I’m looking for a simple manual analog audio source switcher. I’ve been thinking about buying a rotary switch and a few rca connectors and building my own… But that requires some time and patience and I was wondering if I could find some decent afordable one…
There some cheap devices out there like the one in the link above, but eventhough it doesn’t have (or at least shouldn’t) any active components, I was wondering if it could add any extra noise to the audio signal (comparatively to a direct cable).
Do any of you folks have tried any of such devices? Any recommendations?
Provided that the switch is reasonably well shielded against electromagnetic interference, and the switch contacts are clean (low contact resistance) there should be no significant deterioration of the signal. A passive switch is in effect pretty much the same as using a patchbay.
thanks for making me think about this. It’s been annoying me for a while now that I keep switcihing the leads to my external soundcard between my FM tuner and my TT (and occasionally tape or minidisc).
Taking it out of the box the first impressions are that it is a sturdy well-built piece of kit. It weighs over twice as much as the Cables4All device that I also considered but is also smaller (13x7.5x4.5 versus 20x11.9x4.7) so I’m guessing that the Skytronic is more sturdily built. It has 4 non-slip rubber feet and the buttons feel good and secure in operation. The supplied documentation is somewhat sparse, but hey what do you need.
I ran some bench tests before assembling it all in its proper location, testing:
my FM tuner (no signal - turned off, but in standby) connected direct to my Edirol UA-1EX soundcard
my Technics TT and ART preamp connected direct to the Edirol
FM tuner => Skytronic switch => Edirol
TT => switch => Edirol
and finally just the switch => Edirol, with the switch set to position 3 with nothing connected on #3 input (but with TT & tuner connected on #1 & #2)
At normal recording volumes there was no discernable noise. Amplifying with Audacity by 25dB still gave no audible noise, but a small indication of noise on the waveform. Amplifying with Audacity by50dB noise can be heard on 1-4 but not 5. The waveforms show similar noise amplitudes between the 1&2 recordings and th3 3&4 recordings. The 5 recording shows a very tiny amount of noise, barely audible, and it requires amplification by a further 25dB to show up properly on the waveform. So I have to agree with the reviewer Martin Turner on Amazon that “In operation this is beyond whisper quiet …”
What extremely little additional noise there is could just as easily be down to the additional cabling/plugs. And I think that over time I will get less noise than if I was repeatedly unplugging and re-plugging the RCA leads to my various output devices. (Plus it has enabled me to place both the Edirol and the switch on a high-ish shelf well away from my cats! )
All in all I would recommend this device if you have different input sources that you need to record from. Note that the USB soundcard is not essential – if you have a line-in port on your computer and a good on-board soundcard then you could go straight from the Skytronic switch to your computer.
I was checking all sellers, not all but some do ship to Portugal, although the shipping costs vary a lot… MHP came in second with £9 for shipping. Avides in first at £5 (ships from germany). I think I’ll have a go with Avides.
I connected 3 sources to it: High Quality Marantz CD Player, Cheap Denver DVD Player, Asus O!Play media player. DVD Player was powered off so I guess it can be addressed as dead quiet source…
I connected the output to the line-in in my macbookpro.
I started recording and did some “stress” tests. I tried switching between all sources, stopped and playing music. What impressed me most was that even when switching between 2 playing sources the transition was very smooth… I couldn’t notice any clicks, glitches or clipping in the recording.
What didn’t impress me as much was when I tested the difference from recording through the switcher to connecting the source directly to my macbook. With the CD player, which has a very low noise output, with the cd stopped and mac’s input level at max, when I connected the cd player through the switcher (regardless of having other sources connected to it or not) I got a lot more noise. This could be due to the extra cabling, but I’ll run some more tests…
Doing the same test with the Asus O!Play, didn’t show any difference between connecting directly or through the switcher, but the noise level from this source was considerably higher than that from the cd player.
I’ll run some more tests later with different cables.
Overall, considering the price, I’m satisfied with this product, specially with the smoothness of the transition between sources.
This could certainly be a big contributor to the noise Bruno. I ran through several of my RCA leads before I settled on the least noisy combination.
Formerly I was running with a set of high quality (aka expensive) leads for the pre-amp straight to the Edirol soundcard. Now I have not only the switch but also an additional, non, optimal (aka cheap) pair of RCA leads from the switch to the soundcard. As the switch and the soundcard are sitting in close proximity I seem to remember that my local hi-fi shop sells vert short high quality RCA leads for close proximity kit - so I am thinking about acquiring a pair of those.
But in daily use the switch is doing it’s job well, switching easily between my FM tuner and my TT. I’m sure that in the long run this will be much better than the continual swapping of my RCA leads.
I’m connecting it to a pair of computer speakers, with built-in preamp (Creative Gigaworks T40). It’s a pretty good pair of speakers for computer speakers, but I doubt I’ll notice any difference in noise level when listening through them…
It also looks with the furniture and the rest of the equipment… fits perfectly between the left speaker and the O!Play And it surely will save me a lot of time in the long run, than switching the cables on the back of the speakers and having a bunch of cables hanging behind it
Thank you very much WC for finding and suggesting this little piece of equipment!