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Newbie Questions

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Comments

  • My doubts about the netbook were based on the fact that I wouldn’t have thought it had stereo mix. Concerning your desktop and a new sound card, I think it’s a decision which should be based on how long you intend to keep it and what kind of use you generally want to get from it. I’d keep trying to get the line-in scheme working, if just for my own satisfaction. You might consider looking for deals on cards on ebay (for example) as well. BTW you can test the netbook’s stereo mix with the Audacity you already have. Just try recording anything using the stereo mix option.

    Ken
  • I am intrigued with getting the new audio card for the desktop, and am an eBay veteran, but am not strong on the install. I would need to locate and replace the old one I presume. Any feel for how easy that entire process might be?

    Meanwhile I plan to pursue the netbook set-up and record. As you say, after coming this far I’d like to have the capability on at least one of my machines.
    Thanks,
    TheKingfish
  • You don’t need to remove anything on your computer; in fact there’s nothing there to remove. All you need is and available PCI slot. The instructions will tell you how to proceed. Have a look on ebay for this: SB0570. It typically goes for $15 or less, new.

    Question is whether it does what you need, and all I can say is that people who have posted on various boards say that it does. Note that it says it works with Vista on the box, even though it’s an older card.

    Now, I have a certain member of my family who would buy maybe four different cards frm one of the big box stores and then return the three she doesn’t like, but I don’t have the nerve to do that. Anyway, if you buy from a real store, it’s good to find out their return policy first.

    Ken
  • No I’m a gambler, so snagging it for $15 and an easy directed-install is worth the eBay buy risk. In the end I’d much rather have the convenience of my desktop location. The buy/install will take a bit of time, but I will keep you posted here.
    Thanks,
    TheKingfish
  • An update. I scored the new SB0570 audio card on eBay ($15.50 w/ship) and now await arrival. While I’m waiting, I wonder if you might provide a quick overview on the .AVI file this Cam recording will ultimately produce. Said before, I am not familiar with video files and nomenclature. I do have conversion software as needed (Any Video Converter 5).

    My ultimate goal/use would be to play the said video file on my TV. If I burn the file to disk, will it readily play in a DVD player? Or, how about throwing the file to a flash drive? Will the file play in conjunction with a USB port vehicle – like an equipped Roku or DVD player? I am just trying to anticipate the next-step process/hardware.
    Thanks,
    TheKingfish
  • Well first, I’d be anxiously waiting to see how the card works. Hopefully, right out of the box, but don’t be too alarmed if it doesn’t.

    Unfortunately, there is not ONE answer as to what types of files players will play - it varies widely among the types and age of the hardware in question. Our oldest DVD player will handle nothing but NTSC DVD videos, and I do mean absolutely nothing. It won’t touch even DVD compliant videos without that DVD structure. Many newer players will handle a much wider variety of formats, but there is no “master list” of hardware capability that I know of, so it comes down to saving the best archive file possible and outputting trials for testing on machines in question.

    For the least capable machines, one would need DVD authoring software such as Nero, which does a fine job of creating DVD videos playable on anything, although one might have to decide whether to format as NTSC or PAL.

    CamStudio produces AVIs and nothing else. You need to get the best AVI file possible to save as your archive copy, frm which you can make hopefully playable videos, but keep in mind, that since player requirements vary from machine to machine, you may need to go back and produce additional video to suit player needs (if you’re not producing DVD videos).

    Obviously, the first choice you need to make is what type of codec to use in the AVI container. So far, it looks like what we’ve come down to is x264 and Xvid MPEG-4 as viable choices. You can use Any Video Converter to place your capture file in an MP4 container and convert the frame rate to 30. That’s about as “playable” as you can make such a file, short of authoring as a DVD video. Some players can handle it, while others won’t. In terms of taking an unconverted AVI and trying to play it, the results seem to be mixed. The packed bitstream present in most MPEG-4 seems to be enough to cause a video to be rejected by many machines, while others won’t accept anything without that frame arrangement. I think it’s safe to say that newer machines are more versatile in what they can deal with.

    I actually find it somewhat enjoyable to create actual DVD videos (using Nero) on occasion, so I’m never too worried about playability, as long as I’ve saved a good source file.

    Ken
  • Well, I am just checking in these many days later to advise that the experiment is over. The purchased Sound Blaster card arrived but could not be installed. While my computer case had two seemingly unused steel-plate exterior slots (making me think ample availability), the motherboard did not have empty plug-in interior slots to match. The board did have two extras originally, but these were filled with phone/router peripherals. Since my plan was not to formally open the box until the deed needed to be done, this lack of interior availability was unknown to me. As you could tell from previous conversation, I am not real keen on upgrading computer hardware in the first place. So it goes.

    Come March first I embark on my previously-noted era of AT&T U-Verse, where the come-along DVR will facilitate TV show recording. I expect this will satisfy my time shifting needs. If not and I develop a real future need to record streamed items, I could (maybe) go down the road with my netbook which has the Stereo Mix sound card function. We shall see.

    So in all I’ve got 23 bucks into this little gambit, but I learned a lot. I thank those ever faithful folks who took the time to help me along the way. That was very generous of you; it was a long and winding road. Bottom line here – the mostly-developed software works for some, but not all.
    Thanks,
    TheKingfish
  • Well now, if you had opened your computer and had seen that there were no available slots, you could have purchased an external USB device for about the same price. They’re nice, because they’re easily switched to another computer when needed.

    In doing some more reading, I’ve run across quite a few people who have had success with your SigmaTel audio by rolling back the driver to the XP version. Apparently, the manufacturers initially did a quick bail from “what u hear” by disabling at the software level, leaving that option viable for those willing to do some digging.

    Ken
  • I had no idea an external USB device was available. Being averse to broaching the interior, I would have gone with such a product from the get-go. A curious search for visuals of same show that they conventionally have microphone and earphone jacks. For this case, are you suggesting the microphone jack would serve as a functional line-in?
    Thanks,
    TheKingfish
  • Now I’m curious as to what kind of card is taking the available PCI slot. Any communications card will have to extend through the back of the case for phone etc connections, and a graphics card would need the display connection available. Is this something that your computer is actually using?

    A USB card (for example Behringer UCA202) would hopefully enable stereo mix or what u hear, but in the case where a patch cord is used, the mic input should not be used. The same thing is true for your onboard sound.

    Again, from what I’ve read, the SigmaTel audio initially had its “what u hear” disabled by means of a software “fix” provided by MS in its Vista drivers, so rolling back to XP drivers or trying the various dedicated SigmaTel drivers might provide a pleasant surprise.

    Ken
  • Curiously, there seems to be no devoted separate/communication PCI slot on the extended portion of the motherboard. Rather, the motherboard main-portion has a built-in area that faces the exterior and contains the three operable audio jacks. It’s not something that looks detachable/replaceable.

    The SigmaTel driver rollback sounds intriguing. My main concern there would be recapturing the present driver if the XP version doesn't work. I presume the process would be to disable the current driver (6.10.5405.0) and enable the new.

    However, just what driver number to download and install seems nebulous. The DriverMax site shows my current driver to be a Win7 64-bit item, while I have a Vista 32-bit machine. Very strange. I don’t know – is there any way to know what XP driver would actually work?
    Thanks,
    TheKingfish
  • Your existing audio isn’t a card - it’s part of the motherboard. As for driver options, you have a few, and I’m not sure which, if any, might work. I guess I’d start with the Intel site and do a search for drivers there. Cnet Downloads also has IDT/SigmaTel drivers listed. I actually don’t see any problem with downloading the XP (running in XP SP2 compatibility mode) version, since there’s precious little that would have been changed in that transition era, although others seem to indicate that it’s just about getting a specific driver, because we know that the MS versions don’t work. The idea is to disable the present driver and substitute the replacement(s) until one is found that may work. If nothing does the driver would need to be rolled back to the previous version, or a system restore point could be used.

    Ken
  • Many thanks for your continued expert feedback on this. While I’d like the record capability as a future option, I expect my soon-to-arrive DVR will address 97% of my needs. In fact, the stream record benefit would likely only come into play when the time-window of the actual TV feed had passed me by. That and occasional other instances.

    I am also entering a critical timeframe when my computer cannot be dysfunctional, therefore endeavoring to avoid change/risk. So, both you and the forum have my enduring gratitude for the assistance you have generously provided. I wish you well.
    Thanks,
    TheKingfish
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