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-   -   Need soundcard advice (https://www.propellerheads.se/forum/showthread.php?t=174567)

cstooch 2013-01-16 04:07

Need soundcard advice
 
Hi guys,

My current setup:
AMD Phenom II X4 955 processor, 4GB ram
Windows 7 64bit
M-Audio Audiophile 2496

The music I produce is 100% produced electronically (i.e. Reason, and/or another DAW+VSTis and such.. no live instruments). I also have an M-Audio Axiom 49 MIDI Keyboard that I use.

This has normally been good for me in the DAWs I've used. The latency has typically been good, but there have been some things that irk me about it.

I've had the odd weird issue with this card lately too... the card stopped working in Cubase for a bit. It wouldn't recognize it at all. I did a bunch of things to get it working again, including uninstalling the driver, as well as rebooting. I eventually got it working, but I'm not even sure what it was. I also would occasionally get some really LOUD screetch noise/feedback from time to time in Cubase. As a guy that listens through headphones (no monitors yet), this is pretty crappy.

So I've had some volume issues, crackling issues.. soundcard not working at all issues.. lots of problems. I've decided I'd like to move on from this card. It might be a defective card, I dunno.. but I'd like to try something else.

So my question is... what is good? My price range is anywhere up to about $200, although around $100 range would be preferable. Again, I don't need to be able to hook up any devices to it for recording (aside from a mic to record voice, unrelated to music). I just need something that is good low latency.

I'm a little confused on the difference too between "audio interface" and "soundcard". Is an audio interface meant mainly for recording instruments?

Would a simple Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD cut it since I don't need to record any other devices? I know people bag on those cards, but I wonder if that is just because they aren't recommended for recording external devices like guitar, etc.

Anyways.. advice on a card, please!

EpiGenetik 2013-01-16 06:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by cstooch (Post 1220114)
I'm a little confused on the difference too between "audio interface" and "soundcard". Is an audio interface meant mainly for recording instruments?

They're the same thing really although "soundcard" is more likely to refer to onboard hardware that is part of the motherboard.

I'd recommend a Toneport UX1 or 2 by Line6, if they are still selling them these days.

cstooch 2013-01-16 15:52

Hey EG, thanks for the advice! I checked, and my local store has both the UX1 and UX2, although they are the "POD Studio". Not sure if that's the same thing, or a newer version.

Just wondering if you could tell me what your typical set up is. Just wondering how it compares to mine. Do you prefer the UX1/2 because of any instruments you use with it? Or do you have a similar set up to mine, where your instruments/synths are 100% software?

These audio interfaces are a lot different than the cards I used to use for making music. I see the guitar ports and mic inputs and such on some and get scared off wondering if it's overkill, so I appreciate you taking the time to respond!

3rdFloorSound 2013-01-16 20:28

If you never have a use for those inputs, so be it, no reason to pay attention to them. But, if you plan on getting monitor speakers at some point, an interface is the way to go.
If you ever do want to sample something and get good sound, those inputs will come in handy along with the fact that the interface isn't directly inside the computer where it can pick up interference.

cstooch 2013-01-16 22:43

Oh OK, I never even thought about that I would need special outputs for monitors, but that makes sense. I currently have spdif on mine, but a friend recommended an interface to me that has XLRs on it.

I also am testing out this card without using ASIO4ALL.. I've read a couple cases where people had problems with it. I just installed it because it was the thing to do, but it has a native ASIO driver, so I'll try that for a bit. If it works, I'm going to consider another big music software purchase instead!

3rdFloorSound 2013-01-17 01:52

Oh if you have ASIO natively there really no reason to have ASIO4All unless the other driver is having problems. It's a solution for people without an asio driver.
The thing that makes interfaces special are DA/AD converters - that's "digital to analog" and the reverse. Better converters = better sound, and internal and onboard soundcards aren't really known for their wonderful converters. Likely there are a few exceptions to that, though.

3rdFloorSound 2013-01-17 16:41

Just ran across this sale price and thought about this thread http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-a...udio-interface I have a higher up model (saffire pro24) and love it.

cstooch 2013-01-18 01:41

Again, I appreciate all the help you've given. So far, sans-ASIO4ALL things are working good enough for me, so I'll keep the status-quo for now :)

One last question (probably) re: the DA/AD converters. I'm trying to get an understanding what role they play in everything. Is the better sound going to be noticeable just to me? (i.e. because I have the soundcard and I'm listening to it) or are things that I produce with that card going to sound better (within reason, of course.. if I make poop it will sound like poop no matter how good a card is in there) for anyone that listens to tracks I provide?

I guess what I'm getting at is say I wrote a song completely contained within Reason (or Cubase using VSTis), would a song I produced on a card with superior DA/AD converters have an impact on the sound at all when someone else plays it on any system? Or is it more just an impact on when I'm listening via that card, so to speak, or perhaps a case of needing a specific recording set up to take advantage of this.

I understand how stupid the question sounds probably to an expert, but I've been mostly going at it on my own for years without doing enough digging into things like this. Thanks for your time.

3rdFloorSound 2013-01-18 02:22

Quote:

Originally Posted by cstooch (Post 1221451)
Again, I appreciate all the help you've given. So far, sans-ASIO4ALL things are working good enough for me, so I'll keep the status-quo for now :)

One last question (probably) re: the DA/AD converters. I'm trying to get an understanding what role they play in everything. Is the better sound going to be noticeable just to me? (i.e. because I have the soundcard and I'm listening to it) or are things that I produce with that card going to sound better (within reason, of course.. if I make poop it will sound like poop no matter how good a card is in there) for anyone that listens to tracks I provide?

I guess what I'm getting at is say I wrote a song completely contained within Reason (or Cubase using VSTis), would a song I produced on a card with superior DA/AD converters have an impact on the sound at all when someone else plays it on any system? Or is it more just an impact on when I'm listening via that card, so to speak, or perhaps a case of needing a specific recording set up to take advantage of this.

I understand how stupid the question sounds probably to an expert, but I've been mostly going at it on my own for years without doing enough digging into things like this. Thanks for your time.

Ahaha see that's the thing, if you make poop you want the interface to be able to accurately reproduce that poop as well as the monitors :D
It depends how well you tune your ears. Think of it like hearing the difference between a 320 and 256 kbps sound file. There's much less difference in sound in the mid range interfaces, but it is there. So when you're mixing your song, if you can hear every little bit of it then you'll be able to get every one of those little bits to sound the way you want.
Nah we've all been where you are at some point, ya know? Some of us still don't quite understand the whys of these things. I only know about half of it, really. I'm kinda struggling with explanations, to be honest.
I feel like there are people here that really know their shit in this area that can explain this way better than I can. Anybody?

3rdFloorSound 2013-01-18 03:05

Oh, found the thread from when I was looking for an interface not so long ago, some good info in there: https://www.propellerheads.se/forum/...d.php?t=134485


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