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USB/expresscard/firewire alternatives to Echo Indigo I/O

Hi, I'm currently using a Dell Inspiron 700m with the Echo Indigo I/O, ART Tube MP preamp and a Shure SM58 to record children's speech samples for a research study. The output quality is satisfactory for the purposes of the study.

I am looking to upgrade my laptop, but unfortunately, the models I've been looking at (e.g., Dell XPS 120) do not include a PCMCIA slot but an express card slot instead. So what I would like to know is the following:

1. Does anyone know if there are any PCMCIA to expresscard adapters that would allow me to use my Echo Indigo I/O card in expresscard slots?

2. Are there expresscard sound cards with equivalent quality to the Echo Indigo I/O?

3. Are there all-in-one USB/expresscard/firewire solutions in addition to the M-audio Mobilepre USB that would give me equivalent quality at about the same price range (i.e., $200)?

Any other comments/input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


RemyRAD Tue, 07/25/2006 - 12:02
If what you have been doing has been adequate already? Why are you trying to reinvent the wheel? What do you hope to accomplish by that? Why not look at another laptop that offers the same kind of interface as you are currently using as there are so many on the market, I'm sure you could find one?

In the end, since all of your outboard equipment is more than adequate for doing all sorts of reasonable high-quality work, all you really need to purchase for any laptop is an outboard, line level only, USB audio interface. There are many starting at around $60 and up.

Problem solved!

Thinking inside the box
Ms. Remy Ann David

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 07/25/2006 - 17:28
Hi, GCCH as Remy suggested the USB interface is a good way to go since you only require one mic input. Here are two devices that are pretty much equal to what you have if not better:

Maudio Mobile Mic Pre Tapco by Mackie Link USB
They both have built in mic inputs so no extra hardware required. May be others just cruz the online music stores and browse for USB audio interfaces. Make sure it includes the mic preamp input. You can always sell your Indigo to offset the costs of the upgrade.

The adapter route sounds like a hassle and you may encounter issues when trying to integrate it with your new system. As you probably already know, most notebook computer companies have dropped the PMCIA standard and gone with the more popular USB or Firewire options. Believe me I think we have all been in your situation at one time or another. PC's are constantly changing and you sometimes just have to bite the bullet.

Good luck

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 07/26/2006 - 09:50
FW has more "bandwidth" which translates to bieng able to record multiple tracks at higher resolutions. If you plan to record more than one channel at a time this is the best way to go. I know FW it is not a common interface to find on a laptop its more an option. But for audio and video recording it is the prefered method at this time.
I can't really answer the price question. It really depends on your intended use. It is safe to say many of the people at this forum have probably went through several setups before finding one that works for them. Folks also, upgrade in order to meet there new needs. If you get the laptop it wouldn't hurt to get it with FW even if you use a USB interface.