Sound Card Suggestions

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by Digger, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. Digger

    Digger Guest

    Well after toiling with this decision for a while I am going to make a move towards building myself a Cubase/Nuendo rig. I have already spec'd a computer (Dual CPU Dual Opteron - ooooohhh! (y) ).

    My goal is to build a system that can handle up to 32 I/O's. I need some suggestions on sound cards. Most of the sound cards I have researched can only handle 16 inputs.

    Are there cards that can handle more?
    Can a I use more than one 16 input card at a time on my system?

    Suggestions are welcome, thanks.
  2. Sonarfox

    Sonarfox Guest

    You could try daisy-chaining multiple firewire devices.

    The M-Audio range may suit your needs and a few select models are now supported by a specialist version of Pro-Tools.

    Hope this helps.
  3. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    May 25, 2004
    Often you can use two cards of the same type (depends on the exact card), seldom two of different types.

    One alternative is Lynx AES16 and external converters. Another alternative may be Motu or RME (check their sites).

    Generally, 32 channels of AD or DA is quite a bit, you are up in the pro range there. It will take a lot of external equipment as well, such as mic pres and whatever. You might want to consider doing a full calculation first before plungin ahead, doesn´t help very much to have a lot of AD-s if haven´t got the rest.

    From that point of view it might be a better idea to take small steps first, maybe aiming for a digital mix desk with, say, 16 inputs or so, and transferring 8 of them at a time to your computer over AES. There are a lot of variations really. This will allow you to submix things before recording on the odd occasions when you need more than 8 channels recorded at the same time.

    And once you are up in the pro range, stability and latency will be major concerns. Especially if you have paying clients. This is really the beauty of a Protools HD system, very stable with very low latency (some hate everything else). You may want to look into the PT HD architecture. One thing it does well is handling the large disk bandwith in an efficient way. As it is built on using external signal processing (external from the PC that is), you can get by with a rather slow PC. And when I say look into, I mean you should be serious about the looking. Go visit a few studios around you and talk with the engineer about their experience.

    Anyway, 32 channels is going to be quite a bit of money if you are serious about it. Plan on spending an additional 5% on the total budget (at least) on buying professional advice and it will save you 20%.

  4. Digger

    Digger Guest

    I was looking at the Lynx last night and sent them an email asking if two soundcards could be installed on the same computer. I haven't heard back from them yet.

    This is not my first system, I already have a Digi002 Rack - with 22 channles of external mic pres (good stuff, not crap). I don't want to go HD as that transition is unnecessarily expensive given the options available today with DSP cards and other related devices (I own an APA44 and 2 UAD's the T.C. Electronics stuff looks good).

    I have been checking thinks out for the last couple of months and up unilt recently I was seriously considering a basic HD setup. I wouldn't say that I am 100% done yet but much of my research is completed, thanks for your very thorough response.
  5. cfaalm

    cfaalm Active Member

    Feb 21, 2005
    Home Page:
    It also depends on your choice of converters. Suppose you fancy the Focusrite Octopre or anyting else with ADAT outs, you might want to look into an RME MADI setup.

    Needless to say, Firewire or mLAN is something completely different, though it will let you daisy chain multiple devices like sonarfox suggested.

    The HSDP MADI will offer you 64 x 48KHz or 32 x 96 KHz. You can use up to 3 of those in the same computer. By god, you will run out of PCI-slots :lol: The only thing is, you will need something like the ADI-648 as well. It aint gonna be cheap, but hey, neither is a dual Opetron workstation.

    Good luck.
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