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Will Usb External Sound Card Help?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Ok so i'm new to all of this. First of all i use MIDI on stage, Just simple, My keyboard, laptop connected to my keyboard. And a Stereo BreakOut 3.5mm TRS to Dual 1/4 connected in my laptop's headphone port and the Dual 1/4 is connected inot a directbox, And with the directbox i'm using an XLR cable which is connected to a Audio snake. Since we have the mixer far away from the instruments, we connect everything in a snake, Ok well that said....

I use reason 5 as my editing software etc etc, My question is, Is a Simple Usb External Sound Card gonna change the quality of the sound? if not, which external sound card will do the difference?. When i play Live, Not a recording, The sound comes out, not so realistic, since i guess its coming out from the laptop, It sounds to whinny and to gamboyish type. And the speakers on stage are good quality and monitors too.

So i was thinking of Buying A Usb external sound card 7.1 surround, And connect the cable 3.5mm in the usb External sound card and the rest leave it like it is, will that make the sound a lil better? THANKS!

And sorry i'm new to all of this smile.gif

This is the type of audio cable i'm using: http://www.ebay.com/itm/400628718299?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649

This is the type of USB external sound card i wanna buy: http://www.ebay.com/itm/400460458738?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649 (if not, an expensive one)

If you want more information just ask me! Thanks smile.gif
Edited by Zackio - 3/24/14 at 6:47am
post #2 of 6
I highly doubt that cheap little USB sound card is going to be any better (quite possibly worse) than the sound built into your laptop.


if you are using this for live sound / performing... I think you'd be better off (saving up if needed) looking at interfaces /DAWs

I have and like very much a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 ($150~new) however you might be better off with a 2i4 ($200) if you live near a place with a guitar center, the one by me at least frequently has used DAWs for less than new prices.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Scarlett2i4/


oh right one more thing ...if possible you might want to try a short cable 6' or less... i sometimes use a TRS to RCA cable with my scarlett and at first I have a 12' cable and had horrible noise floor issues, swapped it out for a 6' cable and the noise floor issues went away.
Edited by atarione - 3/24/14 at 9:36am
post #3 of 6

That thing will probably have worse MIDI sounds than your laptop. You need a GOOD external USB sound device (or "sound card", but it's not really a card). What I'm talking about is a name-brand one, like one of these 3 (Newegg links, but I'm not necessarily recommending that you order from Newegg):

 

Creative X-Fi Go! Pro for $39.99 shipped

 

Creative X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro for $69.99 shipped

 

Creative X-Fi HD for $87.99 before shipping (but it's $87.99 shipped from Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004275EO4)

 

Then, you'd just make sure that your software is using Creative's MIDI controller or synthesizer or, I forget what they call it. Or, just make sure that everything is using the Creative USB sound device (sound card). Like, I have Winamp set to be my default MIDI player even though I never play any MIDI. In the Winamp Output plug-in settings, there's nothing in there about selecting a MIDI playback device, but there is a general selection for the playback device and one of those selections is my sound card. If I had my onboard audio enabled and installed at the same time, then I'd have that selection available as well.

 

So anyway, yeah, there is quite a big difference between the MIDI of cheap onboard audio and a good sound card. I remember in the old days when Windows XP wasn't even out yet I had what I remember being Creative's best sound card at the time. I had upgraded to it from onboard audio and I was playing around downloading lots of MIDI files back then just for fun. Well, the first thing I noticed is that the MIDI quality was far better. So, don't get just any cheap USB sound device; get a good one. It will be well worth it.

 

 

Edit: atarione is probably giving far better advice than I am. I'm just speaking from the consumer side, not as a musician. I am a musician, but I don't know anything about this stuff. I'm a bit more old school.

It's a computer!
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It's a computer!
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
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250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
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Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
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Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
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post #4 of 6
oh duh I totally forgot about this (i own one of these) a DAW would still be awesome but a lot more money than you have been talking about


so here is a more expensive (but only $30) option that is rather good


http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-UCA222-U-Control-Ultra-Low-Downloadable/dp/B0023BYDHK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1395679461&sr=8-2&keywords=uca+202


kewl little thing SQ is actually quite good...
post #5 of 6

Now we're talkin'. Behringer is a good brand for people wanting good quality stuff but who don't want to pay the premium of the better brands.

It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Basic, but premium round X-Fi Titanium HD Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (with 16 AWG Monster Cable... 
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It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Basic, but premium round X-Fi Titanium HD Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (with 16 AWG Monster Cable... 
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post #6 of 6
I agree with the others statement on the USB cards. They are mediocre at best. I have a sound blaster one sitting in a drawer unused.
   
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