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Is an onboard soundcard adequate?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by SeanG, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. SeanG

    SeanG Guest

    Hi there. I've gathered a large amount of information over the past week and a bit from these forums, so thanks to all who contribute. :)

    I am looking to start a home studio for personal stuff that i've written (just guitar and vocals) as well as my band's tunes (i plan to record each instrument one at a time --> i have a SM57 instrument mic and a Sennheiser e835 vocal mic, which i would use to record drums, vocals and guitars, one at a time)

    However since I am studying accounting and will need a laptop in a year from now (for my articles) i have planned to purchase the following laptop:

    Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 Ghz
    2GB RAM
    250GB HDD SATA
    ATI Radeon 256MB vcard
    Traditional onboard soundcard

    I am aware i will need to buy an external HDD as well as a pre-amp (the Line 6 Toneport UX1 looks very good but is not available in South Africa so I will look for something of similar quality here)

    My question is will the onboard soundcard be adequate/will it deteriorate the quality? (We have an onboard soundcard in this pc and playback over headphones sounds fine. My only question is about how it will affect my recording quality).

    I'd really appreciate all comments (the laptop is on special offer til monday (R9999 which is quite cheap considering the specs) and i don't want to miss out - but I also don't want to buy something that won't fit my needs) Thanks very much
  2. SeanG

    SeanG Guest

    About the preamp --> i can get the ART Tube MP mic preamp off a South African website. I've heard a few people mention it on the forums, however it has also been said that it can be noisy. Anyone know more?
  3. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    The computer you picked out looks like a winner. Try to get Windows XP if possible, but in my experiance Vista is not going to kill your recording.

    The simple answer is no it is not adequate. Yes it will deteriorate the sound. Lap top sound cards simply because of the physical proximity to the computer data buses will have an enormous amount of noise.

    Get a USB or Firewire sound interface. (IMHO that is more important than a good pre amp) M-Audio makes some great ones, but I'm sure others will chime in here.
  4. VonRocK

    VonRocK Active Member

  5. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    I think that means that over a period of time it will start sounding like a cassette tape...
  6. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    An onboard card can get you started. Some are noisy. Some aren't. Some make noise only when you listen, others will add it to your recording.

    Depending on your recording environment, it may or may not be an issue. You can experiment with it and find out.

    Here is a clip from the first live digital recording I ever attempted. It was done with a Sound Blaster Audigy card.

    I bought a multitrack interface after that.

  7. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Dude, annoying...
    I was totally digging that deep river blues...
    Why so short?
  8. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    that may not be high-end, but its a big step up from the built-in audio on many laptops!

    My laptop does reasonably ok for playback, but recordings are totally unusable.

    I suggest adding a Mackie Satellite interface to the wish list.
  9. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Well, I found a Creative PCI card (dunno the make) in an OLD (96MB RAM, NT4) PC I came across. I wanted to see if the soundcard was any good...
    Noise level on the line in is around -50dB. I have a PC down at Church I use for recording and the line in on that is about -35dB and there's a definite audible hissing.

    The biggest problem is drift. If you do multiple tracks at once, they'll be out of sync with each other. If you do single tracks multiple times, they'll end up the same but will vary more.
  10. SeanG

    SeanG Guest

    Thank's for the comments guys.

    The "deep river blues" sample sounded amazing. I'll probably experiment once i've got the laptop, but will definitely check out the Mackie Satellite interface. thanks
  11. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Thanks, that was actually a mono recording of a live mix - used Cool Edit to process it - a little reverb to fill it out. Working with that clip was a big part of what pushed me into the world of recording.
  12. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    What I meant is that it will sound worse than almost any outboard sound card. When lap tops are designed, they cram everything together to make them smaller and lighter. So the analog sound card circuit is packed right next to the high speed digital. It uses all the same power planes for digital and analog. The result is lots of noise on your audio. You may be able to live with the noise, but I would upgrade. As you layer tracks it will just get worse.
  13. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    says you...

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