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> Which Soundcard?, new soundcard
.::MetallicA::.
post Jun 1 2007, 03:38 PM
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Hi rockers,

Just recently registered on this site - enjoying a lot.

Now to my question.

I have a crappy built-in soundcard in my PC.
When I plug my guitar in through the AMP (and sometimes through V-amp2) my sound get more or less destroyed. My distortion sounds like CRAP (litterly put).
Im quite into Cubase at the moment, and Im able to tweak the sound abit. But not nearly enough.

So I figured, I probably need a new soundcard. So, any recomendations? Nothing superexpensive
Ive heard Creative Audgity is pretty decent and cost only around a 100 bucks.

Im owning a LTD/ESP kh2-202, practice amp (Micro Cube).

So, please help me to choose a new Soundcard.

Cheers!


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Pavel
post Jun 1 2007, 04:13 PM
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I recently got myself a Creative X-Fi Fatality - around 200$ - it has the front panel and big input jack in the front so i can plug in my guitar in it or through the amp without those jack converters and it sounds great - also makes low latency.


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.::MetallicA::.
post Jun 1 2007, 05:03 PM
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QUOTE (Pavel @ Jun 1 2007, 03:13 PM) *
I recently got myself a Creative X-Fi Fatality - around 200$ - it has the front panel and big input jack in the front so i can plug in my guitar in it or through the amp without those jack converters and it sounds great - also makes low latency.


Thanks for the fast reply!

Ive checked around on the X-FI cards. And there sure are tons of them! They sure sound intressting.
Think Ill grab one of those.

But.

One or a few of the cards up at the 200$ pricerange, feels a little bit to expensive for just a soundcard =X .
And Im on a pretty crappy budget at the moment, buying new pickups aswell.
Then I saw this X-Fi Xtreme Music, which probably is good enough for just 800 SEK. Doesnt have any "big" inputs though.
But thats of a minor consurn since I got converters ready at home.

PS. Pavel I love your lessons, keep rockin'!


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Pavel
post Jun 1 2007, 05:08 PM
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Hey m8!

Thanks, i am glad you like my lessons!

Professional sound cards go much higher than 1000$ so the 200$ for a good soundcard is not much - ofcourse it depends what you are going to do with it! Anyway - good luck picking one!! smile.gif


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Andrew Cockburn
post Jun 1 2007, 06:03 PM
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QUOTE (.::MetallicA::. @ Jun 1 2007, 12:03 PM) *
Thanks for the fast reply!

Ive checked around on the X-FI cards. And there sure are tons of them! They sure sound intressting.
Think Ill grab one of those.

But.

One or a few of the cards up at the 200$ pricerange, feels a little bit to expensive for just a soundcard =X .
And Im on a pretty crappy budget at the moment, buying new pickups aswell.
Then I saw this X-Fi Xtreme Music, which probably is good enough for just 800 SEK. Doesnt have any "big" inputs though.
But thats of a minor consurn since I got converters ready at home.

PS. Pavel I love your lessons, keep rockin'!


Creative a great cards, they also do a professional line called EMU for not too much more - Latency is the key as Pavel pointed out, you pay a little extra for that but it is one of the big selling points of the higher end cards like the EMU. In the end, a more expensive card will help you with larger mixes and more tracks and virtual instruments.


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JCJXXL
post Jun 12 2007, 03:46 AM
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I totally understand. Althought I have been a computer guy for years, I'm new to recording from the guitar to the computer. And I completely understand about the distortion going to complete crap. I usually record exercises and stuff in clean mode to email to my instructor. Well tonight I was going to rock out but discovered that the one area I have always thought of the least important when upgrading my machine (sound card) is in much need of an upgrade.

So time to shop for a decent sound card.
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JCJXXL
post Jun 18 2007, 02:48 AM
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Bringing this topic back to life.

So for those of us new to recording guiatr on our PC. What are some basic features/requirements we should look for when shopping for a soundcard? Looking for something that can handle distortion. As soon as I add distortion my recording goes to garbage.

Pavel, I checked out the X-Fi Fatal1ty line by Creative Labs. They have some many X-Fi models. Which one do you own?
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Kaneda
post Jun 18 2007, 03:22 AM
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QUOTE (JCJXXL @ Jun 18 2007, 03:48 AM) *
Bringing this topic back to life.

So for those of us new to recording guiatr on our PC. What are some basic features/requirements we should look for when shopping for a soundcard? Looking for something that can handle distortion. As soon as I add distortion my recording goes to garbage.

Pavel, I checked out the X-Fi Fatal1ty line by Creative Labs. They have some many X-Fi models. Which one do you own?


Unless things have changed since last I looked at Creative X-Fi, Fatal1ty is one specific model of the X-Fi line.

EDIT: Ah, except something did change, just to confuse consumers... Now there's two Fatal1tys in the X-Fi line... Since Pavel's isn't new (as in, a month old), I'd say it's pretty much the "X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion Series". With the 5 1/4" I/O thingy.

As far as I recall, from looking at them, internally (i.e. sound quality wise) there's no real difference between the different X-Fi cards, except for the X-Fi Elite Pro, which has better D/A-converter, onboard chips etc. The difference between the rest is mostly about connections. Platinum adds the remote and the I/O drive. Fatal1ty adds onboard RAM in addition to the remote + I/O drive. Elite Pro has better converters and uses an external console instead of the I/O drive.

Might also be differences when it comes to the "ExtremeGamer" cards, quality wise. Never looked at those.

This post has been edited by Kaneda: Jun 18 2007, 03:32 AM
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JCJXXL
post Jun 18 2007, 03:30 AM
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I should have double checked before posting.. LOL Yes I meant there are several X-Fi models. The one I keep hearing about is the Fatal1ty model.
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Kaneda
post Jun 18 2007, 03:31 AM
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QUOTE (JCJXXL @ Jun 18 2007, 04:30 AM) *
I should have double checked before posting.. LOL Yes I meant there are several X-Fi models. The one I keep hearing about is the Fatal1ty model.


Read my edited post wink.gif
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blindwillie
post Jun 18 2007, 09:03 AM
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I've seen this X-Fi Xtreme Music Sound Blaster, reviewed here: http://www.guru3d.com/article/content/265/10/

"For gamers and music fans, though, this is the best Creative sound card to date. Musicians looking for something to provide basic recording and effects, the X-Fi will be okay, but not great. I'd wait until Emu puts out their version of the X-Fi."

"Without a doubt, the X-Fi is the best Creative sound card to date."

I don't know much about soundcards. My only criteria so far have been that they sound. Seems to be a good card for a computer, but if you want to do music serious, there probably is better cards for that.


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Andrew Cockburn
post Jun 18 2007, 03:19 PM
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QUOTE (blindwillie @ Jun 18 2007, 04:03 AM) *
I've seen this X-Fi Xtreme Music Sound Blaster, reviewed here: http://www.guru3d.com/article/content/265/10/

"For gamers and music fans, though, this is the best Creative sound card to date. Musicians looking for something to provide basic recording and effects, the X-Fi will be okay, but not great. I'd wait until Emu puts out their version of the X-Fi."

"Without a doubt, the X-Fi is the best Creative sound card to date."

I don't know much about soundcards. My only criteria so far have been that they sound. Seems to be a good card for a computer, but if you want to do music serious, there probably is better cards for that.


As I pointed out at the top of this thread, for recording you need a good card period. Pavel has reported good results with this card, so it seems that a top of the line regular card is ok, but you may get better results if you go to a purpose designed interface such as one of the EMU ones. There are also many firewire and USB options out there too.


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JCJXXL
post Jun 18 2007, 05:23 PM
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Thanks for the help guys. I don't need anything fancy right now, just something that'll handle the distortion and not die.

We've got a few soundcards in our inventory here. I'll see what we have and maybe save myself a few dollars smile.gif
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Kaneda
post Jun 18 2007, 06:31 PM
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QUOTE (JCJXXL @ Jun 18 2007, 06:23 PM) *
Thanks for the help guys. I don't need anything fancy right now, just something that'll handle the distortion and not die.

We've got a few soundcards in our inventory here. I'll see what we have and maybe save myself a few dollars smile.gif


I'd go for one of the midpriced or higher X-Fi's (and I probably will get the X-Fi Elite Pro at some point myself).

My "soundcard history" goes from SoundBlaster 16 over SoundBlaster 32 AWE and SoundBlaster Live to dedicated cards - some M-Audio card and my current (by now ancient) Terratec DMX 6Fire - at that time the alternative was SoundBlaster Audigy, which I really didn't like (especially not its illegitimate claim of 24 bit recording).

And, as mentioned, for my next one, I'll return to Creative. I got the dedicated cards because I wanted something "good for recording". What I gained in sound quality, I lost in versatility and productivity. I quite like the Terratec, but if I wanted to have a "quick and dirty" listen to a MIDI file on the AWE or Live, I just played it through a soundbank. With the Terratec, I have to set up a software synth (which usually sounds inferior to the simple soundbank), set up GigaStudio with all the samples needed, or go through an external synth. Meaning I rarely get it done. I'm the kind of person who wants things to "just work". smile.gif

Creative has impressed me with ease of use and setting up - and third party (users, mainly) support. The X-Fi line has better recording and playback quality by now than my Terratec - which is already as much as I need. In addition to that, it takes a burden off the CPU - the Terratec doesn't.

All it lacks is GigaStudio GSIF drivers, which I expect users will provide at some point, if they haven't already.

To me it seems that these days, a lot of "dedicated" sound cards are bought without even checking if the "mainstream" card is good enough - or even better. Skipping a good choice - "since it's mainstream, it can't be good" smile.gif

This post has been edited by Kaneda: Jun 18 2007, 06:34 PM
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kahall
post Jun 19 2007, 12:29 AM
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My nephew has one of these. So I went over and tried it out this past weekend. I now have to have one. No need for an awesome sound card with this thing as you plug in your computer speakers to the hardware that is included. He did a backing track and recorded a solo over it in 5 minutes and it sounded great.


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Andrew Cockburn
post Jun 19 2007, 06:36 PM
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QUOTE (Kaneda @ Jun 18 2007, 01:31 PM) *
I'd go for one of the midpriced or higher X-Fi's (and I probably will get the X-Fi Elite Pro at some point myself).

My "soundcard history" goes from SoundBlaster 16 over SoundBlaster 32 AWE and SoundBlaster Live to dedicated cards - some M-Audio card and my current (by now ancient) Terratec DMX 6Fire - at that time the alternative was SoundBlaster Audigy, which I really didn't like (especially not its illegitimate claim of 24 bit recording).

And, as mentioned, for my next one, I'll return to Creative. I got the dedicated cards because I wanted something "good for recording". What I gained in sound quality, I lost in versatility and productivity. I quite like the Terratec, but if I wanted to have a "quick and dirty" listen to a MIDI file on the AWE or Live, I just played it through a soundbank. With the Terratec, I have to set up a software synth (which usually sounds inferior to the simple soundbank), set up GigaStudio with all the samples needed, or go through an external synth. Meaning I rarely get it done. I'm the kind of person who wants things to "just work". smile.gif

Creative has impressed me with ease of use and setting up - and third party (users, mainly) support. The X-Fi line has better recording and playback quality by now than my Terratec - which is already as much as I need. In addition to that, it takes a burden off the CPU - the Terratec doesn't.

All it lacks is GigaStudio GSIF drivers, which I expect users will provide at some point, if they haven't already.

To me it seems that these days, a lot of "dedicated" sound cards are bought without even checking if the "mainstream" card is good enough - or even better. Skipping a good choice - "since it's mainstream, it can't be good" smile.gif


The biggest problem with mainstream cards is latency - higher end cards have lower latency hence work better. This can become an issueif you are working with many tracks and lots of software effects, especially important if you are playing soft synths, probably not so imprtant if you are recording Drums bass and rythm guitar to solo over.

I wouldn't consider a mainstream card for the reaons above, since I do a lot of recording. Dedicated recording cards are not super expensive for the entry level ones, but of corse there is no sense in spending money of you don't have to.


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Kaneda
post Jun 19 2007, 08:21 PM
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QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Jun 19 2007, 07:36 PM) *
The biggest problem with mainstream cards is latency - higher end cards have lower latency hence work better. This can become an issueif you are working with many tracks and lots of software effects, especially important if you are playing soft synths, probably not so imprtant if you are recording Drums bass and rythm guitar to solo over.

I wouldn't consider a mainstream card for the reaons above, since I do a lot of recording. Dedicated recording cards are not super expensive for the entry level ones, but of corse there is no sense in spending money of you don't have to.


You're absolutely right, of course, except low latency isn't a given for a higher end card - for the old Creative cards from the 90s, it's certainly true (to start with, they didn't support ASIO at all). But I need to do a lot of tweaking to get the Terratec (which was hailed as if latency issues were now a thing of the past, when it came out) to get below 10ms for 16 bit 48kHz sound - but then, it's an old card by now.

On a friend's system, comparable to my own, I've easily gotten an X-Fi below 5 at any samplerate - below 2 for higher ones. More often that not these days, the problem lies with CPU, harddisk and RAM when it comes to latency rather than the soundcard itself. Heck, ASIO4ALL lowers latency on even very low end cards to below acceptable levels.

Then again, I wouldn't guarantee that experience for everyone. tongue.gif

This post has been edited by Kaneda: Jun 19 2007, 08:25 PM
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Andrew Cockburn
post Jun 20 2007, 01:10 AM
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QUOTE (Kaneda @ Jun 19 2007, 03:21 PM) *
You're absolutely right, of course, except low latency isn't a given for a higher end card - for the old Creative cards from the 90s, it's certainly true (to start with, they didn't support ASIO at all). But I need to do a lot of tweaking to get the Terratec (which was hailed as if latency issues were now a thing of the past, when it came out) to get below 10ms for 16 bit 48kHz sound - but then, it's an old card by now.

On a friend's system, comparable to my own, I've easily gotten an X-Fi below 5 at any samplerate - below 2 for higher ones. More often that not these days, the problem lies with CPU, harddisk and RAM when it comes to latency rather than the soundcard itself. Heck, ASIO4ALL lowers latency on even very low end cards to below acceptable levels.

Then again, I wouldn't guarantee that experience for everyone. tongue.gif


There you go then - sounds like the X-Fi would be great if you can get the latency that low - that was really my only concern - high end creative cards have always been good, and the ASIO4ALL drivers work great with Reaper for example.


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tonymiro
post Jul 22 2007, 04:18 PM
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For monitoring the sound though the card is one part of the chain - albeit an important one.

What you hear on playback also however depends on the monitors/headphones you use. Basically you are unlikely to get the quality of playback you need for recording with a set of desktop pc speakers. You need to get good studio quality monitors I'm afraid. These start from about 150 UK sterling and can easily exceed 2000 for a pair. One thing to note - recording monitors are spec, voiced and built for zero colouration to deliver as close to as possible exactly what was recorded. This can result in them sounding a bit clinical until you get used to them.

Other bit - if you dl/line out a guitar amp into a pc, desk etc you are pretty much bypassing the guitar amp's speaker and cabinet. Part of the tone we get used to hearing involves not just the amp head but the speaker and cab and how they all interact. This is one reason why Native Instrument's Guitar Rig and IK's AMplitube (NI is recommended by someone somewhere) includes speaker cab emulation as part of their software suite. It's also a reason why guitar amps still are often recorded full tilt via a microphone in to a desk...

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Hemlok
post Jul 22 2007, 04:29 PM
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I think I should upgrade, but are they hard to install these X-Fi Fatal1ty's?

I don't wanna get one and then damage it while trying to install it because I have no idea what I am doing.


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