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Top External Souncards for Notebook/PC - Page 2

post #16 of 90
Is the M Audio Audiophile just an external soundcard or does it also serve well as a headphone amp?
post #17 of 90
Thread Starter 
All of the above audio devices serve as a headphone amp as well,
and a good one at that! ...that's the reason I made this list...
post #18 of 90
Thread Starter 
By the way, the cardbus based "E-MU 1616M" PCMCIA card can be used
standalone for its DSP power & studio-quality headphone amp, or plugged
into the MicroDock for a total of 16 inputs and 16 outputs plus MIDI I/O.

To note: this PCMCIA card works as "Echo Indigo", but by specs seems better.



post #19 of 90
Thread Starter 

Other forums about Pro Audio Gear?

Since many audio devices listed above are practically portable solutions for
audio recording I was thinking it would be interesting to ask people using such
devices about their experiences with these devices & headphones output.

I found this forum which looks interesting: http://www.recording.org/forums.html

I am wondering if anyone of you here knows some others?

I'll ask about these devices and sound quality for headphones and if I get
any replies I'll report them here too... So, let me know about websites...
post #20 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrYman
All of the above audio devices serve as a headphone amp as well,
and a good one at that! (...)
Hmmm, uhmmm, hmmm... The latter part worries me a bit, 'cause your expectations might be a bit high. While it's true that some of the devices above (can't speak for all, but for quite a few...) also work as headphone amps, the quality is not that great. That doesn't mean you'll get bad quality (I'd rate most of this stuff as decent to good) or a lack in level - but if you really exspect Corda HA-1 MkII quality (especially in terms of refinement), you'll probably be rather disappointed.

On the other hand, of course, it always depends on what one compares with - for example, compared to the Pro-Ject HeadBox, a lot of these usb and especially firewire sound modules provide much better price/performance.

All in all, I'd say, if you are looking for a multi-functional device with good mid-fi quality and fair price/performance, you can safely look into something like the Terratec Aureon 7.1 FireWire. I feel less comfy recommending some of the modules for musicians, 'cause a lot of these completely lack support for game sound apis as well as analogue or digital surround sound output.

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini
post #21 of 90
Thread Starter 
link, Terratec Aureon 7.1 FireWire sounds better than Echo Indigo?
(Mentioning Echo Indigo, cause I'd bet that E-MU 1616M sounds
better than Echo Indigo, which I put as 2nd on the list above...)

And I've got Audigy 2 for games anyway, and anyone can get
a very cheap soundcard for games for desktop computer, and
for notebooks internal soundcard is fine enuff for games...

Would be really nice to see a comparison for sound quality of
headphone output for E-MU 1616M vs. Focusrite Saffire vs.
M-Audio FW 410 vs. Corda HA-1 MkII, they all cost around
$500 but they are so much MORE than just a headphone
dedicated amp as Corda HA-1. That’s my point in all this!

P.S. I didn’t say these devices might sound GREAT, but GOOD.
post #22 of 90
I don't think echo indigo sounds that great when I tried it at a meet. I have one here on loan but I never put it back in my laptop yet I should.

Also 1820m headphone jack isn't that great either so I don't think 1616m would be that much better.

I'm not very confident in the headphone jacks of these products in general. They seem to have poor feeling and tracking.
post #23 of 90
Awesome thread! (sticky??)
post #24 of 90
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by individual6891
Awesome thread! (sticky??)
Thanks for sticky recommendation! I too think that the collected links & info of these external audio devices can be useful to many...


Ian, well for one, 1616m is a very new product (not selling yet) and I doubt it has the same headphone output as 1820m, also note (I know you did, but other readers migth not) that it has two headphone outputs, one is on PCMCIA card, which can be used as standalone amp, and the other is on external device (the one with inputs/outputs for recording music/voice/vocals/instruments/vinyl records etc).

And Focusrite Sapphire has, as said by their man, a very good headphone output (and TWO of them, which will be great when I listen to the music or watch a movie, cause I prefer to have it much louder than my girlfriend) -- well, such a statement at least calls for listening and see how true that is, right? (Saffire is also new product, coming out in month or two.)

As said, since I play music 10h/day on computers I either have this choice or buying first something like M-audio Transit at $100 for digital output, and then an amp like Xin SuperMacro-3, which is NOT cheap at $300, or even more expensive amp like AOS Flute at $400 or Corda HA-1 MKII at $500 --- while I might (and probably will) also use this device for recording audio.

I do sincerely think that it is worth investigating these devices before buying a "classic" dedicated headphone portable amp, especially since we all have different quality of our hearing capability and thus such device might sound just the same as expensive dedicated headphone amps. The problem now is, at least for me, in not being able to try these devices for myself! So, user opinions and reviews will be the deciding factor... That's why I am here, doing this, in hope it helps myself and others of course


Ian, one more thing... I notice you have Xin SuperDual & Headroom Coda, could you make a short comparison of these two amps against the Echo Indigo AND E-MU 1820M (just saw your review of it)?

If sound quality is comparable, while price is already, and expecting that 1616m is even better than Echo Indigo, which by specs already is, then I see no hesitation to buy something like 1616m or Saffire for my HD600 Also, I think my hearing is not that perfect anyway.... I’d just like to drive HD600 well enuff, my Audigy 2 puts basses out only at max volume, which is too high anyway, I’d like to listen to lower volumes, plus I am probably missing other details by driving HD600 with Audigy 2, so I think I need a decent amp, not a perfect one, well, close to my hearing capability... I guess I'd not hear any difference between Benchmark DAC1 at $900 and AOS Flute at $400, how many people here that difference really?
post #25 of 90
I'm curious to know how you came up with the idea that soundcards can drive headphones as well as dedicated amps? Have you actually tested them?
post #26 of 90

Great topic!

MrYman I was wanted to get ext sound card for similar purposes, I was kinda aiming for M box because I wanted to do studio recoreding quality for my violin, and be able to listen to them using referance headphone K501 or DT 880, and wanted to be portable cause all that will be done on my apple G4 Ibook, so I would be so thrilled to see reviews about these ext available sound card usb or firewire.
post #27 of 90
Just thought that I'd comment that although you've made an impressive list, I notice that quite a few of your specs are incorrect. Where did you get this information?
post #28 of 90
I tested my u24 headout alone with 501 and while it drove it to audible levels easily and sounded pretty good. It does not come close to the clarity and sound quality of my m3. The difference was like between 96kbps vs 320kbps mp3.

Just for reference, I also had a transit before and the headout of the u24 is much much better. I'm skeptical that these sound cards alone are much better than a cmoy.
post #29 of 90
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by q8i_CPE
MrYman I was wanted to get ext sound card for similar purposes, I was kinda aiming for M box because I wanted to do studio recording quality for my violin, and be able to listen to them using reference headphone K501 or DT 880, and wanted to be portable cause all that will be done on my apple G4 Ibook, so I would be so thrilled to see reviews about these ext available sound card usb or firewire.
Thanks! Let us know if you try some of these devices and what you think... Good luck in your search/choice AND with recording your music! (By the way, the only two devices having DSP are the top two one, I think this is especially important when recording using the notebook or weaker-slower computers.)
post #30 of 90
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dallasstar
Just thought that I'd comment that although you've made an impressive list, I notice that quite a few of your specs are incorrect. Where did you get this information?
Thanks! I'll re-check specs, it might be that some are wrong, because I used copy/paste while putting em down, but I doubt many are... What exactly you mean with where I get this info? First few lines in first post explain that, and if not, please re-phrase the question... In short, I found it on web -- many hours put into re-searching though
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