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

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


    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.

    <table border="1" bordercolor="#000000"><tbody><tr><th colspan="2" scope="row" align="center" height="61">SuperbeamArray Microphone Specifications </th></tr><tr><th scope="row" align="left">Acoustic</th><td>
    </td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Microphone Configuration</th><td>Two unidirectional microphones with

    individual channels to a stereo output</td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Recommended operating distance</th><td>12” - 48” (Varies with application)</td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Acoustic signal reduction @ 1 KHz and 180º</th><td>>10 dB</td></tr><tr><th scope="row" align="left">Electrical Characteristics</th><td>
    </td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Mic bias Supply Voltage for rated 4 VDC

    sensitivity</th><td>4 VDC</td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Operating Mic bias Supply Voltage Range 2.5 to 5 VDC

    (with up to 3 dB sensitivity variation)</th><td>2.5 to 5 VDC</td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Supply series resistor</th><td>2 KOhms +/- 0.5K</td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Operating Current (each channel)</th><td>0.6 mA</td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Output Impedance @ 1 KHz</th><td><200 Ohms</td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Max SPL Input @ 1 KHz</th><td>115 dB (3% THD @ 3.7V)</td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Max Output (THD <3% @ 1 KHz)</th><td>120 mV rms</td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Sensitivity (Re: 1V @ 0.1 Pa)</th><td>-44 dB, +/- 4 dB</td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Frequency Response</th><td>50 Hz - 8000 Hz</td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Noise</th><td>20 uV</td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Operating Temperature</th><td>0O C to + 70O C</td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Connector</th><td>3.5 mm jack, left mic power and left audio

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

    “ring”. Sleeve common ground.</td></tr><tr><th scope="row">Size</th><td>4.3” length x 1.7” width x 0.9” height</td></tr></tbody></table>



    See this product on the mp3Car Store here.

  • #2
    Do you have to use the included USB sound card or can you use an onboard mic input?

    Comment


    • #3
      Doesn't using your stock sound card bypass the echo cancellation abilities? (The main reason most people buy this setup)
      openMobile - An open source C# Front End (why choose openMobile?)
      - Always Recruiting Developers -
      Like what you see? Donations are always welcome

      Comment


      • #4
        For what it's worth. My mobo came with the Superbeam, and when I got it, there was no Vista64 support, so I had to get a beta driver that didn't include the Soundmax Control Panel, thus no noise-cancel, but it still worked fine as a regular mic. Now, I've replaced my onboard sound with a Soundblaster (x-fi Music, I think) and I'm still using the Superbeam mic with it. It's working fine as a regular mic as well. Again, obviously no noise-cancelling still though.
        In digging, the reason some don't seem to work is because the mic is basically a stereo mic, and the plug has two different channels, whereas some sound cards make an internal connection, grounding the input of the two channels, or some such nonsense.

        Anyway, I know mine works fine with my desktop, I just wish I could use it in the carpc without having to buy the USB sound card.


        Cheers,

        Kris
        How Much Horsepower Can I have And Still Go To Heaven?

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the replies,

          The reason I asked was because I had read somewhere that using both the usb sound card with the superbeam and onboard audio didn't quite work well. Also I remember this person stating that his onboard sound card sounded better than the usb stick.

          I guess I had assumed that the superbeam mic and the software was all that was needed for the echo cancellation. Can someone confirm that using the usb audio plug for mic in and using onboard sound card for sound will work alright?

          I REALLY want to buy this product but I am afraid to run into complications. Thanks!

          Comment


          • #6
            My carpc uses the onboard audio for my 4 channel amp, and the andrea USB sound for stereo microphone in. Windows can handle this no problem, you just have to change the settings in the control panel. ie. Let windows know that computer generated voice and music will come out through the onboard audio, and microphone input will come from the other sound device.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by BlackStealth View Post
              My carpc uses the onboard audio for my 4 channel amp, and the andrea USB sound for stereo microphone in. Windows can handle this no problem, you just have to change the settings in the control panel. ie. Let windows know that computer generated voice and music will come out through the onboard audio, and microphone input will come from the other sound device.
              Thank you BlackStealth, that's exactly what I wanted to know!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by BlackStealth View Post
                My carpc uses the onboard audio for my 4 channel amp, and the andrea USB sound for stereo microphone in. Windows can handle this no problem, you just have to change the settings in the control panel. ie. Let windows know that computer generated voice and music will come out through the onboard audio, and microphone input will come from the other sound device.
                Does the echo cancellation still work with it set up like this? Like if you were to use for phone use?

                Comment


                • #9
                  IS it normal to hear yourself through this mic at all times ??

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    For echo cancellation to work you need the andrea usb dongle set as your microphone in and your audio out. This has been answered in dozens of threads on the forums.
                    openMobile - An open source C# Front End (why choose openMobile?)
                    - Always Recruiting Developers -
                    Like what you see? Donations are always welcome

                    Comment

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