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What soundcard should I buy?


zircon
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What soundcard should I buy?

Well, I can tell "you" what NOT to buy, and that is the Mackie Blackjack, particularly if one is a windows user. Its drivers are USELESS and Mackie refuses to update them.

Want the same mobility, sturdiness, high-quality pre's and USB power? buy the Focusrite Saffire 6 instead.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just wondering since, Zircon's initial post is from 2007, and a lot of the last few pages have been talking about pre-amps, and external devices, would any one recommend any other sound cards today?

I see the EMU 1212M is still available. Forgive me, I know next to nothing about sound cards, but are the cards being discussed here basically for input?

I'm not looking to remix, but maybe record non-musical audio, and I definitely need something that has clean playback.

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Just wondering since, Zircon's initial post is from 2007, and a lot of the last few pages have been talking about pre-amps, and external devices, would any one recommend any other sound cards today?

I see the EMU 1212M is still available. Forgive me, I know next to nothing about sound cards, but are the cards being discussed here basically for input?

I'm not looking to remix, but maybe record non-musical audio, and I definitely need something that has clean playback.

If you need recording inputs, get a sound card. If you don't, then don't.

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If you need recording inputs, get a sound card. If you don't, then don't.

Let me elaborate, I'm doing mostly video editing, but I may need to record clean audio for voice overs, etc.

I also need something that can give me a clean output (no computer noise), for mastering the audio and getting a accurate sense of the mix.

Everyone says stay away from Creative, some say avoid others, and since Zircon's initial post was from 2007, I was wondering if there was anything else recommended in terms of Sound Cards.

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I also need something that can give me a clean output (no computer noise), for mastering the audio and getting a accurate sense of the mix.

If you need a recording input for an XLR or Line In mic (not a USB), get a recording interface/sound card. Actually, I'm pretty sure a little converter box would do the trick, no need for a sound card. As for "clean output", I'm pretty sure any motherboard integrated audio is fine. I'll never heard of computer noise being heard in sound output (otherwise all laptops would pretty much have terrible sound systems), only interfering with an input.

If you don't need recording inputs at all, then a sound card will be useless. Its drivers might be more efficient, but if it's a question of computer power, you could sink the money into a better processor instead.

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If you need a recording input for an XLR or Line In mic (not a USB), get a recording interface/sound card. Actually, I'm pretty sure a little converter box would do the trick, no need for a sound card. As for "clean output", I'm pretty sure any motherboard integrated audio is fine. I'll never heard of computer noise being heard in sound output (otherwise all laptops would pretty much have terrible sound systems), only interfering with an input.

If you don't need recording inputs at all, then a sound card will be useless. Its drivers might be more efficient, but if it's a question of computer power, you could sink the money into a better processor instead.

Ok, um, one dumb question though, would a 'recording interface/sound card' be an effective card for playback as well? I imagine it would, but don't want any unfortunate surprises.

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Ok, um, one dumb question though, would a 'recording interface/sound card' be an effective card for playback as well? I imagine it would, but don't want any unfortunate surprises.

It would be better than integrated audio, but without a need for dedicated recording inputs, it's just a waste of money. The performance boost is barely noticeable as far as playback goes (going from a laptop to an interface has raised my ability to handle things by about 1%). Only get a sound card if you want to master things in 7.1/5.1 (and your mobo doesn't have integrated 7.1/5.1)

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It would be better than integrated audio, but without a need for dedicated recording inputs, it's just a waste of money. The performance boost is barely noticeable as far as playback goes (going from a laptop to an interface has raised my ability to handle things by about 1%). Only get a sound card if you want to master things in 7.1/5.1 (and your mobo doesn't have integrated 7.1/5.1)

Alright. Much appreciated. Thanks for the input!

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

I have been doing some recordings with an Onyx Blackjack audio interface, so far I've tested on Ubuntu + Audacity and OSX + Garageband/Audacity and it works great. I keep reading about how bad the drivers are on windows.

The headphone amps on it are definitely leagues ahead on the headphone outs on my laptop, and with my 55ohm headphones, roughly 5% on the volume knob is sufficiently loud. I'm thinking this interface can probably drive higher impedance headphones.

Something to consider for non-windows folk :)

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  • 9 months later...

I'm in the need of both a sound card and a mic (and a MIDI controller but putting that on hold for now.)

I used to have an M-Audio Firewire sound card but... I had some trouble with it to be honest. Not sure if it was my machine or the sound card or the wire but almost every time I used it, it was very tough to get my computer to recognize it, and it would often short out mid-recording and I'd have to reboot my machine to get it recognized again. So I hesitate around M-Audio, but I'm willing to give them another shot if it's a generally good option.

Right now I have an HP machine with Windows 7 and no firewire ports, so I'd probably be looking USB. I really don't want to spend over $200 or so. The major use will be recording guitars, but I want to record some vocals as well. I probably only need one port, not planning on recording multiple things at once.

Any recommendations?

I'm also a little confused about how a pre-amp fits into the overall equation. With my old M-Audio I had borrowed a pre-amp but I could never tell the difference between using it and not when I recorded guitars. I'm not doubting that they are important (I was probably just doing it wrong) but I don't "get" it. If this is something I will need I suppose I could use recommendations there as well.

For the mic I was thinking of going with the seemingly well recommended (from another thread) SM58.

http://www.zzounds.com/item--SHUSM58

This might be a dumb question, but as the mic comes with no cord, what kind of cord should I get with it? It'd be kind of silly to spend $100 on a mic and then screw up with buying the cord somehow.

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