Streambox with Focusrite Soundcard
This is a recipe for a high quality streambox built around a Focusrite USB audio interface, with software by Locus Sonus and others. It brings together various resources, as described with acknowledgements below.
The streambox is available ready-built and can be customized to different situations.
It is also available in kit form, with all the components needed to build it.
The notes below should also allow you to build your own box from scratch.
Questions, support and help with sourcing materials:
The Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen USB soundcard from Focusrite has widely recognised high quality preamps. The 2nd Gen seems to maintain quality and clarity at high gain (whereas the 1st Gen deteriorates markedly in the last part of the dial).
The 3rd generation 2i2 is meant to be better or as good, and includes stereo monitoring, unlike the 2nd gen. BUT it will not work for remote streaming, as it needs a manual button press to activate phantom power on reboot.
The 2i2 2nd Gen is hard to find now. An alternative is the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2. It sounds very good - maybe better than the Focusrite, is lighter and cheaper. Not yet field tested over time.
A cheaper soundcard, used by Grégoire Lauvin, is the Swissonic ua-2x2. It seems to sound ok, but is quite big and heavy. Field tested but maybe not for very long. Seemingly good value.
A new disk image from SC or a small tweak to the code, allow this [ie Focusrite etc] card to be used with the web interface by Stef Cousot at Locus Sonus.
A clever and simple modification is required to use the Primo EM-172 and its successor (EM-272 Z1) with 48V Phantom power. This produces an exceptional microphone and works very well with the Focusrite (and potentially other USB soundcards, including those from Behringer..) The ‘Simple P48’ modification has been developed by Ricardo Lee and others at the micbuilders yahoo group and interpreted and shared by Tom Benedict. The original circuit is by David McGriffy.
For very quiet situations, 4 capsules can be used, resulting in a modified SASS with very good stereo image and acoustic ‘transparency’. This approach is from Vicki Powys. In practical terms, this means almost no hiss, even when the user turn the volume up well above the levels at the source. This model can be heard at
http://locusonus.org/soundmap/ >> london-camberwell
By using 48V phantom power and delivering the optimal voltage to the capsules, the streambox seems to resist clipping, resulting in more flexible dynamics.
It appears to have good resistance to Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), probably making it easier to work with in field broadcast situations (ie close to routers, dongles and / or WiFi modules).
Listen to the streambox installed at Loughborough Junction, S London:
Values of the resistor and the capacitor
Available from SC, includes the modified code: