User manual
M2TECH
JOPLIN MKII
384KHZ/32BIT ANALOG-TO-DIGITAL CONVERTER
USER MANUAL
REV. PrA – 2/2015
JOPLIN MKII
384kHz/32bit ANALOG-TO-DIGITAL CONVERTER
M2Tech
www.m2tech.biz
REVISION PRA – FEBRUARY 2015
Warning!
Changes or modifications not authorized by the manufacturer can invalidate
the compliance to CE regulations and cause the unit to be no more suitable to
use. The manufacturer refuses every responsibility regarding damages to
people or things due to the use of a unit which has been subject to
unauthorized modifications or to misuse or to malfunction of a unit which has
been subject to unauthorized modifications.
This unit is compliant with the following CE regulations when an USB cable less than 3m is used: CEI
EN 55022:2009 Class B (Radiated Emissions), CEI EN 55024:1999, CEI EN 55024:A2/2003, CEI EN
55024:IS1/2008 (Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields, 50Hz Magnetic Field Immunity Test and
Electrostatic Discharges – ESD).
For a proper operation of this unit, all connections to other equipment in the system must be
done when all equipment are off. Failing to comply to this advice may lead to damage to the
unit.
Recycling
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The label above, printed on the product case, indicates that the product, when no more usable, can’t
be treated as generic garbage, but must be disposed of at a collection point for recycling of electrical
and electronic equipment, in compliance with the WEEE regulation (Waste of Electrical and Electronic
Equipment).
By making sure that this unit is correctly recycled, you will help preventing potential damages to
environment and human health, which could be caused by a wrong treatment of this product as
generic garbage. Materials recycling helps saving natural resources. For more in-depth information
about recycling this product, please contact M2Tech Srl.
WARNING: the information contained in this manual are considered to be reliable and accurate.
M2Tech reserves the right to change or modify the information any time, without prior advice.
It’s up to the customer to ensure that the manual being consulted is the latest version.
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Dear customer,
thank you for purchasing JOPLIN MKII. What you have is a first-rate analog-to-digital
converter with many unique features conceived to obtain the best audio performance
out of an analog source.
Even if sending music to a PC or a Mac is nowadays quite simple, much harder is to
obtain the best sonic performance while doing it, due to intrinsic limits in digital audio
interfaces in computers. Please visit M2Tech website (www.m2tech.biz) to find
extensive literature about this topic.
JOPLIN MKII overcomes all the limits of your computer’s audio card by implementing
the latest generation hiFace TWO technology, which uses proprietary drivers and
asynchronous data transfer, along with a sophisticated electronic design.
JOPLIN MKII features a comprehensive set of output connections which suit virtually all
digital equipment around.
JOPLIN MKII is provided with a very complete set of equalization and filtering options to
accommodate all kind of analog signals.
We feel that your expectations will be fulfilled by JOPLIN MKII: you’ll hear your analog
sources turned into music files or digital streams in a way like never before, prepare
for a whole new experience!
Nadia Marino, CEO
Please note here your JOPLIN MKII serial number and purchase info for future
reference:
S/N: _______________________ Date of Purchase: _________________________
Place of Purchase__________________________
Note: Proof of retail purchase, such as your purchase receipt, will be required in the unlikely
event that any warranty service will be required
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INDEX
1. Unpacking and placing the unit............................................................................. 11
2. Front Panel ........................................................................................................... 13
3. Back Panel............................................................................................................ 15
4. Remote Control..................................................................................................... 17
5. Connecting and powering the unit ........................................................................ 19
6. Driver installation .................................................................................................. 21
6.1. Obtaining the driver ........................................................................................ 21
6.2. Installing the driver on a Windows-based PC................................................. 21
6.3. USB Control Panel ......................................................................................... 29
6.4. Uninstalling the driver..................................................................................... 30
6.5. True plug’n’play operation with Mac ............................................................... 33
6.6. True plug’n’play operation with Linux ............................................................. 34
7. Configuring the computer to use the JOPLIN MKII................................................... 35
7.1. Configuring a PC with Windows XP ............................................................... 35
7.1.1. Configuring for Direct Sound with Windows XP ....................................... 35
7.1.2. Configuring for ASIO with Windows XP ................................................... 38
7.2. Configuring a PC with Windows Vista or Windows 7...................................... 38
7.2.1. Configuring for Direct Sound with Windows Vista or Windows 7 ............. 38
7.2.2. Configuring for Kernel Streaming with Windows Vista or Windows 7 ...... 40
7.2.3. Configuring for ASIO with Windows Vista or Windows 7 ......................... 40
7.2.4. Configuring for WASAPI with Windows Vista or Windows 7 .................... 40
7.3. Configuring a Mac .......................................................................................... 40
8. Configuring the JOPLIN MKII ................................................................................... 43
8.1. Navigating the menu by the front panel controls ............................................ 43
8.2. Navigating the menu by the IR remote ........................................................... 44
8.3. Parameters meaning and choices .................................................................. 45
8.3.1. Input gain ................................................................................................. 45
8.3.2. Input choice ............................................................................................. 46
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8.3.2. Input impedance ...................................................................................... 46
8.3.3. Sampling frequency ................................................................................. 46
8.3.4. Resolution................................................................................................ 47
8.3.5. Equalization curve ................................................................................... 48
8.3.6. Display dimming ...................................................................................... 49
8.3.7. High pass (anti-rumble) filter.................................................................... 49
8.3.8. Low pass (anti-hiss) filter ......................................................................... 49
8.3.9. MPX filter ................................................................................................. 51
9. Notes on equalization ........................................................................................... 53
9.1. Why is equalization needed for records? ....................................................... 53
9.2. List of phono equalization curves available on the JOPLIN MKII and notes on
their usage ............................................................................................................ 58
9.2.1. RIAA ........................................................................................................ 58
9.2.2. AES ......................................................................................................... 59
9.2.3. Angel (ANG) ............................................................................................ 59
9.2.4. Audiophile (AUDP)................................................................................... 59
9.2.5. Capitol (CAP)........................................................................................... 60
9.2.6. Columbia (COL)....................................................................................... 60
9.2.7. HMV......................................................................................................... 60
9.2.8. Decca/London FFRR ............................................................................... 60
9.2.9. MGM........................................................................................................ 61
9.2.10. NAB ....................................................................................................... 61
9.2.11. Oiseau-Lyre (OYLR) .............................................................................. 61
9.2.12. Pacific Jazz (PACJ) ............................................................................... 62
9.2.13. Philips .................................................................................................... 62
9.2.14. RCA (RCA1, RCA2 and RCAO) ............................................................ 62
9.2.15. Brunswick .............................................................................................. 62
9.2.16. Columbia 1925, Columbia 1938 and Columbia England (CO25, CO38
and COLE)......................................................................................................... 63
9.2.17. Decca FFRR 78rpm (DEC) .................................................................... 63
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9.2.18. MGM 78rpm (MGM7)............................................................................. 63
9.2.19. Victor 1938-47 and Victor 1947-52 (VIC3 and VIC4) ............................. 63
9.3. Equalizing tapes: why and when .................................................................... 64
9.3.1. CCIR/IEC for 9.5cm/s and 19cm/s (3¾ ips and 7½ ips) and CCIR/IEC for
38cm/s (15 ips) (IEC1 and IEC3)....................................................................... 65
9.3.2. NAB for 9.5cm/s (3¾ ips) and NAB for 19cm/s (7½ ips).......................... 65
9.4. Acquiring with equalization............................................................................. 65
9.5. Interfacing a cartridge or a tape head............................................................. 66
9.6. Recording programs....................................................................................... 66
10. Using a power supply different from the standard one........................................ 69
11. Cleaning the unit ................................................................................................. 69
12. Technical Specifications ..................................................................................... 71
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1. Unpacking and placing the unit
Lay the box on a table and open it by separating it from the external paperwork and
removing or cutting the adhesive tape seal. The following items are included:
•
•
•
•
•
one JOPLIN MKII ADC;
one wall adapter;
one A-B USB cable;
a remote control;
this manual.
Should one or more item be missing, please contact your retail dealer.
Remove the JOPLIN MKII from the foam enclosure and place it onto a stable base, far
from heat sources. Avoid full sunlight on the unit. Allow for ample room around the
unit for venting.
The JOPLIN MKII is a high efficiency device; therefore it doesn’t produce relevant heat
during its operation. Regardless, it’s recommended to guarantee an adequate air flow
around the unit. Moreover, every time it will mainly be operated by remote control, it’s
recommended to place it so as the remote control’s infrared signals can easily reach
its front panel.
Avoid smoke, moisture, dirt and liquids from reaching the unit. Please note that any
signs of abuse will void warranty coverage.
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2. Front Panel
4
1
3
2
Figure 1
1) Standby/Exit button. This button has two function. When in standby, the unit is
silent and the display is off. Standby ends when this button is pressed. When the unit
is operative and the menu is not being accessed, press this button to put the unit in
standby. When accessing the menu, press this button to exit the menu without
changing the selected option.
2) Encoder knob and switch. Push the knob to access the menu. More pushes
allow to navigate the various menu items. When the desired item is accessed, rotate
the knob to choose the desired value for that item. Push the knob one last time to
select the desired value and exit the menu.
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3) Display. Multifunction six digits led matrix display. During normal operation, it
indicates the sampling frequency. When accessing the menu, it indicates the menu
item and current value. When clipping is reached on the analog input, it indicates the
status by displaying “CLIP”. When in standby, a single led is on at the center of the
display area. Its intensity is set by menu.
4) VU-meter. It indicates the peak value for both channels. Left channel is top, right
channel is immediately below left channel. Its intensity is set by menu.
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3. Back Panel
AES/EBU OUT
RIGHT IN
LEFT IN
M2TECH
S/PDIF OUT
JOPLIN
384k HZ 32BIT ANALOG-TO-DIGITAL CONVERTER
TOSLINK OUT
S/PDIF IN
USB 2.0
GND
S/N:
4
12
5
DC IN
15V DC
MADE IN ITALY
6
7
8
9
10
11
Figure 2
4) Right channel analog input. Connect to right channel of the analog source
output. RCA female connector.
5) Left channel analog input. Connect to left channel of the analog source output.
RCA female connector.
6) AES/EBU digital output. Generate AES/EBU data streams in consumer format.
XLR male connector.
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7) S/PDIF digital output. Generate S/PDIF data streams. RCA female connector.
8) S/PDIF digital input. Accept S/PDIF data streams. RCA female connector.
9) ToslinkTM optical digital output. Optical output for ToslinkTM cables. ToslinkTM
connector.
10) USB 2.0 output. Connect to a PC with Windows or Linux or MacIntosh with an
USB 2.0 compliant A-B cable. USB 2.0 B female connector.
11) Power supply input. Connect the wall adaptor provided with the unit or any
other power supply capable of 15V/500mA. 5.5mm/2.1mm supply jack (female, tip is
positive).
12) Ground (chassis) post. When necessary, connect this post to the chassis wire
from the source, to reduce hum and noise pickup.
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4. Remote Control
M2TECH
MENU/ESC
2
>
1
3
OK
>
4
>
>
1) Standby. Push this button to put the unit in standby and to activate it.
4) Menu/Esc. Push this button to access the menu and to exit the menu without
changing the current item.
4) Menu navigation arrows. When accessing the menu, push arrow up and arrow
down to scroll through the various menu items. Push arrow left and arrow right to
choose the value for the selected item.
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4) OK. When accessing the menu, push this button to update the current item with
the displayed value.
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5. Connecting and powering the unit
ADVICE: all connections to other equipment in the system must be done when
all equipment are off. Failing to comply to this advice may expose the JOPLIN
MKII to the risk of damages.
ADVICE: Windows users must install the driver prior to connecting the JOPLIN
MKII to the PC (please refer to section 6).
Please refer to section 3, “Back Panel Description”.
Connect the “B” plug of a 2.0 USB A-B cable to the USB connector (Figure 2, 10) of
the JOPLIN MKII.
Connect the “A” plug of the cable to a 2.0 USB port of your computer.
Connect two interconnects to the analog inputs of the JOPLIN MKII (Figure 2, 4/5) and
to the outputs of your analog source (be it a turntable, a tuner, a tape recorder or
even the tape rec output of your amplifier).
Connect a digital cable with suitable termination (RCA, XLR or optical Toslink™) from
the JOPLIN MKII to your amplifier’s digital inputs or to a DAC (Figure 2, 6/7/9).
If you need to route the output of a digital source to your computer or to the amplifier,
you may connect the source to the JOPLIN MKII using an RCA digital interconnect
(Figure 2, 8).
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Connect the wall adaptor provided with the JOPLIN MKII or any other 15V/500mA
power supply to the supply connector (Figure 2, 11) of the JOPLIN MKII.
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6. Driver installation
The JOPLIN MKII is USB 2.0 Audio compliant. This means that no driver is needed with
Apple computers, nor with Linux-based PC’s. The latter will need ALSA to operate
the JOPLIN MKII.
Windows is presently not compatible with USB 2.0 Audio, so no native support is
available. In this case, M2Tech provides a driver which needs to be installed prior to
access the JOPLIN MKII via USB.
6.1. Obtaining the driver
The Windows driver for the JOPLIN MKII is available on the M2Tech website, in the
page dedicated to the JOPLIN MKII (www.m2tech.biz/JOPLIN MKII.html). The driver is
contained in self-extracting file.
6.2. Installing the driver on a Windows-based PC
The procedure is almost the same for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Double-click on the 7-Zip folder to automatically extract the files in a directory of your
choice (Figure 4).
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Figure 4
Amongst the files extracted is “setup.exe”. Double-click on its icon to launch it and
follow the indications provided by the setup program (Figure 5).
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Figure 5
In Windows 7, the installation wizard will ask for authorization to start installation.
Accept. Then, the wizard will check for system features. At a certain point, it will ask
you to connect the JOPLIN MKII in one of the USB ports (Figure 6).
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Figure 6
Follow the indications and plug the device in one port, then click on “Next”. You’ll be
asked to choose the installation directory (Figure 7). After choosing it, click on
“Install”.
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Figure 7
The installation process continues showing the progress (Figure 8).
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Figure 8
At the end of the installation process, the wizard notify the completion (Figure 9).
Click on “Finish” to complete the installation.
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Figure 9
To ensure that installation has correctly completed, the Device Manager should be
checked. The JOPLIN MKII will be listed under “Audio, Video and Games Controllers”
(Figure 10 on next page).
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Figure 10
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6.3. USB Control Panel
A control panel is installed together with the driver, which can be used to optimize
JOPLIN MKII’s USB port performance (Figure 11). More details on the Control
Panel’s features in the application note App002.
Figure 11
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6.4. Uninstalling the driver
Sometimes it is necessary to uninstall the driver to roll back to a previous version.
Uninstall is a quite simple procedure.
Go to the control panel and launch the “Application Installation” utility (Figure 12).
Look for the JOPLIN MKII driver item in the list. Double-click on it to launch uninstalling.
Figure 12
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The installation wizard, which also handles uninstalling, will show up (Figure 13 on
next page). Click on “Uninstall” to start uninstalling.
Figure 13
At this point, the wizard will show up the installation progress (Figure 14), up to the
end.
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Figure 14
After the uninstalling of all files related to the driver is complete, the “Next” button will
be enabled. Click on it. The final message will appear (Figure 15). Click on “Finish” to
complete uninstalling.
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Figure 15
6.5. True plug’n’play operation with Mac
Mac computers with OSX 10.6.4 and later have a native support for audio devices
compliant with USB 2.0 Audio class. This means that the driver is already included in
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the operating system and the user needs not to install anything: just connect the
JOPLIN MKII to your Mac and it will be immediately recognized by the OS and ready to
use. Macs with older OS need update to use the JOPLIN MKII.
6.6. True plug’n’play operation with Linux
Linux has a native support for audio devices compliant with USB 2.0 Audio class
based on ALSA. This means that the driver is already included in the operating
system and the user needs not to install anything: just connect the JOPLIN MKII to your
PC with Linux and it will be immediately recognized by the OS and ready to use.
ALSA version needs to be 1.0.24 or later.
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7. Configuring the computer to use the JOPLIN MKII
7.1. Configuring a PC with Windows XP
A PC with Windows XP can use the JOPLIN MKII in two different ways: Direct Sound
(DS) and ASIO. The former is suitable for recorders which can’t operate in ASIO
mode, while the latter can be chosen (for better performance) with players which can
operate in ASIO mode. Please consider that bit-perfect operation is ensured in ASIO
mode only.
7.1.1. Configuring for Direct Sound with Windows XP
Connect the JOPLIN MKII to your PC. Then, go to the Control Panel and launch the
Sound and Audio Peripherals utility.
Select the Audio tab. In the Predefined Peripheral drop-down menu of the Record
area, select “M2Tech Audio 2.0 Input” (see figure 16).
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Figure 16
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Then, select the “Voice” Tab (Figure 17). Again, select “M2Tech Audio 2.0 Input” in
the drop-down menu of the Record area. Click on OK button.
Figure 17
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From now on, unless the JOPLIN MKII is disconnected or settings are changed again,
JOPLIN MKII is the audio peripheral all audio programs will use when operating in
direct sound mode for recording.
7.1.2. Configuring for ASIO with Windows XP
ASIO has no standard setting in Windows XP. ASIO must be selected in the specific
recorder you choose to use.
7.2. Configuring a PC with Windows Vista or Windows 7
A PC with Windows Vista or Windows 7 can use the JOPLIN MKII in four different
ways: Direct Sound (DS), Kernel Streaming (KS), ASIO and WASAPI. DS is suitable
for recorders which can’t operate in Kernel Streaming mode nor with WASAPI; KS
can be chosen (for better performance) with recorders which can operate in Kernel
Streaming mode. WASAPI (Windows Audio Standard API) is a standard interface for
audio players which allows to get the same performance of KS with applications
which can’t operate in KS mode, at the cost of higher CPU load. More or less the
same can be said about ASIO
7.2.1. Configuring for Direct Sound with Windows Vista or Windows 7
Open control Panel and select Hardware and Sounds. Under Audio, click on Manage
Audio Devices. The following windows will appear. Click on the “Recording” tab and
select “M2Tech JOPLIN MKII” as predefined device. Then, click on OK.
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Figure 18
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7.2.2. Configuring for Kernel Streaming with Windows Vista or Windows
7
As for Windows XP, Kernel Streaming has no standard setting in Windows Vista and
Windows 7. KS must be selected in the specific recorder you choose to use.
7.2.3. Configuring for ASIO with Windows Vista or Windows 7
As it happens with Kernel Streaming, ASIO cannot be directly accessed. ASIO must
be selected in the specific recorder you choose to use.
7.2.4. Configuring for WASAPI with Windows Vista or Windows 7
As it happens with Kernel Streaming, WASAPI cannot be directly accessed. WASAPI
must be selected in the specific recorder you choose to use.
7.3. Configuring a Mac
Go to System Preferences and select Sounds. The following windows will appear.
Select “M2Tech USB 2.0 Audio In” for input as indicated in Figure 19.
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Figure 19
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8. Configuring the JOPLIN MKII
The JOPLIN MKII is a very versatile unit, with plenty of features to tailor its behaviour to
the source being used and the music program being played back. To configure all the
features and parameters, a menu can be accessed from both the front panel controls
and the remote.
The menu has a simple one-level structure in which all the parameters are accessed
sequentially. The following parameters can be set:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Input gain;
Input choice;
Sampling frequency;
Resolution;
Equalization curve;
Display dimming;
High-pass (anti-rumble) filter;
Low-pass (anti-hiss) filter;
MPX filter.
All parameters are stored in a non-volatile memory, so that they are recalled after
every power-on.
8.1. Navigating the menu by the front panel controls
The menu is accessed by pressing the encoder knob once (Figure 1, 2). The first
parameter (Input gain) is displayed along with its current value. Successive pushes
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on the encoder knob without rotating it will allow to access other parameter, in the
order listed above.
When the desired parameter is displayed, its value can be changed by simply
rotating the encoder knob. To confirm the new value for the current parameter, press
the encoder knob one last time.
To exit the menu without changing the displayed parameter value after the knob has
been rotated, press the Standby/Exit button once (Figure 1, 1). Anyway, the system
resets to the idle state after some seconds from the last operation on the knob.
8.2. Navigating the menu by the IR remote
The menu is accessed by pressing the Menu/Exit button on the remote once (Figure
3, 2). The first parameter (Input gain) is displayed along with its current value.
To display other parameters, use the arrow up and arrow down buttons (Figure 3, 3).
When the desired parameter is displayed, its value can be changed using the arrow
left and arrow right buttons (Figure 3, 3). To confirm the new value for the current
parameter, press the OK button (Figure 3, 4).
To exit the menu without changing the displayed parameter value, press the
Menu/Exit button once again (Figure 3, 2). Anyway, the system resets to the idle
state after some seconds from the last operation on the knob.
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8.3. Parameters meaning and choices
8.3.1. Input gain
The JOPLIN MKII is provided with an analog front-end which gain can be set to 0dB or
to any value between 10dB and 65dB in 1dB steps. 0dB means that an input voltage
of 2.55Vrms produces and output of 0dBFS (that is the full dynamic of the ADC).
Sources with lower output levels (such as turntable, but also many cassette tape
recorders and also reel-to-reel tape recorders and tuners) may require a higher
sensitivity to fully exploit the dynamic of the JOPLIN MKII. For example, a tuner with a
nominal output voltage of 500mVrms would require a gain of 5.1, that is 14dB, to
achieve the full ADC dynamic. As well, a phono cartridge with 5mV output level would
need 32dB gain, value obtained by subtracting the numeric gain of the phono
equalization to the theoretical required gain of 54dB. 65dB gain means that the full
dynamic is achieved with an input voltage as low as 1.43mVrms. This means that
even MC cartridges with output voltages as low as 100uV, considering the additional
effect of equalization’s numeric gain, can be directly connected to the JOPLIN MKII, at
the cost of a slight loss of dynamic.
The optimal gain is a matter of the source output level but also of the chosen
equalization curve. Rely on the VU meter and the clip indication to set the gain to the
best setting for the used source. Too high a gain, the unit will saturate and clip and
the noise floor will be higher than desired. Too low a gain and a part of the ADC
dynamic will be lost.
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8.3.2. Input choice
The JOPLIN MKII has two inputs: one analog (called “line”) and one coaxial digital
(called “coax”). The use of the former is straightforward, the latter has been included
to allow users to connect a digital source to a computer which is not provided with a
digital input, making a bridge between the S/PDIF and the USB. Please note that the
input sampling frequency on the coax input (set by the digital source) is generally not
the same as the output sampling frequency (set by either the USB driver or the user
via the configuration menu). An asynchronous sample rate converter performs the
sampling rate conversion between input and output. When such an operation is not
desired, user needs to set the output sampling frequency to the same value as the
incoming stream sampling frequency.
8.3.2. Input impedance
The JOPLIN MKII allows the user to set the analog input impedance to 9 different
values. This feature is mandatory when a phono pickup is connected to the input.
3 values suitable for MM pick-ups are available (47kΩ, 47kΩ parallel with 100pF and
47kΩ parallel with 220pF), 1 value suitable for certain high-output MC pick-ups, to
which the standard 47kΩ MM load may be too high (16kΩ) and 5 values suitable for
MC pick-ups (1kΩ, 500Ω, 200Ω, 50Ω, 10Ω).
8.3.3. Sampling frequency
The JOPLIN MKII can operate at the following sampling frequencies: 44.1kHz, 48kHz,
88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz and 384kHz. The higher the sampling
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frequency, the larger the files produced when recording the data out of the ADC, but
also the higher the sound quality. Thus, the choice of the sampling frequency is a
trade-off between disk usage and quality.
On the other hand, when using the JOPLIN MKII to drive a digital amplifier, a DAC or a
streaming player for real-time playback, the best choice is always the highest
sampling frequency possible.
NOTE: The sampling frequency set by the user via the menu is used when the
JOPLIN MKII is not connected to any computer, otherwise the parameter is
ignored and the actual sampling frequency is the one set by the computer
audio control panel or by the recorder program. The value set via the menu is
restored as soon as the computer is disconnected from the JOPLIN MKII or it is
shutdown.
NOTE: the highest sampling frequencies available (352.8kHz and 384kHz) are
not settable by the user via the menu. This is because in standalone use the
only usable outputs are the S/PDIF, AES/EBU and Toslink™ ones, which
cannot operate at sampling frequencies higher than 192kHz.
8.3.4. Resolution
The JOPLIN MKII can operate at the following resolutions: 16 bits, 20 bits, 24 bits, 32
bits. As for the sampling frequency, the higher the resolution, the larger the files
produced when recording from the source but also the higher the sound quality.
The ADC works natively at 32 bits. Thus, when a lower resolution is chosen, it is
necessary to get rid of some bits from each sample acquired by the ADC. This
operation generates distortion in the sound.
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For this reason, The three lower resolution settings are available in two flavours: with
dithering and without dithering. The dither is a small random noise which is added to
the sound before reducing the resolution. The dither turns the distortion due to the
resolution cut into white noise, which is far more pleasant to the ear.
When SNR is a main goal and a little distortion can be tolerated, dither should be
avoided. On the other hand, when the best sound is desired at the cost of a little
added noise, dither is mandatory.
It should also be considered that the S/PDIF, AES/EBU and Toslink™ outputs can
only transfer 24 bits per channel. Thus, the “24D” value should be chosen to obtain
the best audio performance out of the digital outputs.
8.3.5. Equalization curve
The JOPLIN MKII has been conceived to be used with a wide variety of different
sources: tuners, recorders, turntables. Some of these sources require an equalization
to enjoy their sound. The JOPLIN MKII is provided with a wealth of equalization curves
to satisfy even the most requiring vinyl collector or reel-to-reel tapes enthusiast. Of
course, equalization can be disabled when the source doesn’t require it. This is
obtained by choosing the “FLAT” value for this parameter.
16 different curves for microgroove LP’s, 7 curves for 78rpm, 4 curves for reel-to-reel
tapes are available. Please see Section 9 for more details on equalization.
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8.3.6. Display dimming
The JOPLIN MKII display intensity can be set on 5 different levels. In addition, an
automatic dim mode allows for keeping the display off every time it’s not necessary to
read it. When the automatic mode (value “A”) is chosen, the display activates at the
highest intensity every time a control is accessed, then it remains active for 5
seconds after the last control is accessed, finally turning off.
8.3.7. High pass (anti-rumble) filter
When acquiring a noisy source, it is sometimes desirable to cut some low
frequencies. For example, warped records or the output of a mike preamp or a mixer
when recording live in a windy setup. Two high-pass cut-off frequencies are
available: 16Hz (for microgroove LP’s and also for modern era stereo LP recorded
with RIAA curve when the extra 16Hz high pass is known to be used for the LP
making) and 50Hz (for most 78rpm records which have generally poor music
contents below 50Hz). See Figure 20 for more details on high-pass filter effect on
frequency response.
8.3.8. Low pass (anti-hiss) filter
When acquiring a noisy source, it is sometimes desirable to cut some high
frequencies. For example, many 78rpm records have poor music contents above
5kHz and a strong surface noise. Using a low-pass filter allows for a more intelligible
sound. Two low-pass cut-off frequencies are available: 5kHz and 10kHz. See Figure
20 for more details on low-pass filter effect on frequency response.
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Figure 20
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8.3.9. MPX filter
Stereo is obtained in FM broadcast by carrying the difference (L-R) information
modulated on a 38kHz carrier, while the sum information (L+R, that is the mono
sound) is placed in the channel’s baseband. Tuner are aware of receiving a stereo
broadcast because of a pilot tone of 19kHz which is also used to recreate the 38kHz
frequency necessary to demodulate the difference information to be blended with the
sum information to get the two stereo channels (in fact, (L+R)+(L-R) = 2L, while
(L+R)-(L-R) = 2R). The 19kHz tone is beyond the bandwidth of the FM tuner (which is
limited to 16kHz), but is well into the ADC bandwidth even at 44.1kHz sampling
frequency. A 19kHz tone can be heard by a young ear, and may also generate
intermodulation distortion, so it could be useful to eliminate it. The MPX filter does
this by cutting away a very narrow band around 19kHz (Figure 21). It presence is
quite inaudible, but the effect on the overall sound can be surprisingly good.
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Figure 21
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9. Notes on equalization
9.1. Why is equalization needed for records?
When cutting a record, two problems must be faced: the dynamic of the media, which
is related to the groove width and depth, thus to the record diameter and thickness,
and the surface noise. As low frequency tones tend to cut large, deep grooves,
dynamic limits are likely to be hit due to the low frequency content of the music being
cut into the vinyl. On the other hand, high frequency tones have generally low
amplitude, thus they are likely to be covered by surface noise.
To solve the above problems, an equalization is applied to the signal before sending
it to the cutting lathe: low frequencies are attenuated to reduce their dynamic and
high frequencies are amplified to elevate them over the surface noise floor.
Of course, the reversed equalization is applied to the signal coming out of a cartridge
while reading a disc: low frequencies are amplified and high frequencies are
attenuated (together with the surface noise which becomes less apparent).
Presently, all records are cut using the RIAA curve (Figure 22), which has been
proposed as a standard back in 1954. Both low frequencies amplification and high
frequencies attenuation for playback are clearly visible.
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RIAA playback curve
70
60
50
dB
40
30
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10
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,5
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,5
0
Hz
Figure 22
The curve has three parameters:
1. the turnover frequency, that is the frequency below which the low frequencies
start to be attenuated during the recording and amplified during the playback
(500Hz for RIAA);
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2. the roll-off, that is the value of the high frequency amplification at 10kHz during
recording and attenuation during playback (16dB for RIAA);
3. the shelving frequency, that is the frequency below which the low frequency
attenuation during recording and high frequency amplification during playback
are limited to a fixed value (50Hz for RIAA).
Before the introduction of the RIAA standard curve, each recording company used
her own “secret” curve (FFRR from Decca/London, HMV, Capitol, Columbia…), with
big troubles for music lovers, because no amplifier could be provided with all
equalization circuits to accommodate all the different curves. For this reason, all
amplifiers were provided with tone controls: not to compensate speakers response
nor room acoustics, but to adapt the one and only phono curve provided with the
amp to the different curves of the various LP’s. Not only LP’s are equalized:
equalization was used for 78rpm, too, as well with great variety of choices.
A good phono preamplifier, or an ADC suitable for direct phono acquiring as is the
JOPLIN MKII, should allow the vinyl collector to choose the right curve for each LP
pressed before 1954 (but it’s known that many recording companies adopted the
RIAA curve years after the official introduction date. It seems that some eastern
Europe labels only adopted RIAA around 1975!).
Most collectors use the RIAA curve to listen to all their records, often resulting in a
sound which is not the one really recorded on master tape. To show the reason of
that, Figure 23 on next page shows some of the most famous playback curves
superimposed on the same graph.
Differences are not subtle!
Note the different low frequency amplification due to different turnover frequencies
and the different high frequency attenuation due to different roll-offs. Also, note that
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no shelving is applied to HMV and Capitol curves. In fact, shelving is a relatively
recent choice to avoid phono preamps excessively amplifying the turntable rumble,
thus saturating. Older curves were thought for playback systems in which the low
frequency limit was relatively high (50-80Hz) and for recordings with poor low
frequency content, setups in which the turntable rumble was not a problem.
Eq comparison
80
70
60
dB
50
RIAA
FFRR
Capitol
Columbia
HMV
RCA
40
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,5
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,5
0
Hz
Figure 23
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To better understand the effect of using the wrong equalization curve to play a
record, Figure 24 shows the relative level versus frequency of the music when
playing a Decca FFRR record through a RIAA phono input of a modern amplifier.
7
Equalization of the signal of a Decca FFRR record being amplified by a RIAA phono
stage
6
5
4
dB
3
2
1
0
-1
-2
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-3
Hz
Figure 24
See how low frequencies are excessively exalted due to the different turnover
frequency (50Hz for RIAA, 100Hz for FFRR), while high frequencies are attenuated
more than required due to the different roll-off (13.7dB for RIAA, 10.5dB for FFRR).
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The sound of this setup would be much heavier and darker than intended by the
recording engineer, with booming low frequencies and muffled highs. A good
recording would be turned into a terrible one!
Now the need for a large collection of phono equalization curves is apparent.
9.2. List of phono equalization curves available on the JOPLIN MKII
and notes on their usage
The JOPLIN MKII is provided with 16 curves for microgroove LP’s and 7 curves for
78rpm’s. A quick search on the Internet will allow you to find that the old record labels
were more than the figures above and that sometimes the same record label used
different curves during the years. Actually, it can be seen that some labels used the
same curve as other labels (e.g. Mercury used the same curve as Capitol), so the
curve set provided with the JOPLIN MKII is the one which covers almost all the labels
producing records between 1925 and 1954.
To find out more about which curve to use with a specific record, extensive literature
may be found on the Internet (for example: http://www.shellac.org/wams/wequal.html,
http://midimagic.sgc-hosting.com/mixcurve.htm ).
9.2.1. RIAA
It’s the standard curve of present days, used from almost all the record labels since
1954. Its use is generally indicated on the record label and/or on the cover. It is
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actually the same curve as the RCA’s “New Orthophonic”, so it can be used to play
RCA records claiming the use of that curve also.
During the years, RIAA made some amendments to the curve. The most relevant,
after an indication from IEC, was the addition of a 16Hz high pass to cope with the
rumble produced by warped records or noisy turntables. Not all cutting plants
adopted this amendment and it’s very difficult to tell whether or not it’s been adopted
for a certain pressing, as the curve is always indicated as RIAA.
The JOPLIN MKII has not a specific RIAA/IEC curve, but it can be obtained by selecting
RIAA and the high-pass filter at 16Hz (see Section 8.3.7).
9.2.2. AES
AES (Audio Engineering Society) proposed a phono equalization curve back in 1951.
As far as we know, no label explicitly adopted it, but the discerning record collector
may be aware of its use, so it’s been included for completeness.
9.2.3. Angel (ANG)
Angel was a record label incorporated by EMI who produced great records.
9.2.4. Audiophile (AUDP)
Audiophile is known amongst record collectors for her great recordings, on both
78rpm and microgroove LP. Acoustic Sounds proposed the reissue of some
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Audiophile recordings on coloured heavy weight vinyl some 15 years ago. The label
was mainly devoted to jazz and blues.
9.2.5. Capitol (CAP)
Capitol had a large production of very good mono recordings.
9.2.6. Columbia (COL)
Columbia is the inventor of microgroove LP, which got to success after a market war
against RCA, who was sponsoring a 45rpm microgroove standard.
9.2.7. HMV
HMV (His Master’s Voice, after the painting with the dog Nipper listening to a
gramophone), formerly The Gramophone Company, is one of the oldest record labels
ever. It later became part of EMI when the latter bought Capitol, and had RCA as
shareholder for a certain time. From 1948 to 1954 recorded a lot of jazz, pop and
classical music, pressing LP’s with her proprietary curve.
9.2.8. Decca/London FFRR
The English Decca developed her FFRR LP curve based on the 78rpm eq curve with
the same name. Most of the great recordings of the stereo era (after 1954) were also
produced in mono and used to make the mono LP’s cut using the FFRR curve.
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9.2.9. MGM
The famous entertainment company also produced LP’s during the mono era using
her proprietary curve.
9.2.10. NAB
NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) was founded by commercial radio
companies to address many aspects of their activity. Amongst these, the technical
issue related to broadcasting. NAB proposed a phono curve to be used for the
records which were made at the time especially for broadcasting, with live and rare
recordings of famous artists. The record collector who own these records should use
this curve to play them.
9.2.11. Oiseau-Lyre (OYLR)
Before being purchased by Decca, Oiseau-Lyre made many great recordings of
classical music.
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9.2.12. Pacific Jazz (PACJ)
Jazz was a great business in USA after WWII, so some specialized labels chose to
develop their eq curves to press their microgroove LP’s. Pacific Jazz was one of
them.
9.2.13. Philips
Of course, Philips, one of the greatest European brands related to music, developed
its eq curve.
9.2.14. RCA (RCA1, RCA2 and RCAO)
RCA developed many equalization curves, to be used with her 45rpm’s and, later, for
the microgroove LP’s after losing the format war against Columbia, so it’s difficult to
say which curve was used for a certain record. The JOPLIN MKII offers three choices,
based on record’s year of cutting. RCA1 is the oldest. The newest, RCA Orthophonic,
is the one on which the “New Orthopohonic” was developed, thus leading to RIAA.
9.2.15. Brunswick
Brunswick is a very old record company who mainly produced 78rpm’s. The curve
offered with the JOPLIN MKII is the one used for the 78rpm’s.
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9.2.16. Columbia 1925, Columbia 1938 and Columbia England (CO25,
CO38 and COLE)
Columbia was very active cutting 78rpm’s before introducing the microgroove LP.
She used different curves in different years: one between 1925 and 1938 and one
from 1938 on. Not only: her English branch, Columbia England, developed her own
curve for 78rpm’s cut in Great Britain.
9.2.17. Decca FFRR 78rpm (DEC)
This is the equalization curve for 78rpm used by Decca, from which the LP FFRR
was later developed.
9.2.18. MGM 78rpm (MGM7)
Before cutting LP’s, MGM produced 78rpm’s, which were cut using MGM proprietary
curve for 78rpm.
9.2.19. Victor 1938-47 and Victor 1947-52 (VIC3 and VIC4)
Victor is an old company, later purchased by RCA, who produced 78rpm since 1925.
The curve adopted between 1925 and 1938 is same as Columbia type 1925 (See
9.2.16), later curves are offered with specific choices.
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9.3. Equalizing tapes: why and when
Recording and playback heads used in tape recorders have a frequency response
which is strongly non linear and heavily dependent on the magnetic flux in the tape.
Moreover, the tape hiss increases with frequency. For this reason, also tapes are
equalized. Two equalization standards exist: NAB, mainly used in USA and Japan,
and CCIR (later IEC), mainly used in Europe. To make things more complicated,
each standard has different curves for different tape speeds, as flux changes with
speed.
The main difference between records and tapes is that almost no turntable is
provided with a built-in phono amplifier/equalizer, while almost all reel-to-reel tape
recorders are. Thus, providing tape equalizations could seem to be useless.
Not always. Reel-to-reel recorders lovers know that most of the machines around,
built between ’60 and the beginning of ’80, have generally great transports and heads
but barely adequate, if not poor, electronics. For this reason, some recorders owners
ask technicians to jump the playback circuit of the recorder, taking the signal right out
of the playback head and feeding a dedicated external amp/equalizer.
Same thing can be done with the JOPLIN MKII, connecting the playback head of a tape
recorder to its analog inputs (eventually via an impedance adaptor), adjusting the
gain as required and selecting the appropriate equalization curve for the tape being
played back. The signal is acquired, equalized in digital domain and sent to a
computer for recording or to a DAC or digital amplifier for real-time listening. The
ample bandwidth of the JOPLIN MKII set to 96, 192 or 384kHz, and its high resolution
are more than adequate to accommodate the tape recorder performance.
The JOPLIN MKII is provided with 4 curves for tapes, 2 for NAB and 2 for CCIR/IEC.
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9.3.1. CCIR/IEC for 9.5cm/s and 19cm/s (3¾ ips and 7½ ips) and CCIR/IEC
for 38cm/s (15 ips) (IEC1 and IEC3)
CCIR (Comité Consultatif International pour la Radio) was an European Committee
similar to NAB. They proposed an equalization for reel-to-reel tape recorders which
was adopted by most European manufacturers. It has been said by many that the
CCIR equalization is better than the NAB one. Anyway, the choice of one or the other
standard is only an option when recording, as some tape recorders have both
equalizers. For playback, the choice depends on the standard used to record the
tape. For the record, all commercial pre-recorded tapes available on eBay or other
auction sites are made using NAB.
9.3.2. NAB for 9.5cm/s (3¾ ips) and NAB for 19cm/s (7½ ips)
NAB proposed two equalization curves for tapes, one for 3¾ ips (curve B) and one
for 7½ ips (curve A), plus an amendment for 15 ips which, anyway, was suggested to
avoid (7½ ips was the preferred speed for tape recorders used in broadcasts). The
JOPLIN MKII offers both curve A and curve B.
9.4. Acquiring with equalization
When no equalization curve is used, then the rightmost led of each VU-meter bar turn
on right before clipping (that is, when the input signal is -1dBFS). Should the input
signal further increase its amplitude, the ADC saturates and the “CLIP” warning is
displayed on the display. User should avoid getting the “CLIP” warning appear at any
time during acquisition.
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When an equalization curve is used, then the VU meter is not consistent with the
effective risk of saturation, as it indicates the signal downstream the equalization.
User should then pay attention to “CLIP” warning appearing even when the bar is not
completely lit. As a general rule, ADC clipping may occur when using equalization at
a VU meter level such as the 2-3 rightmost leds are still off (this indicates a postequalization level of -2/-3dB).
9.5. Interfacing a cartridge or a tape head
The JOPLIN MKII allows for setting its analog input impedance to 9 different values,
which cover most MM and MC pick-ups requirements. Nevertheless, certain MC
pickups and even tape recorders heads may need different loading.
Due to the JOPLIN MKII rear panel small size, there’s no room for a second pair of
RCA sockets to plug loading RCA plugs. Whenever a load is required which is not in
the JOPLIN MKII standard set, we suggest to use “T” RCA adaptors, together with RCA
plugs in which the required resistor or capacitor is solded.
9.6. Recording programs
When acquiring on a computer with the JOPLIN MKII, a suitable program of application
needs to be used. Several different programs of packages are available for Windows,
Mac and Linux, some of them are freeware, others need to be purchased.
M2Tech cannot be aware of all the available programs, nor specifically recommend
any of them, nevertheless some indications are useful for the JOPLIN MKII owner in
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order to have a glance of the available features and the possibilities offered by the
various programs.
A free package for Windows is Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/?lang=en)
which allows for recording up to 192kHz 24bits and generates files in WAV, FLAC
and other compressed formats. Several options dedicated to the vinyl are available,
as automatic tracks cut to divide the acquisition of an LP side into the single tracks,
and de-clicking.
A much more professional package, Cubase, is sold by Steinberg
(http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/cubase/start.html) and can operate up to
192kHz 32bits.
Mac users may take advantage from PureVinyl (http://www.channld.com/purevinyl.html) by Channel D, as well as from SoundBlade by Sonic Studio
(http://www.sonicstudio.com/sonic/products/sonic_productoverview.html). For sure,
free apps are available as well.
For a very complete list of ripping programs, please check
http://www.recordcollectorsguild.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=sections&file
=index&req=viewarticle&artid=6&page=1.
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10. Using a power supply different from the standard one
The JOPLIN MKII comes with a 15V/1A wall adapter. This unit has been tested to
comply with the JOPLIN MKII’s power and supply quality requirements and allows for
very high performance. Nevertheless, a better (and more expensive) unit could
squeeze the last degree of performance from the JOPLIN MKII.
M2Tech manufactures a high-quality, low-noise power supply to be used with the
JOPLIN MKII, called VAN DER GRAAF (www.m2tech.biz/vandergraaf.html ). It is the best
choice to push the JOPLIN MKII performance to the highest level possible.
We advice users that using a different power supply than the one included in the
package or the VAN DER GRAAF will void the warranty: no warranty claim will be
acknowledged for damages due to the use of power supply different from the one
included in the package or other units specifically designed by M2Tech for the JOPLIN
MKII.
Should the user decide to use another power supply, the specifications listed in
section 12 must be observed.
11. Cleaning the unit
The JOPLIN MKII should be cleaned with a soft, damp cloth. Do not use alcohol or
other cleaning liquids to avoid damaging the unit.
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12. Technical Specifications
Sampling frequencies: ...................... 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192, 352.8*, 384kHz*
Resolution:........................................ 16 to 32 bits**
USB: ................................................. 2.0 high speed (USB 2.0 Audio Class
compliant)
Clock precision: ................................ +/-10ppm 0 to 60°C, 2ppm typical @ 25°C
Analog input sensitivity: .................... 2.55Vrms (0dBFS, gain = 0dB)
1.14mVrms (0dBFS, gain = 65dB)
Analog input impedance: .................. 47kΩ, 47kΩ||100pF, 47 kΩ||220pF, 16kΩ, 1kΩ,
500Ω, 200Ω, 50Ω, 10Ω
Analog input gain .............................. 0, 10-65dB (1dB steps)
Equalization numeric gain: .................. 22dB (RIAA)
S/PDIF input sensitivity: .................... 0.5Vpp +/-0.1V
S/PDIF input impedance: .................. 75 Ohms
S/PDIF output voltage:...................... 0.5Vpp +/-0.1V
S/PDIF output impedance:................ 75 Ohms
AES/EBU output voltage:.................. 2Vpp +/- 0.5V
AES/EBU output impedance:............ 110 Ohms
THD+N:............................................. 0.0004% (1kHz @ 0dBFS, fs=192kHz, 0-20kHz)
S/N ratio:........................................... 122dB (A-weighted, fs=384kHz)
Minimal requirements:....................... 1.3GHz CPU clock, 1GB RAM, 2.0 USB port
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Supply voltage: ................................. 15VDC
Power consumption: ......................... 290mA
Size: ................................................. 200x50x200mm (w x h x d, cabinet)
200x55x210mm (w x h x d, with connectors and
feet)
360x120x260mm (w x h x d, box)
Weight:.............................................. 1.7kg (ADC only)
2.5kg (box)
* USB only.
** 32 bits are provided on USB output only.
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