are soundcards more important than software?

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by moonwatcher6, Sep 3, 2004.

  1. moonwatcher6

    moonwatcher6 Guest

    after reading some of these posts, its clear that you all like to beat the mole back in his hole for asking for broad advice. so if a grand stroke of advice is not your thing, then move along.
    i have recorded on 4-tracks my whole life because i felt i was keepin it real, man. i recently entered this world of using my computer and have one question to start off, and if anyone can help i would greatly appreciate it.........

    are soundcards more important than software? if i have an inferior program, is a great soundcard moot?

    told ya, i know nothing. i have no clue how to type that all into google. anyway, i just dont want to go spend more money on one than the other and be disappointed. so, if you feel like guiding my first step, please dont hesitate. thank you.

    ps-i am looking to record guitar, vocals and use my computer as a recording unit/sequencer and an expensive metronome.
  2. Ben Godin

    Ben Godin Active Member

    Jun 5, 2004
    Charlotte, NC, USA
    Home Page:
    Your question is very ...weird,,, a soundcard and software are two very different things, and comparing them to each other is quite useless, each is as important in its own class, its like comparing the Lakers to the Yankees, which one is better, obviously i can't answer that questoin because i am referring to different sports, i would take another looks at the question, reword it, and then maybe more posts will show up.
  3. stickjam

    stickjam Guest

    Actually the Yankees vs. Lakers metaphor is not an accurate one for what I believe the original question posed. A better metaphor would be comparing the Lakers playing in a high-school gymnasium, versus a nationally-ranked high school team playing in Staples Center. In moonwatcher's post, the software corresponds to the team and the soundcard to the venue.

    In the sports comparison, the Lakers would probably play better at their home court than at a 1940's-era high-school gym. (Although some of the "Grand Palaces to Sport" that some US school districts have recently been building on the backs of taxpayers might make the Lakers not want to go back to LA!) Conversely the Staples Center might inspire a high-school team to play better than at their old school gym--but it may overwhelm them too.

    Back to the recording question--if budget is a concern, I wouldn't totally cheap-out on either- Like I wouldn't spend big bucks on software like Nuendo and drop it on a PC with a Soundblaster. I'm also not sure I'd bust my budget on an Apogee and join it up with a shareware audio program. In either case, you'd be making compromises that would likely degrade the benefits of the more expensive component.

    I imagine I'm in the same situation. I know the difference between good and great sound--I want great, but I can afford good. My tactic is to pursue the middle of the road with an eye toward growth when my budget allows. I don't know if you're tilting toward Windows or Macintosh platforms, so I'll assume the former, with which I'm most familiar

    For a soundcard, I'm setting on an RME 9636 which has two Adat lightpipe I/Os and like other RME products, is generally acknowleged as great performing and rock solid. For 8-track analog I/O, I'm probably getting an Alesis AI3 -- not the greatest but it works. The combination costs about the same as some all-in-one Firewire interfaces, but it gives expandability. If I want to go to 16-tracks, I can get another AI3. If I want to upgrade to better converters and analog input stages, I can replace the Alesis with a better box. If I want to go to 24 tracks or get a master clock to improve fidelity I can because the RME card is expandable for more Adat ports and wordclock I/O.

    On the software side, I've been a Cakewalk user for years (now using Sonar 3 Producer), but most software makers have lower-cost offerings that give much the performance of their flagship product with an upgrade path--usually greater track count and better plug-ins. If I were starting over with that RME card, I'd look at the Cubase line--their upgrade path extends all the way to Nuendo and I've heard plays exceptionally well with the built-in ASIO support in the RME interfaces.

    Hope that helps.

  4. moonwatcher6

    moonwatcher6 Guest

    stickjam's resoponse

    dude, li ike your answer very much. thank you. my writing is cyclical and cryptic but you picked up what i was putting down. i also thought this situation compared eddie van halen playing a toy guitar from kmart. thanks again.

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