newbie sound card query (please)
Apr 2, 2008 at 3:31 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

amanda church

New Head-Fier
Apr 2, 2008

This question demonstrates my ignorance, and I would appreciate
any help. I've spent hours trying to figure this out myself, but to
no avail.

I was hoping to install a nice sound card on a new laptop. But I
am learning, it seems, most good cards (especially those most
useful for music rather than gaming) are not designed to work
with a laptop? And in particular, laptops are not being made much
any more with an easy to use card slot? So that this suggests
either (a) using an external USB sound card, or (b) moving to
a desktop? Is that more or less correct?

Perhaps I could explain briefly what I want to use the machine
for and someone could suggest a good course of action? I would
be *very* appreciative.

I want to generate audio files using voice synthesis (I have invested
in some high quality voices), and mix those with I right
in presuming that a sound card would help make the sound
better? I also want to record the human voice, from a microphone,
and again mix such with music (mostly recorded music, but perhaps
with an instrumental track I might record myself using the same
computer and a microphone).

Should I forget about an external sound card for this purpose?
And if so, does this suggest moving toward a desktop machine
out of necessity?

I am also wondering if (which is my instinct for other reasons)
I should try to get a machine with XP instead of Vista (or is this
not worth the bother)?

again, any help appreciated.
Apr 2, 2008 at 4:02 AM Post #2 of 7
You are correct in your first assessment, there are very few sound cards available for laptops, and even fewer that are worth their salt. However, may I recommend the E-Mu 1616? If I'm correctly interpreting what you want to do I think it is exactly what you are looking for and would not require using USB or a desktop.
Apr 2, 2008 at 4:58 AM Post #3 of 7
Chipp is right, there are very few options for notebooks.

Although the notebook offers portability, going with a desktop offers much better soundcard options. An XP machine will offer better driver support for the majority of sound cards on the market especially since half of the Creative Audigy series won't work properly in Vista.
Apr 2, 2008 at 1:50 PM Post #4 of 7
many thanks for those comments.

the E-Mu 1616 looks impressive, if a bit pricey at around $400.

could I ask for just one further clarification on things, please,
at the risk of making my computer literacy appear even less
than it is :)

am I right in presuming that the E-Mu would do its magic for
recording when the recording included the use of voice synthesis?
that is, would it produce sound files made from voice synthesis
on the computer to which it is attached that are of improved
quality? it seems obvious it would do so with actual human voice
inputed via microphone (since it originates outside the computer)
but does it provide a similar benefit if generate files using
voice synthesis within the computer?

could I extend that same, perhaps foolish question, to *other*
types of sound cards--for instance, would this be true for
(1) a conventional good internal sound card, and (2) one of the
more inexpensive external usb sound cards?

again, many thanks. this is helpful on several levels.
Apr 2, 2008 at 5:30 PM Post #5 of 7
When you say voice synthesis, I assume you're talking about a software synthasizer, correct? If so, the sound card / audio interface will have nothing to do with the actual rendering of the sound - you could conceivably render the audio to a file on disk and never have it use playback hardware at all.

Where professional level hardware would benefit you, however, is if you were to have a need to record from a microphone simultaneously with your synths. The low latency offered by ASIO or other similar technologies would be very advantageous to you in making sure everything lines up in time.

Forgive me if I've not answered your question, I was assuming quite a bit about your needs.
Apr 3, 2008 at 2:03 AM Post #6 of 7
again thank you.

but yes, I did mean voice synthesis in the sense of having
a voice track generated by software (i.e. by the computer
itself). so, to be sure I understand: *no* sound card
would effect the quality of a track created in this way?

but I presume it would nonetheless sound better when
reproduced (played) by a good sound card vs. a bad one?
so that a qualitiy sound card *would* let me hear a nicer
sound when I play the file, though someone else listening to the same file
using their computer's integrated stock sound card wouldn't
be able to tell whether I had used a good sound card
in producing the file or not? it would sound the same to them?

so, again, the advantage for me would only if I were to use
voice recorded from a microphone, or, as noted, if I mixing
such with a track made with voice synthesis?

assuming I right (or even if I'm not :) this is very helpful.

this is likely not wise to start a side discussion here (and I don't
want to use up any more time that people have already been
generous in donating to me, so to speak) but is there anything
anyone knows off hand that would improve the base quality of
a voice synthesis file (aside from buying a better voice?).

again, many thanks.
Apr 3, 2008 at 3:10 AM Post #7 of 7
You are correct in all three instances.

I'm afraid I don't have advice to offer on improving the quality of your synths.

No worries about the time - I (and I believe most others here, too) enjoy lending a hand when we're able.

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