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Sound hardware / music

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

For a lack of answers on Google, I thought I'd ask here and maybe clear this up once and for all. Not only for me but for future readers.

So an audio interface can indeed act as a sound card.

I would like to know:

- What is the point of getting an on board sound card then, if you want to make music? Shouldn't the audio interface be enough to have higher quality sound and low latency? Moreover, I have yet to find a sound card that can provide phantom power to a microphone...

- Most audio interfaces, such as pre-amps are external. That means it's going to use a USB or firewire connection. Isn't that a disadvantage because of the latency? I can't see how USB and Firewire could possibly be faster than PCI or PCIe for example. But as I said - as far as I can tell, no PCI/e pre-amps exist.

Some clarification would be much appreciated. Cheers

-Rich
Edited by RichiRichX - 7/4/13 at 9:11am
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post #2 of 8
Latency is not too big of an issue at early stages of music production. When you start making music that actually brings you some substantial cash flow, then go commission a recording studio to produce your album.

The asus stx or the creative zxr is about the best you are going to get in terms of a sound card.

Do not quote me on this, but for external music production you are going to need a analog to digital converter, and I would not know which one to recommend to you.
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjj226 Angel View Post

Latency is not too big of an issue at early stages of music production. When you start making music that actually brings you some substantial cash flow, then go commission a recording studio to produce your album.

The asus stx or the creative zxr is about the best you are going to get in terms of a sound card.

Do not quote me on this, but for external music production you are going to need a analog to digital converter, and I would not know which one to recommend to you.

Thanks for the response.

I'm not at an "early" stage of music though. I've been making music for many years now, but with bad hardware because I was broke. At the moment however, I have to step things up because I am in contact with TV and the likes.

That's why gaming cards aren't going to do the job, I definitely need a low latency interface, especially for all the midi controllers, synthesizer and new microphone.

The Akai MPK49 for example has latency issues, and I'm pretty certain it's the USB connection causing the slow down. This confuses me because I don't understand how people can use USB audio interfaces, and still expect low latency?

-Rich
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post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Sorry, DP.
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post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichiRichX View Post

Thanks for the response.

I'm not at an "early" stage of music though. I've been making music for many years now, but with bad hardware because I was broke. At the moment however, I have to step things up because I am in contact with TV and the likes.

That's why gaming cards aren't going to do the job, I definitely need a low latency interface, especially for all the midi controllers, synthesizer and new microphone.

The Akai MPK49 for example has latency issues, and I'm pretty certain it's the USB connection causing the slow down. This confuses me because I don't understand how people can use USB audio interfaces, and still expect low latency?

-Rich

USB can provide low latency, but only if the USB controller board is decent. Thankfully the STX and the ZXR are not you average sound cards, but I do think you need something a bit better. Again, do not quote me on this, but I think protools has a bunch of recommended hardware than can interface directly with their software. I googled it, and I found a bunch of crap that looks like it would be good. *shrug*

I know of someone who can help you, give me some time to contact him. He knows much more about professional audio than I do. I apologize for being a bit derp on the subject arrowheadsmiley.png
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjj226 Angel View Post

USB can provide low latency, but only if the USB controller board is decent. Thankfully the STX and the ZXR are not you average sound cards, but I do think you need something a bit better. Again, do not quote me on this, but I think protools has a bunch of recommended hardware than can interface directly with their software. I googled it, and I found a bunch of crap that looks like it would be good. *shrug*

I know of someone who can help you, give me some time to contact him. He knows much more about professional audio than I do. I apologize for being a bit derp on the subject arrowheadsmiley.png

No problem. Any info would be appreciated, thanks.

Anyway what I understand, is that: An audio interface is necessary to plug in any XLR mic, so it gets phantom power. However, how do you connect the audio interface to the PC? If it's going to be USB or Firewire in the end, then the whole point of having an on board sound card (which would have lower latency) is basically useless..

Cheers,

-Rich
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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjj226 Angel View Post

Latency is not too big of an issue at early stages of music production. When you start making music that actually brings you some substantial cash flow, then go commission a recording studio to produce your album.

The asus stx or the creative zxr is about the best you are going to get in terms of a sound card.

Do not quote me on this, but for external music production you are going to need a analog to digital converter, and I would not know which one to recommend to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjj226 Angel View Post

USB can provide low latency, but only if the USB controller board is decent. Thankfully the STX and the ZXR are not you average sound cards, but I do think you need something a bit better. Again, do not quote me on this, but I think protools has a bunch of recommended hardware than can interface directly with their software. I googled it, and I found a bunch of crap that looks like it would be good. *shrug*

I know of someone who can help you, give me some time to contact him. He knows much more about professional audio than I do. I apologize for being a bit derp on the subject arrowheadsmiley.png

ProTools has recently been released that works with all audio interfaces, Previously it was only the Digidesign products (extremely expensive for the hobbist), then they have the Protools M-BOX distros that worked with a few M-Audio Interfaces. Now "anything should" work.

In regards to the green statement. While I understand your point Latency is ALWAYS a priority at any level of music production. Especially when plugging direct. What is the point of a click track when all of your input is decades of ms's behind.

TO OP:
Truthfully the trick is to buy whatever interface fits your needs and budget.

Firewire is generally the preferred connection unless you want to spend a $800+ on a PCI ADAC with proprietary interface connection (pro level stuff)

I've used a number of different interfaces USB and firewire.

If you just want to get your feet wet I've have good luck with things like the Line6 USB interfaces
.
$149 - POD Studio™ UX1 w/ 1x Phantom powered XLR and 1x 1/4" inputs

Very "plasticy" but solid. Its not like they move much. but being lightweight it works for mobile recording.

or

$199 - POD Studio™ UX2 w/ 2x Phantom powered XLR and 2x 1/4" inputs I had the older version of this for awhile

I have recently been using Presonus gear and it works reasonably using a firewire interface.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/presonus

There are multiple options depending on what you require, and if you are starting fresh there are some decent packages with monitors. mic, etc...
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post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichiRichX View Post

No problem. Any info would be appreciated, thanks.

Anyway what I understand, is that: An audio interface is necessary to plug in any XLR mic, so it gets phantom power. However, how do you connect the audio interface to the PC? If it's going to be USB or Firewire in the end, then the whole point of having an on board sound card (which would have lower latency) is basically useless..

Cheers,

-Rich

It depends on the software you are using. What I have been told by this guy is that if you are using protools or something of the sort, that it has special drivers for particular interface cards. He was saying that he had a sound board with a bunch of knobs, and the knobs could be controlled from this interface card that he had via little cervo motors in the board.

Plus I think the higher level interface PCI cards will have some other type of port than USB.
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