Sound Card vs Audio Interface
Oct 17, 2008 at 11:58 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3

GnaM

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Hi, I'm basically new into this whole audiophile hardware thing, just got some Senn HD280's (don't laugh) and decided that I want better sound out of my CPU. I'm quite happy with the 280's using my old Sony CD player and even out of my Ipod, but out of my computer, things sound extremely tinny (even for HD280's) and I have to up low frequencies on the EQ to get it decent. Even then, certain mid-lows sound very hollow. Additionally, there is some crackling that comes in when playing some mp3 and AAC, as well as some free synth VST's when using Fruity Loops. This doesn't happen when playing CD's or using pro VST's.

Anyway, this is all unsurprising as my computer is currently using an integrated Realtek sound bus in the motherboard. So without breaking the bank, I'd like to upgrade to something which can get decent sound for listening to music, as well as work reasonably well for making music in a program like Fruity Loops and doesn't sputter when you have only a few high-power VST's in the mix. As such I am divided between a soundcard, which would primarily be good just for playing music, and an audio interface designed for making music. I don't record from other instruments much, so I don't actually need a bunch of line-ins as with the audio interface. Also, I do game occasionally, and while I don't care about getting primo gaming sound out of my cpu, it can't be sputtering the audio as a result of using some hardware only designed for making music at the expense of everything else.

Does anyone have some rudimentary expertise in this area? Should I spring for an audio-interface? Should I look for a serious soundcard, or perhaps just picking up a Sounblaster Audigy or something at the store would suit my purposes? Sorry for the long post, but any advice would be apreciated, thanks.
 
Oct 17, 2008 at 2:05 PM Post #2 of 3

ROBSCIX

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Maybe finding a good compromise may be the ticket.

A card with good features but still offers ASIO support and 24/96 recording capailities..

I guess you need to sit down with a pen and a paper and decide exactly what you want and then compare your list to avialable cards or external units.

Good luck.
 
Oct 18, 2008 at 2:31 PM Post #3 of 3

GnaM

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Thanks for the feedback. I guess my problem is that I'm really not familiar enough with all the options to make pen and paper lists just yet. Sorry to ask a n00b question, but I see a lot of talk about DAC's here, and I was wondering what exactly a DAC does vs a sound card or audio interface?

I don't know, so far it looks like for my purposes I'd be best off just grabbing an Audigy or something, or an entry level Tascam or M-audio audion interface. I'm looking to spend $100 or less so it's not like I'm looking at a wealth of top-notch options, just something that's better than what I've got.
 

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