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I'm in need of a function generator, but I want to avoid buying dedicated laboratory instrument. My idea is to use computer's sound card to create signals (yes, I know that it's not a replacement for the real thing). I'll most likely need just simple sines, squares, sawtooths and similar.

So I'm looking for a program which can generate waveforms and should work on windows 7 or Ubuntu 10.04. If it's free software, then it's a plus.

To me Audacity looked like obvious solution, but I'm hoping that there is a program which can display how the emitted wave looks like and can generate sound in real time (I know that shape of the wave can be solved with a prerecorded audio and clever visualizations).

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I'd point out that, depending on the sensitivity of your usage of the outputs here, that it might be problematic if the machine hiccups or a process hangs momentarily or you have DPC's causing stutter in audio output. I suspect a function generator is RIDICULOUSLY expensive compared to even a high-end stable PC though, but just something to keep in mind. –  Shinrai Sep 21 '10 at 22:31
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

SigJenny is a nice, free tool for generating continuous or burst signals from a PC sound card. Also AF Signal Function Generator which is nice, but no waveform display. You could always export to .wav, import in to Audacity and it'll show you the waveform in the track view. Both are Windows-only.

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SigJenny won't detect my audio output on windows 7. AF seems to be working. –  AndrejaKo Sep 22 '10 at 0:12
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