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> Sound Card For New Computer
Brandon Earman
post Jan 1 2011, 10:34 PM
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I'm planning on building a new computer soon. I am trying to figure out which audio card I should use. I am wanting to use my computer for some home recording with my guitar and possibly a keyboard (piano). I currently am using a Pod gx. I want to use mackie mr-5 monitors and maybe some good headphones. So what sound card would be best for handling my needs? I dont want to spend over 290 US$ on the interface. Suggestions?


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Todd Simpson
post Jan 2 2011, 09:33 AM
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Good question. In that price range there are some find audio interfaces. So you have to now decide.

1.)Internal card or external interface (If external usb or firewire?)
2.)Software you plan to use. (Pro tools? Etc.)
3.)Bundle (what comes with the unit your looking at?)

After going through the same thing myself, I chose the TASCAM M164-UF. It's an 8 xlr input usb audio interface/mixer that can record 8 separate tracks at once via usb. I use several mics on my guitar rig so I needed more than a few inputs.

The good news is that even though the unit lists for $700 you can find it online for less than 3. The bonus is that it's a full mixer in addition to being and audio interface and it has onboard fx which is handy when tracking or playing live. I like to hear fx on some tracks when monitoring even if it's not burning in to the track.

I reviewed this interface in my instructor forum. Here is the link.

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...st&p=486515
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QUOTE (Brandon Earman @ Jan 1 2011, 04:34 PM) *
I'm planning on building a new computer soon. I am trying to figure out which audio card I should use. I am wanting to use my computer for some home recording with my guitar and possibly a keyboard (piano). I currently am using a Pod gx. I want to use mackie mr-5 monitors and maybe some good headphones. So what sound card would be best for handling my needs? I dont want to spend over 290 US$ on the interface. Suggestions?



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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 2 2011, 05:31 PM
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So you want to record guitar and piano, and possibly vocals (that always comes in handy). In order not to plug in and out all the devices because of the lack of inputs, and if you are buying the sound card that you want comfort at all times while working, you will need to have your instrument, piano, and vocal mic plugged in all the time, and ready for work. I would definitely recommend this setup, because it will get your life much easier.

So, you will need an interface that has at least:

- one instrument input
- one mic input
- MIDI I/O for piano
- stereo TRS outs for Mackie monitors
- optional phones out

Two recommendations:

M-Audio FastTrack Pro (199$)



Features:

* 4x4 24-bit/96kHz audio interface
* Two front panel mic/instrument preamp inputs (XLR)
* Two balanced outputs (1/4" TRS)
* 4 unbalanced outputs (RCA)
* 2x2 S/PDIF digital I/O
* 1x1 MIDI I/O with activity LEDs
* 1 Headphone output (1/4" TRS)
* USB bus powered or works with external power supply (not included)
* Mac and PC compatible; class-compliant with Mac OS 10.3.9 and higher
* Includes Ableton Live Lite


Focusrite Saffire 6 USB (199$)



Features:

* Six channels of I/O (two in, four out)
* Two award-winning Focusrite mic preamps with combi jacks
* Phantom power, pad, and gain on front inputs
* Signal present and overload indicators on front panel
* Six analog outs, four on RCA jacks switchable A/B MIDI in/out
* Includes "Xcite + Pack" software Bundle, featuring Ableton Live 7 Lite, Novation's Bass Station, "Mike the Drummer" Drum loops with 1GB of Loopmasters samples
* Focusrite plug-in suite with Compressor, Reverb, EQ, and Gate; VST/AU compatible
* Half-rack 2U rackmountable chassis
* Ultra-low latency USB 1.1 interface
* 24-bit, 48kHz A/D converters
* Dedicated switchable front panel headphone output — main or cue mix
* Kensington lock
* Bus powered via USB

I would suggest that you choose Saffire here. Both devices offer similar features, although Focusrite traditionally provides better sounding preamps then M-Audio. Also, I believe Saffire has better built quality, you can feel it under the fingers. Saffire software bundle is better as well. If you would like to work with ProTools, Fast Track supports it, while Saffire doesn't, just to have that in mind as well. The only advantage that I can see on the Fasttrack is two insert inputs for connecting outboard effects, so if you have some reverb or compressor external unit that you really like, and plan to use it, it may be a good idea to choose Fast Track. If not, Saffire 6 offers better sound quality and that should be something that will definitely satisfy you in the long run.

BTW, If you plan working with Windows 7, you should definitely send emails to whatever company you decide, to ask if their interfaces are compatible.

PS For the money you have left, you have just enough for new TRS cables for monitors, MIDI cables, possibly some audio cables, and entry level monitoring AKG headphones.


This post has been edited by Ivan Milenkovic: Jan 2 2011, 05:35 PM


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Brandon Earman
post Jan 2 2011, 06:44 PM
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Thanks for the good advice guys. If I used the saffire interface.. What would I plug my guitar into? Would I want to use my podGX/pod farm still or what?
Or would I get guitar rig (but still what input would I plug my guitar into?)


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 3 2011, 02:11 PM
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- Saffire has two combi inputs on the front side (those two big inputs to the left). You can plug in pretty much anything in these two inputs. These connectors are combination of XLR and 1/4 jack inputs (you can use both). Both of these inputs can serve for pluggin in instruments (notice the two "Instr." buttons on the front side). In addition to 1/4 jack instrument cables, you can plug in XLR cables and plug in microphones here as well, or line inputs, such as CD player, MP3 player etc..
- You don't need to use POD GX at all, this unit will be your new audio interface. This however means that you will not be able to use POD Farm, unless you have the POD Farm plugin (which is additionally charged at Line 6 site). When I was using UX1 device, I got POD Farm for free for use with UX1, but for use with other cards, I had to pay.
- I would however advise that you get Gutiar Rig 4 and Amplitube 3, possibly even Vintage Amp Room. These modelers surpass the POD Farm in quality.

When working in your DAW software, you will get two inputs feeds from Saffire. Those would be two inputs in the front. Then, you can insert Guitar Rig 4 on the track for example, and record your guitar clean, while Guitar Rig 4 will process the sound. After that you can still adjust the tone any way you want, because the guitars will always be recorded clean. Reamping will be possible, which is great for mixing or future editing.

let me know if you need some additional advices/explanations, will be glad to help you.


This post has been edited by Ivan Milenkovic: Jan 3 2011, 02:14 PM


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