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Audio interface vs. built-in soundcard, PT9

Discussion in 'Recording' started by rumiates, May 6, 2011.

  1. rumiates

    rumiates Active Member

    May 6, 2011

    I have had a small studio set up for editing purposes only (no recording), using PT8 LE/Mbox 2. I've since upgraded to PT9, since I need to work on higher resolution session files (96Khz+) that I record in the studio. The Mbox2 allows only up to 48Khz files, so I need to find another option to connect my monitors.

    I am wondering if coming out of my computer's built-in sound card is a viable alternative. This would require a 1/8" male to dual 1/4" female y-adapter, plugged into the soundcard and going directly to the monitors. The soundcard is the native one for the Asus P6T SE motherboard.

    I am doing classical music editing and am looking for a good, clean sound, though on a budget. Is there a fair amount of audio quality loss doing it this way, as opposed to using a USB interface? And if so, I would love a recommendation for an inexpensive interface that could handle at least 96Khz files (maybe $200-$400). Again, only for monitoring, don't need to record using it.

    Thank you.
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Distinguished Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    First of all, you're probably not going to be able to squeeze 96 kHz out of your on board soundcard. This is designed for gaming and watching movies, neither of which requires above 48kHz.

    A little more info about your setup would be nice. Monitors, room, etc. Forgive me for being skeptical. I would expect to see this kind of question at the DUC , where most registered ProTools users ask their questions. As far as which interface you should be able to use just about any interface now. If you see one you like, simply go to Avid's site to ensure there are no compatibility issues with PT9.

    I don't mean to defer people to the DUC all the time. There are some questions that can't be answered there, though few. Being though, that they have the highest concentration of PT users on the web, you would think that, that is the place to go to ask questions.

    Ever since ProTools went native and dongled to boot, we've had a slough of people asking questions about it. Also since PT went native/dongled, there have been a slough of questions about getting it for free. Now I can't accuse anyone of anything but you must understand my reluctance to answer directly.
  3. fourone3

    fourone3 Active Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    I personally would go with an interface. Especially since you're doing classical music. I'd be afraid I wouldn't get the nuances out to my monitors.

    Lexicon makes the I-ONIX U22. It's priced well and is capable of the high resolution you need. I can't speak for it personally, but I'd imagine it would be much better than an internal card.

    Do you have a FireWire port? I might consider spending a bit more and getting something of higher quality with more I/O. You may find yourself needing that I/O in time, and then spending more money later.

    Good luck!
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    If you are not using decent converters and monitors you won't hear the benefits of mixing high sample rates. There are lots of interfaces in the price range you are looking at and it looks like all of the most recent ones will do 96kHz. I have my doubts (but no actual experience with these units) about the quality of what you will hear. If you are willing to double your budget, there are converters out there with significantly better reputations.
  5. rumiates

    rumiates Active Member

    May 6, 2011
    Thanks for the responses - much appreciated. (Hueseph - I meant this to be really more of an audio question, than a PT question - in essence, do the less expensive interfaces sound better than onboard soundcards, regardless of the software). I actually did pose this question at the DUC, and got some helpful responses regarding the software, but not really along the lines of what actually sounds better.

    I think the interface is probably the better way to go as well. I've been trying it with the onboard audio and the sounds is a bit smaller, more compressed, with more hiss. However, the soundcard does allow for working on 96Khz session files, at least.

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