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FreeVIEW Sound®

Data Acquisition Software

Nearly all of today's PCs and notebooks are equipped with an additional or on-board sound card. Now it can be turned into a 2 channel audio measurement system. Because with Ines FreeVIEW Sound, not only is the driver included, but so is the analyzing software!

The 32 bit sound card driver and the accompanying FreeVIEW plus application software turns a PC or notebook into a long-time data logger, a chart recorder, a storage oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer and much more.

The driver supports popular programming languages and applications.

Ines offers this software package free of charge.

 
 

Basic features

The free of charge version of the sound card driver called "FreeVIEW sound" works with Microsoft® Windows® 95/98/ME and can be used for recording with sample rates up to 48kHz per channel. One or both input channels of the sound card can be used.

The full version called "FreeVIEW sound pro" has A/D and D/A capability (recording and playing), also simultaneously. In addition the operating systems Microsoft® Windows NT® and Windows® 2000 are supported. The sample rate is unlimited . For example sound cards with 96kHz sample rate per channel and 2 or 8 input channels can be used.
Also technical support for the driver and the programming language interfaces is included. A bundle containing a high-quality 96kHz sound card and driver software will be available too. For further information, contact Team Solutions, Inc. directly.

Both versions share the following basic features:

Highlights

  • 32 bit driver on top of Microsoft® Windows® multimedia API.
  • The driver uses an additional FIFO buffer for intermediate storage. Sampled data can be retrieved in arbitrary length. The synchronous data capture is decoupled from block-like data processing. No data gets lost! This is a significant enhancement over the double buffer principle enforced by the original multimedia interface.
  • Scaled data is returned in volts unit.
  • Simple programming interface using only a few functions open(), close(), read(), write() and ioctl().
  • Full error handling.
  • Shares the features, the interfaces, the style and the experience of Ines data acquisition card drivers.
  • FreeVIEW plus data acquisition software, version for sound cards, is included in package. No programming required. Immediate data capture and data analyzing capability including Fourier transform and many other functions.  See here for a description of FreeVIEW plus.
  • Ready to run example programs and Online help for Borland Delphi 5, Agilent VEE / HP VEE / DT VEE, Microsoft® Visual Basic® 6 and Microsoft® Visual C++® 6.

Sound card properties

Not every measurement that can be performed using a full-featured data acquisition card can be also done by a sound card. There are major differences that one should know:

Sound cards limitations

  • DC voltage measurements are not possible. Sound cards use capacitors in the signal path, so any DC level is removed. This means also that there is a lower frequency limit because of the highpass characteristic of the capacitor in line. The lower cutoff frequency is card dependent.
  • The input impedance is low. Measurements are done using the line input. Real data acquisition cards have impedances of 1 to 10MOhm. In general sound cards have a much lower impedance, ranging from 600 Ohm to 47kOhm. One could use the microphone input for better sensitivity, but the noise floor is higher, and many cards output a voltage for microphone supply. If that input is used, a capacitor for blocking this voltage is necessary!
  • Data acquisition cards can measure voltages with high accuracy (+/-1% or better). Furthermore they provide different measurement ranges. In contrast the sound cards recording level is set by a slider. There's no initial calibration; it must be performed by the user.
  • The input voltage range used for sensor input is +/-10V in general. Sound cards with line input provide an input range of about +/- 400mV. The microphone input is much more sensitive. Only sensors with low voltage AC output and low output impedance are suitable!
  • No trigger facilities. Data acquisition cards usually can wait for a so-called trigger event that starts the data capture. Common trigger events include "input voltage above or below level" or "rising edge" or "falling edge at level" detected. To some degree this limitation can be overcome by software. The calibration problem remains, so the trigger level will not be very accurate.
  • Only two single-ended channels are available. Most data acquisition cards provide 8 or 16 channels that can be switched to single ended "unsymmetric" or differential "symmetric" inputs if signals differ in ground level. Professional audio equipment provide different inputs, for example, symmetric XLR inputs.

Sound cards advantages

  • A clear advantage of sound cards in comparison to most data acquisition cards is that two channels are captured at the same time using two A/D converters or at least two sample and hold devices. Data acquisition cards usually use one A/D converter and a multiplexer. For that reason multiple channels are scanned one after another and not in parallel. Phase shifts can be caused, such cards are not suitable for vibration analysis or phase measurements. The ines DAQ i148 and DAQ pci148 cards are an exception because they are equipped with 2 x 14bit A/D converters that run up to 300kHz.
  • A stereo (dual) D/A converter is present. It shares the same limitations as the inputs, nevertheless it can be used for waveform generation, closed loop applications in conjunction with the A/D converter and many other applications.

Software download and further information

FreeVIEW sound (free of charge) includes:

  • The driver supporting A/D conversion (recording only) with 16 bit resolution
  • Sample rates up to 48kHz per channel, 2 channels maximum (stereo input)
  • For operating systems Microsoft® Windows® 95/98/ME
  • Interfaces for the supported programming languages and applications
  • Example programs for these interfaces
  • FreeVIEW plus for sound cards
  • No support (bug and test reports welcome)
Download FreeVIEW sound. (6055320 Byte) for Microsoft® Windows® 95/98/ME operating systems.  Remember to rename the extension to .exe after download.

consists of FreeVIEW (special version for sound cards) and sound card driver. This driver can be used with all sound cards and sound systems with 16 bit resolution.

Installation instructions

Save the file in a temporary directory and execute it. The archive becomes decompressed. With "Setup.exe" you can start the installation. Follow the instructions of the Setup program.

FreeVIEW sound pro (full version) includes:

  • The driver supporting A/D and D/A conversion (recording and playing) with 16 bt resolution.
  • Simultaneous A/D and D/A possible. A sound card capable of "full duplex" mode is required.
  • No sample rate limitation, all conversion rates that cards offer can be set. 96kHz cards can be used. Depending on sound card up to 8 input channels.
  • For operating systems Microsoft® Windows® 95/98/ME, Windows NT® and Windows® 2000
  • Interfaces for the supported programming languages and applications
  • Example programs for these interfaces
  • FreeVIEW plus for sound cards
  • Technical support
For an offer and further information on the unlimited driver version, contact Team Solutions, Inc. directly.

Exemplary system configuration, capable of capturing 2 channels at 48 KHz sample rate

  • Notebook or desktop PC with built-in 16 bit sound card or sound system. A line input is preferable in comparison to a microphone input. Pentium class CPU and 32MB RAM minimum recommended.
  • FreeVIEW sound

Ordering Information

FreeVIEW® Sound Software

Free Sound Card Data Acquisition Software

FreeVIEW® Sound Pro Software "Pro" Sound Card Card Data Acquisition Software

 

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All trademarks used on this page are registered trademarks of the relevant firms. Microsoft®, Windows® and Windows NT® are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S.A. and/or other countries.
Our continuous product improvement makes specifications subject to change without notice.
FreeVIEW® is a trademark of Innovative Elektroniksysteme GmbH, Bad Breisig, Germany.