Is a good soundcard needed for recording vocals?

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by RRRecords, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. RRRecords

    RRRecords Active Member

    Jul 22, 2006
    Hey Guys and Girls!

    Just wanted to know if it is worth investing in a new soundcard to record vocals. Im currently using Nuendo with a crappy soundcard at the moment. For me, the quality is fine, but will it improve if i got a new one?

    And if so, should i get a firewire card? I'm looking to spend $250..


  2. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    The answer is PROBABLY. But you are happy with the sound you have, so why bother changing it?

    In general, any standard computer sound card (yes, even the top of the line sound blaster) is not really the best choice for any sort of pro, semi-pro, or home studio recording. If you get a better sound card it may make the vocals better, but since you like what you have, it might be different enough to where you don't like it.

    As a rule, I only buy something when I need it. For example, if I'm happy with my audio interface, I won't buy a new one until mine breaks or I hear one that sounds better (that I can afford). My advice to you would be to keep what you have. Save up your money. When YOU feel that your equipment is not meeting your needs, THAT is when you buy something new.
  3. RRRecords

    RRRecords Active Member

    Jul 22, 2006
    thank you.. thats what ive been told.. Great advice..

    the thing is i have saved up some money now LOL so i wanna spend it!! haha i have to be patient though cause i know i will need it later!

    Thanks again!
  4. DIGIT

    DIGIT Guest

    So, you are using a $1,000.00 program to get the BEST sound (in theory) and then, you don't have a real budget for a souncard?

    If your A/D conversion sucks there is NOTHING that you can do in NUENDO to make it sound better. The rule GIGO applies here as in everything else.

    At minimum, and that's a minimum, you should get a decent A/D converter.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    While I agree with both of the other professionals comments, it does seem rather odd that a $1000 program should be coupled with a $20 soundcard? What were you thinking?? Let's just say for a moment, that you have "borrowed" this incredibly expensive program from a friend for educational purposes? A $20 soundcard can be perfectly adequate, for educational purposes.

    Of course, I love using my top-of-the-line equipment for my recordings but on occasion, I take particular joy out of making good recordings with crappy equipment, when that is all I am provided with. It's much more of a challenge, especially when you exceed your expectations and theirs. If you can make good recordings on marginal equipment, you are better than marginal. Would I used a $20 soundcard in a professional application? Only if I had to and that is usually never. You will never realize the true beauty from a substandard device but it's really the performance that makes the difference above all.

    Grammy quality engineer in a talking head world
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  6. Alexrkstr

    Alexrkstr Active Member

    Aug 28, 2006
    Agree in that it is very very strange you could afford Nuendo and no soundcard. "Borrowed" seems like a politically appropriate call.

    M-Audio's MobilePre and Fast Track Pro are in your budget and the former one is the one I use. They both have phantom power to record with a condenser mic. I would get the MobilePre and invvest in a condenser mic like the MXL 990/991 pair to start off.

    I would also consider TASCAM's US-122 ($150) which comes with Cubase LE* and you would have a more stable piece of software. Cubase is identical to Nuendo but for music production.
  7. RRRecords

    RRRecords Active Member

    Jul 22, 2006
    Hi guys thanks for all the response..
    first of all, i have a M audio 192 high def sound card.. i got this soundcard based on ppl's views on this forum as well if u can recall :D
    the reason why i was asking this question was because my computer is getting fixed and was using the computer in my room to record, which obviously has the crappy sound card..

    I was just surprised in that quality when i recorded on my other computer, using cep mind you, i hardly noticed any change in quality, the only thing i had to do was adjust was the latency..

    So i was just trying to justify whether a purchase on a sound card is needed, thas all.. oh and Nuendo set me back $1250 aussie dollars lol!

    Thanks for the advice again!
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    RRRecords LOL! I know that feeling of having your favorite workstation go down and being forced to play with toys from your previous life! LOL!

    And well, this is part of what I've been saying for some time now. Even the crappy sound cards frequently use integrated circuit chips from the same companies that are manufacturing integrated circuit chips for the better quality sound cards. And so, there is a finite limit to the crappy factor. A 1996 Sound Blaster card probably doesn't sound as good as a 2006 Sound Blaster card? Agreed? Maybe? Probably?

    If one has a modicum of finesse and knows not to blow a + 4 DBm, 1.25 volts input, into a device expecting to see .1 to .3 volts input then there is a good chance you might be able to make a reasonable recording without too much blowout distortion. Of course it will not have the nuance differences that an experienced professional might realize in a shootout comparison?

    If one does not abuse the easily abused, one can often make friends with those sound cards less fortunate than us. I mean like how many people really hate the sound coming out of their portable CD players or portable MP3 players or i-Pods? They possess the same cheap integrated circuits chips that appear in those lovely Sound Bother sound cards and so when treated gently can definitely worked in a pinch without many people actually noticing the difference. Just don't tell them that you dress up as a girl on the weekends.

    Blasting the Under blasted
    Ms. Remy Ann David

Share This Page