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The USB Gizmo: Set It and Forget It

Angry Audio’s device connects transmit and receive line-level audio through RJ-45 to USB

Angry Audio USB Gizmo product photoAngry Audio’s line of Gadgets and Gizmos now includes an analog USB interface designed to send and receive line-level, balanced audio.

With this Gizmo, the user can connect a line-level balanced audio feed to the send side, and receive a true line-level balanced audio feed for broadcast or recording. This is a nice upgrade from unbalanced sound cards.

The company notes that unbalanced sound cards and some USB audio devices are prone to ground loop noise caused by lack of electrical isolation between the audio circuitry and the computer. The USB Gizmo is powered by the computer USB port, but regenerates power using isolated DC-to-DC converter circuitry.

The audio circuitry operates with bipolar 15V rails so it is capable of +24 dBu levels. The USB data lines are also fully isolated to prevent another possible path for computer noise to corrupt the audio. The USB Gizmo is a class-compliant device, meaning that it does not require drivers.

With this device, the company says, audio from Windows, MacOS or Linux computers is no longer the weakest link in the audio chain. That gives producers and engineers confidence that the audio product is received into the plant untouched by the whine or buzz of a ground loop.

The USB Gizmo inputs and outputs are on RJ-45 connectors wired in the StudioHub+ format. You can connect directly to nodes, blades and consoles equipped with StudioHub+ connectors, or use StudioHub adapters to accommodate different connector types. XLR adapters are included in the box.

Broadcast and production facilities sometimes need to process audio from software codecs like Cleanfeed, ipDTL or Skype. For these types of applications, it’s important to create a mix-minus to send back to the caller. You will do this normally with your console and then use that audio to feed the input of the USB Gizmo.

The Gizmo passes and transmits stereo audio. If a situation requires a mono balanced mix-minus feed (for instance, an ad hoc remote using an aux send line level feed from a mixer to the USB Gizmo input), the receive end would receive audio through the left channel as transmitted through the Gizmo, and adjust accordingly.

The compact unit is about 3 by 5 inches and has ears for mounting underneath a desktop or on a shelf. It ships with mounting hardware, StudioHub adapters and a USB cable.

This device will find uses in broadcast studios, production rooms, live venues and anywhere you need quality audio from a computer. The USB Audio Gizmo from Angry Audio has a list price of $299.