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DAW Converter Set-up & sound card

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by audiokid, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hey all,

    Forgive my ignorance. I'm used to my old Pro Tools hardware and learning new things with PC's.

    What ever AD/DA converter I go with, like Apogee, Crane Song, Larvy, RME etc, do I need a sound card still installed in the PC ( windows XP tower)? or, do the higher end converters, or one in particular replace the need of the sound card?
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    You won't need the computers internal sound card with those. But because those are generally larger external devices, it's handy to have the crappy sound card for general-purpose use when surfing the net, etc.. Particularly because some of those high-end converters are restrictive in their choice of sample rates. Whereas the cheap card can reproduce 8kHz, 11kHz, 22.5kHz sample rates. The good stuff can't always cover that when you attempt to playback screwy industrial stuff. Heck, the crappy cards will even do 8-bit playback/recording. Good stuff doesn't even go there. So get a decent Sound Blaster and you'll be covered.

    I've always had both
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Ah, good to know, thanks Remy.

    Do you know if any AD DA in particular works better with Midi interface. I'm not sure if I know what I'm taking about but right now; I'm using ( just bought the CME 88 key controller... cool!) and have been testing out Sonar and the new E-MU Emulator X3 software with it, on one of my new windows XP Core2 systems. The CME has a firewire card in it so, becuae the core2 box hasn't any sound card installed in it, I'm been messing around with the CME 's external firewire AD for starters.
    Sonar needs to have some sound source enabled even for MIDI so I'm wondering if the converter I choose is somewhat similar/ modeled to work better with Cubase or Sonar as examples?

    Or, is this a non issue when it comes to the midi working along side the audio AD DA?
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    To add... where does the converter hookup? To firewire or USB?
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey Chris -

    Depending upon your AD/DA converter, you may actually need a soundcard still. If your AD/DA does not have a firewire interface (or if you're sticking with PT, a PTHD interface), then you'll need someway to get those bits into your machine.

    If you're using AES I/O from your converters (common on most higher end converters and capable of up to 192kHz sampling), then your choices are limited to offerings mostly by Lynx and RME (not bad choices anyway). If you're using optical (up to 96kHz max unless you don't mind seriously cutting your channel count down), then RME and Lynx are still probably your best bets but Frontier, Presonus, TC and others offer ways to get lightpipe into the computer.

    Of course, if you have a firewire card or PTHD card in the converter, then you should be set with just that. If it's an interface (such as the RME FF800 or similar) then you've got an all in one deal - no extra stuff required.

    As for the MIDI, I don't know of any AD/DA converters that include MIDI input. However, you can get any of a myriad of options for MIDI input via USB. If you're only using the one MIDI device, then no problem - get a cheap, $29 single MIDI device. If you're a midi nut, check out some of the offerings by MOTU.

    To answer your question about "firewire or USB" - either. However, higher-end converters won't have a USB port and *may* have a Firewire port (some offer this as an option that can be added on for $$$). Otherwise, see my earlier comments.

    Let us know what you're looking at gear wise and we'll give you a hand...

  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Thanks for the replies all.

    Since my last reply I took your lead Cucco, got myself a Fireface 800 and hooked it up to my PCAudioLabs 965 3.2, i7... ya! and its pretty awesome. So quite and smooth. I love this new stuff.
    The Fireface 800 has midi as well.

    I'm also getting Lavry's new Blacks next week. AD DA and a Pre
    I'll let you all know how they are.

    Now I'm onto the quest for the DAW software.

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