sometimes almost all the way, but never a full scroll. Cuts out, then a new one starts and is immediately cut out again.

What is it?

Destinator 9 is Intrinsync's entry into the rather crowded iPhone GPS space. The app comes with real-time traffic, integrated maps, POIs, Weather, and Google search integrated.

The Verdict:

Destinator has made it's way onto the first page of my iPhone. The feature rich GPS app has replaced the multiple GPS apps if for no other reason than the superior graphical interface. Having tested the TomTom, Navigon, and Waze, Destinator seems to have the most updated maps, most features and the ability to route to contacts or google results is a huge plus. The ability to download a trial before purchase will explain why to spend the extra money on this app versus the others. The app is very large(updates are normally 1.6 GB+) and must be downloaded over wifi and tends to be slow to open. Once running it does not drain the battery horribly like the TomTom and if you close it the destination is retained so youc an conserve some battery on long drives.
Navigator 9 is available now at ITunes StoreScreenshots

Description

Destinator 9 uses voice guided turn-by-turn directions with Navteq Maps with a graphical display in either 2D or 3D. Traffic conditions, points-of-interest information, and weather information are included when available. Multi-Stop trips can be imported or destinations can be set by tapping on a location on a map, selecting addresses from contacts, or using the traditional address import methods. To augment the address imports you can select by town, street, intersection, or Latitude/Longitude. The app is available as a free trial download with a splash screen that can be toggled off to try the app initially. Once you purchase the app, you get additional features including speed limit notification and warnings. Upon starting the app, you are able to control your ipod collection from within the program. You can also check the real-time traffic and weather from the bottom menu. During navigation the display will change throughout your trip to show the overhead signs on the highway, as well as lane directions to guide you both visually and vocally. You can view the directions either vertically or horizontally and the display changes automatically with orientation of the iphone. The app start up is very slow as I think it loads all the maps, however once it starts the gps finds your location very quickly. Much better than on the competing apps. The maps have been up to date and the app seems to be getting updated about once every couple weeks. The app is also available for Windows Mobile and Android

The Positive:
  • Graphical Interface is easy to use
  • 3D view shows upcoming street signs
  • Background shows current weather
  • Google Search integration
  • Real-Time Traffic
  • Maintains Destination
  • Up-to-Date Maps
  • Ipod Controls Integrated
  • Speed Limit Warnings

The Negative:
  • Slow to open
  • Very Large Download
  • Does not have the standard "Take me Home" option
  • $69.99 Price