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M4x.2230-x4 | Spectrum

8 bit high speed digitizer

  • 5 GS/s on 1 channel
  • 1.5 GHz Bandwidth
  • Simultaneously sampling on all channels
  • Separate ADC and amplifier per channel
  • 4 GSample on-board memory as standard
  • 4 input ranges: ±200 mV up to ±2.5 V
  • Optional input ranges: ±40 mV up to ±500 mV
  • Window, re-arm, OR/AND trigger
  • Synchronization of up to 8 cards
  • PXIe x4 Gen 2 Interface
  • Sustained streaming mode more than 1.7 GB/s
  • Works with all PXIe and PXI hybrid slots
  • PXIe 3U format, 2 slots wide

Application Examples

  • High Energy Physics
  • Research and Development
  • Radar
  • Spectroscopy
  • Laser Applications

General Information

The 9 models of the M4x.22xx-x4 Express series are designed for the high speed data acquisition. Each of the input channels has its own A/D converter and its own programmable input amplifier. This allows the recording of signals simultaneously on all channels without any phase delay between them. The extremely large on-board memory allows long time recording even with the highest sampling rates.

The PXIe digitizers feature a interface with PCI Express x4 Gen 2 interface that offers outstanding data streaming performance. The interface and Spectrum’s optimized drivers enable data transfer rates in excess of 1.7 GB/s so that signals can be acquired, stored and analyzed at the fastest speeds. While the cards have been designed using the latest technology they are still software compatible with the drivers from earlier Spectrum digitizers. So, existing customers can use the same software they developed for a 10 year old 200 kS/s multi-channel card and for an M4x series 500 MS/s high resolution digitizer!

ABA Mode

The optional ABA mode combines slow continuous data recording with fast acquisition on trigger events. The ABA mode works like a slow data logger combined with a fast digitizer. The exact position of the trigger events is stored as timestamps in an extra memory.

FIFO mode

The FIFO mode is designed for continuous data transfer between measurement board and PC memory or hard disk. The read (acquisition) transfer rate reached depends on the motherboard and can be up to 1.7 GByte/s on a PXI Express x4 Gen2 slot. The control of the data stream is done automatically by the driver on interrupt request. The complete installed on-board memory is used for buffer data, making the continuous streaming extremely reliable.

Block Average (Optional)

The Block Average Module improves the fidelity of noisy repetitive signals. Multiple repetitive acquisitions with very small dead-time are accumulated and averaged. Random noise is reduced by the averaging process improving the visibility of the repetitive signal.

Block Statistics (Optional)

The Block Statistics and Peak Detect Module implements a widely used data analysis and reduction technology in hardware. Each block is scanned for minimum and maximum peak and a summary including minimum, maximum, average, timestamps and position information is stored in memory.

Ring buffer mode

The ring buffer mode is the standard mode of all acquisition boards. Data is written in a ring memory of the board until a trigger event is detected. After the event the posttrigger values are recorded. Because of this continuously recording into a ring buffer there are also samples prior to the trigger event visible: Pretrigger = Memsize - Posttrigger.

Star-Hub (Optional)

The star-hub is an additional module allowing the phase stable synchronization of up to 8 boards in one system. Independent of the number of boards there is no phase delay between all channels. The star-hub distributes trigger and clock information between all boards. As a result all connected boards are running with the same clock and the same trigger. All trigger sources can be combined with OR allowing all channels of all cards to be trigger source at the same time. The star-hub is available as either piggy-back version (extending the width of the card) or as extension version (extending the length of the card to full length).

Channel Trigger

The data acquisition boards offer a wide variety of trigger modes. Besides the standard signal checking for level and edge as known from oscilloscopes it's also possible to define a window trigger. Trigger conditions can be combined with logical conjunctions like OR to adopt to different application scenarios.

External Trigger

All boards can be triggered using a separate external trigger signal with a two level programmable window comparator and a second separate external trigger with a single programmable level comparator. It's possible to use positive or negative edge. An internally recognized trigger event can - when activated by software - be routed to a multi purpose i/o connector to start external instruments.

Gated Sampling

The Gated Sampling option allows data recording controlled by an external gate signal. Data is only recorded if the gate signal has a programmed level. In addition a pre-area before start of the gate signal as well as a post area after end of the gate signal can be acquired. The number of gate segments is only limited by the used memory and is unlimited when using FIFO mode.

Multiple Recording

The Multiple Recording option allows the recording of several trigger events with an extremely short re-arming time. The hardware doesn't need to be restarted in between. The on-board memory is divided in several segments of the same size. Each of them is filled with data if a trigger event occurs. Pre- and posttrigger of the segments can be programmed. The number of acquired segments is only limited by the used memory and is unlimited when using FIFO mode.


The timestamp option writes the time positions of the trigger events in an extra memory. The timestamps are relative to the start of recording, a defined zero time, externally synchronized to a radio clock, or a GPS receiver. With this option acquisitions of systems on different locations can be set in a precise time relation.

External Clock

Using a dedicated connector a sampling clock can be fed in from an external system. It's also possible to output the internally used sampling clock to synchronize external equipment to this clock.

PXI Reference Clock

The card is able to use the 10 MHz reference clock that is supplied by the PXI system. Enabled by software the PXI reference clock is feeded in the on-board PLL. This feature allows the cards to run with a fixed phase relation.

High Precision Quartz

The internal sampling clock of the card is generated using a high precision Quartz Clock which can be divided by a huge number of dividers to generate the sampling clock.

Reference Clock

The option to use a precise external reference clock (normally 10 MHz) is necessary to synchronize the board for high-quality measurements with external equipment (like a signal source). It's also possible to enhance the quality of the sampling clock in this way. The driver automatically generates the requested sampling clock from the fed in reference clock.

Selectable AC/DC Coupling

Each analog channel contains a software selectable AC/DC coupling. When using the DC coupling all frequency parts of the signal including the DC offset are acquired. Selecting the AC coupling will only acquire frequency parts of the signal that are above a defined minimum bandwidth.

On-board Calibration

The on-board calibration can be run on user request and calibrates the amplifier against a dedicated internal high precision calibration source. After this calibration data is stored permanently in an on-board EEPROM and is automatically used for further acquisitions.

Low Voltage Ranges (Optional)

The option (M4i.22xx-ir40m) for the high-speed 22xx series of digitizer products increases their input sensitivity and therefore absolute resolution for low amplitude signals in the ±40 mV up to ±0.5 V range. This option lets users select more sensitive, full scale ranges so that, even for low amplitude signals, the ADC's complete dynamic range is available.

Programmable Input Amplifiers

The analog inputs can be adapted to real world signals using a wide variety of settings that are individual for each channel. By using software commands the input range can be set to a value matching the real world signals. The high precision, high bandwidth 50 ohm inputs are optimized for acquisition of high bandwidth signals.

Synchronous Sampling

All acquisition cards from Spectrum are built with a completely synchronous design. Every channel has its own independent input amplifier as well as an independent ADC allowing to program all input channel related settings individually for each channel.

Selectable Low Pass Filter

Each analog channel contains a software selectable low-pass filter to limit the input bandwidth. Reducing the analog input bandwidth results in a lower total noise and can be usefull especially with low voltage input signals.

Multi Purpose I/O

All M4i cards offer three universal multi purpose I/O lines, which can be separately programmed as either input or output. When used as outputs, these lines can be used to output card status signals like trigger-armed or to output the trigger to synchronize external equipment.

3rd Party Drivers

A lot of third-party products are supported by the Spectrum driver. Choose between LabVIEW, MATLAB, LabWindows/CVI and IVI. All drivers come with examples and detailed documentation.

Programming Examples

Programming examples for Microsoft Visual C++, Borland C++ Builder, Gnu C++ (CygWin), Borland Delphi, Microsoft Visual Basic, C#, J#, VB.Net, Python and LabWindows/CVI are delivered with the driver. Due to the simple interface of the driver, the integration in other programming languages or special measurement software is an easy task.


All cards are delivered with full Linux support. Pre compiled kernel modules are included for the most common distributions like RedHat, Fedora, Suse, Ubuntu or Debian. The Linux support includes SMP systems, 32 bit and 64 bit systems, versatile programming examples for Gnu C++ as well as the possibility to get the driver sources for own compilation.

Remote Server (Optional)

Using the Spectrum Remote Server it is possible to access the M2i/M3i/M4i card(s) installed in one PC (server) from another PC (client) via local area network (LAN), similar to using a digitizerNETBOX. To operate it the remote server option has to be activated by a software license for any of the Spectrum cards in the remote system.


SBench 6 is a powerful and intuitive interactive measurement software. Besides the possibility to commence the measuring task immediately, without programming, SBench 6 combines the setup of hardware, data display, oscilloscope, transient recorder, waveform generator, analyzing functions, import and export functions under one easy-to-use interface.


This standard driver is included in the card delivery and it is possible to get the newest driver version free of charge from our homepage at any time. There are no additional SDK fees for the classical text-based programming. All boards are delivered with drivers for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10, all 32 bit and 64 bit.

File NameInfoLast modifiedFile Size
an008_legacy_windows_driver_installation.pdfWindows driver installation of driver versions < MBytes
m4x22_datasheet_english.pdfData sheet of the M4x.22xx Digitizer series29.08.17708 kBytes
m4i_m4x_22xx_manual_english.pdfManual of M4i.22xx / M4x.22xx family29.08.1710 MBytes
spcm_ivi_english.pdfShort Manual for IVI Driver29.08.17525 kBytes
spcm_matlab_manual_english.pdfManual for MATLAB driver M2i/M3i/M4i/DN229.08.17916 kBytes
WINDOWS Drivers + Software
File NameInfoLast modifiedFile Size
spcm_drv_win32_v330b13487.zipM2i/M3i/M4i/M4x driver - last Version for Windows 32 XP / Vista03.07.171 MBytes
spcm_drv_win64_v320b11931.zipM2i/M3i/M4i/M4x driver - last Version for Windows 64 XP / Vista03.07.172 MBytes
spcm_drv_install_4.0.13877.exeM2i/M3i/M4i/M4x/DN2/DN6 driver for Windows 7, 8, 10 (32/64 bit)29.08.174 MBytes
spcmcontrol_install32bit.exeSpectrum Control Center (32-bit)29.08.1719 MBytes
spcmcontrol_install64bit.exeSpectrum Control Center (64-bit)29.08.1721 MBytes
specdigitizer.msiIVI Driver for IVI Digitizer class29.08.173 MBytes
specscope.msiIVI Driver for IVI Scope class29.08.172 MBytes
spcm_remote_install.exeWindows Installer for Remote Server Option29.08.172 MBytes
sbench6_v6.4.0b13853.exeSBench 6 (32-bit) Installer29.08.1731 MBytes
sbench6_64bit_v6.4.0b13853.exeSBench 6 (64-bit) Installer29.08.1734 MBytes
spcm_drv_labview_install.exeM2i/M3i/M4i/M4x/DN2/DN6 LabView driver installer29.08.1710 MBytes
spcm_drv_matlab_install.exeM2i/M3i/M4i/M4x/DN2/DN6 Matlab driver + examples installer29.08.172 MBytes
examples_install.exeWindows Examples (C/C++, VB, Delphi, .NET, CVI, Python ...)29.08.171 MBytes
LINUX Drivers + Software
File NameInfoLast modifiedFile Size
spcm_linux_drv_v400b13877.tgzM2i/M3i/M4i/M4x drivers (Kernel + Library) for Linux 32 bit and 64 bit29.08.176 MBytes
spcm_linux_libs_v400b13877.tgzDriver libraries (no Kernel) for Linux 32 bit and 64 bit29.08.172 MBytes
spcm_control_center.tgzSpectrum Control Center29.08.1725 MBytes
spcm_remote_server.tgzSpectrum Remote Server Linux Installer Package29.08.175 kBytes
sbench6_6.4.00b13853-2_i386.debSBench 6 Linux 32 (.deb)29.08.1724 MBytes
sbench6-6.4.00b13853-1.32bit.rpmSBench 6 Linux 32 (.rpm)29.08.1723 MBytes
sbench6_6.4.00b13853-2_amd64.debSBench 6 Linux 64 (.deb)29.08.1724 MBytes
sbench6-6.4.00b13853-1.64bit.rpmSBench 6 Linux 64 (.rpm)29.08.1723 MBytes
spcm_matlab_driver.tgzDrivers + examples for MATLAB for Linux (DEB + RPM)29.08.17162 kBytes
spcm_examples.tgzLinux Examples (C/C++)29.08.171 MBytes
File NameInfoLast modifiedFile Size
spcm_firmware.tgzM2i/M3i/M4i/M4x firmware update (Linux)29.08.1724 MBytes
firmware_update_install.exeM2i/M3i/M4i/M4x firmware update (Windows)29.08.179 MBytes
Case Study
NameInfoLast modifiedFile Size
CS Mass SpectroscopyCase Study: Digitizer in Mass Spectroscopy18.01.17520 kBytes
Product Note
NameInfoLast modifiedFile Size
Digitizer Software IntegrationSoftware Support for Modular Digitizers19.02.15707 kBytes
SBench 6 IntroductionSBench 6 - Data Acquisition and Analysis of Digitizer Data19.02.151 MBytes
Application Note
NameInfoLast modifiedFile Size
Mass SpectroscopyApplication Note Mass Spectroscopy08.06.17858 kBytes

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