Customer Review

383 of 397 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strongly recommended as headset adapter for Mac users, January 8, 2010
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This review is from: Syba SD-CM-UAUD USB Stereo Audio Adapter, C-Media Chipset, RoHS (Personal Computers)
This is the platonic form of a USB sound card. It works well in Windows XP and Mac OS X, has clearly labeled inputs, decent build quality, and has no unnecessary features, at a very affordable price. We bought it to use stereo jack headsets with Skype on Mac computers that don't have microphone jacks, and this adapter fits our needs exactly. This also resolves a problem we have when using Windows XP on our iMacs - Apple doesn't provide the correct sound drivers in Boot Camp, and the built-in iMac headphone jack doesn't work in Windows - the USB adapter works perfectly.

In Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6 (tested in both) the device is identified as a "C-Media USB Audio Device". Installation was plug-and-play, the device was immediately recognized after plugging in, although I had to manually select it as the input/output device in the Sound preference pane. After selecting it and setting the input levels, OS X and Skype both automatically switched back and forth between Built-in Audio and C-Media USB when it was plugged/unplugged, and remembered the input levels last used on each (although not the systemwide output levels).

A sticker on the outside of the box identifies the chipset as the C-Media CM119, and it is a USB 2.0 device.

Physically, the construction seems plenty robust for a $10 device. The mic and headphone jacks are color coded in standard pink and green, and have large white icon labels that are easily identified. The case is darkly translucent black, and a green LED inside blinks when sound is being transmitted or received, and otherwise glows steady when plugged in but not in active use. It is too thick to plug into the USB ports on the edges of the 2007-2009 silver aluminum iMac keyboards. On our aluminum iMacs it has to be plugged into the back, where it doesn't block any other ports (as long as other connected USB devices are not also thick). However, it can easily be connected to the USB ports next to the cord on the rear of the older white Mac keyboards from 2003-2007.

Drawbacks?
The microphone input is mono, which is fine for voice headsets, but probably not great for pro audio recording, which probably wouldn't be done with a $10 device anyway. I could do without the blinking light, but as it will be out of sight when connected behind my iMac, it's not a big deal.

Comparison
We also bought the cousin to this product, the 7.1 Channel USB External Sound Card Audio Adapter with external volume control buttons. The 7.1 version uses the same CM119 chipset, but was inferior to this Syba model in all respects.

- The 7.1 model has a thicker body, making it more likely to block other USB ports.
- The buttons on the 7.1 feel very flimsy, and are mostly useless as they only change the computer's software volume settings.
- The 7.1 inputs are not correctly color coded (yellow and black) and the icon labels are tiny and hard to distinguish.
- The 7.1 is identified by OS X as "Unknown USB Audio device"
- The particular 7.1 unit we received was assembled with its USB port slightly angled off-center.

The only supposed improvements in the 7.1 version are the flaky exterior buttons and that it comes with a mini-CD of Xear "virtual surround sound" software for Windows only. Surely you could use some other "3D sound simulation software" with this Syba unit, and there are several reports of the buttons/housing breaking on the 7.1 version. I strongly recommend avoiding the 7.1 model at all costs, this one is simpler and sturdier.
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Comments

Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 26 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 24, 2010 7:48:18 PM PDT
D. Gray says:
im getting the ion discover dj, could i use this to route the left turn table (side A) to my speakers, and then use this to put the right turntable (side B) into my headphones?
im trying to do the job of an audio 2 dj... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZeOsPt9UK8&feature=channel

Posted on Jul 1, 2010 11:11:45 AM PDT
Thank you very much, because I was debating on what to buy and now I will go with this one I have a very strong and powerful set of 5.1 speaks (Logitech Z-5500) and I need to have my sound back. Thanks again for your input and detailed explanation on what to buy and avoid... :-)...

Posted on Sep 21, 2010 5:55:04 AM PDT
atticus says:
I have a Macbook and my audio jack is broken. Can I use this as an alternative source for audio? (plug in my speakers to this adapter?)
It seems so easy (and cheap) after Apple and Future Shop both told me I would need to replace the internal sound card for $800.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 30, 2010 12:13:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 30, 2010 12:14:34 PM PDT
dash-o says:
$800 is the magic number! They quoted me the same for a broken hinge and I fixed it myself for $80 parts and tools included. Search the web for mac recycling.

Yes it will work for your purpose. Just the set the input/output device to the usb sound card. I use a free utility from Rogue Amoeba named SoundSource for switching between the internal and the usb sound cards.

Posted on Jan 31, 2011 12:29:00 PM PST
nelson2k says:
"In Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6 (tested in both) the device is identified as a "C-Media USB Audio Device". Installation was plug-and-play, the device was immediately recognized after plugging in"... well no, restart is required

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 16, 2011 1:38:25 PM PDT
Neil says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jun 27, 2011 9:53:12 PM PDT
G. Vogel says:
501.c.Geek

Thank you very much for your comments and recommendation. Have looked high and low for a simple iMac OS X Snow Leopard mic or adapter for voice-overs and you have found it. I have some nice mics from "the other period" and should be able to use them. It seems the in-line inputs in back of the iMac display are misleading since a preamp is needed for an external mic to work.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2011 5:54:13 PM PDT
JB says:
Hello, I was wondering if it would work for PS3 also... Can it?

Posted on Sep 20, 2011 2:43:15 PM PDT
dostoevsky says:
Thanks for your comments, the sound on my Toshiba labtop stopped and no matter what we did sound never came back. so, please tell me if with this device I will be able to hear the sound.
Thanks again

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 24, 2011 5:16:05 AM PDT
Neil says:
If you lost sound on your Toshiba laptop, this USB sound adapter should get you sound, again.

After plugging in the adapter, you'll have to tell your operating system to use the USB device for your sound.
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