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Using external converters w/S/PDIF or aes/ebu to soundcard

Hi all!

I'm sorta a noobie to digital recording, and I need some advice on some new equipment. I'm going to expand my analog studio to digital. Now I'm wondering what I need to look for when purchasing some sort of soundcard. I'd like to use Pro Tools (does it matter if it's LE or M-powered?), but I have Logic Pro for now.

Now to my question; I'm think I'm going to use a pair of Mytek A/D and D/A converters for conversion. Does it matter what kind of soundcard I get, since it's just gonna carry a digital signal? Can the soundcard change the signal in any way (bass loss or flat sound, for example)?

What do I need to look for in the soundcard if I'm just gonna use it to carry a digital signal into the computer?

I have been recommended anything from Lynx to RME to M-audio (which would bring the Pro Tools into the picture), but it's all a bit confusing. O appreciate any kind of help on the subject! Peace!

- eaini -


ghellquist Sun, 07/30/2006 - 13:40

Mytek should be a good choice. There are a lot worse to choose on the market (and a few, hideously expensive, that migth be better) .

Once the signal has been converted from Analog to Digital, any soundcard will do -- none of them will change the sound in any way whatsoever. Only remember to set the Mytek as master when it comes to clocking (this will fall in place when you get the unit).

As far as ProTools, there are two quite different versions: the full program and LE. The full program uses special hardware for just about any sound processing, one example is the TDM systems. This is the kind you find in professional studios, at a professional price. This is not the road you want to follow unless you are aiming at a professional studio.

Then there is the LE system that uses your computer resources for sound processing, Mac or Windows. The LE system is setup to always require either a Digidesign hardware or M-Audio hardware (selected models). M-Audio was lately acquired into the Digidesign family. No other hardware will even allow the software to start.

If you buy new or used Digidesing hardware you will get Protools in the package. Sometimes you will need to upgrade to the latest version, at a fee of course. Currently there are only two major Digidesign offers, the MBox2 and the 002R (R as in rackmount). There is a 002 as well, having a control surface with moving faders. Not quite worth the money if you ask me but your mileage may vary.

If you go the M-Audio road you need to buy the ProTools M-powered version separately. The M-Audio hardware versions are generally a bit less in cost, I am not sure about the models, but check out the web site for details.

So if you absolutely require to run Protools LE, you need to select one of the supported hardwares. Then connect your Mytek, most probably using lightpipe cables. Set up the switches (software and hardware). And off you go recording and mixing. The Mytek will assure that you have top quality conversion.

Personally, I think you might still crank quite a few miles out of Logic Pro. Why not start by adding the Myteks as they will make quite a difference and feel it from there?

Good luck