I need to record sound using 2 (or 4, eventually) microphones and then calculate the time delay of arrival of sound at the different microphone pairs. But first, I need a microphone array. And since I'm just starting out, I would like to connect just 2 mics first and calculate the time at which sound arrives at them. Can I do this using a sound card? And I heard sound cards will have typically one or two input channels. What are these then? http://www.ebay.com/bhp/external-sound-card-for-laptop The 'channels' mentioned along with the above devices are not exactly input channels?


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The number of channels mentioned in the products you linked refer to output channels. A Dolby 5.1 system has 6 speakers (center, rear R/L, front R/L, subwoofer), thus 6 channels.

What you're looking for ist usually called audio interface and mostly used in music production studios. Manufacturers are M-Audio, Roland, Behringer (cheap), Focusrite and many more. You can get an overview here. From your previous question I assume that your application is speaker localization. Therefore you probalby don't need high-class converters and pre-amplifiers. If you're planning to use Linux it will reduce your choice.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes I'm plannning to use linux. I will have to use separate pre amplifiers? I'm not having much experience playing with microphones and the lot. And one more thing - Can I use a standard sound card to record audio in 2 microphones? I would like to test my algorithms before moving n to buy the audio interface $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 5:51
  • $\begingroup$ If you use dynamic mics you can get away without pre-amps but if you use condenser mics the level is to low for direct A/D conversion. If you need pre-amps choose an audio interface with builtin pre-amps, it will be cheaper. And yes, you can use a standard sound card to record 2 dynamic mics. $\endgroup$
    – Deve
    Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 10:57
  • $\begingroup$ Any basic tutorials/how to's regarding using the sound card to record from 2 mics? Gosh, I really am a beginner! ;) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ You will most probably need an adaptor from your two mic outputs to you soundcard input. Then you can use any sound recording software (e.g. Audacity) to record the stereo input signal. The left channel and teh right channel represent one mic, respectively. $\endgroup$
    – Deve
    Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 17:04

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