[App_rpt-users] USB Sucks Yay! The Sequel!
Bryan D. Boyle
bdboyle at bdboyle.com
Thu Jan 12 14:13:07 EST 2012
Yeah, USB sucks. But, then, a little perspective....
At the base case, what are our expectations? Full 5.1 surround sound,
broadcast quality? For a communications-channel radio?
Don't think so. It's a waste.
I'm thinking that, and this is based on my experience only, so, if yours
is different, you'll have a different take on it...
The URI does what it does well. It's a $79.00 USD audio-to-USB adapter.
It is unique in what it does. And it does it a LOT better than
anything else I've found out there at that price point. For $79.00, an
old computer, and some time, you get a full feature,
internet-connectable, network-able, totally configurable radio
controller with more features than you'll ever use. Try doing that with
an SCOM or Arcom hardware solution for the same price.
For instance...broadcasters are using, solely as backups in most cases,
audio to IP encoder/decoder sets from a company called Barix. It takes
an audio stream, turns it into IP packets, and broadcasts it out. Guess
what? Costs around $450 for the encoder (with wall wart) and $250 for
the decoder (ditto). 50-15K stereo with a 100MB RJ45 on the back to
plug into the network.
That's all it does. No useable DSP to derive control signals, no
hardware controls, no user-programmable I/O. Audio in...IP out...IP
Now, on the other side, you have the Universal Serial Bus. Not the
Universal Audio Bus. It's a one-size fits-all solution. You can plug
in a URI, Logitek Webcam, HP Printer, your keyboard, mouse, and a missle
launcher toy from GeekToys, and they'll all be recognized, and if you
have the app to drive it...will all coexist and work off the same bus.
That it's not optimized for any one protocol means that it works
(sometimes poorly) for all of them. It's one of the biggest compromise
technologies in the PC world.
So, do you get the occasional pop or crackle or ? Sure. Is it the
URI's fault or the back end itself? And if it is the back end (which it
is more often than not...), what is the cost, in folding green (or
whatever the prevalent color of your local currency is) to make the next
step UP in quality for what is, at the transmission point, a
bandwidth-limited, distance limited, purpose-limited communications system?
The human mind can work with degraded video transmission frame rates
because the visual engine, so to speak, can fill in the transition
between receipt of one image (persistence of vision) to the next. Not
so with audio; our hearing is based on linear (in terms of time slices)
response and except for the occasional case of your ears ringing, has to
hear a continuous stream in order to made sense of the entire communication.
That's why we can watch a 15FPS video and still think it's something
(which is 50% of the normal US frame video frame rate and 9 FPS less
than movie projection) but, if you interrupt an audio stream for 50% of
the time...it's unintelligible.
So...is the delta to get to what you consider a perfect system worth it?
If you have the funds, the processing power, and want that broadcast
quality (you ought to listen sometimes to the 160 band and all the old
pharts running cast-off broadcast transmitters...AM..) 99.9999%
reliability? Go for it. But that does not mean that the technology is
useless; in fact, for both price and ability to implement, it may well
be more economical and efficient to accept the occasional pop and
whistle if the cost and ease of implementation warrants it.
In this world, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.
Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.
You may quote me.
Sent from my MacBook Pro.
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