What are the recommended audio interfaces and measurement microphones for use with Smaart?

Created by Hannah Goodine, Modified on Mon, 29 Apr 2024 at 03:27 PM by Chris Tsanjoures

What are the recommended audio interfaces and measurement microphones for use with Smaart?

Rational Acoustics does not officially endorse any particular audio device or measurement microphone for use with Smaart. 

When it comes to audio interfaces, Smaart will work with any audio I-O device that uses WAV/WDM (Windows), ASIO (Windows) or CoreAudio (macOS) device drivers. As long as there are standardized drivers compatible with the OS version you are running, it should work properly. It is up to the hardware manufacturer to ensure that the device is compatible with the most recent version of macOS or windows. Please make sure to check manufacturer websites prior to purchase. 

What interface is the best for your situation is dependent on factors like channel count (does it have enough mic preamps or line outputs), software integration (does it have a control application or is it all analog), Smaart Integration for Gain Tracking (as of writing this, the Roland Octa-Capture or Audient EVO 4/8/16), etc. Some folks prefer to use networked audio interfaces and acquire measurement signals via Dante Virtual Soundcard, for example. 

Please note that we do not recommend connecting your audio interface to the computer through a USB extender or a multi-port hub. These have been known to cause issues with device connectivity within Smaart, which can cause measurements to fail or the program to crash. Additionally, multi-port hubs can become overloaded when connecting a USB-powered audio device that also supplies phantom power - which is essential for using measurement microphones. 

With measurement microphones, determining what measurement microphone to use primarily depends on the types of measurements you will be making, and of course - your budget. 

If you plan to measure at high SPL (concert level) or use wireless systems, the microphone sensitivity value becomes an important consideration. The higher the sensitivity the mic, the more power-hungry for voltage it is. You may get several hours more performance from a typical RF transmitter with a low sensitivity microphone. When it comes to SPL, it is important that the measurement microphone's maximum output voltage does not exceeds the audio interface's maximum input rating at minimum gain - which again, requires a low-sensitivity microphone. 

Low sensitivity microphones typically are in a range between 6-15 mV/Pa. Examples of these types of microphones include the iSEMcon EMX7150, Audix TM1, or Rational Acoustics RTA 420. 

High sensitivity microphones are typically 30 mV/Pa or greater. These types of microphones are great for acoustical or scientific measurements that require a more sensitive microphone. Earthworks microphones are typically high sensitivity and therefore not the best choice for SPL measurement, for example. 

For further information about ensuring your measurement microphone/interface combo won't overload, please click hereTo make this even easier, we have added tags to our products on the Rational Acoustics Store to help determine the best product for your measurement rig. Click here for a description of each tag and what they mean. 

If you have any trouble determining the best products for your application, please submit a support ticket using the button in the upper right. We would be happy to make a recommendation. 

If you have any questions about how Windows WAVE drivers interact with Smaart, please see this video.

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