What sound card to buy?

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Member Since: Jan 10, 2005

I'm looking to get into home recording, and obviously my first piece of kit (besides a computer which I already have), should be a sound card.

Here's a list of the sort of thing I'm looking for:

* MIDI I/O (for a keyboard to use Reason)
* At least 4 inputs. I'll probably only usually use two at once, but a bit extra capacity will stop me from being frustrated if I ever need it.
* Headphone monitoring
* Some sort of breakout box

I'll be mainly recording vocals, bass guitar and electric guitar. I may also invest in a condenser microphone to record acoustic guitar at some point.

I'm trying to decide whether to go for a mobile interface, so that if I buy a laptop in the future I can use it with that, but it's not that important.

Could someone explain to me the difference between balanced/unbalanced inputs?

Also, I'm a bit confused about the different input levels which are measured in dBs. Which ones are used for what types of equipment? I've got some sort of an idea, but I'm not sure. Many of the M-Audio cards have two of their inputs with built in instrument/mic pre-amps, but what sort of equipment can be connected to the other inputs which do not have that?

Many thanks,


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Since: Jan 10, 2005

Jan 10, 2005 08:29 am

Oh, and a budget of about 300 maximum.

Since: Apr 13, 2004

Jan 10, 2005 06:13 pm

sounds like a good thing for you to start out might be the m-audio delta 44 and a simple midi adapter in your joystick input.

if you wanna go a step further, i think aardvark has a card with 4I/O and midi. but it is pricy.

bace135 in the house tonight!
Since: Jan 28, 2003

Jan 10, 2005 06:48 pm

you could also go with the delta 44 and a keyboard that connects through the USB port like the M Audio Radium 49 (or similar).

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Jan 11, 2005 09:35 pm

Just a quick note.

Aardvark is no longer in bussiness, at least for the time being. So I would not recomend purchasing their products at the moment.

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