Is an external soundcard necessary?

Floating Hunter

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#1
I'm looking at purchasing some Yamaha HSM80 monitors as I realise my mixdown levels could be better. Was wondering if an external soundcard would also make my mixdowns more precise?

Do you guys use them? If so which ones are the best for a few hundred quid budget?
 
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mr meh

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#3
Yes it is necessary, especially if your gonna drop some coin on some nice monitors.

And co-sign Focusrite Saffire stuff, I got the Pro 14 firewire version, think it was about £170.
 

rjx

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If you're 100% ITB, treat your room first, then look into good DAC's. The biggest improvement to your final product will be a properly treated room that you're creating / mixing / mastering music in. If you use hardware and or mics, you'll need an ADC/DAC (either separate units or a combo). The Echo AudioFire 12 ADC / DAC combo is really good for the price. Possibly "better" than anything under $1000.
 
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lostnthesound

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#5
Bit off topic: If you're on a Mac and got the coin, I can't sing enough praise about Duet 2. Aside from the insanely simply interface and quality output, the recording quality going into the interface (for me, external synth + guitar) is gold.
 

miszt

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There is far more to audio interfaces than quality, you need to think about what you need from the interfaces, do you need to plug in hardware synths? FX? microphones? instruments?

If no to all of those, then you do not need to spend allot of money on an interface at all, any of the major names will do and it doesnt need to be an expensive one


Where price really comes into play is with Microphone pre-amps and routing of signals from synths/fx etc - unless you are paying allot (eg Cranesong DA/AD), there is very little diffrence between entry level audio interface Digital Analog convertors from £50 upto 200-300£, as long as it is from a major name, and does 26bit 96khz DA then you will be fine


The audio interface will not improve your mixdowns, the only diffrence it will make is regarding latency in your system (how many synths you can play back at one go, essentially) and perhaps a diffrence in the Digital-Analog conversion, it may be slightly less noisey and glitchy, but as I said, there is very little diffrence until you start paying serious money for professional DA/AD's


my audio intefaces are old Audiophile 2496 cards, they only cost £50-60 and are excellent quality, I have other interfaces which contain mic-preamps and more advanced routing options, but for project work they are not used when I am working by myself, unless i need a Mic etc
 
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DjCartel

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#11
The audio interface will not improve your mixdowns, the only diffrence it will make is regarding latency in your system (how many synths you can play back at one go, essentially) and perhaps a diffrence in the Digital-Analog conversion, it may be slightly less noisey and glitchy, but as I said, there is very little diffrence until you start paying serious money for professional DA/AD's
im going to have to completely disagree with you there. For me, having an audio interface greatly improved the quality of sound coming from my monitors, due to the better connection. This in turn meant i could mix down better as the sound was more accurate. no an interface wont make your mixdowns better, but it will allow you to mixdown more accurately!
 

miszt

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im going to have to completely disagree with you there. For me, having an audio interface greatly improved the quality of sound coming from my monitors, due to the better connection. This in turn meant i could mix down better as the sound was more accurate. no an interface wont make your mixdowns better, but it will allow you to mixdown more accurately!
If you are comparing a motherboard sound module, to a DA convertor in an audio interface, then of course, there is a diffrence in quality (however the monitors, amp and studio acoustics are a far big part of this issue, DA's even at the cheap end do not color sound very much); that wasnt my point - if someone wants just a DA, there is no point spending £200 on one, as it will not be any better than a £50 version, the extra money relates to other things like mic pre-amps, until you move up several grades to higher end DA/AD;s
 
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DjCartel

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#13
If you are comparing a motherboard sound module, to a DA convertor in an audio interface, then of course, there is a diffrence in quality (however the monitors, amp and studio acoustics are a far big part of this issue, DA's even at the cheap end do not color sound very much); that wasnt my point - if someone wants just a DA, there is no point spending £200 on one, as it will not be any better than a £50 version, the extra money relates to other things like mic pre-amps, until you move up several grades to higher end DA/AD;s
right im with you there man. a lot of peopel just want it for the better connection i reckon
 
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