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Thread: Best External Soundcard?

  1. #1

    Default Best External Soundcard?

    Any advice on the best external soundcard for my laptop? I've heard M Audio is good. I'm thinking longterm about setting up my own recording studio. Any other recommendations? Thanks.

  2. #2
    nathan61's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?

    Presonus Inspire box is excellent if you are looking for one around $150. These have no knobs or anything, minimizing extra noise.

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    Forum Contributor 2009 & Mouthpiece Patch Mogul Face Ache Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?

    +1 on Presonus Inspire.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member The Saxist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?

    M-Audio is having "issues" with Win7 (esp 64bit). I had to get a cheepie Behringer UCA222 USB interface to replace an Audiophile 2496. Granted, it's only USB 1.1 and 2 channel, but it doesn't sound like frying bacon as with the M-Audio.

    You need to ask yourself how many inputs do I need, and do I need mic pres built in...?
    Infinity had to start somewhere...

  5. #5

    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?

    I bought a used Edirol FA-66 firewire card on ebay. Its fantastic!

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009 warp x's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?

    If you want to start your own studio, it's best to think ahead. The M-audio stuff is nice, but if I were you I'd get something a little better. Better mic preamps and things like that make for a better recording. I use a MOTU Traveler which I am very happy with.
    You don't say how many ins/outs you need, and what the rest of your setup is like?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?

    I use an EE-MU Tracker Pro with Alesis M1Active 520 monitor running on Win7. The EE-MU has two imputs with phantom power and can also be powered externally if needed. A simple setup with very nice sound.

    I you go to Crazydaisydoo's site his has a youtube clip on the subject of home studios.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?

    Here's a good guide and user-tested suggestions that work: http://www.tweakheadz.com/soundcards...ome_studio.htm
    (you'll want to bookmark and read through all of Tweak's Guide while you're there...)

  9. #9
    Distinguished SOTW Member The Saxist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?

    More important than your interface; your listening environment/monitors. All the best interfaces/mics/pres/$, etc. will be wasted if you're not hearing your mix properly.
    Infinity had to start somewhere...

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    Distinguished SOTW Member DanPerezSax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?

    The forum to really learn about that kind of stuff is www.gearslutz.com which is all about techie stuff. I just lurk and learn. Basically the answer is the same whether it's an audio interface or a mouthpiece: it depends on who is using it, and what they want to get from it. For me, the decision was easy, because the consensus is that nothing approaches the quality of the Apogee Duet for recording 1 or 2 tracks at a time within $1,000 of it's pricetag.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?

    Thanks all, I'll start looking around. I agree warp x I definitely want to think longterm - looking to create a small studio for my own needs (singing, saxing and keyboarding) being my own band, since finding a band here is proving disappointing.
    So looking for quality equipment that would help me create my own ballads/jazz standards etc. Starting from knowing nothing is pretty daunting. Couldn't find that crazydaisydoo link if you have it Koumou. Anyone care to offer suggestions on all the equipment I'd need, recommending a whole quality setup would help a lot. So far I have a laptop.

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    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?


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    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?

    Need to know how much you are willing to spend and how many inputs you need. M-Audio isn't the best at anything. They make half-decent low priced items. Normally, you would use a tower computer for a home studio not a laptop but it's possible. You will also need studio monitors which are designed to be flat (they don't color the sound) and usually are powered (do not require an amp). I assume you us a PC? Is it a 32 bit or 64 bit OS? The CPU can be 64 bit while the OS is 32. It's critical to know exactly what OS you are using before buying an audio interface.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2010 harmonizerNJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?

    Consider whether you want to record only one track at a time (building a recording "Studio-style" at home), or whether you want to record multiple tracks at once at a live performance. Different equipment will have different capabilities in terms of how many tracks they can record at once. For starters, the box you buy will need a separate preamp circuit and input jack for each separate mic input from which you wish to be able to record from at the same time. If you want to record multiple tracks at once, you might also need to consider how capable your hard drive is, if using your laptop. But if all you want to do is record a single track at a time, then forget about this.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?

    I think it's very much a home studio and gigging will be separate. So, I'm looking at recording each track separately.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?

    Quote Originally Posted by differencetone View Post
    Need to know how much you are willing to spend and how many inputs you need. M-Audio isn't the best at anything. They make half-decent low priced items. Normally, you would use a tower computer for a home studio not a laptop but it's possible. You will also need studio monitors which are designed to be flat (they don't color the sound) and usually are powered (do not require an amp). I assume you us a PC? Is it a 32 bit or 64 bit OS? The CPU can be 64 bit while the OS is 32. It's critical to know exactly what OS you are using before buying an audio interface.
    Thanks.

  18. #18
    fsaxwas9's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best External Soundcard?

    I've just been using a cheap Behringer usb audio interface (with the phono preimp)...nothing too high-tech for me though. I still like to do some analog recording via cassette on an old Nak BX-1 I've had forever.

    I do think if you're getting acceptable sound quality, the microphone makes all the difference. I use a cheap omni lapel mic sometimes when I want a nice live sound (but the freq. response isn't the best), but when I want the best or most natural sound, I use an AT lipstick condensor with fairly wide and flat reponse.

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