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professional audio interfaces vs onboard interfaces

Discussion in 'Converters & Interfaces' started by amadeustm, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. amadeustm

    amadeustm Active Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    curitiba pr brazil

    i currently have an ordinary Onboard audio interface with 6 channels (5.1).

    i am planning to buy a m-audio fast track pro because this is what i can afford buying now learning.

    but i have an doubt about the set of interfaces i should have.

    first of all i have a Creative Inspire P7800 Speaker System (it is 7.1ch) connected to my onboard audio converting 5.1 to 7.1 "on-switch" behind the p7800's subwoofer.

    what would happen to my surround sound when i have attached the m-audio fast track pro interface? Would I be able to use 7.1 within fast track pro or should i have 2 audio interfaces, one for recording (m-audio) and other for playing 7.1 (i.e soundblaster audigy 4)?

    I understand that the sb audigy 4 should work as a GeForce video interface, having all the audio processing working inside it (sb audigy) and the m-audio interface would work only as input channel manager, but no processing.

    what i mean is that m-audio clearly does not process ANY audio. this would still be the main cpu's function. if i want a better audio processing then sb audigy 4 would do it.

    if that is correct, do you suggest ANY other manufacturer for audio processing other than creative soundblaster series?

    thank you for help and patience. i know that sometimes i ain't clear enough but i hope i have made my point here.

    hope for you answers as soon as possible.

    thank you.
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    You are slightly misguided in your assumptions. Your current soundcard and surroundsound system is a toy. Fun for watching movies. Not for professional applications. Forget about it.

    The M-audio device you're looking at is a good quality, professional, 2 Channel external USB audio interface. You are correct. It does not have any onboard effects. You are correct in that it utilizes the computers CPU, should you desire any effects and processing. You are INCORRECT in assuming that the Sound Crapper Audigy with its built-in effects is somehow better than that of the computer's CPU. IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT BETTER! IT IS CRAP! IT'S A TOY! THE EFFECTS SOUND AWFUL AND SHOULD NEVER BE USED FOR PROFESSIONAL AUDIO PRODUCTION. The better quality effects come from using the computers powerful CPU functions.

    So if you want some dedicated professional effects for your music production computer, there are companies like TC, Universal Audio, and numerous others that offer PCI and PCI express cards for desktop machines. You could also purchase the FireWire version of the Eventied Harmonizer H8000FW, or the Lexicon PCM 90, etc.. Now those will cost you a chunk of cash. But that's what it takes to be professional.

    Have I made my point?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. amadeustm

    amadeustm Active Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    curitiba pr brazil
    i'm sorry but i still have some doubts, RemyRAD
    maybe i'm not that good expressing myself in english. i'm a brazillian.

    thanks for your answer but i just couldn't get that yet. i'll try make myself clearer.

    What do I have?
    -No money. 200-250$ is what I intend to invest buying this M-Audio Fast Track Pro USB audio interface.
    -Basic or No knowledge in audio production/sound engineering.
    -Athlon 64 3200+, 512mb DDR Kingston, Onboard sound.

    What I want?
    1-deeply study this new universe of sound production (i'm taking some Cubase video tutorials on computer to maybe mastering this software)
    2-get better quality watching movies with my surround system.

    What do I think I need to buy:

    -one professional audio interface (that's why m-audio is mentionated) with the intention of have a perfect and high quality recording.
    -a better audio 7.1 in my computer any other than my onboard device so i can have better experience watching movies and maybe playing games.
    -2GB DDR2, some Dual Core 64bits Processor.

    I think that audio processing for movies and games are differente processing as it is for Professional Production, that's why 2 different interfaces (one for recording, one for 7.1 surround).

    Is there any Interface who provides me this both solutions?

    Thanks for reading all this and I hope I have made myself clear about my doubt.

    thanks once again.
  4. amadeustm

    amadeustm Active Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    curitiba pr brazil
    no more answeres?
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    No more answers because you're confused between consumer entertainment devices and professional audio production devices. Your M-audio devices do not support surroundsound. Have no onboard special effects. They are simply high quality input and output devices for 2 channel applications. Surround mixes and/or playback can not be output from those devices unless you have the proper Dolby encoding codec and appropriate equipment for 6 channels of playback output. That would require 3 of those stereo M-audio USB devices to allow for 6 channels of output to a cluster of 3 stereo amplifiers to power a 6 speakers. Get it??

    To enjoy your movie watching experience, all you need is a cheap Sound Blaster surround sound capable audio card and they're inexpensive recommended speakers for that purpose. These generally plug into the PCI slot within a desktop computer. I'm not sure if Creative Labs offers an outboard Blaster type USB surround sound TOY sound card. And then there is the issue of speakers and amplifiers for a proper surround listening experience. Something your minuscule budget will not accommodate. That is, you can't get what you want for the money you have. And therefore you have not received any further answers as there are none. My only recommendation to you is to save your money until you have at least $1000. With that, you could purchase a mediocre system.

    My recommendation? Be happy with stereo. You only have 2 ears. Want to hear explosions with lifelike sounds? Join the military and go to the Middle East. There are plenty of surround sound explosions there. After listening to those for a while, I think you'll appreciate lower volume stereo?

    Old hard-nosed stereo engineer
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  6. casper

    casper Guest

    This guide is a good starting reference:


    I would go back and re-read what Remy posted in her first reponse. She as others here have a lot of experience. Experiece is really the only way to learn this stuff.

    When you record raw audio like vocals and instrument the signals are very low level signals. Any analpg electronic circuitry that the signal goes through has the potential to add noise. When the signal is converted to digital you have deal with latency and sample/bit rates. Depnding on the ADC or DAC converters you could end up with less than stellar results. There are a lot of other factors but I was trying to keep it simple.

    Since you are into cubase the Presonus firewire interfaces come with Cubase LE and are easy to setup. You will of course need a mic and whatever instrument you play. You can be up and running in know time.

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