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Microsound I/O Module

Professional Audio Mastering Analog-Digital & Digital-Analog Converters

This product is no longer available. Please contact MTU if you are in critical need for one.

With the introduction of the Krystal DSP Engine/sound card, the I/O Module is no longer required, but can still be used for its superior analog quality. The Microsync board also only drives the I/O Module. The Krystal digital I/O ports provide 24-bit transfers, superior to the I/O Module's 16-bits with the DAIO board. However, Krystal"s analog A/D converters are delivering in the range of 14 bits above the noise floor.

The I/O Module was required from 1989-1997 to work with the Microsound AT-DSP Engine ISA-bus card because it had no Input/Output ports. This Module provides an extremely low noise floor on the A/D converters, delivering 15.5-16 bits above the noise floor. Twelve 20-turm ceramic trimpots align the analog circuitry for low DC offset and distortion. The input amplifiers have a 20-turn trimpot to allow adjusting the input range.

Quality starts with the audio converters. The number of bits generated by the Analog-to-Digital (A/D) and Digital-to-Analog (D/A) converters determines the theoretically attainable signal-to-noise quality. The actual quality is determined by the number of bits that are usable above the noise floor, determined by the design, shielding and manufacturing. Typical 16-bit converters deliver 10 to 13 bits of valid signal above the noise floor. Using 20 or 24-bit converters without designing a lower noise floor usually only delivers 11 to 14 bits of valid signal. Microsound delivers 15.5 to 16 bits of valid signal. Contrary to what many vendors say, recording and/or storing more than 16-bits on disk without improving the noise floor does not improve overall signal to noise quality. Microeditor V5.2 and higher allows storing 16-bits and 24-bits to disk.

The noise floor in audio converters is determined by the overall design, manufacturing and shielding. The Microsound I/O Module analog converters and phase linear filters are carefully engineered for the lowest possible noise and distortion, delivering warm, pleasing audio. In manufacturing, they pass 18 tests insuring each channel has less than one bit of noise. Electro Magnetic Interference (EMI) and Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) exists everywhere through modern communications. Microsound shields the converters outside the computer from all RFI and EMI.

The Microsound I/O Module provides mastering sonic transparency and signal clarity not found even with most 24-bit converter modules. Some digital audio workstations storing even 24-bits don't allow digital amplifying because their noise floor can be up to 13-bits, which is disruptive if amplified. Microsound recorded files can amplify up to +48dB when necessary.

  • 2 balanced analog inputs & outputs with XLR connectors
  • Optional add on board for 4 channels total
  • THD+N 0.0025% unweighted, -115dB typical noise floor (1024 point FFT)
  • External Sync connector to Microsync board to varispeed sync-lock resolve to SMPTE/Video
  • 2U high, 19-inch rack mount case
  • Sampling Rates (KHz): 8,9.45,10,11.025,12,16,18.9,20,22.05,24,32,37.8,44.1,48
  • Synchronize analog output to incoming AES/EBU or SPDIF clock
  • Channel separation 95-100dB
  • Phase Sync less than 20 nanoseconds between all 4 channels
  • DC to 23KHz Bandwidth (48% of selected sampling rate)
  • Gain adjustable inputs/outputs from -20dBv to +14dBv
  • 5 foot cable to Krystal DSP audio card or obsolete Microsound DSP audio card

Microsound Input/Output Module Components

Sample Clock Generator Board

This board provides the interface to the DSP Engine, and the system sample rate oscillator clocks. Supported sample rates are (in Ks/s): 8, 9.45, 10, 11.025, 12, 16, 18.4, 20, 22.05, 24, 32, 37.8, 44.1, 48. The version number is hand written on the board at the end of the part number.

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Analog-to-Digital - Digital-to-Analog 2-Channel Board (ADA)

This card provides 2-channels of Analog-to-Digital (inputs) and 2-channels of Digital-to-Analog (outputs) converters. The serial number is hand written on the board beside the part number and shows BAL for balanced or UNBAL for unbalanced signals.
Standard
The Standard ADA plugs directly onto the Clock board
Rev-F - This is the current shipped version, and is only available with Balanced signals. This has 18-bit A/D and 18-bit D/A converters.
Rev-E- This version has 18-bit A/D and 18-bit D/A converters.
Rev-D- This version has ??-bit A/D and 18-bit D/A converters.
Rev-C- This version has ??-bit A/D and 18-bit D/A converters.
Rev-B- This version has 16-bit A/D and 18-bit D/A converters.
Rev-A- This has 16-bit A/D and 18-bit D/A converters and first shipped 09/15/89
Option
The Option ADA plugs on top of a Standard ADA or Standard DAIO board in a Rack Case (only on a Standard DAIO board in the Tabletop case).
Rev-E- This is the current shipped version, and is only available with Balanced signals. This version allows 4-analog channels (standard ADA + option ADA boards) plus a DAIO board. It only works in a Rack Mount case.
Rev-D
Rev-C
Rev-B
Rev-A- Initial release of the I/O Module was the Tabletop case, first shipped on 09/30/89

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AES/EBU and S/PDIF Digital Board (DAIO)

The Digital Audio I/O card provides stereo AES/EBU (commercial standard) and stereo SPDIF (consumer standard, also called Coaxial) ports. Models include; Standard DAIO which plugs directly onto the Clock board, and Option which plugs onto a Standard ADA or Option ADA board (Rack Case only). The version number is hand written on the board at the end of the part number.
Rack Case The Option DAIO plugs on top of a Standard or Optional ADA board
The Standard DAIO plugs on top of the Clock board and was rarely if ever used in a rack case
Tabletop Case The Standard DAIO plugs on top of the Clock board and was often used
The Option DAIO plugs on top of only a Standard ADA in the Tabletop case
Rev-D This is the current shipped version
Rev-C  
Rev-B  
Rev-A The DAIO board was first shipped on 07/15/90

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DSP Cable to I/O Module (Rack or Tabletop)

This is a very special cable. It connects the I/O Module to either a Krystal DSP Engine or Microsound AT-DSP Engine in the computer. The I/O Module is basically an antenna. Thus, this DSP cable is specially engineered to provide grounding to the case and noise protection to the digital signal lines. It is only available in a 5 foot length to insure low noise operation.
 

Rack I/O Module Case

This is a 19" wide, 2U (3.5") high rack mounting case. with XLR connectors for analog balanced signals and AES/EBU ports, and RCA phono for S/PDIF ports. The DSP Cable plugs onto the rear plate. The serial number is found hand written on the rear plate.
Rev-B This is the current version shipping. It contains mounting holes on the rear plate for 4-analog and the AES/EBU input and 4-analog and the AES/EBU output (XLR connectors), plus RCA connectors for the S/PDIF digital input and output ports.
Rev-A This obsolete version contained mounting holes on the rear plate for 4-analog inputs and no AES/EBU, or 2-analog inputs and the AES/EBU input, and 4-analog inputs and no AES/EBU or 2-analog outputs and the AES/EBU outputs (XLR connectors), plus RCA connectors for the S/PDIF digital input and output ports.
 

Tabletop Case

This is a 5.25" wide x 2.5" high x 8.5" deep blue aluminum box with a dress front plate that can mount in two 5.25" drive bays. Audio (analog and digital) connections are by 1/8" mini jacks mounted on the rear plate. The serial number is hand written on the rear plate. The DSP Cable plugs onto the rear plate.
Rev-A This optional version is still available on special request for tight mechanical requirements. It first shipped in 09/15/89.

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