sound card question and possible solution (dont know if its even possible)

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by chris65372, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. chris65372

    chris65372 Guest

    i just purchased a saffire pro 40 firewire interface. i am running it to an hp tx2500z tablet laptop. using the express card slot for firewire port. the sound card is integrated, and i fear it is not powerful enough to run this. does anyone have any insight into this?

    even if it i does, it probably will perform quite poorly to a better card. if i were to get an express card slot sound card, what do you recommend? if this is done i then i have the problem of need two express card slots, one for firewire and one for a sound card. is there any way to have two slots via some expansion method? if so, will this drastically reduce the performance of both devices since they would still be being processed by one port? is this even possible anyways?

    i may have other issues, as i have just started investigating this, but i feel the sound card is a likely culprit and somethign i will need to upgrade anyways.

    this is the only computer i have and it has 2.2 ghz dual core amd processor and 4 gb ram with a 320 gb hard drive, so everything else should be alright. i am trying to get more information about the integrated card, and will post here when i find out
  2. TimOBrien

    TimOBrien Active Member

    The saffire IS a soundcard.

    soundcard=interface. Same thing.
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    currently Billings
    Tim is correct. You aren't using the built in card if you are using the Saffire. You can daisy chain a firewire hard drive to the Saffire too. You don't mention problems but I assume there are otherwise you wouldn't have posted. Tablet computers are not normally used for audio as the moterboards are rarely sufficient to the task.
  4. chris65372

    chris65372 Guest

    I was curious about that because I was reading somewhere about needing an excellent sound card but I think it was for one with integrated ports not an external interface.

    so just to get this straight- when i record the internal sound card in my computer isn't be used AT ALL?

    its just my processing power?

    this is actually a fairly high end laptop. i think it would be decent enough to run basic recording.

    i am having issues. audacity crashes. i am using windows 7 64 bit. i also do not have a firwire port standard on the computer. using an expresscard slot. i hear some ppl have problems with these? any incite? i read some suggestions that a firewire A expresscard is preferred and i got a B because i figured it would be better for the future. any idea as to whether or not this true.

    issues could be this card, my laptop not being beefy enough, and OS compatibility issues although i believe all my drivers are correct.

    the interface works fine on a friend's MacBook Pro.

    i've also heard from several sources about optimizing your computer for audio recording. any links or tips would be helpful on this topic.


  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    currently Billings
    You have too many issues to type on a phone. First you aren't going to use the internal chip. Period. Get over it. That's why you bought the damn Saffire to begin with. Second, if you can't run Audacity then your pc is jacked up. I'll have to address that from a computer keyboard. And yes, you will have to optimize your computer.

    For the.record I exclusively use 1394b so that is no impediment at all.
  6. TimOBrien

    TimOBrien Active Member


    ALL pc onboard soundcards are made with about 40 cents worth of parts.
    The manufactures have standardized on a 'lowest common denominator' to give 99.95% of users with low-cost beeps, boops and moderate gaming sounds.
    What WE need is very different.

    #1 Rule of Recording: You MUST replace the built-in soundcard.

    Here's a good guide and user-tested suggestions that work: The Best Audio Interfaces for your Home Studio by TweakHeadz Lab
    (you'll want to bookmark and read through all of Tweak's Guide while you're there...)

    Another good article: Choosing an audio interface - Choosing An Audio Interface
  7. lambchop

    lambchop Active Member

    John was correct that you need to optimize you OP for use as a DAW. Search the web for "Optimizing Windows 7 for Audio". Here's a couple of places for starters:

    Optimising your PC for audio on Windows 7 .: Focusrite Answerbase

    PreSonus Audio Electronics : Optimizing Your Computer for Audio - Windows Vista/Windows 7

  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    currently Billings
    The other gents beat me to some optimization guides. I happen to primarily use Black Viper to tweak services but these other guides cover more things than services.msc so start there. Get over the idea you have a "high end laptop." In consumer pc's "high end" means designed for gamers at best. And, as many folks find out, gaming computers and audio recording computers while not mutually exclusive are no where near the same. If you had said your computer was customized out for Autocad you would be closer to audio. Bear in mind also, that consumer pc manufacturers really don't have your best interest at heart. They WANT you to buy a new computer every 2-4 years. Emphasis on 2.

    The best computers are manufactured with server class components but this reliability makes them much more expensive. You'll primarily be "rolling your own" if you were to go this route.

    At any rate, the single worst thing on any computer is bloat. Get into the control panel and uninstall everything you aren't using. Really. Bloatware is why most people even half comfortable with computers take a brand new one and reinstall the operating system from scratch right off the bat-and not with a restore disc. Microsoft Office while handy for many, is anathema for a recording computer because of the background tasks it installs-specific Outlook related.

    If this is a recording only machine, disable the network cards and remove any antivirus. Yes remove it. 80% of people that bring me computers have expired antivirus anyway. Out of date antivirus causes massive slow downs because the AV program is desperately trying to phone home and get updated all the time. Also, antivirus by it's nature is going to dick with your audio program as it's reading and writing data constantly. If you use this machine to surf the web, don't go to those **** sites and don't click all the fishing links that pop up on other websites. Better yet, go buy a $250 netbook to surf the web and leave this pc for recording.

    Unplug any usb attached device you aren't using for recording. Unfortunately USB 1 and USB2 are not bidirectional protocols. This means data only travels one way at a time and any other USB device that wants to send data in the pipeline is waiting in line to get it's chance, even if all it is going to do is tell the computer "hey, I'm over here." USB isn't bad, just get rid of the unnecessary stuff.

    The guides from the other folks and these down and dirty pointers ought to get you running enough to run Audacity (that was a big red flag by the way).
  9. remixx

    remixx Active Member

    I have the pro 40 and it runs great. Like the others have said, first things first, optimize your system. Does your express card have a TI chipset? I know that with windows 7 you'll need to run the legacy firewire driver with the pro 40. That's the word from focusrite.
  10. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    "soundcard=interface. Same thing."


    We'll do a service for the unitiated to clear that up. I've seen more than one post where someone couldn't understand why they couldn't get their MIDI sounds to play back through their new audio interface because "it has MIDI jacks" (or USB MIDI capability), and the sounds play through my onboard soundcard!"

    Although the lines are blurring further with more and more people using virtual instruments triggered by MIDI that play through an audio interface, "soundcards" normally have MIDI-playback ability, as in it's own GM/GS/XG MIDI soundset, or something like a Soundblaster that uses Soundfonts, etc.

    An "audio interface" (normally) only records and plays back audio, though it may have some MIDI functionality, usually for control purposes. Pure audio interfaces don't contain MIDI soundsets, though MIDI-triggered virtual instruments can be played back through them as audio. (Yes, technically a soundcard's MIDI-triggered soundsets sets are played back as audio, but, those sounsets are integrated in the cards).

    Soundcard= audio I/O + MIDI control capability + MIDI soundset.

    Audio inteface= audio I/O + (possibly) MIDI control capability - MIDI soundset.

    Most onboard soundcards are normally just that...cheezy MIDI soundsets + inferior audio I/O.

    If you're not doing MIDI sequencing, don't worry abut it...your Pro 40 is all you need. You won't use it. If you are doing MIDI, use virtual instruments, and/or get a better-sounding MIDI module/keyboard, etc., and run it through that. In either case, disable the onboard soundcard, if possible. No need for it, unless you reaaly want your bleeps and bloops taking up resources so you can hear them through your tiny tinny speakers.


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