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interface soundcard recommendations

Hi, I am new to setting up a home system based around a pc for personal use :
Keys : EMU Sampler rack with controller & Synth keybd
Elec bass, Drum machine, Acoustic & Elec guitars.
I rarely will use a mic and when only 1 or 2 for acoustic guitar or the odd vocal.
Right now I have a Yamaha mg16fx mixer for a quick + dirty set up.
plus some outboard f/x gear which I would like to have option to use within the system
So the big Q is: What interface and soundcard is best ?
I like to have hands on control without being mouse intensive.
And will be using Cubase.
Appreciate the help


RemyRAD Fri, 11/07/2008 - 12:34
If you want a multitrack interface for your computer, most will already have anywhere from 4 to 8 microphone preamps already built in. Mackie has a nice one as does Presonus. There are others. How much money you got?? Personally, I'd go with Apogee line level input converters & API and/or Neve preamps. Oh? That's what I already have! .... No, no.... OK, so I don't have the Apogee's. But the ATK converters in my Alesis HD 24xr are just fine by me with the above preamps. You don't want just better sound you want "THAT SOUND". Anything will give you better sound but only some things will give you "THAT SOUND". I get THAT SOUND when I use those preamps with cheap microphones like SM58's. I don't get THAT SOUND when I use better microphones & better preamps. I get something good but different. So I engineer on anything people are paying me to engineer upon. It's only when working in my kitchen I get to cook up what I like best. Yeah, using 30-year-old leftovers. LOL! Like a fine aged single malt.

Rupert Neve, Saul Walker, Glen Fidich
Ms. Remy Ann David

sturoc Sat, 11/08/2008 - 02:15
Thanks for Remy for the brand suggestions, always trying to stay away from the junk out there. Most of my inputs are line. Now from the interface would like to go to pc using best method i.e adat optical, firewire, usb .
Which is the most efficent ?
Alastly I have seen some units with a pci card packagd with them in lieu of a soundcard are these better?
Thanks for your help

RemyRAD Sat, 11/08/2008 - 12:12
If you're going to work from a laptop, the most efficient connection to an external audio device is FireWire IEEE 1394. This is the same type of connection as used for digital video cameras. So it has a fairly high data rate.

None of these external interfaces however, offer anything much more than software mixer capabilities. They don't have per se a DSP chip to handle all source of real-time events. This is not out of the realm of possibilities as there are other devices that offer external processor capabilities for real-time rendering.

If on the other hand your utilizing a desktop machine, there are other plug-in cards one may want to consider? In that respect, you can have numerous other DSP based cards from Universal Audio, TC, Digi design, other internal cards to provide enhanced features and real-time processing capabilities, above & beyond what a single processor can handle.

But it is harder to schlep around a desktop-based systems if you're just going to be tracking your band at different venues. I've known plenty of people would take a full-blown ProTools HD systems on location, so it's done. I don't want to do that. I'll take a dedicated recorder any day.

Thinking without the box
Ms. Remy Ann David