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Thread: Sound Card

  1. #1

    Sound Card

    I wish to purchase a good sound card for my computer for purpose of
    audio recording, mixing, etc. I heard that a card supporting ASIO would
    be necessary. Could you please suggest which would be a good basic
    one. I prefer facility for analog & digital input. Input for Audio primarily
    cause for MIDI input from my keyboard, I have a USB cable connection.

    Also which software would be good for getting good output which can
    be sent to 5.1 systems also ?

    I am an amatuer, so would like to go for reasonably priced options at
    the moment.

    Would appreciate good suggestions...thanks...

  2. #2
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    Hello ramscapri and welcome.

    What have you come across so far? Is there any particular card that you have seen or read that peaks your interest? What operating system will you be using the card for?
    SC358
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

  3. #3
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    Quote: SC358
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    Hello ramscapri and welcome.

    What have you come across so far? Is there any particular card that you have seen or read that peaks your interest? What operating system will you be using the card for?
    Hi SC358,

    Thanks for responding. Basically I am trying to decide between a PCI card which will be fixed on to the motherboard & a USB audio interface which will be externally connected thru USB. Could you suggest which would be better ? Will an external USB interface like say, the M-audio Fast Track USB or Fast Track Pro provide as much excellent sound quality like say the Delta 44 or say, the Creative X-fi Elite Pro ? This is what my main concern is. At least the specs for the above USB ones say they have the low-latency ASIO drive and stuff. Cause if the USB ones are as good as their PCI counterparts, they would be more convenient from mobility point of view, wont they ? Also they could be simply connected and used with another PC or laptop. Please voice your experience & opinion on this.

    And yes, I would be using the interface for Windows XP OS.
    Further, any suggestions on software ? Will Ableton Live Lite be good ? It comes with Fast Track Pro but says it will have only 4 audio & 4 MIDI tracks. How is Magix Music Studio 12 Deluxe ?

  4. #4
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    ramscapri - I don't recall what audio interfaces are in current use where I work. I have no opinions to offer for comparisons either since there hasn't been any hardware upgrades (only software) in about 2 years.

    SC358
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

  5. #5
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    The Truth...

    Okay, PCI setups, like the Delta 44 / 66 have a direct (and faster than usb) connecting to the motherboard of your system. Naturally it would be more stable and suffer less latency issues than any USB Audio Interface. I owned the Behringer BCA2000 usb interface as well as a system with the Delta 44. The BCA2000 was cool, but it had an almost uncontrollable latency problem - mostly due to my ignorance and a computer with a regular pentium 4 processor and mass produced HP motherboard.
    But...
    Then there's the other old school HP with only a primative AMD Athalon processor - probably 6 years old by now - with a Delta 44 rig. Whoa! What a difference. That old machine, though abused for many years still runs FL Studio 7 Producer Edition combining Image Line's VSTi plugin set with up to 17 various other popular plugins simultaniously with very little trouble.
    On a PC geared for DJ / Audio Production, try to minimalize the OS to its core functions to run the lowest amount of processes possible. (Windows XP on a fresh install requires only 19 processes to run on any system with a fresh out of the box install with no drivers or service pack 2. THIS IS HOW YOU SHOULD BEGIN YOUR SETUP)
    1st) Install the soundcard / interface software & hardware.
    2nd) Install your MIDI Controller / KeyBoard's software & Hardware
    3rd) Set windows to utilize the sound card or interface of choice as the default sound producing device. As well as the MIDI Hardware thereafter.
    4th) Install whatever software bundle you wish. Most above $150.00 (US DOLLAR) will recognize and use the drivers for your interface of choice - USB or PCI.
    5th) Finally, install your VST, VSTi, DXi, RTAS, HUI etc... instruments and have fun!!!
    I recommend a combination of a purchased FL Studio 7 Producer Edition with either a MOTU, EMU, M-Audio PCI interface, or BETTER... Look into a FIREWIRE Audio Interface to get the job done. You can find the Behringer F-Control FCA202 firewire audio interface for under $75.00 (US Dollar), matched with FL Studio P.E. - $160.00 and WELL WORTH IT, along with a simple Behringer C-3 Condencer Mic (for suprisingly good vocals and any little $50.00 to $100.00 Mic Pre-Amp. If you like portability, get a notebook with firewire ports available as well as a dual core processor and good chipset. (Intel T-7300 Core-2 Duo is more than good enough) You'll need a processor that outputs at least 1.8 to 2.0 GHz with matching chipset obviously. A firewire PCI or PCIexpress interface card is relatively inexpensive and is about 12 times faster than USB data transfer - cutting latency issues down below some of the best PCI Cards for desktop/tower PC's.
    My Latest mobile studio rigg...

    IBM Thinkpad T-60
    Microsoft Windows XP version 2002 SP 2
    Genuine Intel (R) CPU
    T2400 @ 1.83 GHZ
    2.00 GB of Ram
    Edirol FA 66 Firewire Audio/MIDI Interface
    Novation Remote 37 SL MIDI Controller
    Two KRK Rocket 5 Powered Monitor Speakers
    Sure SM 7B Cardoid Dynamic Vocal Mic (Hip-Hop Vocal)
    Rhode MKII Condensor Mic (Singing Vocal)
    Whirlwind XLR Cables & 1/4" TRS Cables
    Sampson Pop Stopper (for vocals)
    M-Audio Xponaut DJ Mixer used with Image Line's Deckadence DJ interface software.

    Seamless exceptional sound quality for the mobile professional. Won't fill your trunk, and it won't break you wallet.
    If there's anything else you'd like to know... I'll be around.
    ~LaTiNsPiTkIcKa~

  6. #6
    LaTiNsPiTkIcKa, Thanks for all the info.

    Going by the combination of my system, my budget and availabilities
    in the market, I have gone for an Edirol UA-25 which came with the
    SONAR LE DAW. Looks great for a start for me. The software's got
    enough capability and functions that an amatuer like me can explore
    for quite a while before going for any upgrade. Same with the Edirol.

    Yes, the latency issue is there to an extent but with choice of the
    right drive in the options and by choosing good VSTi and DXi sound
    outputs for the MIDI, I am managing to keep latency to as low levels
    as possible. Still havent fully tried the conversion part from MIDI to
    Audio but hoping that will work out fine too.

    Thanks again for the info.....

  7. #7
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    ramscapri,

    Glad I could help. Enjoy!!!

  8. #8

    M-Audio 1010LT PCI card

    I use the M-Audio 1010LT PCI card for audio in and out on my XP based PC. Easy install and lots of analogue inputs and outputs. Some Digital inputs also but not as numerous. Comes with Ableton Live Lite which is OK but the upgrade to the full version of Live (currently at version 7) is worth the price.

    The only headache is line versus mic level input. This card still uses a dip switch (internal to your PC) to set which is used. No biggie with XLR input, but is a big deal for unbalanced RCA or anything using a 1/4" adapter to RCA.

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