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External Soundcard for beginner composer (100-300$)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

The first, I want apologize for my english:)

The second, I'm looking for new external soundcard for my new computer. I will buy also external HDD for vsti etc. I need good soundcard for use in my new computer and my old laptop. I don't have any idea what I need to buy... Laptop doesn't have firewire. Only usb, or can use ExpressCard Kontroler FireWire 1394a x2 4World(cost about 30$) in expresscard slot in laptop. But then soundcard cost will be less about 30$ (cost expresscard firewire). The tittle of this thread is "beginner composer" cause I'm working in Cubase 5,5 about 3 months  with eastwest vsti, kompakt (1TB) in laptop on integrated card... I know... I heard that was bad choice, that I want new good;P But know, when I will have time to record my ideas I want good but no excelent soundcard. When I will be professional, then I will buy soundcard for 6000$ or more and Macintosh (I heard that is better). For now, i use keyboard Casio CTK-620L. Is old but I don't have money for prof. keyboard with synth. The best choice will be Soundcard with USB 3.0 for fast transmision, but I don't find this. All have usb 2.0 I don't know why.

My new computer will be:

Processor:
Intel Core i7 3930k 6 core @ (OC) 4,5ghz
Mainboard:
MSI x79a-gd65 (8d)
RAM:
CMZ16gx3m2a1600c9 x2 (32 gb)
Cooling:
Noctua nh-d14 se2011
Graphic Card:
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 2048MB DDR5/128bit DVI/HDMI PCI-E (verr. OC - OverClock)
Hard drivesi:
System - Corsair force 3 ssd 240gb - dysk ssd 2.5" / sata iii
Other - seagate sv35.6 st3000vx000 (550zł)
External sound card:
I don't have idea but cost max is about 100$-300$
Monitor:
Maybe Monitor LED Eizo FlexScan EV2315W-BK? or bigger.
UPS: Corsair CMPSU-850AXEU - 850W 80 PLUS Gold, EU

Computer case:
Obudowa NZXT Phantom White USB 3.0
External HDD
Western Digital my book essential 2tb usb 3.0 (wdbacw0020hbk-eesn)
System: Windows 7 professional x64 bit


The computer will be use also for architectural projects, and graphics (animation, bilboards etc.) that why I need that processor:)
But how about soundcard? I heard that UAD 2 is good and RME but I don't have any idea what choose... UAD -2 is PCIE card. RME is to expensive in external soundcard.
I want use my old laptop for produce music cause, when I will rendering in my new computer some animation, want do music then:) I heard, that new computer soundcards, can calculate without computer processors. Is good to heard that for my old laptop, cause inside my old machine is dual-core 2,4 Ghz intel. And I have only 4gb Ram.
But I want use this for composing new or editing my old compossers producing from my new computer.

The my types are:

E-MU 0204 USB -  the chipest  (120$)
EMU 0404 USB 2.0  - but I heard thas are bad for windows, only 2.0 usb.(260$)
Focusrite Saffire PRO 14 -  firewire:( I need to use then ExpressCard Kontroler FireWire 1394a x2 4World(cost about 30$) fo laptop. (270$)
Presonus Audiobox 22 VSL- usb 2.0 again.(271$)

 

Can someone help me?
Pls. I want buy this computer about January 2013
Regards;)

Alan.

post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 

up.
 

post #3 of 7

First for this kinda question, you might wanna check Gearslutz normal_smile%20.gif

 

Second, I'm not really an expert, so it's all just from my experience tongue_smile.gif

 

IMHO, firewire is kinda outdated. Sooner or later there will be a USB 3 audio interface, but for now USB 2.0 is enough. 

Before I ask your question, maybe you can answer this yourself:

  • Do you need mic preamps? If yes, do you need phantom power?
  • How many input do you need? (analog, digital, etc) How may simultaneous input or output do you need? (Do you need to record multiple instruments at the same time, or you just want to track an instrument one by one)
  • Do you need midi connection?

 

I for example, use Focusrite Scarlett 212i : two analog output, two analog input (with mic preamps and phantom power). I rarely work with real instruments (I only use vsti's) buat I want my rig to be flexible, you know, maybe if someday I can afford condenser microphones ph34r.gif

 

My last audio interface was M-Audio 410, because at that time I like to experiments, and need a lot of input and output for re-amping, etc. Ex: you can send wet signal to "stereo output 1" and send dry signal to "stereo output 2" for further processing, etc.

 

..

 

Another insight, I don't think you need 850w to power 3930k + 650. But save it you have plan to upgrade your gpu. And do you think 650 is enough? Don't get me wrong, 650 is a beautiful card, but you have 3930k, better get something more powerful wink_face.gif

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Really thanks for Reply:))))

I will checked forum which you recommend:)
Usb 2.0 is enough? I was read that usb 2.0 with external soundcards can genereting to much delays with vst'i instruments. But if is enough I will prefer buy external with usb 2.0 than firewire or more expensive 3.0;)

For the first:
"Do you need mic preamps? If yes, do you need phantom power?"
Answer:
I supose that I will use the mic for do some special sounds, or voices in background. But that will be as bonus. Do I need phantom power? Hmm... I understand that phantom power is used to give power for microphone with a the same cable as sound. Right? Is more comfortable i think if answer is yes.
"How many input do you need? (analog, digital, etc) How may simultaneous input or output do you need? (Do you need to record multiple instruments at the same time, or you just want to track an instrument one by one)"
Answer:
I need midi of course for keyboard Casio. And one mic. In output (for 7.1 system speaker or 5.1 is 3 or 4 without mic right?) And that's it. So 4-5 output. No need other analog outputs and inputs etc. I will be use only keyboard for vst'i intruments at the begining I think so. But I will be create the sypmhonic music so will be good when soundcard can calculate min 10 intruments (vsti) at the same time without my proc.
"Do you need midi connection?"

Answer:
Yes.

"I rarely work with real instruments (I only use vsti's) buat I want my rig to be flexible, you know, maybe if someday I can afford condenser microphones" - the same:D

"Another insight, I don't think you need 850w to power 3930k + 650. But save it you have plan to upgrade your gpu"
Maybe in future I will upgrade my computer with new procesor like Ivy Bridge-E (12 cores or 10) (I think, that this need more power than Sandy -E), and more RAM to 64 gb.

"And do you think 650 is enough? Don't get me wrong, 650 is a beautiful card, but you have 3930k, better get something more powerful"
I understand:D But I don't have enough money to buy better cards, and the graphic card is no that important like procesor, ram soundcard etc. Is only for visual;P Rarely for gaming;) I think that I don't need really god card graphic. Is enough for me but thx for observation and opinion;)
I wonder, however, about something completely different. Is the computer case can accommodate all with cooling.
 

 

If you are using your Focusrite, I have one proposition from me with my requirements:
How do you think about this?

FOCUSRITE Scarlett 2i4 - it's almost like you but have 4 outputs;)


 

post #5 of 7

You know you can get modern mixers, with interfaces built right in.  You just plug them right into your laptop or PC.

That might be the best option for you as you will have Mic preamps, all kinds of I/O...effects...etc.

What kind of features set are you looking for?

post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by alan66 View Post

Really thanks for Reply:))))

I will checked forum which you recommend:)
Usb 2.0 is enough? I was read that usb 2.0 with external soundcards can genereting to much delays with vst'i instruments. But if is enough I will prefer buy external with usb 2.0 than firewire or more expensive 3.0;)

For the first:
"Do you need mic preamps? If yes, do you need phantom power?"
Answer:
I supose that I will use the mic for do some special sounds, or voices in background. But that will be as bonus. Do I need phantom power? Hmm... I understand that phantom power is used to give power for microphone with a the same cable as sound. Right? Is more comfortable i think if answer is yes.
"How many input do you need? (analog, digital, etc) How may simultaneous input or output do you need? (Do you need to record multiple instruments at the same time, or you just want to track an instrument one by one)"
Answer:
I need midi of course for keyboard Casio. And one mic. In output (for 7.1 system speaker or 5.1 is 3 or 4 without mic right?) And that's it. So 4-5 output. No need other analog outputs and inputs etc. I will be use only keyboard for vst'i intruments at the begining I think so. But I will be create the sypmhonic music so will be good when soundcard can calculate min 10 intruments (vsti) at the same time without my proc.
"Do you need midi connection?"

Answer:
Yes.

"I rarely work with real instruments (I only use vsti's) buat I want my rig to be flexible, you know, maybe if someday I can afford condenser microphones" - the same:D

"Another insight, I don't think you need 850w to power 3930k + 650. But save it you have plan to upgrade your gpu"
Maybe in future I will upgrade my computer with new procesor like Ivy Bridge-E (12 cores or 10) (I think, that this need more power than Sandy -E), and more RAM to 64 gb.

"And do you think 650 is enough? Don't get me wrong, 650 is a beautiful card, but you have 3930k, better get something more powerful"
I understand:D But I don't have enough money to buy better cards, and the graphic card is no that important like procesor, ram soundcard etc. Is only for visual;P Rarely for gaming;) I think that I don't need really god card graphic. Is enough for me but thx for observation and opinion;)
I wonder, however, about something completely different. Is the computer case can accommodate all with cooling.
 

 

If you are using your Focusrite, I have one proposition from me with my requirements:
How do you think about this?

FOCUSRITE Scarlett 2i4 - it's almost like you but have 4 outputs;)


 

 

Latency have many factor, if you read this site, there are 5 different factor :

(1) Not enough cpu power (which I believe that 3930k will crush everything tongue_smile.gif),

(2) Drive is too slow (if you play sample based vsti's, make sure you have a faster drive + a lot...and I mean A LOT of ram),

(3) Delay because of monitoring through software, so make sure you get an audio interface with "direct monitoring",

(4) Driver problem, so make sure you get an audio interface with complete compatibility with you rig (sometimes using asio4all is better that the stock driver, but you have to experiment),

(5) Buffer setting, try to experiment to lower the buffer before the sounds start crackling.

 

..

 

So let's break it down first:

INPUT :

 

In case someday you want to record your keyboard too, you need a stereo input (2 analog input) + 1 mic preamps. So, at least you need 4 analog inputs (because I don't think there are audio interface with 3 analog inputs) if you want to record keyboard's sound + you mic simultaneously. And if you want more flexibility, get a mixer, or an audio interface with a mixer (example : m-audio nrv, alesis multimix, etc).

 

OUTPUT: 

 

Wait, you want to mix in 5.1? What speakers set do you use? AFAIK, you need at least 6 outputs if you want to do 5.1 system. Do Cubase support surrounds?

the Focusrite Scarlett 214i only have 2 analog balanced output and the 4 unbalanced RCA's. I don't really know to set up a 5.1 system, so I think you need to do more research there. Maybe another member here can help you more on this.

 

My experience with Focusrite is quite good. Rock stable. It's just I miss the mixer software from M-Audio interface. 

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

@ROBSCIX

I loooking for as good as possible external soundcard for low latency and which can do soundgood with 10 sapmles at the same time. In my normal soundcard I can use only 5 or 3 sapmples at the same time...;/ Is no enough for me.

"modern mixers" - Can you show example? They can be use like soundcard?


@jakarujakpala


1 - I believe that my procesor aren't be to low;D
1b - In laptop is Intel CoreDuo 2,4 Ghz P8600 - Do you think that is to low?
2 - Drive in system will be SSD and 6500prm external drive with usb 3.0 connection (vsti)
2b - Drives in laptop are 5400 prm.
3-
FOCUSRITE Scarlett 2i4has a direct monitoring: "You will love the direct monitoring mode, which removes the latencies associated with listening back to the input signal through the DAW. You can record into the DAW in real time, whilst hearing a zero latency monitor feed from their input sources, controlled by a single knob for easy blending between direct monitoring and DAW playback."
4 - Ok,
5 - Ok,:)

Inputs:
I don't understand, why I need two analog inputs whithout mic in. My Keyboard use midi connection (MID In and MID OUT), so I need only MID IN and MID Out and one input for mic right?
Outputs:
I will use 5.1 speakers for example, movies etc. And also, I want do 5.1 music. Cubase can do this: http://www.pendlebury.biz/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/cubase51bus.jpg
Speakers for now are old Creative 5.1 but in future I will change it;)
"only have 2 analog balanced output and the 4 unbalanced RCA's." - this is no understanding for me...:( What's different?

Thanks guys for your time!:) You are really help me;)
 


Edited by alan66 - 12/24/12 at 6:30pm
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