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> External Sound Cards Vs. Pod Xt
wrk
post Jan 27 2009, 11:00 AM
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Hi,

To record guitar i use actually my POD XT Live and Garage Band. I'm quite happy with the sound, but i have a little problem. The sound with the POD as external sound card is good, but it is even better when i plug my headphones direct to the POD. The guitar is somehow more responsive as well. A tiny little bit, but noticable. I would like to archive the same feel and sound for recording, but listening to everything over GarageBand or Logic (mixed with backings and effects). I was thinking that there are maybe better external sound cards i could use and connect the POD just over the line out to this sound card.

1. Does anyone know if this would make a difference and if, which sound cards are able to give better results as the POD? ... are there any values to look for when choosing a sound card?
2. Beside improving sound quality, is a better sound card processing the signal faster as well or what else i can do to optimize this and have better performance?
3. I use a mac book pro with 4gb memory. The computer should be able to manage this or not?

Not thinking so much about budget for now, but of course there are some limits. I don't need 10 inputs or a lot of options. Maybe something similar to the Apogee Duet for example(?).


I would appreciate any ideas or informations. Thanks !

Andy




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Mrblomme
post Jan 27 2009, 11:09 AM
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As far as I know the POD IS a soundcard...


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Velvet Roger
post Jan 27 2009, 11:17 AM
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The POD acts as an external soundcard, and I think the main reason for having a different sound compared to the headphones has to do primarily with your speakers connected to the computer. It makes quite a difference which monitor speakers you are using, as they all have different specs.


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Guitars & Amps
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Peerless Journeyman (solid spruce/maple)
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Mrblomme
post Jan 27 2009, 11:20 AM
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QUOTE (Velvet Roger @ Jan 27 2009, 11:17 AM) *
The POD acts as an external soundcard, and I think the main reason for having a different sound compared to the headphones has to do primarily with your speakers connected to the computer. It makes quite a difference which monitor speakers you are using, as they all have different specs.

Cant he put the speakers straight into the pod in stead of the computer? As the POD reacts as an external soundcard...


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wrk
post Jan 27 2009, 11:31 AM
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QUOTE (Mrblomme @ Jan 27 2009, 11:09 AM) *
As far as I know the POD IS a soundcard...

Yes it is, i just don't know how it compares to other external sound cards, specialized to convert the A/D, D/A signal.

QUOTE (Velvet Roger @ Jan 27 2009, 11:17 AM) *
The POD acts as an external soundcard, and I think the main reason for having a different sound compared to the headphones has to do primarily with your speakers connected to the computer. It makes quite a difference which monitor speakers you are using, as they all have different specs.

Hm .. , i use a AKG K 271 MkII headphone only.



QUOTE (Mrblomme @ Jan 27 2009, 11:20 AM) *
Cant he put the speakers straight into the pod in stead of the computer? As the POD reacts as an external soundcard...


I tested and use both. POD only as audio device for input and output over the mac output or the POD as complete sound card for in- and output. For both, the sound is different when the signal does the loop through the computer compared to just use the POD on it' own. Does this makes sense? Maybe i do something wrong ...






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Dejan Farkas
post Jan 27 2009, 11:32 AM
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You should do the following:

1. connect POD XT live to your computer via USB cable
2. connect speakers/monitors to your POD XT live

smile.gif


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Velvet Roger
post Jan 27 2009, 11:36 AM
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QUOTE (wrk @ Jan 27 2009, 11:31 AM) *
I tested and use both. POD only as audio device for input and output over the mac output or the POD as complete sound card for in- and output. For both, the sound is different when the signal does the loop through the computer compared to just use the POD on it' own. Does this makes sense? Maybe i do something wrong ...


Question:
If you loop throught the computer the output is the PC speaker?
If you use POD on its own the output is your headphones?

Am I getting this right ? huh.gif

QUOTE (Dejan Farkas @ Jan 27 2009, 11:32 AM) *
You should do the following:

1. connect POD XT live to your computer via USB cable
2. connect speakers/monitors to your POD XT live

smile.gif


That may indeed solve the difference, as long as the speakers/monitors don't color the sound different smile.gif

This post has been edited by Velvet Roger: Jan 27 2009, 11:37 AM


--------------------
"Don't practice until you get it right. Practice until you can't get it wrong."

Guitars & Amps
Brian Moore DC-1 Custom Shop (Cherry Sunburst, mahogany/rosewood)
Eric Johnson Signature Strat (2-tone Sunburst, alder/maple)
Ibanez RG770 (Black, basswood/rosewood)
Peerless Journeyman (solid spruce/maple)
Sixt Bov-105C (Ovation-like acoustic) - Ibanez SGT-130 (Jumbo acoustic)
London City VS-1 (Precision bass) - Baton Rouge U3S (Ukelele)
Fender HotRod Deluxe 40W combo - Fender Princeton Reverb Reissue 5W combo - Marshall JCM 900 50W Hi-Gain combo

Effects & Other stuff
POD Studio UX2 audio interface - Edirol MA-15D monitors
EH Double Muff - Fulltone GT-500 - Fulltone Fulldrive 2 Mosfet - Guitarsystems TrebleTool Junior - Guitarsystems FuzzTool Junior
Korg Pitchblack Tuner - MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay - TC Electronics Nova Modulator - Morley Bad Horsie 2 Wah
Shure SM58 - Roland PCR-500 midi controller/keyboard & Yamaha Clavinova CL-910 piano


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My MySpace Page
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My Twitter Account
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jan 27 2009, 11:40 AM
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QUOTE (wrk @ Jan 27 2009, 11:24 AM) *
Yes it is, i just don't know how it compares to other external sound cards, specialized to convert the A/D, D/A signal.

...


A specialist ADC/DAC will produce a much better result then a general card with ADA conversion. Specialist cards, including Apogee, use higher quality components - particularly the clock - and so achieve much better results wrt jitter and quantisation.In short you (should) get a clearer signal, more SNR and less digital distortion and noise with a specialist card. Apogee, along with RME, is renowned for the high quality of its digital conversion by the way in the sub 5000 US dollar price bracket so the Duet is almost certainly very good kit.

I use RME but if I was Mac based may have gone with Apogee.

Cheers,
Tony


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wrk
post Jan 27 2009, 11:46 AM
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QUOTE (Velvet Roger @ Jan 27 2009, 11:36 AM) *
Question:
If you loop throught the computer the output is the PC speaker?
If you use POD on its own the output is your headphones?

Am I getting this right ? huh.gif



That may indeed solve the difference, as long as the speakers/monitors don't color the sound different smile.gif


Sorry, i was not clear maybe smile.gif
No, i only use the headphones, no speakers (at least not for the test) ! Basically what i want is to capture/record the signal i hear in the same pair of headphones when using the POD on it's own. The signal recorded or patch trough the mac is different, just a bit, but noticeable.





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Dejan Farkas
post Jan 27 2009, 11:54 AM
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How do you connect the POD to computer?


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wrk
post Jan 27 2009, 11:57 AM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Jan 27 2009, 11:40 AM) *
A specialist ADC/DAC will produce a much better result then a general card with ADA conversion. Specialist cards, including Apogee, use higher quality components - particularly the clock - and so achieve much better results wrt jitter and quantisation.In short you (should) get a clearer signal, more SNR and less digital distortion and noise with a specialist card. Apogee, along with RME, is renowned for the high quality of its digital conversion by the way in the sub 5000 US dollar price bracket so the Duet is almost certainly very good kit.

I use RME but if I was Mac based may have gone with Apogee.

Cheers,
Tony


Thanks Tony !! So the sound quality will improve. Will the conversion be faster as well?

When i use the pod on it's own, i have feeling the response of the guitar is faster, more direct. I seem to have a very very small latency with a DAW. I think on the configuration side i can not improve much more. Could the Apogee soundcard help here as well?





QUOTE (Dejan Farkas @ Jan 27 2009, 11:54 AM) *
How do you connect the POD to computer?

Normally via USB. The way you explained above and it works great, thanks !! smile.gif
I mainly just want to improve the sound and performance ..



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Dejan Farkas
post Jan 27 2009, 12:02 PM
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Maybe the problem is not in the POD, but in the recording software, I am not sure how good the Garage Band is, have you tried any other? smile.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 27 2009, 12:11 PM
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QUOTE (wrk @ Jan 27 2009, 11:00 AM) *
1. Does anyone know if this would make a difference and if, which sound cards are able to give better results as the POD? ... are there any values to look for when choosing a sound card?
2. Beside improving sound quality, is a better sound card processing the signal faster as well or what else i can do to optimize this and have better performance?
3. I use a mac book pro with 4gb memory. The computer should be able to manage this or not?
4. Not thinking so much about budget for now, but of course there are some limits. I don't need 10 inputs or a lot of options. Maybe something similar to the Apogee Duet for example(?).


I would appreciate any ideas or informations. Thanks !

Andy

1. Yes it would make a difference. POD is not designed primarily as a sound card, it is more of a guitar processor. You can use it as a sound card, but there are better sound cards than POD. There are values to look when you are searching for a new sound card and based on your needs those would be:

- number if inputs/outputs
- onboard DSP (Digital Signal Processing, effects in the card itself, free CPU from processing)
- DAW monitoring latency
- quality of converters
- sampling frequency and bit depths (24/192 on hi quality models)
- external/internal card
- possibility of input upgrade
- other stuff

2. Yes, a new sound card will process the sound faster, and it will enable you to monitor the signal in your DAW with very little latency. This means you can put third party VST reverb, or any other VST effect on the track and the effect could be monitored, adn this is what gives you greater flexibility. You don't need to optimize anything, cause OS X is already optimized for audio work, so all you need is a good DAW and a good sound card.

3. Yes, your computer is great for audio work.

4. Instead of Apogee Dute, which I think it is terribly overpriced I recommend Digidesign M-BOX 2:

It is in the same price range as Duet, but has lot better features, both hardware and software. Also you'll get ProTools LE, the industry standard DAW system for audio production - for free. Check out the features:

HARDWARE:
# 100% USB powered for maximum portability
# 2 analog inputs, 2 analog outputs
# 2 channels of S/PDIF digital I/O
# 1 MIDI input and 1 MIDI output (16 channels in/16 channels out)
# Zero-latency monitoring
# Superior sonic performance
# 48V phantom power for condenser microphones
# Separate source selection and gain control per channel
# Headphone output with dedicated volume control
# Dedicated studio monitor volume control

SOFTWARE:

* Award-winning Pro Tools® recording, editing, and mixing
* 48 simultaneous stereo audio tracks (expandable with Toolkit options)
* Includes dozens of pro effects processing plug-ins and virtual instruments
* Professional MIDI sequencing with dedicated MIDI Editor window
* Integrated Score Editor based on award-winning Sibelius notation software
* Full Elastic Time and Elastic Pitch to easily adjust timing and pitch on your tracks
* Unique Beat Detective™ LE automatic groove analysis and correction tool
* ReWire support for streaming you favorite applications right into Pro Tools
* Support for the Digidesign C|24™ and Command|8® control surfaces
* Huge selection of compatible third-party plug-ins and software options
* Works on Windows and Mac computers

Virtual Instruments

* Boom drum machine and sequencer
* DB-33 tonewheel organ emulator with rotating speaker simulation
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* Vacuum monophonic vacuum tube synthesizer




* Xpand!2 multitimbral synth and sample workstation
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* FXpansion BFD Lite acoustic drum module

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* 1-Band EQ III
* 4-Band EQ III
* 7-Band EQ III
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* AIR Lo-Fi
* AIR MultiChorus
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* AIR Phaser
* AIR Reverb
* AIR Spring Reverb
* AIR StereoWidth
* AIR Talkbox
* AIR Vintage Filter
* BF76 Compressor
* BF Essential Clip Remover
* BF Essential Correlation Meter
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* BF Essential Noise Meter
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wrk
post Jan 27 2009, 12:25 PM
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Ivan, as usual, your the man ... thank you so much !!
Thats what i thought about the Apogee, that i will have to pay for the nice design as well. I will compare the specs now that i know a bit more. Just didn't know if my thinking was right and what to look for.

Could be good to try ProTools if it comes with the package. I already have Logic since a while and really need to switch, but still stick with GarageBand for simple tasks. But the problems are the same by now with both.

Thanks for the help everybody !!

This post has been edited by wrk: Jan 27 2009, 12:27 PM


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 27 2009, 12:31 PM
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No problem man, glad to help. You were spot on with your doubts, so I think you'll make a right choice. Ask if you need anything more,cheers! smile.gif


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Pedja Simovic
post Jan 27 2009, 12:32 PM
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Andy I strongly feel POD will do great job for your collaborations or single tracks that you do for lessons.
The reason why I would go for quality sound card is for one reason and one reason only - RECORDING COMPLETE SONGS.

Sound cards have MIDI input in them, so you can record all the parts in real time with no latency using Midi controler (keyboard or guitar with midi pick up). Another good thing about sound cards is you can add up lots of effects and VST's and there will be far less latency (if none) compared to POD . Of course this also depends on your overall computer performance (RAM memory, Hard drive space and Processor).

So if you are looking to start doing more than backing tracks and guitar tracks, sound card is the way to go. Otherwise, save your money and get some great headphones smile.gif Bose has some amazing headphones, sound is just unbelievable !

Here is a link for you http://www.bose.com/controller?url=/shop_o...hones/index.jsp


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jan 27 2009, 01:05 PM
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QUOTE (wrk @ Jan 27 2009, 11:57 AM) *
Thanks Tony !! So the sound quality will improve. Will the conversion be faster as well?

When i use the pod on it's own, i have feeling the response of the guitar is faster, more direct. I seem to have a very very small latency with a DAW. I think on the configuration side i can not improve much more. Could the Apogee soundcard help here as well?






Normally via USB. The way you explained above and it works great, thanks !! smile.gif
I mainly just want to improve the sound and performance ..


As Ivan says conversion will be faster. Whether you'd notice any difference is a different matter though since the delay you're getting may be more due to overall latency in the entire signal chain (particularly at the mac end) rather than conversion. However, the Apogee may place less demand on the mac which in turn may allow you to improve on the configuration.

Cheers,
Tony


--------------------
Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

Be friends on facebook with us here.

We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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wrk
post Jan 27 2009, 01:22 PM
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QUOTE (Pedja Simovic @ Jan 27 2009, 12:32 PM) *
Andy I strongly feel POD will do great job for your collaborations or single tracks that you do for lessons.
The reason why I would go for quality sound card is for one reason and one reason only - RECORDING COMPLETE SONGS.

Sound cards have MIDI input in them, so you can record all the parts in real time with no latency using Midi controler (keyboard or guitar with midi pick up). Another good thing about sound cards is you can add up lots of effects and VST's and there will be far less latency (if none) compared to POD . Of course this also depends on your overall computer performance (RAM memory, Hard drive space and Processor).

So if you are looking to start doing more than backing tracks and guitar tracks, sound card is the way to go. Otherwise, save your money and get some great headphones smile.gif Bose has some amazing headphones, sound is just unbelievable !

Here is a link for you http://www.bose.com/controller?url=/shop_o...hones/index.jsp

You are right, the POD does the job really well and i'm happy with it. I don't really have a choice and will have to stick with digital devices as i can not fully use a real amp where i live. To invest in something to optimize the sound and performance/feel for this digital direction would makes sense i think(?).

I have quite good headphones AKG K 271 MkII, but i plan to buy some monitor speakers as well (Yamaha HS50, HS80 or similar). The plan to update some components comes up regular and i push it further each time as it will not improve my overall guitar playing smile.gif. But at the end the goal of practicing is to create and record own songs and produce backings for this as well. I have tones of captured ideas which i one day want to turn into songs.


QUOTE (tonymiro @ Jan 27 2009, 01:05 PM) *
As Ivan says conversion will be faster. Whether you'd notice any difference is a different matter though since the delay you're getting may be more due to overall latency in the entire signal chain (particularly at the mac end) rather than conversion. However, the Apogee may place less demand on the mac which in turn may allow you to improve on the configuration.

Cheers,
Tony

Probably true. The delay is already really tiny and maybe their are some limits. Thanks for your help, i will compare the Apogee and M-BOX 2 devices a bit more detailed.





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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jan 27 2009, 02:16 PM
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QUOTE (wrk @ Jan 27 2009, 01:22 PM) *
... but i plan to buy some monitor speakers as well (Yamaha HS50, HS80 or similar). ... i will compare the Apogee and M-BOX 2 devices a bit more detailed.


One thing to watch for on the interface then is the type of speaker connect. I don't think that the Duet doesn't have XLR for the speakers - a lot of monitors however are XLR. It's not a great problem as you can always convert phono to XLR but check anyway smile.gif .


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Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

Be friends on facebook with us here.

We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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wrk
post Jan 27 2009, 02:28 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Jan 27 2009, 02:16 PM) *
One thing to watch for on the interface then is the type of speaker connect. I don't think that the Duet doesn't have XLR for the speakers - a lot of monitors however are XLR. It's not a great problem as you can always convert phono to XLR but check anyway smile.gif .

Ah, good point ! No, the Apogee does not have XLR output, only input. The Yamaha speakers have both .. would XLR be more recommended here?
The Apogee is connected via FireWire and the M-Box uses USB. Apple has normally a good support for FireWire. Are there any (dis)advantages i should think of?

Sorry, so many questions, but i learned already a lot today smile.gif




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