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dual soundcards - help!

Member for

16 years 7 months
Hey everyone,
I use an audigy2 (pci) and an m-audio fw 410.
Here's what I'd like to do...

I would like to use the audigy for all playback and for midi, while using the m-audio only for audio recording.
How is this done?
I've been trying to, but I get lots of static in Sonar 6.
Thank you


Member for

15 years 10 months

Kapt.Krunch Tue, 02/13/2007 - 03:32
I suspect there is no outboard mixer that he can connect both to, thus he wants to try to at least get the best recording quality IN, although it's going to suffer on playback through the Audigy. And he may need them both going through the Audigy because he wants to use MIDI, and the M Audio doesn't do MIDI playback. Is this a good assumption?

Best bet is probably to get a small mixer and connect the outputs of both to it, then run the amp/speakers from that. That way you could play MIDI through the Audigy, and audio (at better quality) through the M Audio.

Anyway, have you checked to make sure the sampling rates and bit depths match in both?

Have you prepared your computer to record audio...turning off all unnecessary background tasks, etc.?

I think Sonar has a "Wav Profiler" or something...did you run that? In Sonar, you have to choose the devices and make sure they are enabled, then each track has to be set individually for WAV device in and out.

I suspect there may be a bit of a problem trying to record in with the M-Audio, while monitoring through the Audigy. It may crackle and stutter while monitoring, because you are trying to use two different clocks, but the recording may actually be OK. In other words, it might record a track just fine to disk, but if monitoring through another card, since the clocks aren't matched and locked...there may be some of that.

As far as playback getting routed back, turn off the "What You Hear" in the Audigy properties...I don't remember exactly where it is.

Sans a mixer, there MAY be something else you can do, if you need to listen to MIDI while recording. Apparently, the M-Audio has only two inputs, so you really can't just connect the outputs of the Audigy to a couple to monitor while recording.(You MAY want to check out the possibilities of the AUX features of the M-Audio, though).

If nothing else, get your basic MIDI tracks mixed to a basic backing track, and record them into Sonar as stereo audio through the M-Audio. This won't necessarily be your final MIDI tracks that you will use, just a basic backing track. Now, perhaps you can monitor that stsereo track from the M-Audio outputs, while also recording and monitoring yourself through the M-Audio. You still hear the MIDI (now as audio), but your aren't using the Audigy outputs at this time. You are recording along with the MIDI-to-audio tracks, the MIDI is still just don't actually hear the Audigy. (May be a bit of a hassle, because you'll have to disconnect the Audigy outputs from the M-Audio inputs at this time...that's why a small mixer would be better).

So, once you get all your killer guitar tracks and stellar vocals recorded...what do you do, now? Now, you want to find the best MIDI sounds to mix in. Instead of destroying your pristine audio by trying to EQ the crap out of it to fit to MIDI, now you want to find MIDI sounds that fit around your AUDIO! Maybe a different SoundFont for that bass would be better. Sounds good...but too much low-mid? Open up Vienna SoundFont editor and tweak it, then save it as another name, load it back in, and use it. Or, run each intrument out seperately to audio, with all the other tracks muted, and treat them a bit with EQ then. Many ways to do it.

It may be possible to keep the audio running through the M-Audio, since the MIDI should follow along just fine, and run the ouputs of the Audigy, again, into the inputs of the M-Audio, just to record the MIDI sounds, while monitoring the audio.

Once you think you have the best MIDI sounds, mixed, to compliment your audio...then mute all the audio, and record your mixed MIDI tracks into the M-Audio. NOW, since you have ALL your guitar playing and vocals as audio, and your MIDI mixed down to audio, you then reroute ALL your Sonar audio tracks back out to the M-Audio to do ypour final mix. Now you are using the better audio device to mix through. All along, you have been monitoring through the M-Audio, which has better sound. Your amp/speakers never had to change outputs, but your Audigy outs had to be connected and disconnected a few times. (GET A SMALL avoid all this).

Also, once an audio track has been recorded into Sonar, (and I think this may be an issue you are having), go to (I think) "Options>Project>Clock", and set the "Source" for Sync to "Audio".
If you leave it set to "Internal", as you would have it set when doing MIDI, the audio will stutter like Mel Tillis. Now that audio is in's the boss. MIDI tracks will follow along happily. Any timing differences caused by audio running with MIDI following will not result in pitched MIDI notes, but audio trying to follow the internal clock, or MIDI clock, will pitch out, stutter and crackle, and possibly lock things up.

There may be some other stuff I didn't think of, and I THINK I got all that right, as far as a temporary work-around. You'll have to figure out your M-Audio monitor-mixer routing in order to record while monitoring, and not re-recording the already present stuff. But, you'll be recording and final mixing through your better audio device.

You stated your "Ideal" setup was having all audio recorded through the M-Audio and played back through the Audigy. I think everyone here would agree that it would NOT be the ideal setup. Monitoring quality while recording isn't QUITE as important as the actual signal that gets recorded. That's what you want to have good. Momitoring to the final mix, IS important that you run it all through the best device you have.

Study the monitoring and AUX capabilities of the M-Audio. And, perhaps, get a small mixer, if you don't already have one.

Hope this helped.


Member for

16 years 7 months

cotenyc Wed, 02/14/2007 - 16:06
Hey Kapt,
your info was really informative, thanks a lot for that!

To be honest though, I spent a few days running tests.. m-audio vs Audigy2 audio quality/ recording.. to see the differences with my own ears.
Turns out, the m-audio did have a bit more punch to the sound, a hair more clarity, the difference wasn't stellar.. at least not $300 worthy.
I ended up returning the M-audio and now have store credit.
I'm gonna save a bit more and go for something a bit more high end.
Oddly enough, I tried the presonus firebox 1st, which sounded and operated great, only thing is the preamps are so weak, which in turn would have caused me to buy another preamp.. which is really lame.

If you know of anything you could recommend let me know.
I'm looking for something portable, so I can use it on my laptop as well. Firewire, excellent-high qual and output preamps.
I don't care too much about all the dsp stuff, although maybe I can do away with my audigy2 altogether.

I was looking at the motu ultralight, but it seems a bit too advanced for me ( I know recording, but by no means am i an engineer with bus mix, routing, etc.etc. )
Also the Alesis IO|14

Thanks again

Member for

16 years 7 months

cotenyc Sun, 02/11/2007 - 12:43
yeah I did, and the best I can get in sonar is either a nice staticy, yet audible part.. and while recording I can't monitor the maudio at all.

My ideal "workng" configuration would be..
my external mixer connected to the rear lines of the maudio 410 straight in via firewire.

My Audigy2 for all playback and midi.

It seems like the playback is getting routed back to the maudio too... I'm missing something, is this even possible?