Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
Scope - Spectrum - Spectrogram - Signal Generator
Software for Windows
Science with your Sound Card!
The following is from the Daqarta Help system:



Spectrum Analyzer

Signal Generator

(Absolutely FREE!)


Pitch Tracker


DaqMusiq Generator
(Free Music... Forever!)

Engine Simulator

LCR Meter

Remote Operation

DC Measurements

True RMS Voltmeter

Sound Level Meter

Frequency Counter
    Spectral Event

    MHz Frequencies

Data Logger

Waveform Averager


Post-Stimulus Time
Histogram (PSTH)

THD Meter

IMD Meter

Precision Phase Meter

Pulse Meter

Macro System

Multi-Trace Arrays

Trigger Controls


Spectral Peak Track

Spectrum Limit Testing

Direct-to-Disk Recording



Frequency response

Distortion measurement

Speech and music

Microphone calibration

Loudspeaker test

Auditory phenomena

Musical instrument tuning

Animal sound

Evoked potentials

Rotating machinery


Product test

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Distorted Sound Output

In order to simplify diagnosis, it is best to use the default Generator setup of a simple 440 Hz sine wave. If you have changed your setup, please go to Restore Default Generator Setup before you proceed here.

The most common form of distortion is clipping, which is where the sound system is overdriven; it is trying to produce a sound that is louder than its capabilities. The tops and bottoms of the waveform will be chopped off or "clipped" at the maximum and minimum voltages the system can produce. If this happens to a pure sine wave, it starts to sound "buzzy", more like a square wave. (When driven hard enough, a sine wave can look very much like a square wave.)

The first thing to check is that you are not asking Daqarta to create a waveform that exceeds the digital limits of the 16-bit number system. If the distortion goes away when you use the default Generator setup at the same volume settings, the problem setup most likely had more than one Stream active on the same channel, with the total Level adding up to more than 100%.

If you still hear a buzzy sound, the next thing to investigate is whether the mixer is overdriving the sound card amplifier, or, if you are using an external amplifier, if the sound card is overdriving that. You might even be overdriving the speakers or headphones, which have mechanical limits similar to the electrical limits of amplifiers. Use the Daqarta volume (Vol) sliders to reduce both Master and Wave levels to see if this reduces the buzz. Many cards distort if one or both of these controls are at maximum.

Another possibility is that you are driving headphones or unpowered speakers from a Line output that has limited power. If this is the case, you can still usually reduce the volume to a point where it is undistorted, but it may be too soft to be useful. Look for a Spkr output instead, or try using an external amplifier.

Finally, check the Distorted Input/Output Waveform or Spectrum topic, below. If that doesn't eliminate the distortion, you may have a defective sound card, external amplifier, speaker, or headphones.

See also Troubleshooting, Stuttering Sound Output


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