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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
OK I am pretty tech savy, but this sound card stuff is making my head explode!:scratch:

I have a 2001 Vaio with a shitty SoundMax 16 Bit (I think) Audio Card. I have made soeme recording here and people think they sound decent, buth they likley aren't living up to their full potential. The card just has an 1/8" line in and 1/8" mic jack.

I also was at the Guitar Center and saw the M-Audio USB Interface that has 1/4" jacks and also built in mic pre-amps. Is this just the mechanism/interface to get your "sounds" into your pc or is this ALSO an upgaded sound card that replaces your pc's sound card? and is good for MP3's music dvd's gaming??

Do I need a bad ass sound card AND also an interface like that M-Audio type?

I am confused.:dunno:

I also was to get a good all around soundcard for ocassional gaming, listening to mp3's and dvd's etc. Mine is 4 years old and has to suck just by the sheer fact of how quickly things go out of date in the pc world.

Oh Ya I usually stick my mic or guitar 1/4" cord into a 1/8" adapter into the line in to record. Would love to just plug straigh in with the 1/4" cord.

Ok Let me TRY to Break It down this is getting to damn long
(That is what my wife told me),,,,,OK,,,,,,,,,,,only in my Dreams......:D)


*********** BREAKDOWN***************

1. What is a Good Overall SoundCard?
for Recording#1/#2 General use
(Price not a Major Barrier, but I am a cheap ass and just want to get a good deal. I don't neeed Platnum Recording Versions, but want a decent one).

2. I see Creative Labs a lot SoundBlaster Versions is this good? Which One?

3. Should I/Do I NEED one with 1/4" Jacks (I would like it)

4. Do I need one with a mic pre amp? or can away with just a quality one.

5. Which one will be good for BOTH recording and as a general UPGRADE to my 4 year old Sony Vaio RX-550 SoundBlaster soundcard?


Thanks so much guys:icon_thum

Gary

(Texas Axe Slinger)
 

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Well I am sure this is a topic that could have volumes of books written about it, but here is what I have to add. It looks lik that M Audio device is primarily just a USB powered mixer of sorts. It allows you to preamp mics and signals, and then route them to your sound card for further processing via your recording software. It's quite pricey, so I would consider getting yourself a Behringer UB802 - its a very basic little four channel mixing board with mic pre-amps, phantom power (if you have one of those pricey condenser style mics) three band EQ for each channel, Tape in / out, headphone out etc. Look up UB802 on the web for more info - plus it goes for around $70. (At least thats what I paid for it.) As far as sound cards go, all I know is that you can spend meg-bux if you want, but I am just using a soundblaster live 5.1 that I bou8ght at Wally World for $28 and it does good enough a job for my little humble, mostly useless home studio. :)

Lata!
Rj :icon_peac
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks RJ. I saw that 5.1 SoungCard come up a lot as a favorite all around card. I wonder If I should pay the extra money (I think I want to) and get a better Soundblaster Card.


How do you get your sounds into this card? Like mne 1/4" to 1/8" adapter into the line in?

Thanks You RJ!


Gary T
 

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TexasAxeSlinger said:
Thanks RJ. I saw that 5.1 SoungCard come up a lot as a favorite all around card. I wonder If I should pay the extra money (I think I want to) and get a better Soundblaster Card.


How do you get your sounds into this card? Like mne 1/4" to 1/8" adapter into the line in?

Thanks You RJ!


Gary T
My Setup is as follows:
2 SM57's --> Eurorack UB802 --> Sound card line in

I am using the Tape Out connectors on the Eurorack mixer, which are RCA type plugs, so I bought a cable at Radio shack that is two RCA plugs on one end, and the other end is an 1/8th inch stereo plug. Seems to work well. I have discovered that having big bulky 1/4 inch to 1/8inch adapters directly on he back of your computer is not a good idea because A) the plugs are too wide and it makes it hard to deal with connections on the back of the comp, and B) if you bump one of those big connectors you are likely to mess up the inputs on your sound card.

Hope that helps!

Rj
 

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This is a tough one to answer 'cause you don't tell the model of the M-Audio. From your description it sounds like it is a recording interface - that means it is also a soundcard. Propably a good one, certainly much better than the one you have now.

I believe you can use it also for general Windows voices. If not, then you can use your. It's no problem to have and use two soundcards in same machine.

The Creative Labs Sound Blasters are good all around cards but they are really not good for recording and making music - no matter what they say in their advertisements.
Sound Blasters are good in midi but not in audio.
Mic preamp is nice, you can use it also as a guitar preamp so the sound is much better than just connecting to line in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am nuts:eek:oo: I just went to Guitar Center and bought a $399 creative labs 1820 shown below at the end of the post.

It has 2 mic pre amps and all the cool stuff, but it might be too much $$$$ and a pain in the neck to install in my PC from some of the reviews I read.

I think I went overboard and this is GREAT but too much and too complicated to deal with. What I was thinking is I was going to buy a soundcard, a cheap mixer 9Berringer 4 channel w/ mic preamps) etc. so if I got this I get the mic pre amps a great sound card and a wide array of connections to grow with.

I read some reviews and they were good, but some had issues with pc's crashing etc and $435 with tax is a lot of money.

I think I am returning it tomorrow. The guy wrote on my reciept can exchange is 15 days if didn't work out, but that said exchange. if I open it up (the softward disc which is sealed) then who knows if I will get my $$ back or just an EXCHANGE???

I need something that is GOOD for MUSIC, GAMES, and REALLY Aimed at home recording.

Maybe I should just go the $100 sound card, $79 Berringer mixer with mic pre amp route and see how that works.

Any ideas on a Good Sound Card for $200 or less that is good for Everything.
 

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TexasAxeSlinger said:
I need something that is GOOD for MUSIC, GAMES, and REALLY Aimed at home recording.

Any ideas on a Good Sound Card for $200 or less that is good for Everything.
Soundcards that are good for games are usually not good in music and certainly not aimed at home recording. And vice versa.
My advise is that you stick to your old card for games and get a new one for home recording. Google for Tascam US122 (or US-122) pictured below. It has been praised in reviews and you should not cost much over 200 bucks if any.
I was going to buy that myself but got a quite similar Terratec Phase 26 practically for free instead. It really doesn't work like it should but the price/quality ratio is still great.
If you can't get your money back from that Creative thing try to enjoy it. It can't be all bad for that price. Although you could have saved a lot of money with a bit more patience. Haste is no good when you're buing computer & music stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I returned it. I bought for now (Might Return it?) just a cheap $79 Berringer UB1202 Mixer with a Mic Preamp just to see hwo it sounds. My card is a SoundMax (4 years old) . I wonder how much better a Good sound car will make my recordings sound?


I saw that USB think for $200 at teh gC. Looks cool, but it is more of just an interface into your pc. I guess it is also like a sound card as well?

Teh mixer i did a few vocals with. I guess it sounded better with a Mic Pre Amp (never had one before, just went direct into the soundcard), but can't tell yet for sure.

thanks

Gary
 

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Dude...stay away from Creative Labs...I am an M-Audio nut...check out the web page and spend your money on some good shit...

M-Audio

Also, as mentioned, Tascam makes some excellent products too.
 

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I agree with stingx about M-Audio. I have their worst recording interface(M-Audio FastTrack) and am very happy with it. It is powered by USB bus so its very portable and it has no noise. The only problems i've had is that it does not provide phantom power and its maybe a little quiet. But the higher models USB would definatly be a good choice.
 

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TexasAxeSlinger said:
I wonder how much better a Good sound card will make my recordings sound?

I saw that USB think for $200 at the gC. Looks cool, but it is more of just an interface into your pc. I guess it is also like a sound card as well?
The sound would be somehow better, but I dont believe you'll notice a drastic difference. Read my answer to Linda's thread in this forum.

If you're referring to that Tascam I recommended it is a recording interface and an external sound card. A more simple card might be enough now when you have the mixer. I think you could've managed without the mixer with that Tascam 'cause it should have a good mic preamp.
 

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Karkki said:
The sound would be somehow better, but I dont believe you'll notice a drastic difference. Read my answer to Linda's thread in this forum.

If you're referring to that Tascam I recommended it is a recording interface and an external sound card. A more simple card might be enough now when you have the mixer. I think you could've managed without the mixer with that Tascam 'cause it should have a good mic preamp.
I have to disagree - the quality is very noticable. the resolution is doubled and it more noticable on distorted guitars and vocals. I found it nigh impossible to get a decent vocal sound out of my old creative card. The sound is richer and has more depth. To put it in to plain english, it is the difference between dolby pro logic and dts or dolby digital. if you have tried running a dvd sound demo on a decent dvd/amp setup in pro logic mode then dd/dts you will get what I mean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
"To put it in to plain english"

Well you ARE English, but your anything but plain Mate. ha ha

What sound card do YOU have Goport?

Will a Creative Gamer Card be good for recording? It has to be better than my shitty SoundMax Card from 2001


The M Audio is at Fry's for $99 or $150 cant remeber with a $50 rebate.

It i the one with all the connections hanging out which is fine with me.


Thanks

Gary
 

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LOL!!

I still believe that there are better all round cards than a creative branded cards, but their E-mu range are very good. Also anything M-Audio makes are quality. I got the Terratec dmx 6fire because it has pretty good connectivity on the breakout box and phantom power for capacitor mics. There are better cards than this around and if you don't need a breakout box you can get equal results with a less expensive card like the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 or the E-mu 0404.

I still use my old audigy for general use stuff. It is also worth remembering that audio cards aimed at recording tend not to have midi in hardware. windows does have midi emulation in software but it is pretty poor. If your existing card works ok for your other uses then you might want to just add one solely for recording. It works for me.
 

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Dude.... I third what Stingx says all the way....I have the Berringer UB802 and the M-Audio 2496 sound card and it works great....all for under $200.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks Goport and Cyote,

My sound card stinks so I want on that will make listening to music MORE enjoyable.

Goprt, or anyone,,,,how can you have (2) different sound cards and use (1) for music and (1) for recording? I thought a sound card was for everything.

Are you saying you can have both in there and you for instance "Click a box" to choose specificLLY what sound card you are using? Then the other one is disabled? Is this true???

I bought thr Berringer UB1202 (Bigger one) since they were out of the (2) channel one, but it still sounds weak,,,,which I am pretty sure is due to my POOR Sound Card. Crap in= crap out. My sound card currently crackles sometimes when listening to music and when recording.:icon_cool
 

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TexasAxeSlinger said:
Goprt, or anyone,,,,how can you have (2) different sound cards and use (1) for music and (1) for recording? I thought a sound card was for everything.

Are you saying you can have both in there and you for instance "Click a box" to choose specificLLY what sound card you are using? Then the other one is disabled? Is this true???.
yip. I have a soundblaster rigged up for my windows environment with a 5.1 speaker setup and a terratec set up with some Ms16 Behringer monitors. most DAW apps let you pick your input/outputs and therefore is is quite easy to have 2 cards running happily in the same machine

TexasAxeSlinger said:
I bought thr Berringer UB1202 (Bigger one) since they were out of the (2) channel one, but it still sounds weak,,,,which I am pretty sure is due to my POOR Sound Card. Crap in= crap out. My sound card currently crackles sometimes when listening to music and when recording.:icon_cool
If the UB1202 sounds weak this is due to you having a poor signal going in. remember if you are doing vocals or recording guitar via a mic you need a preamp (software or hardware). the easiest way to get a good guitar signal is to record direct from say, a pod or similar processor.

What set up are you using? ie effects processor and equipment?
 
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