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Tech: Optical to computer?

Gurney 28 Dec 09 - 07:13 PM
treewind 28 Dec 09 - 07:24 PM
treewind 28 Dec 09 - 07:27 PM
Darowyn 29 Dec 09 - 04:11 AM
Bonzo3legs 29 Dec 09 - 04:44 AM
GUEST,Russ 29 Dec 09 - 06:29 AM
Gurney 29 Dec 09 - 02:56 PM
treewind 29 Dec 09 - 05:14 PM
Gurney 29 Dec 09 - 11:31 PM
treewind 30 Dec 09 - 03:21 PM
Gurney 30 Dec 09 - 11:23 PM
GUEST,Russ 31 Dec 09 - 04:43 PM
Gurney 31 Dec 09 - 11:31 PM
treewind 01 Jan 10 - 09:09 AM
Gurney 01 Jan 10 - 03:29 PM
Gurney 01 Jan 10 - 08:30 PM
Gurney 08 Jan 10 - 02:49 AM
Gurney 03 May 11 - 04:04 AM
treewind 03 May 11 - 08:38 AM
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Subject: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: Gurney
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 07:13 PM

I have a MD recorder with (a line and) an optical output. I'd like to get a digital signal into the computer.
I'm just assuming that the optical signal uses the same 'digits' as a computer, via a light medium. So obviously the light must be converted to electric somehow, before the computer can use it.
How? Please.

It may sound silly, but it's something I've never come across.
Logic (MY logic) tells me that there should be a translation device that plugs into a USB or another port. So, is there? If so, are they ruinously expensive?
Or should I just carry on redigitising via the line-out ports?
Donations gratefully received.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: treewind
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 07:24 PM

The M-Audio DIO 2496 has optical and coax SPDIF inputs and outputs.

You'll have to look for a second hand one now as they are no longer made. There may be others, but that's the one I used for hooking up an MD recorder to a PC.

It's also a very respectable sound card for recording on the analog inputs.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: treewind
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 07:27 PM

PS Googling for USB SPDIF gives some hopeful looking results


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: Darowyn
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 04:11 AM

SPDIF is an electrical format. Sony/Phillips digital interface. It uses a phono type plug (called RCA in the US) The optical connection uses the same data format, but connects via a fibre optical connection. That is often called "lightpipe', so a search for that might help.
Both types are capable of transferring eight channels of audio simultaneously at CD quality.
Equally, both types have been somewhat superseded by USB2 and Firewire these days.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 04:44 AM

I fortunately bought a Sony RH1 MD which has a USB socket for digital upload via Sonic stage to a computer. In fact as I type it's transferring a Fairport gig from 1984!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 06:29 AM

I have a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum sound card with optical in and out. I bought it specifically for use with my Sony Minidisc Deck MDS-JB940. I have been quite pleased with the combination.

It looks like that sound card is no longer available but some of the current SoundBlaster cards have optical IO.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: Gurney
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 02:56 PM

Thanks, folks. I bought this MD recorder very cheaply, it is a Sony MDS-501, an early one. It works perfectly, but the instructions do not even mention computers! Couldn't believe it! It is supposed to need a microphone amplifier, but my self-powered Marantz mikes seem to work without one.
I discovered to my lack of delight that my new computer needs a pre-amp for the tapedeck and MD player, which was not the case with my old computer. That one accepted weak signals, and it didn't even have a soundcard.
Have to go a-browsing now that I know what I'm looking for. Thanks again. Chris.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: treewind
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 05:14 PM

I don't know about the MDS-501, but My Sony MZ-R30 has optical input only, not output, and I seem to remember that's the usual rule with the portable recorders.

It wouldn't mention computers - optical links were supposed to be for transferring between MD recorders, to an amplifier with a digital input, or for recording from a CD player with optical digital output. Sound cards with optical or coax S/PDIF emerged only after Sony's minidiscs came on the scene, but I don't think Sony liked the implications of being able to copy your audio to a computer where further copies could proliferate!

I still have my MD deck and MZ-R30, but I never use them now - the quick and unrestricted USB transfer to computer from the Edirol R-09 has left MD way behind.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: Gurney
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 11:31 PM

Anahata, the MDS-501 isn't really a portable, it's a deck, mains electrical. It has I/O both line and optical. My portable is an Aiwa, which only has a line-out/earphone jackpoint. I wanted to just swap MDs to input into the computer, but the thing is getting silly since I discovered that I also now need a pre-amp for the tapedeck. Never get two items past the Chancellor of the (family) Exchequer.
Pity, there's a USB gadget that takes optical input, quite cheap, locally.

Have to say, though, the big Sony is a joy to record with, simple as a tape-recorder, which the controls resemble, and the readout is LEDs, vertical and visible even in sunlight. Need a torch at night though. It's black.
I can't even see my cellphone in sunlight. LCD.


Edirol or Zoom one day.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: treewind
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 03:21 PM

"MDS-501 isn't really a portable, it's a deck"
Ah. Silly me, I'd forgotten... I have a big black Sony MD deck, but it's not a 501.

Strange that you have a computer sound input that needs more signal that a consumer tape or MD deck can provide.

How about getting a device like THIS which can take both analog and digital audio input?
One purchase (and cheap enough?) that should work with both your tape deck and your MD digital audio out.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: Gurney
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 11:23 PM

Anahata, I've been considering exactly that option. There is an apparently identical unit for sale online locally (NZ). The dealer, however, can't tell me if the USB port, clearly marked 'USB IN' will work in reverse. As you say, it is cheap, but not if it is useless to me. I can't imagine why I'd send music FROM the computer to anything I own.
My old computer didn't need a boosted tapedeck input. Aren't new dual-core computers good!
The old one lost motherboard AND HD, shortly after a trojan. Royally irritating.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 04:43 PM

IMHO,
"USB IN" means that it is the jack for the end of the USB cable that connects to the external USB device.

Since the two ends of a USB cable are significantly different in shape, it is a bit of overkill to label the port.

USB connections are bidirectional by design.

The device is meant to be used between your sound source and your computer. Plug sound source into device, plug device into computer using standard USB cable.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: Gurney
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 11:31 PM

Russ, I had presumed that the USB bit would work both ways, but the blurb seems to assume that the data is going FROM the computer. There is also the matter that the blurb about the device talks about some sort of 'looping' of the optical ports in and out. To my mind, there should be some mechanism in there to convert light to electrical signals and vice versa, but looping sounds suspicious, and I don't know what it means. Mirror?.

I contacted the retailer but they asked for more details, like what unit was I talking about, but then New Year's Eve intervened. I await developments.

I have quite a few (deteriorating) tapes to digitise, and the MD deck was the way I wanted to do it. But it isn't the only way. Just the best way for Minidiscs.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: treewind
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 09:09 AM

"'looping' of the optical ports in and out"
Simply means that the optical out transmits is a copy of what's received on optical in.
...as opposed to sending to the optical output something different, e.g. sound generated in the computer.

"I can't imagine why I'd send music FROM the computer to anything I own."
Lots of uses...
Analog - to listen through a decent sound system, or to monitor stuff if you are using the computer as part of a multitrack recording studio, e.g. you are listening on headphones to a instrumental accompaniment you've just recorded while recording a vocal or second instrumental part to go with it (or harmony vocal etc...)

Digital - er... to record on MD, perhaps?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: Gurney
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 03:29 PM

Well, Anahata, the 'I' would have been in italics if I knew how to get them into Mudcat posts.
These 'USB soundcards' seem to be intended for gamers to be surrounded by sound ('speakers to the right of them, speakers to the left of them, volleyed and thundered...') and my good speakers are in the lounge, as herself ordained. I just want to get the music onto CD so that I can play it on a good stereo, and also to save it to HD. I've never done any type of studio work, and never likely to!
Not that the little Nicole computer speakers are bad! Better to my ears than some modern skinny column speakers.

From your description of 'looping,' my fears may have some grounds, in that the signal would not be converted from optical to electrical that the computer can use. At present.

I may have been too soon off the mark blaming the new computer for needing a stronger signal, as the turntable, which HAS a preamp, also seems to be the same. Either something is turned off or the onboard soundcard is faulty. Must delve.
Yours and Russ' original suggestions for internal soundcards may be the best way to go, but, new, they cost half the price of a Zoom H4!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: Gurney
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 08:30 PM

I delved, and the built-in soundcard seems to be faulty. It is working but the replay sound of something I've recorded if furry and hissey and crackley. Play-through from the turntable while I'm recording is OK, and pre and previously recorded CDs are fine, but at present the new recordings are dreadful. All God's chillun got problems, but I seem to get more than my share with computers.

And my old soundcards don't fit this new computer. Too long.
Makes you want to spit!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: Gurney
Date: 08 Jan 10 - 02:49 AM

Just revived the thread to let the helpers know what happened.

I gave up the idea of getting optical into the computer. It seems optical was something of a temperamental beast anyway, and I don't need that! It looked like being an expensive exercise. Old soundcards don't fit new motherboards.
I got a fairly respectable soundcard, but (possibly) the combination of new card and 64bit made 'LP Recorder', my preferred digitiser, also temperamental, so I had to buy an update of LP Recorder, as well.
Nowt's simple and cheap, is it?
One, or a combination of several, freeware digitisers that I was trying screwed my computer. Blue screen of death. If I was doing that again, I'd try, and then remove, one-at-a-time.
Thanks, guys. Chris.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: Gurney
Date: 03 May 11 - 04:04 AM

It makes you want to spit. My (newish) soundcard has bit the dust! It will 'line out,' but not 'line in.'

So, I revived this thread to ask: Should I be able to see a digital optical signal coming from the (unplugged) port of the mini-disk recorder? Or is it an infrared laser? Is it even a laser, or just a very dim lamp? I haven't put my eye down there. Yet.

There are some very cheap new soundcards available "with optical input," and they are virtually giving the optical 'cable' away, and I'm back to square one with soundcards......but is the optical output on the MD working?

Chris.

Only about 100 LPs, 50 tapes, to go.
I took the MD to record at a festival last year. It works brilliantly, but it needs a very different set of mics. People yapping at the back picked up almost as well as the singers. Marantz cardioid condenser mics, too. NOT cheap, when I bought them so long ago.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Optical to computer?
From: treewind
Date: 03 May 11 - 08:38 AM

As far as I remember, you can see a red light coming from the optical out. You might have to put in a disc and put the MD into play mode to make the light come on.

I'm still running happily on the Edirol R-09 I mentioned upthread...
No sound card required for that!

For copying LPs, I use the Edirol because I can get it next to the record player. If I was copying tapes I might well still use the Edirol because it's so easy; the alternative is into the computer and record with Audacity or similar, as long as I have my M-Audio Audiophile 2496 still working...


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