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Sound card choices

Discussion in 'Recording' started by mooshoepork, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. mooshoepork

    mooshoepork Guest

    Hey, I posted the thread about how to took up my mics to my PC only to find my sound card is inadequate. So, I am looking for a new sound card!

    I want to maintain good quality in listening to music and playing games in 5.1, however I also want to be able to record. I have narrowed it down to a few cards within my price range, but still am not sure.

    The Create extreme music- has ASIO, good for listening to music.

    A little cheaper

    the The E-Mu Emulator X seemed good for recording, but maybe not for other things?

    Basically I am looking for an all round card. I will be plugging to MXL microphones into an M-audio pre-amp and then somehow into this new sound card. Thanks :)
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    You will be plugging an MXL condenser microphone into an M-Audio preamp?? And your M-Audio device does not have a USB or FireWire output?? What model is it?? I think you are mistaken here?

    You say, you need a better sound card and as far as I know, the "M-Audio" products ARE BETTER SOUND "CARDS" and are at least a professional product. You use that instead of the computers built in sound card. What's the matter, aren't your games adequate sounding already?

    You don't need a new sound card, because it doesn't make any sense. You merely needed to change the settings through the control panel, in Windows, to utilize your M-Audio device. It's easy. Much harder to install a new card. In fact, if you don't have a particular reason for an internal PCI sound card that has a specific function, not available through USB or FireWire, I would stick with an external device. External devices are generally quieter since they are less susceptible to computer clock noise.

    So tell us the model number of your M-Audio device so we can better direct you to better sound.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. mooshoepork

    mooshoepork Guest

    It is an M-audio buddy pre-amp


    here is my previous thread. Thanks
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Thank you! Yes, I think you have their one and only product that does not include a computer output.

    However, your motherboard does feature a line input for your motherboard's onboard " sound card". The line input is the green connector and since all of my desktop workstations are built up by myself, I utilize only ASUS motherboards similar to yours. The onboard sound is not horrible but it is not a professional product. It's adequate in a video edit Suite and adequate for noncritical applications.

    Since you already have the M-Audio preamp, might I suggest purchasing their Transit USB audio interface? It's strictly a line level input and output device with onboard optical ports, if required. It's capable of 24-bit 96kHz record OR playback but not simultaneous monitoring while recording at that resolution. It's inexpensive, approximately $80 US. Not sure what it would be in Australia? Purchasing that device will also allow you to run ProTools if you should so desire (but not on XP Media Center Edition)? You can't run ProTools on any other product other than Digi design hardware or selected M-Audio products. And it's a good sounding device.

    M power your self
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. mooshoepork

    mooshoepork Guest

    Ah okay, well I am pretty new to recording. Following Kaptain Krunche's advice I thought a new sound card was in order? The M-audio pre-amp basically came free and I did need phantom power. I want to get alright quality. This is just a hobby, but I do want it to sound okay as in, get the best outa the mics I have bought. Previously I was putting it into the Mic port, should I try the green line in? or get the USB transit? Thanks for your help. and Kapn Krunch if he comes in here!

    updated PIC so you can see

  6. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    And, just to make things more confusing...I didn't consider that the manual might not have been checked, or that it was so confusing that it's nearly incomprehensible. I have an ASUS board, and didn't even consider checking to see if it has similar features. I have mine disabled, and nothing connected, so I've never even tried to look at setting it up, and I didn't install any of the extra software.

    Mine has Blue, Green, and Red...just like his, but mine also has a separate purple and orange. And SPDIF.

    My manual states that:

    Blue is "Line In" (in 6-channel mode, function of this jack becomes Bass/Center).

    Green is "Line Out" (in 4- and 6-channel mode, the function of this jack is front speaker out).

    Red is "Mic" (in 4- and 6-channel mode, function of this jack becomes rear speaker out).

    WHAT THE #&#&!? The INPUTS become OUTPUTS?

    And to top it off on mine, my purple jack is the L/R surround. The orange jack is...drum roll please....center or bass! Uh...excuse me...haven't we already covered Center/Bass coming OUT the LINE IN!?

    If his is anything like mine, no wonder he's confused!

    OK...so my board comes with software called NV Swap utility. It's an NVidia application. Apparently, you open that up, and toggle the settings for these jacks for input or output. Look for that software on your computer, or insert the disk to see if you can install it...or something similar. I don't KNOW whetehr yours is the the same...just look at the manual. Then there's another application on mine called NForce Control panel. There you can set surround parameters, and environmental stuff. Look for that in your manual.

    What this means is that if you have the same basic setup as mine, you can either use all those jacks as surround outputs, or you can use them as Mic and Line In, and Audio Out...just not both at the same time. Obviously, you can't have something connected as input while it's acting as output.

    So, IF your's is similar, you have to decide how you want to use it. If you want to record, you have to give up the surround. If you want the surround, you have to get another device to record. Or, you can continually swap cables and toggle software.

    Check all that out. Look in your manual and see if it has some similar stuff. If you can't find your manual, go to the ASUS site and download it. You HAVE to know what it is.

    Hope this will clear up some stuff.

  7. mooshoepork

    mooshoepork Guest

    Yeah, I am pretty damn confused.

    my mother board is an Asus K8V Deluxe motherboard

    light blue socket- when using headphones or 2.1 sound is the line in. when using 4 speakers it is line in. when using 6-speakers ut us the bass/center.

    lime- when using 2.1 it is line out, 4 speakers in front speaker out, and 6 is front speaker out aswell.


    So basically when I use 2.1 sound the light blue acts as a line in. Fair enough. Is there a better alternative to this? I mean except switching between sound systems to record? thanks for all your help.
  8. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    I'm not sure about yours. It SOUNDS like you will have to choose between surround out, or using it to record. I'm not even sure if you mentioned you want to keep surround, so assuming that you do....

    I think the advantage of the one I have with the extra purple and orange jacks is that I don't have to sacrifice my line in and one other...I can steer them to the extra ones to act as out, and the line in and the other will function as normal. Doesn't look like you can do that because it doesn't appear to have the extra two jacks.

    Did you find those software applications? If you try to use them, follow the advice before about levels. You don't want to have something suddenly pop out squealing or something as you change settings.

    If you REALLY want to use that for recording, set it up for the Line In to work, and then plug your stuff into that. You'll likely be reduced to using two speakers for listening. Double-check your settings menu. Earlier you had Soundmax Digital Audio chosen for settings choices. Are there any more choices besides Soundmax Digital Audio that will make the choice of "Line In" appear? I dunno.

    If you can't live with, you'll almost certainly have to invest in an outboard interface. You indicated interest in a SoundBlaster. I don't know how much those cost, and you'll catch hell when trying to install those things. SoundBlasters like to take over your system. They think they are the most important thing in there. And, the recording/playback quality is not likely to be much better at all than what you have. AND, although it may be possible to have both enabled and useable...have fun setting them up.

    You may want to rethink the SoundBlaster thing. For probably not much more, if much at all, you could pick up a USB interface for audio that will work and definitely sound, much better.

    Keep in mind what you want to do with it all. Do you use MIDI, and is MIDI important for creating relatively good backing tracks? If not, don't worry about it. Buy a USB audio interface, and start recording in a short time. You can still use basic MIDI through your existing onboard...maybe not the BEST MIDI, but it'll keep a beat for ya.

    You'll have to think about how you'll listen to all that. Do you want it to go to your existing speakers? Then, in your recording software, you'd set record in through whatever you record in from, and set all playback through whatever you have your speakers connected to. Or, you could send the audio back out of the outboard USB interface to an amp/speakers, or powered speakers. You'll hear no MIDI sounds going through an external digital audio unit, unless you are using MIDI-triggered virtual instruments set to play through them.

    You could buy a small mixer, send the MIDI out of the onboard, and the audio out the USB interface, mix them in the mixer, and send that to amps/speakers.

    You have to decide how you want to use it, and adjust accordingly. If the manual states that there is a "Line In', then one would assume that there would be a "Line In" setting to adjust in your soundcard properties, somewhere. Or...maybe it's sharing a fader with something labeled as something else? Should say in the manual.

    Good luck,

  9. mooshoepork

    mooshoepork Guest

    I have disabled my 5.1 and used stereo speakers and plugged my gear into the blue line in socket, but I get no signal at all.


    My M-audio says it is getting a signal every time I make a noise but my computer is getting a flat-line. :(
  10. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    It looks like you have everything set properly, as far as SoundMax and Audacity are concerned. So, if your SURE the blue input is the Line In, then something else needs to be investigated. Remy mentioned that some Line Ins may be green. Double-check and confirm what YOUR manual specifies. It's possible that it's different than mine.

    Does it PLAY a WAV file with those settings? Load up one and see, if you haven't already. If it does, we know we have to concentrate on the input. If it doesn't something still isn't get steered right at all.

    Here's where I'm going to be completely stumped. Since I never loaded any of the sound utilities or programs that came with my motherboard, I don't know if I would have had the SoundMax stuff, in addition to all the NVidia stuff.

    So, I don't know if the SoundMax is the Taskbar control panel, while there may be some NVidia stuff deeper in that controls what the SoundMax is able to do. See where I'm going with this?

    For instance, would I have had to actually change the functions of the jacks in the NVidia software for the SoundMax control panel to recognize and control everything properly? I don't even know if your Asus board HAS the NVidia chipset and functions. Just because they are both Asus, and they both have blue, green and red jacks...that doesn't mean they have the same chipsets, soundsets or functions. I was just throwing out possibilities. I don't have time to download the PDF manual now, but I'll note the board and download it at work to see what I can see.

    Checking my motherboard CD, I see no SoundMax mention, so I suspect things may be different.

    I think you're close. There's probably just one thing in the way that may be obvious after I look at the manual. In the meantime, I know it's frustrating, but try not to get yourself all worked up. There IS an answer, and when it's found...think of all the cool stuff you've learned! :wink: Somewhere down the road if you start getting deeper into adding recording stuff and software, you'll be glad you went through all this headache.

    BTW, is it possible you could pull that picture and shrink it? I get seasick doing the sideways scroll back and forth :shock:

  11. mooshoepork

    mooshoepork Guest

    Yeah, I can hear playback if I open something in audacity. It am just getting no signal. I am sure I am getting a signal through my mics though because the green light flashes everytime I make a noise. However, their is no signal the line is is picking up. It is the blue one, and I tried both anyway. It is so frustrating. Maybe I might have to buy a USB system? I really appreciate all your help btw. Thank you so much.

    EDIT: I just tried my brothers logitech headset into the line in and I get no signal. This means that it isn't my cabling. But my line in port.

    If I can't get this to work I will either have to buy a sound-card or a USB device. If the USB device has better quality I'll go for that. But if it is the same, I could get a sound-card and improve my onboard anyway.
  12. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Well Moo,I don't know what else to do. I downoaded the manual, and it appears that you have everything set properly.
    I was right that your's is different. It has a VIA chipset and the SoundMax stuff, but, basically, a lot of the functions in your SoundMax and my NVidia are the same.

    We know the AC97 Audio is enabled in BIOS, because you can hear sounds played back.

    I looked though all your Multi-Channel Audio Feature pages, and it appears to be set correctly for Line In. You have your Line In channel in the mixer enabled, and turned up.

    Without even looking, I know your WAV channel and Master Volume Control are turned up in the mixer, because you could hear playback.

    The Line In IS blue.

    You DID reboot the system after making changes?

    I think you have everything in the computer set up properly. That leaves something in Audacity as the likely culprit.

    I see you have Line In chosen. Good.

    Faders turned up. Good.

    How about the Audio Track properties? I see it's mono, 44.1. (BTW, if you have both outs of the MAudio plugged into the Y-1/8" TRS, you can PROBABLY set that track as stereo, and both would record, or you can probably set track one as left, and track two as right, record mono to each.

    What I'm wondering, and can't see in the pic, is what are the properties for the input on that particular track? I see you have the volume 1/2, and the pan centered. That's good. But, I'm wondering if under that Audio Track pulldown menu in track one...isn't there a list of choices for input/output?

    Did you pull that down, and make sure it was getting routed properly? Could even be something in the Project menu in the top toolbar?

    I wonder if it's something in one of those. I suspect you're 99.9% there, and just need to find that one thing. I don't have Audacity here, but I know I have to set my tracks individually on my other stuff. Each track has to know what it has coming in and going out.

    If you've done all that, and tried absolutely EVERYTHING...I don't know what else to say, except maybe your input is simply bad?

    Don't forget the very real possibility that at one time you may have had something in the TRACK set properly, but something else was causing it not to work, so you tried other combos...including setting what you had RIGHT in one area wrong again. That can happen when you're going in circles trying to figure something out. Trust me. :wink:

    I think it's down to leaving everything as your picture is, and look for something that will route that Line In input from your SoundMax audio to track one, stereo. Or possibly track 1, left, track two, right. (You'd have to add another track). Look in the Audio Track dropdown first and set what you think is right, if there's something there. If still not working, dig around in Project. You may have to ping-pong between the two to find the right combo...if it works.

    This is only what I suspect, given the evidence.

    Hope it's in there.

    Good luck,

  13. mooshoepork

    mooshoepork Guest

    I have tried everything and for some reason I can't switch it to a stereo input in audacity. I also tried it with wav editor and adobe audition. Looks like I'll need a USB or firewire? Due to the latency would something like this


    work? It has no pre-amp which is fine because I already have one. If I go straight from my outputs into their 1/4" input and then plug a firewire cable in, would that work? This whole experience has been fun if you can believe that. Even though it hasn't worked I feel as though I have learnt a lot. Thank you :)
  14. mooshoepork

    mooshoepork Guest

    Kapt.Krunch It works! I don't know what I did differently but I am getting a stereo signal! left and right for both mics! I think it was audacity, I tinkered around with the settings and eventually figured out how to get two feeds working. However, a simple (I assume) problem. I am getting horrible feedback. How can I get rid of this? Thanks so much for your help! Lucky I didn't buy that firewire thing. But just on that subject, would I get better sound through that? Cheers
  15. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Feedback. Check both input and output levels. MAke sure the waveform you record is completely within the waveform view, and not clipping. You want it high enough to get a good S/N ratio, but not completely filling the waveform view.
    I don't remember if you stated what you were monitoring with. If you have you speakers turned up with the mic anywhere near them, that could cause it. Use headphones for mic recording. If you are running a guitar direct, or something mic'ed that's isolated from the speakers. then you can monitor through speakers. If you have any outputs running back into the inputs, and activated, then it's possible that you are sending the signal through an edless loop of out-in, out-in, out-in....
    You need to check your input and output paths, both physical and software.

    And, yes, you'll likely get much better sound through a good external unit than your SoundMax onboard audio. But, if you remedy the feedback problem, you can learn a lot with what you have to give you time to research and compare before you buy.

    Glad you got it (almost) working. Hope you figure out that last little problem.

    Good luck,

    Kapt.Krunch :wink:

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