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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:25 pm 
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match_point wrote:
As far as recording the 'sound' generated by the computer (CD,DVD played from the computer, streaming audio, etc....) the startech quality is the same as the fidelity I've been able to achieve with my T43. It makes sense because you're capturing a digital stream (zeros and ones). ...

Ah, sounds like for this usage the digital capture aspect is pretty much just a matter of "Can it or can't it," rather than "How well can it." Interesting, I never knew the range of functions and results that can vary between sound cards, but glad this doesn't appear to be one of them.

match_point wrote:
... As far as recording analog sources via "stereo line-in"; The startech solution is not recommended. The main reason is the fact that the "mic-in" port on the startech product is mono. ...

It hadn't yet occurred to me to try using the device for stereo line-in also, but since it probably would have eventually, I'm glad you headed me off at the pass and saved me that 'heartbreak!' Thanks for your reply.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:47 am 
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eecon wrote:
Here is the new generation X-Fi card for express slot equipped ThinkPads .... the previous version had some bugs under Vista.

The new SB0950 seems to working well for me with Vista Ultimate x64 SP1 in a T61.

Cheers,

Bill B.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:16 pm 
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Hi, guys,

There's nothing wrong at all with installing hardware to get better features. However, I've read in several places that Virtual Audio Cable has a learning curve and is hard to use. I found that's not exactly so. It has a lot of documentation, costs $30, and looks confusing. Here's really what's involved on a ThinkPad running Vista.

1. Download and install the trial version.

2. Run VAC Control Panel and set the primary settings.
* Maximum instances - 2
* Milliseconds per interrupt - 5
* Sampling rate range - 44100 to 48000
* Bits per sample - 8 and 6
* Number of channels range 1 and 2
* Stream format limiting - Cable range

3. Click the speaker icon in the system tray and select the Recording tab. Set "Line 1 Virtual Cable" as the default recording device. Go to the Playback tab and do the same for the default playback device.

4. Using a recording program such as Audacity -

a. Click "Start" in VAC Audio Repeater program.
b. Start Recording using your recording program
c. Start playing the music you wish to record

This gives the notebook the "what u hear" functionality back.

5. If you want to use an external mic and mix with music for karaoke or voice over, shut down all music providers, recorders, and Audio Repeater. Then click "Mic" in VAC Control Panel. This adds the microphone jack on the playback side of the cable, allowing mic in mixing on the notebook.

It works fine used this way. That's the short version of what I found out. If you want the long version, you can find it here: http://www.brighthub.com/computing/windows-platform/articles/19005.aspx.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:29 pm 
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I'm now aware of the crippled sound issue on T61's. Wonder if on the T400/T500/W500 this recording limitation is still there or would I be able to record as with old Thinkpads.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:54 pm 
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agarza wrote:
I'm now aware of the crippled sound issue on T61's. Wonder if on the T400/T500/W500 this recording limitation is still there or would I be able to record as with old Thinkpads.


The new models remain crippled like the T61 :oops:

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:20 am 
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Everytime I revisit this thread I get depressed. I wish someone found a way to hack the driver or a hardware fix like reflashing an eeprom.

Thanks to those who have been trying, though.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:14 am 
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match_point wrote:
... As far as recording analog sources via "stereo line-in"; The startech solution is not recommended. The main reason is the fact that the "mic-in" port on the startech product is mono. ...
The new and improved version 5.1 Star Tech USB Soundcard with a true "stereo" line-in arrived today and it works great .... in fact the recordings from all sources (especially internet radio) sound cleaner than the very good X-fi Express Slot card I was using.

Although I solved my recording issue using Creative's Express Slot X-fi Sound Card, I am now using my Express Slot for a 2-port eSATA adapter that very nicely more than doubles my data transfer speeds to/from a pair of 1TB external hard drives (from a sustained average 25,000MB/sec via USB 2.0 to over 60,000MB/sec via eSATA). The adapter is also RAID capable and I tested (just for fun) a RAID 0 array with the pair of external 1TB WD 3.5" 7200 RPM SATA II Black Series via eSATA and got 125MB/sec sustained data transfers ..... Holy mack, that's significantly faster than the internal hard drive transferring to another HD in the UltraBay!

Anyway, back to topic ..... Thus I needed to try another solution for sound recording since I put my Express54 Cardbus slot to better use (eSATA service) and decided to give the newly released 5.1 StarTech USB product a shot.

The line-in is now separate from the Mic-in on this new model. The Line-in is now definately stereo, unlike the earlier version of this device (with only a combo mono Line-in/Mic-in). Note that you will need to run a patch line out from the ThinkPad Line-out/Headphone-Out connection over to the Line-in connection on the Star-tech ..... that's about it. Also note that I tried the recording via the mono Mic-in and it definately was not good quality (I imagine similar to the quality problem with the previous mono version of this Star Tech product). Anyway, the driver self installs from WinXP or Vista and you simply run the Star-Tech Sound Station control panel software that's included with the CD. Under WinXP Control Panel, set all Sound Devices except for Audio Playback to the USB Audio source. Leaving the Audio Playback to the onboard SoundMax ensures all audio sources get routed via the 1/8" mini-jack stereo patch cable (male-to-male connections) over to the USB device from which you can use any recording software to record from Line-in (I still use the Creative Recorder that came with my X-fi). A simple and elegant recording solution to recording everything that you can hear. Note that you need to use headphones or external speakers connected to the USB Star-Tech for audio listening/monitoring of what you are recording. There is no time delay or lag when doing this. When not recording (and you wish to hear the laptop's speakers) just unplug the patch cable from the ThinkPad's headphone-out connection and enjoy the sound direct from the ThinkPad's speakers via the SoundMax. Since I'm always docked and use externals, I don't have to do anything, but it's nice to know that when traveling just unplug the patch cable and go ..... and you do not need to take the USB Star-Tech with you unless you plan to record stuff on the road.

Here you go folks (the price was just bumped up to $39.99 .... I paid $29.99 last week .... word must be getting out and demand may be justifying the price increase):

http://www.startech.com/product/itemlis ... rch=Search

So now I've got easy to use sound recording capabilities and fast eSATA external data transfer rates .... what more can anyone ask for these days?

UPDATE: The 5.1 version has now been replaced buy the 7.1 version:

http://www.startech.com/item/ICUSBAUDIO ... SPDIF.aspx

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:29 pm 
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Interesting, then a cheap USB audio device does not record in stereo mode? For example this one:
http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.mx/MLM ... ptador-_JM

or do I need to buy the X-Fi or the startech one? I want to record in stereo from a external source such as a stereo to digitalize a tape.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:14 pm 
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Google Translate says that page says that gizmo if for ONE MICROPHONE and stereo speakers.

So no, it won't let you record in stereo, and it won't let you record from your tapes, either. You need a device that has two LINE LEVEL inputs, not microphone inputs. Whether it has two "RCA" plugs, or one stereo plug, doesn't matter but you need stereo (two) LINE INPUTS to record from tape decks, stereo receivers, etc.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:45 pm 
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Yep, correctly.

I got a few months back the Easycap USB 2.0 capture device, so far it works great, for recording I use Ulead VideoStudio & for audio Audacity.

For my next laptop, I may buy the Creative Xfi ExpressCard, just because I don't like the frontal headphone connector.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:39 pm 
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As a creative card owner, I'd tell you to buy anything else, even gamble on no-name junk from China. Creative had extensive problems making the cards work in Vista, badly botched support multiple times, and generally did just about everything they could--the wrong way. Every time.

I wouldn't give them my trash for recycling, let alone any new money. I'm not the only one who had that problem or feels that way, so caveat emptor.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:26 am 
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Google had me land on page 7, and in some round-about way I think I read everything here. What a pain this has been for so many folks!

I stopped by Fry's Electronics on the way home and picked-up a SIIG USB SoundWave 7.1 external sound controller. It was like 18 bucks and with a $10 mail-in rebate, I figured that I'd give it a shot, despite not seeing it mentioned in this thread. Well, I just opened it up a little while ago and I see just one jack, a speaker or headset out. Drat. Just to be certain, this will not work, correct?

http://www.siig.com/ViewProduct.aspx?pn=CE-S00012-S2

I should have a mic or line in if I wish to record, which I do obviously... I see the StarTech at Amazon for less than 20 bucks, but was hoping for a solution now. Also, I don't need stereo (mono is fine) as I simply want to record a news feed during the afternoon that I can later listen to during my long commute home.

Thanks much.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:58 pm 
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"•Virtual 7.1 channel surround sound provides home-theater quality surround sound via headphones or stereo speakers
•Built-in amplifier for rich and powerful sound "

You can't do any recording with that. You bought an amplifier that can power speakers or headphones, and that's all. But for $8 that would be an improvement to T61 audio, which is too weak to overcome the sound of airplane engines and other things.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:52 pm 
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Thanks much for the confirmation! Spur of the moment purchase... For 8 bucks, a good deal, but won't help me... I'll check another Fry's when I return it. If no dice there, I'll order the StarTech ICUSBAUDIO USB 2.0 to Audio Adapter from Amazon... Also, from someone above, the Easycap USB Video Capture Adapter, and if so, I'd be able to use that for its primary intended purpose.

Here are both:

http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-ICUSBAUD ... 219&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Easycap-USB-Video ... B001BWU8US

Either of these should work, correct?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:18 pm 
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The Startech says it supports microphones, but if you need line inputs for lp or cassette, it doesn't support those. It also doesn't say if it is 8-bit audio, 16-bit, or what. That only matters if you can tell the difference when you hear it.

The Easycap would appear to give you one set of stereo line level inputs, but again, doesn't say what quality that will be.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:33 pm 
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hellosailor - thank you. Given that I simply want to record and listen to some investment programs (CNBC & Bloomberg), fidelity is not critical for my purposes. Thanks again.


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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 8:17 am 
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specularius wrote:
I wonder if this would be a viable work around?
SB Audigy2 ZS


I haven't read the whole thread so pardon me if I'm repeating something.

Yes, the Audigy2 ZS bypasses the internal soundmax in the T60. The way it works I'm sure it would in other series as well. I use it all the time creating backing tracks for my band.

I often grab stereo clips/mixes (i.e. youtube, movies, etc.) for whatever reason.

The way I do it is play the source while recording using Creatives 'Smart Recorder' (an app bundled with the soundcard) with the creative 'Surround Mixer' recording input set to 'What You Hear'.

You can find reasonably priced Audigy2 ZX's on eBay ($20 and up). IMO, for the $$$ there is not another soundcard that comes close to the capabilities of the Audigy2 ZS. Just do a eBay search for 'Audigy Notebook'. Make sure it comes with the dongle cable if you ever want to use it for 5.1 surround.

Note the Audigy 2ZX is now discontinued (I just bought two on eBay as backups). The 'New & Improved' version is the Soundblaster X-fi Extreme. The X-fi version is also an ExpressCard form factor and I understand it's rather fragile. For 5.1 surround sound you also need an optional 'docking module' which is scarcer than hens teeth.


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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 8:31 am 
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hellosailor wrote:
As a creative card owner, I'd tell you to buy anything else, even gamble on no-name junk from China. Creative had extensive problems making the cards work in Vista, badly botched support multiple times, and generally did just about everything they could--the wrong way. Every time.

I wouldn't give them my trash for recycling, let alone any new money. I'm not the only one who had that problem or feels that way, so caveat emptor.


I'd almost agree with you. I used my Audigy2 ZS on my T30 (XP Pro) with no problems. When I upgraded to my T60 I started having 'pops & crackles' in the audio that I was unable to eliminate unless I clicked on 'bit accurate recording' in the Audio Console every time I booted.

Tried the new drivers Creative put out in response to the 'pops & crackles' problem and it was worse. I'd given up, destined to click 'bit accurate recording' forever more.

Anyway, I got hit with the 'bad' Windows update and decided just to R&R everything 'as from the factory'. On a whim I decided to reinstall the Creative software IMMEDIATELY after Win was loaded. Voila! no problems whatsoever anymore.

I personally think the issue is Creative doesn't play nice with higher end video drivers (My T60 has an ATI Radeon 1300) and/or overclockers


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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 12:22 pm 
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I'm told that one of the things (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain) that MS didn't bother to brag about with Vista is that there are entirely new sound sub-systems, designed to support DVD-quality and 5.x and other formats that go way beyond the "CD quality" of NT5.x (XP).

And since MS didn't bother to tell anyone...they caught audio makers flatfooted and wreaked havoc. Of course, hardware makers are supposed to ask more questions than us rubes, and they should have known about this and written new drivers accordingly. me, i don't care. It ain't 1990 any more, and I don't want excuses for commercial products, I just except someone else to do THEIR JOB and make it work.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:07 pm 
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Aloha! Since this most informative Thread is still alive i thought i'd finally post my own experiences with this nasty on board sound card/drivers crippling thing. Following the advice of others here (mainly eecon) i went ahead and found a Retail X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook. I didn't need the speaker dock (when i need the 5.1 i use the desktops).

I will try not to drag this out - forgive me if i am too wordy...

1. First and foremost, I need to thank everyone who contributed to this Thread. I actually didn't even KNOW that the was mic in on this laptop was only MONO, until i found it here. :eek: Thanks to everyone here i was able to find an awesome work around to that and the other recording limitations. :bow:

2. I would never have even considered an add-in sound device had they not crippled the line-in and "what you hear" recording capabilities in the Soundmax. Why? Because they at least sounded fantastic with the Behringer MS40s. But upgrading to this card has greatly enhanced that sound. I am amazed it could or would be that much better! I'm no audiophile but i'd like to believe as a "semi-pro" musician (drums and percussion) i have a good enough ear to tell. I have played with the likes of Don Ho and a host of other in The Islands. 8) I am going to try an Optical out to the Optical in on the MS40s as they claim it is even better?!
Just need to get the cable now.

3. I was ready to go ballistic when i found out (after i purchased card no less) that Creative did not provide ASIO drivers. :evil: I primarily use Audition for all my recording needs and recording anything was HORRIBLE using the DirectSound method. But in spite of so many users on so many forums claiming that the free ASIO4ALL drivers did not work, i was able to get them working without any problems whatsoever. What a difference they made! :bow: :banana: Recording works AOK with all my other methods... EAC, AudioGrabber, etc. I don't use the Creative stuff and i never touch WMP.

4. I'm very sorry that so many Vista (& Win7?) users are having problems with this card in the T6x's. I only have one thing to say about that. They'll have to pry XPPro from my cold dead keyboard. I had ordered Vista with this laptop since it was free. I think it was in there all of about 20 minutes before i WAXED IT. Never looked back. It will soon be dual booting Slackware and XP Pro. And then i'll be even happier.

5. I only wonder about removing/installing this card without powering down first. I've had problems with older laptops with damage doing that. Never had a chance to try that in this T61. Can anyone confirm if it's ok?

6. eecon, could you please let me know which esata card you got? Since your setup (was) pretty close to mine i would be very interested. I didn't read all the way through this to find out if you are still with XP. I find that for IT work, it can't be beat except certain Network/Security stuff via Linux.

7. Again, i can't thank this Amazing Forum and all the Users for everything they are bringing to the table here.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:08 pm 
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Eakami-
Two tidbits that aren't easy to find:
1-Any USB sound device is subject to jitter, creating phase distortion, because the USB bus is constantly adjusting its own clock signal. Or so a number of high end audio folks claim. Whether this is audible to humans, seems up for debate. But the jitter on the USB bus exists.

2-So you ditched Vista...that's a shame, XP can only handle "CD" quality audio. The Vista audio subsystems handle DVD+ quality. Again, whether that makes any real difference...

So in theory, Vista plus a card slot based audio solution will give you better audio than anything on the USB bus and under XP.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:57 pm 
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hellosailor wrote:
Eakami-
Two tidbits that aren't easy to find:
1-Any USB sound device is subject to jitter, creating phase distortion, because the USB bus is constantly adjusting its own clock signal. Or so a number of high end audio folks claim. Whether this is audible to humans, seems up for debate. But the jitter on the USB bus exists.

2-So you ditched Vista...that's a shame, XP can only handle "CD" quality audio. The Vista audio subsystems handle DVD+ quality. Again, whether that makes any real difference...

So in theory, Vista plus a card slot based audio solution will give you better audio than anything on the USB bus and under XP.
Wow! hellosailor you must have been reading me mind. ;) I was wondering if i made the right decision after all by not going with a usb sound device. Well, the Xtreme PC card Line In could be better. Having all kinds of fun w/ various configs and getting various apps to allow monitoring while recording. Audition has a mind of it's own. Can't for the life of me get it or the creative drivers to allow me to listen while recording with it. :evil: So i resort back to either EAC or AudioGrabber (i also have Nero but it seems to be a resource hog esp compared to the aforementioned. But those same aforementioned don't use ASIO so i'm worried about the hit. At least i can listen while recording with all of them. Must be the ASIO thing. For now i've just scaled back the Performance config to 48 kHz / 24 Bit. Guess from what you stated, i could go further back to 48 kHz / 16 Bit and i wouldn't notice much - if any difference? I believe there is more of a hit using 96 kHz vs 48 than changing the resolution. In other words, i'm not sure there is much more resources used by going from 16 bit to 24 bit. I'm thinking the real savings comes from going from 96 kHz to 48. But I'll try it and if i don't notice any difference It should be ok. EDIT: I just had a revelation that i am not even recording in 96 kHz / 24 Bit so why even set it that high? Doesn't make sense does it?! Duhhhhhh i should know this stuff better. My sound recording world was the old Akai decks or letting someone else do it in the studio while we just played da music.

I've also got an older version of Total Recorder that may be the Bomb and allow me to allow ASIO and be able to monitor while recording.

Yeah, i just couldn't stand Vista. I do far too much in the Networking/Security/Forensic depts and it just drove me nuts to have to do so much more just to do what i was doing before so much simpler. uh, wait, i hope that made some sense. And i also couldn't stand the massive footprint, no matter how large the drives are now. I setup everything with multiple partitions and use Imaging so i never have to worry about installing & testing software etc. Vista just didn't allow me to do that like before so out it went.

As i am writing this i am recording via AudioGrabber and it "seems" fine @ 48 kHz/24 Bits. Time will tell if i need to mess around some more. Just wish like so many others that natively we could do this... without the extra devices. And i just read that the newer T series are the same... UGH.

Thanks for response!

EDIT: I got monitoring to work in Audition by using Multitrack View and setting Monitoring to "Audition Mix" rather than "External". And i've updated the ASIO4ALL to his latest and it APPEARS to be better. Guess only time will tell.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:51 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 1:52 pm
Posts: 607
Location: NY, NY
"Having all kinds of fun w/ various configs and getting various apps to allow monitoring while recording. ... it or the creative drivers to allow me to listen while recording with it. So i resort back to either EAC'

What, buggy software, still out there in this day and age? On my home planet, inept programmers were taken out and beaten to death long ago. The few survivors became well respected and prosperous, so we don't have that problem (crapware) any more. <G>

I have zero faith in creative, it took a while but they convinced me they were clueless and inept. Unresponsive, too.

For software I've been using Audacity, which isn't perfect either but hey, at least they tell you up front you'll get more than you paid [sic] for. From what I understand, Audacity can internally handle 24-bit audio but the hook it uses to Windows pushes that back to 16-bit--for now. Another issue they are working on. At least it will let you hear what you are recording. You may need a hardware loopback adapter to get some systems and some software to do that.

I was tickled pink to find out my pain-in-the-ass XFi has an optical output, so I'll be able to play the computer's files through a non-USB link into the stereo. Of course that last link "should" just be an inexpensive DAC with inputs/outputs on it, but trying to get meaningful specs on those has been a horror show as well. At least one company seems to have the best specs on their cheapest adapter--and the worst, on their top model. Hmmmm....

I'd better not drop my Walkman, I don't think I can replace it any more.<G>

_________________
"The only good silicon life form, is a dead silicon life form." [Will Rogers]
-- Harboring a retired T61P and housebreaking a younger W530.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:28 am 
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hellosailor wrote:
****Expletives removed by Moderator*****

We are now done here :BAAAD!:

This thread has clearly passed its use by date, and is locked.


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