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Sound Card + Mixer vs Interface

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by Slice, Aug 10, 2007.


What's better overall?

  1. Sound Card + Mixer

  2. USB or Firewire Interface

  1. Slice

    Slice Guest

    I'm a bit new here and I wanted to know what you think would be the cheapest/highest quality/best longevity/best upgradability/best reliability or anything you can think of between a sound card (something like an M-Audio audiophile 192 or 2496 or a E-MU 0404 or whatever you could find in the same price range/quality/reliability) combined with a small mixer (like a Yamaha MG102 or Behringer Xenyx 520, 802, 1002, 1202, 1204, or Mackie Onyx 1220 or VLZ3 1202 or whatever you can find) versus an Interface, either USB or Firewire (Focusrite Saffire series, Presonus Firebox, Firepod, or whatever...).

    Please give suggestions about better products in your opinion for any of the categories.

    I'm personally in a big dilemma between both and can't choose, for a max 2 mic inputs, considering I have an integrated sound card, and a very small budget.
  2. Slice

    Slice Guest

    Poll ends in 4 days... could anybody answer me?
  3. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Since there are so many variables that one would need to know about you and your needs and be able to predict your future needs, there is no clear answer to your question, as well as there is no clear answer as to the "what is best" question. What is best for me may not be best for you or anyone else. At one time it was fairly easy as there was only a handfull of products to choose from, There are now products that fit just about every niche for ones needs.

    I can tell you that the E-MU 0404 has about as much quality, flexability, features and overall value that is possible for under a $100. In most cases, a PCI or PCIe audio interface will give you better reliability and performance than firewire or USB.

    Upgradability has a lot to do with what time frame and budget you are willing to spend overall. Things like computer hardware and software easily become obsolete in fairly short amont of time.

    If you know or expect that you will never need more than two inputs, then the mixer idea may be an unnecessary item.
  4. Slice

    Slice Guest

    I may need more than 2 mic inputs but that won't be before a while... unless I start recording for my friends as well...

    What I would really want to know is what would come in at the lowest price with the best quality possible.
  5. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Doesn't really work like that. There is no one best or correct answer to this question. Ask 10-people and get 10 different answers. Even if all 10-people were to agree, that would not make it a hard or solid fact. It is usually futile to spend much time agonizing or comparing cheap stuff amongest other cheap stuff. The best you can do is find a product that meets all your requirements with the features you need. If you don't have any real or direct experience in using such products, you or anybody else won't likely be able to tell any sound quality difference from one to another anyway.
  6. Slice

    Slice Guest

    You're right...problem is both ways fit my needs...

    And I'm aware that there are too many different products on the market to find one that's really better than another... it depends on how you use it.

    I'll have to take a ride to the local music shop to see what they can offer me for what price and all.
  7. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Be leary of the salesman. Many of them are only loyal to profit and base there specific suggestions on the products that make them the most money which is most often not the best match of a product for you.
  8. Slice

    Slice Guest

    I'm just going to do a tour to get all the prices of each and see which is the best deal after.
    The thing is there are so many products out there right now you get a little lost if you don't know too much about them...
  9. Mandachuva

    Mandachuva Guest

    Another good option would be the E-MU 1212m - it has 2 analog ins/outs, excellent converters, some nice DSPs. Then you can expand on it by using E-MU Microdock M, adding 6 analog I/Os.
  10. Slice

    Slice Guest

    Thanks for the option, I'll look it up in store and on the internet.

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