USB Sound cards

Test Setup

OS: Slackware 13.37,. 64-bit.

Mixer: Rexima, curses-based.

Player: Mplayer 20101218-4.5.1

Sample: mp3, 44100 Hz, 2 ch, s16le, 128.0 kbit

Phones: Sony MDR-605

PD552 dongle

Cost: £1.38, free delivery

dmesg:

usb 5-1: New USB device found, idVendor=1130, idProduct=f211

usb 5-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=0, Product=2, SerialNumber=0

usb 5-1: Product: USB AUDIO

input: USB AUDIO as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:13.0/usb5/5-1/5-1:1.3/input/input6

generic-usb 0003:1130:F211.0001: input,hidraw0: USB HID v1.10 Device [USB AUDIO ] on usb-0000:00:13.0-1/input3

input: USB AUDIO as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:13.0/usb5/5-1/5-1:1.4/input/input7

generic-usb 0003:1130:F211.0002: input,hidraw1: USB HID v1.10 Device [USB AUDIO ] on usb-0000:00:13.0-1/input4

lsusb

1130:f211 Tenx Technology, Inc. TP6911 Audio Headset

Rexima:

Pcm: 0->100%

Mic: 100% only, [R] only

Build Quality: Good

Linux compatibility: Partial, no working mixer device so software has to reduce the volume, which may be tricky on embedded systems.

Conclusion: AVOID!

White 'Mac-look' adapter with USB connector on flying lead

Cost: £4.49, free delivery

dmesg:

usb 5-1: New USB device found, idVendor=0d8c, idProduct=000e

usb 5-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=0, Product=1, SerialNumber=0

usb 5-1: Product: Generic USB Audio Device

input: CM109 USB driver as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:13.0/usb5/5-1/5-1:1.3/input/input9

lsusb

0d8c:000e C-Media Electronics, Inc. Audio Adapter (Planet UP-100, Genius G-Talk)

Rexima:

Pcm: 0->100%

Mic: 100% only, [R] only

Build Quality: Poor. USB socket housing came apart the 3rd time it was unplugged. Easy to put back together though.

Linux compatibility: Full, only playback tested.

Audio: Lacks bass.

Conclusion: Overall best buy, but pricey :). OK if you're going to be gentle with the connector. Take it on the road anywhere and it'll just annoy you.

7.1 Channel Sound, HF209-B

Cost: £2.75, free delivery

dmesg:

usb 5-1: New USB device found, idVendor=0d8c, idProduct=000e

usb 5-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=0, Product=1, SerialNumber=0

usb 5-1: Product: Generic USB Audio Device

input: CM109 USB driver as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:13.0/usb5/5-1/5-1:1.3/input/input24

lsusb:

0d8c:000e C-Media Electronics, Inc. Audio Adapter (Planet UP-100, Genius G-Talk)

Rexima:

Spkr: 0->100%

Mic: 0->100% only, [R] only

PhoneOut: 0->100%

PhoneOut and Spkr seem to do the same thing (alter volume), but are independent

Build Quality: Reports on the net suggest poor, but no problems seen. Buttons look flimsy.

Linux compatibility: Full, only playback tested.

Audio: Lacks bass.

Conclusion: Poor dynamic range, but does the job.

Virtual 7.1 Ch Sound

Cost: £3.69 + £0.69 delivery

dmesg:

usb 5-1: New USB device found, idVendor=0d8c, idProduct=000c

usb 5-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=0, Product=1, SerialNumber=0

usb 5-1: Product: C-Media USB Headphone Set

input: C-Media USB Headphone Set as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00 :13.0/usb5/5-1/5-1:1.3/input/input5

generic-usb 0003:0D8C:000C.0001: input,hidraw0: USB HID v1.00 Device [C-Media USB Headphone Set ] on usb-0000:00:13.0-1/input3

usbcore: registered new interface driver usbhid

usbhid: USB HID core driver

usbcore: registered new interface driver snd-usb-audio

lsusb:

0d8c:000c C-Media Electronics, Inc. Audio Adapter

Rexima:

Pcm: 0->100%

Mic: 100% only, [R] only

There are four jacks on this device. Two headphones and two mic inputs. The headphones both produce the same sound output, didn't test the two mic inputs, but suspect they're joined together.

Build Quality: Good.

Linux compatibility: Full, only playback tested.

Audio: Not bad.

Conclusion: Very poor dynamic range. Pcm on 6% is the highest you want it for headphones.