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I need a good sound card...which one?

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by seven, Dec 26, 2001.

  1. seven

    seven Active Member

    I need a good sound card, but I have absolutely no idea what to get. I've finally decided on this system: PIII-1000Mhz
    Asus TUSL2-C
    512 megs of PC133
    ATI 32Meg Rage Pro Video
    40gig ATA-100 7200rpm (OS) Hard Drive
    60gig ATA-100 7200rpm (Record) Hard Drive
    48x Cd-Rom
    TDK 24x10x32 CDRW
    56k Modem
    Microsoft Internet Keyboard
    Microsoft Intellimouse
    Windows 2000...now I need to choose a sound card.
    I want to go as inexpensive as possible, but I don't want to skip on quality at all. I just want to do some basic composing/recording, with 30 or so tracks...Any suggestions? Thanks.
  2. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    well...how many ins and outs do you need? Most home composers just need two outs but most cards with multiple ins and have multiple outs as well. There are quite a few cards to go for...
    http:// (Mia or Mona) Mona is about 700 or so but worth it..Mia is 300 or so I believe and only has two ins and outs.
    http://www.Motu.com (1224)kinda pricey but great interface
    (Q10 or Direct Pro)Don't know prices on these
    http://www.Midiman.com (delta series cards)Pretty economical and not too bad sounding but cheap parts
    http://www.Tascam.com (US428 USB audio/controller) very economical, stable and great sounding but can be a pain to get working if your system isn't optimized..but with the system you are building I can guarantee it's success as I built a machine for someone just like that and it works like a charm!!
    Those are what I recommend...check em out
  3. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    That should be a nice system.

    The soundcard really depends on what you mean by 'inexpensive.' If you go to musicians-gear.com, you can buy an RME Hammerfall and Multiface interface for just under $700, which is a steal- you'll get a PCI card and a breakout box with ADAT IO, 8 analog IO (24/96), and some other niceties. The Aardvark stuff sounds really good, although they used to have some driver problems. Midiman is bang-for-the-buck if you're comfortable jumping through some hoops to configure. A decent, cheap stereo card is the Emagic Audiowerk 2- those seem to not create a lot of problems. The Frontier Audio stuff also seems pretty stable.
  4. seven

    seven Active Member

    Thank you very much. I plan on going with the Tascam US-428... if I can find one (search results came up with nothing so far)... if not I may go with the Mia...simple and cheap. Thanks again. :)
  5. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    You cant find the 428? heh? Guitar Center..Sweetwater..Sam Ash..Musicians Friend..they should all have em!!
    Or are you looking on Ebay or digibid for a used one or something?
  6. seven

    seven Active Member

    I had just searched on Tascam's site, and pricegrabber.com. I got tired browsing through Google so I hung it up for the night. I'm trying to find the lowest price out there on a new one.
    ---Thanks for the suggestions.
  7. seven

    seven Active Member

    DISCLAIMER: forgive me for my ignorance...

    I'm confused about this US 428...
    Now, I'm looking for a sound card but the 428 appears to be some kind of mixer. What am I missing?
  8. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    It's a little USB device that works as a control surface for your audio application. It also has four analog inputs, s/pdif, and MIDI I/O- lots of stuff for not too much money, and no crawling into the box to install it.

    Originally posted by seven:
    DISCLAIMER: forgive me for my ignorance...

    I'm confused about this US 428...
    Now, I'm looking for a sound card but the 428 appears to be some kind of mixer. What am I missing?
  9. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    The US428 indeed does look like a mixer but as Jon has stated it is a 24bit USB audio device/Controller surface and Midi I/O box. It works with "most" applications..works great with Nuendo, Logic, Cubase, Cakewalk and Sonic Foundry products. As you stated the system you are getting will work 100% with the 428..and I can totally gaurantee it!!
  10. seven

    seven Active Member

    One more concern. The US428, having to be connected to the USB, seems a little awkward. Would you recommend the Mia sound card over the 428 for any reason at all?

    By the way, are the drivers for Windows 2000 available for the Mia yet?
  11. llornkcor

    llornkcor Active Member

    The one reason why not to go with the 428 is that it only has 4 inputs, and 2 outputs. It's very sweet as a controller for Cubase, though. I also have a RME card, which lightpipes with an Alesis AI3 D/A A/D, or ADAT. In some cases the 428 can be challenging to setup, but I have had no problems. (Intel chips/proc).
    Wherever you get it from, check out their return policy. The place I bought it from, musiciansfriend.com, has a 45 day return.

  12. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    As I mentioned before the system you are getting works flawlessly with the 428...I built a system with the exact same specs and there have been no problems with it whatsoever!!!
    And yes there are 2K drivers for the Mia card!
  13. seven

    seven Active Member

    Thanks. So ,is it safe to assume you would recommend the 428 over the Mia? And is the Cubase VST 2.0 package that comes with the 428 any good/upgradable?
  14. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Hey Seven:

    I see you are from Indianapolis, I am from Noblesville, so we must be neighbors!

    I use the TASCAM US-428 also, and it is fantastic! It acts as a control surface (mixer) as well as a sound card, plus a MIDI interface...pretty sweet! I saw it at Mars Music the other day for $428 (I think).

    Mars is in the Castleton area, off of 82nd Street, but they sell them elsewhere too. Guitar Center is in the Castleton Square Mall parking lot, over across from CompUSA. Not sure what side of town you are on, but it would be worth the drive to either of those places to get a good price.

    Good luck!

  15. seven

    seven Active Member

    Thanks DH... neighbor :cool: I was at Mars day before yesterday actually!
    I'm buying a pre-built system though, and they're going to include the 428 with it...hopefully at a discounted price with the system.
    Thanks again man, I will go ahead and get it.
  16. seven

    seven Active Member

    ..works great with Nuendo, Logic, Cubase, Cakewalk and Sonic Foundry products.

    I read on the Tascam site that, as of Oct. 12, the US482 did NOT support Sonar. I haven't been able to find an updated report...has this changed?
    ...here's the article,

    It's under: Cakewalk/Sonar Studioware Support
  17. seven

    seven Active Member

    Any sound card recommendations for this system setup?...

    AMD XP-1600
    Asus A7v266e Raid Motherboard
    256 megs of DDR PC2100
    ATI 32Meg Rage Pro Video
    40gig ATA-100 7200rpm Hard Drive
    80gig ATA-100 7200rpm Hard Drive

    I read that the US428 does not support Sonar, and with the Echo MIA, the AMD Via KT266A chip set is not recommended. I'd like to keep it at $300 or below. (I've already well exceeded my original budget) :)
  18. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    Just thought I'd give a few ideas...
    CD-ROM drive...the Creative Labs 52x is a great machine.
    Harddrives...you don't need a 40Gb H-D for your primary. A 20Gb is more than enough. Go to newegg.com and see the Maxtor 6L020J1 and 6L080J4.
    Input devices...I just got these and I HIGHLY recommend them...Microsoft Office Keyboard and Microsoft Trackball Optical. Great prices on these at micro-xpress.com.
    Modem...if you MUST stay on a 56k modem, it's worth it to get a good hardware modem.
    BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY...consider dropping some cash on a good SCSI card and SCSI CDRW, the most-favored being Adaptec and Plextor.
  19. seven

    seven Active Member

    Can I connect my midi keyboard directly into the US-428 without any other accessories? This midi/digital thing is all new to me...I'd much rather go all digital...do I need a new keyboard for that? What equipment DO I need?
    Oh, and does anybody know anything about the Aardvark Direct Pro 24/96 sound card? How does it compare with the US-428? Sorry about all of the questions...I'm trying to ease up on posting a bunch of new topics.
    I need to stop reading all of these reviews...I'm gonna end up taking up knitting.
    Man, ignorance really is bliss... :p
  20. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    You said it seven!! Ignorance is bliss sometimes!! lol
    Ok..yes, you can plug your midi synth/keyboard/outboard midi module..whatever you have right into the 428.
    The 428 is great because it is an all in one package plus!!! You can input two XLR's and two 1/4 at once or four 1/4 at once or two 1/4 and a SPDIF at once..plus use MIDI at the same time
    The aardvark cards are nice..drivers arent that great to be honest..so if you dont have your system right it wont work.
    Now Aardvark says the card doesnt use an IRQ..I find that hard to believe..why you ask? I'm glad you asked!!!
    A card in a PCI slot has to talk to the processor for it to be One: Recognized Two: to be able to function with everything else...so, it talks to the processor..that in turn right there is an IRQ(interrupt Request) it interrupts the processor to say "Hi, I'm an audio card and like, can I just ask a quick question?" and the processor says "Hi, I'm the processor..whats the question?"
    Get it? Good!! lol
    So Aardvark saying the card doesnt use an IRQ is a load of horseshit!!!
    To me I didnt like the way the aardvark sounded..to brittle and no warmth to it..but, thats my opinion.
    What you have to decide Seven is this...do you want to go with a product LOTS o people use and have success with or use a product that SOME people use with more hassles and lame driver support? Also, what are your needs...the way I see it the 428 is right for you(ya know, Tascam should give me a perk for the amount of endorsement I give them!! lol)
    Anyways, I thought you had settled on the MIA card but I guess not!!
    I try to get here as often as I can sometimes but this new gig o mine has my brain a frazzled with the $*^t I do now!!
    Hopefully I've answered most of your concerns..oh wait...the Sonar issue..
    Yes, Tascam has stated that Sonar is not fully supported ON THE CAKEWALK SIDE!!! there's the catch..becuase Doctordale has made his own patch for it it it supported thru him!!! He helps everyone on the Tascam Forum with any issues dealing with the 428 and Sonar..he's got it down pat man!! I wouldnt tell you something that didnt work my friend!! Go to the 428 forum on the Tascam site and you'll see Doctordale helping the Cakewalk people..he's good man..real good!

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