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Topic: USB or PCI Sound Card

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  1. #1

    USB or PCI Sound Card

    I have plans for buying a Sound Card, I was thinking to get an M-Audio Audiophile 192 but unfortunately there's no power mac intel with PCI slots and I don't know if will ever exist PCI slots on power mac intel so I would like to hear your opinions about USB sound cards for mac / windows, I only need 1 stereo input / output.

  2. #2

    Re: USB or PCI Sound Card

    I've had mostly bad luck with USB sound cards, as have a lot of other users. However, I've been OK with Firewire (so far).

    D

  3. #3

    Re: USB or PCI Sound Card

    How good are FireWire soundcards compared with PCI and USB?

  4. #4
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    Re: USB or PCI Sound Card

    I thought you said PCI wasn't an option.

    In decending order of desirablity:
    PCI
    USB2
    FireWire
    USB

    There's an article in VI magazine you should check out.

  5. #5

    Re: USB or PCI Sound Card

    Personally, I prefer Firewire to USB2 for A/V. For file-based hard disks, I prefer USB2.

    Firewire has an isochronous layer that allows the application to reserve bandwidth. The latency is low and fixed. Other traffic on the bus is not allowed to pre-empt or delay your A/V signal. It's perfect for camcorders, audio cards and other stuff with real-time, continuous streams.

    On the other hand, USB-2 is simpler, so it seems to be more reliable for plugging in and out hard drives and external DVD burners.

    PCI is the most tightly integrated with the system and has the best performance; however, if you want the best sound, you will want it coupled optically to external A/D and D/A converters. It's no big deal for monitoring, but is important if you want to make clean recordings.

    I'm not sure if any of the Firewire or USB-2 soundcards use optical isolation, but that would be good for keeping the electronic noise from the PC out of the audio.

    -JF

  6. #6

    Re: USB or PCI Sound Card

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill
    I thought you said PCI wasn't an option.

    In decending order of desirablity:
    PCI
    USB2
    FireWire
    USB

    There's an article in VI magazine you should check out.
    At this moment I don't know because Mac Intel aren't out yet and I don't know if those ones will come with PCI ports so that's why I'm asking here how current external sound cards performs compared with PCI sound cards.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst
    Personally, I prefer Firewire to USB2 for A/V. For file-based hard disks, I prefer USB2.

    Firewire has an isochronous layer that allows the application to reserve bandwidth. The latency is low and fixed. Other traffic on the bus is not allowed to pre-empt or delay your A/V signal. It's perfect for camcorders, audio cards and other stuff with real-time, continuous streams.

    On the other hand, USB-2 is simpler, so it seems to be more reliable for plugging in and out hard drives and external DVD burners.

    PCI is the most tightly integrated with the system and has the best performance; however, if you want the best sound, you will want it coupled optically to external A/D and D/A converters. It's no big deal for monitoring, but is important if you want to make clean recordings.

    I'm not sure if any of the Firewire or USB-2 soundcards use optical isolation, but that would be good for keeping the electronic noise from the PC out of the audio.

    -JF
    I use my sound card only for pluging my keyboard and for recording my guitar so I don't need those A/D and D/A converters (correct me if I'm wrong).

  7. #7

    Re: USB or PCI Sound Card

    MIDI is digital control data. There are no A/D or D/A converters involved.

    If you're recording your guitar into your PC, you are converting the analog input to digital data, hence an A/D conversion.

    I assume that you are connecting your analog speakers, hence a D/A conversion.

    Anytime you bring an analog signal into proximity with a PC's EMI (elecro-magnetic interference) it gets polluted. That's why external, isolated analog circuits are best.

    Then again, if you're recording a loud, distorted guitar, it may not be such a big deal. If you're recording an oboe playing pp, noise is enemy number one!

    -JF

  8. #8

    Re: USB or PCI Sound Card

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst
    MIDI is digital control data. There are no A/D or D/A converters involved.

    If you're recording your guitar into your PC, you are converting the analog input to digital data, hence an A/D conversion.

    I assume that you are connecting your analog speakers, hence a D/A conversion.

    Anytime you bring an analog signal into proximity with a PC's EMI (elecro-magnetic interference) it gets polluted. That's why external, isolated analog circuits are best.

    Then again, if you're recording a loud, distorted guitar, it may not be such a big deal. If you're recording an oboe playing pp, noise is enemy number one!

    -JF
    Ohh so an external sound card will be better for Sound recording?

    In my case I only records Bass Guitar and Electric Guitar (Distorted) so a USB or FireWire will be better than a PCI?

  9. #9

    Re: USB or PCI Sound Card

    Yes, Firewire and USB-2 soundcards are theoretically better than all-in-one PCI soundcards. Some PCI soundcards include a cable to an external box. These are clean too - in theory.

    Of course, a poor USB design won't be as good as an excellent PCI design. It really comes down to the specific product.

    Then again, I'm using an Audiophile 192, which is a PCI card. It has balanced analog connectors, which are cleaner than, say, the single-ended connectors of the Audiophile 2496. I mainly use it for monitoring, rather than critical recording.

    -JF

  10. #10

    Re: USB or PCI Sound Card

    If you use a firewire interface like the 828mk2 wouldn't you route everything through it? Or am I missing the flow of this thread?
    MotuHari--DP 4.61, Reason, Stylus RMX, Kontakt2, VGEE, GPO, Mac B&W G3w/G4 Upgrade, Keystation Pro 88

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