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Soundcard needed for recording

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I have been using my onboard mic input lately and it's hissing really badly, picks up a lot of background noise too since I have to raise my mixer volume to get over the hiss. I need a soundcard to help without that. I'm not going to be using headphones through it as I use my AVR for those and it sounds just fine. My budget is $50 and I'm looking at either the HT Omega Striker or the Asus Xonar DG. I'm on the Omega side as it looks more well built by looking at the guts, as well as it has more inputs. I have a 5.1 surround sound and am also wondering if these sounds cards will give a better sound quality through their Optical ports into my AVR. As I'm just using the hdmi from my soundcard into my avr.

I'm open to other cards as well, I just need the best possible one for recording/podcasting. I'm using an AT2020 XLR with a mixer that outputs into my onboard soundcard.
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Nemesis
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post #2 of 3
    First, you should connect your XLR mixer's output to your onboard sound's line-in jack instead of the microphone jack.  This should reduce the hiss substantially.  Most soundcard's microphone jacks are noisy.  I don't know why they don't just get a cheap, low noise op-amp and build a proper amplifier (it is real easy and takes just a dozen components).  I doubt you could find a soundcard that will have lower hiss on its microphone jack than you could get on your onboard sound's line-in jack.
    To pinpoint the source of the hiss, try turning off your mixer while listening (or recording).  The hiss/noise that remains is soundcard noise.  The noise that disappears is mixer or microphone noise.  Upgrading your soundcard could only improve the soundcard noise; you would have to upgrade your mixer and/or microphone to improve the other noise.  Also, hearing background sounds is inevitable; if you get rid of the hiss, the background sounds will not be masked by the hiss anymore.  This is a sign of increased quality.  You should look into placing the microphone closer to the sound source or using a noise-canceling microphone if you want to reduce the volume of these sounds.  Also, make sure that you're setting the volume controls optimally at every stage; for instance, turning mic way down and master way up on your mixer will reduce its S/N ratio, as will turning master way down and turning on mic boost on your soundcard.  Actually, you'll know when you've got them set optimally because you'll hear more background room noise because it's no longer being covered by the hiss!

    And no, the sound quality over optical won't be any better than the signal you're already getting over HDMI, since they're both digital signals.

    I hope that helps! thumb.gif
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post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thank you. Line In worked better. thumb.gif
Nemesis
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Nemesis
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2500k ASRock Extreme4 Gen3 EVGA GTX560 Ti SC GSkill Ripjaw X 1600 
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Samsung F3  Crucial M4 Hyper+/AS5 W7 
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Asus VH242H Logitech G15 V1 TX650 Corsair Corsair 600T  
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Logitech G500 
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