Connect with us

Audio Generator

Discussion in 'Audio' started by riverrat373, Jan 1, 2015.

  1. riverrat373

    riverrat373

    4
    0
    Jan 1, 2015
    I'm about to embark on a speaker project and would like to purchase an audio generator but don't know a whole lot about that type of equipment. My big question is can a function generator be used instead of an audio generator? Will it send an audio signal the same as an audio generator? Would it be more versatile than an audio generator as I learn more about testing equipment? What about a signal generator? Can it be used to send an audio signal? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

    8,393
    1,266
    Nov 28, 2011
    The most versatile audio generator you can get is a computer with sound output. Create your waveforms using an audio editor such as Audacity. Make sure there's no gimmicky sound processing enabled in the sound driver. Consumer sound output is not extremely accurate, but you'd be spending many hundreds of dollars to buy something better.
     
    Arouse1973 likes this.
  3. riverrat373

    riverrat373

    4
    0
    Jan 1, 2015
    Thanks for your input. My computer in my electronics shop is a laptop with a built in sound card and I don't know how well that would work. I'm retired and have lots of hobbies so I have to divide my monies between them all! I would like to buy one piece of equipment that can grow with me. I don't like to buy used because of past experience so I will probably buy new! Between an audio generator, function generator and a signal generator, which would be the best choice for now and the future?
     
  4. KJ6EAD

    KJ6EAD

    1,114
    157
    Aug 13, 2011
    Your question has been asked and answered. If you don't know how well your existing equipment will work, why not find out before rejecting the offered suggestion, especially when the alternative conflicts with your stated money saving goal?
     
  5. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

    8,393
    1,266
    Nov 28, 2011
    It would work well, as long as you just want to generate audio. Audacity is free software. All you need is a cable with a stereo 3.5 mm plug on one end, and perhaps some alligator clips at the other end. Very cheap.
    It depends on what you want to do, and there is a lot of overlap between those categories. Why don't you use your laptop initially, and if you run into limitations, tell us about them and we may be able to recommend a product.
     
  6. BGB

    BGB

    154
    11
    Nov 30, 2014
    yeah.

    one can also use some old headphone wires or similar if needed (or earbud wires, or whatever else), and maybe solder into some heavier wire for access to them (headphone wire tends to be very thin enameled stranded wire, to be better for connecting up to stuff, generally want something like thicker 22 or 24 AWG wire). hot-glue or similar could be useful for securing the connection point afterwards (to help keep things in place and avoid putting too much stress onto the wires).

    in this case, the choice of connectors is more open. plain tinned wire often works pretty good though.

    AFAIK, the signaling is approx +/- 1v, and usually in the low mA range.


    also, yeah, Audacity is pretty good.

    although intended mostly for audio editing, it is pretty useful for a lot of other stuff (such as inspecting output signals, ...). (refraining from going into the topic of capturing signals from electronics via the Line-In port...).


    yeah.
     
  7. Merlin3189

    Merlin3189

    250
    69
    Aug 4, 2011
    Could I just mention Soundcard Scope by Christian Zeitnitz. It sounds just what you need.
    This contains a two channel audio signal generator as well as the scope and spectrum analyser. Can generate sine, square and sawtooth waves to 20kHz and noise (I think current version also does other functions.)
    Being able to use the sig gen and the scope/analyser together was really useful. Saved a lot of weight, bulk and setup time.
    I've used it for simple demos and tests and found it easy to use and versatile.
    I can't really comment on its technical quality as I wasn't using it for anything demanding and haven't done any serious testing. (Though I think it was much more accurate than my cheap Griffin audio gen.)
    Licence is free for non-commercial educational use, though I'm not clear about private personal use.

    My only reservations about PC sources are:
    - risk to PC. Blowing up a cheap soundcard doesn't matter, but if you've got a hi spec sound card or using laptop built-in sound, then blowing it could be expensive.
    - it may just be my grotty laptops, but I find I sometimes get a lot of noise on my audio when using connected to mains, especially connected to external amp. (Ok on battery only.)
     
  8. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

    8,393
    1,266
    Nov 28, 2011
    Sounds good!
    Fair comment.

    An audio signal transformer would eliminate most of the noise, and provide some protection from damage, but they can be expensive, especially if you need a very flat response.

    The machines you had this problem with, what brands were they? And did they have genuine manufacturers' power supplies?
     
  9. Merlin3189

    Merlin3189

    250
    69
    Aug 4, 2011
    The laptops I had the problem with were both Toshiba with original PSU.
    I never sorted out exactly what was going on as these were used by other people, so I couldn't spend too much time 'playing' with them.
    There may have been faults in the amps they were connected to or some effect of the long spur wiring in the locations where they were used, but running on battery produced a big improvement. As they were only occasionally used for audio, that was sufficient to get the problem off my list!
    I'm not sure which brands should be reliable these days. You may remember my problem with a set of leads on HP laptops going high leakage and causing the RCCB to trip.
    The point about 'genuine manufacturers' PSU' is well made though. I bought a replacement Dell PSU on ebay last year, which looked pretty convincing in the photo, though the price betrayed it. I took a chance and sure enough it went bang within a week. When I took it apart, I was really amazed at the appalling quality of build and components. Though I didn't bother to analyse the circuit, there was a lot less than inside good PSUs I've taken apart.

    When I used the scope/spectrum analyser part of the program, I was just using a microphone to display sound waveforms, so no risk there. If I were going to probe around in circuits, even low voltage battery powered, I think I'd build some sort of front end. Aside from protection, it would be good to get the input impedance up to the standard 1MOhm or more. There are some around on the net I think.

    Incidentally, back to the OP, my audio sig gen (actually Unilab, not Griifin as originally posted) is essentially a function generator chip and a beefy amplifier chip. So the answer I think is, yes, a function generator chip could be used. Mine goes up to 100kHz whereas the soundcard generators would be limited to about 20kHz I guess.
     
  10. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

    8,393
    1,266
    Nov 28, 2011
    I'd say you were one of the many lucky ones. I'd rather see the power supply go bang and get thrown out, than remain in service posing a risk of electrocution or fire.

    These cheap, mostly Chinese power supplies don't comply with safety regulations in the countries they are imported into, and the Chinese government doesn't seem interested in regulating their quality or safety either. Perhaps they think they already have plenty of people in China, but over here, we take individuals' personal safety very seriously! I've been waiting a long time for some legal action to be taken. But I haven't even heard anything from local insurance companies :-(
    Yes, I pointed that out several times. A sound card will only cover the audio band.
     
  11. ike2903

    ike2903

    5
    1
    Jan 7, 2015
    Quality determines the price.The price level depends on the quality.The price so cheap,i think,the quality maybe not good.
    I am very agree your views about safety.
     
  12. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

    8,393
    1,266
    Nov 28, 2011
    Yes, and in countries where safety standards are not enforced, and when the manufacturer prioritises costs over the safety of the users of their product, there is no minimum quality requirement.

    Power supplies made in Germany, for example, will never compete on price with Chinese products because the German manufacturers have safety standards, type approval, and outgoing quality inspections, and a respectful and responsible attitude to their customers.

    Those priorities come at a significant cost, and whether or not they're justified depends on how highly you value human safety.
     
Ask a Question
Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?
You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.
Electronics Point Logo
Continue to site
Quote of the day

-