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Topic: Please recommend me a (200$ or less) sound card

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  1. #1

    Please recommend me a (200$ or less) sound card

    So I'm interested in getting either GPO4 or EWQLSO, with the following PC:
    - AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 2.21 GHZ
    - 4 GB Ram
    - Integrated sound card

    Assuming the rest of my computer is fine (is it?), the obvious upgrade is the sound card. It needs to have ASIO drivers for low latency with MIDI keyboard (hooked up via USB). That is really my only need.

    I don't do ANY real-world recording, only samples, and I know next to zero knowledge when it comes to music production, so it'll have to be easy to set up.

    It would be nice to have an external one, just to make it easier to setup and to save me the trouble of putting it in, but I don't have firewire. I'm just an amateur looking for basic functionality... is USB really that bad? If you do recommend a firewire one then please link me a cheap PCI firewire port card as well.

    For internal cards, how are the Creative X-fis? I've heard they're bad for music production, but yet I have a few friends that use them and they seem to think they're alright. Again, I'm only an amateur, not a professional audiophile.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    Re: Please recommend me a (200$ or less) sound card

    Stay away from soundblasters. They work in some machines but not all.

    In one of my machines I use a delta 66. It is an internal PCI card with a break out box. With that card I had to have a headphone amp as well, so make sure whatever you get will run everything you want. I also have to use a preamp for my microphone.

    In my new machine I use a M-audio Fast Track Pro. It is right around $200 and does not need any amps. It is USB and I have no latency problems at all. It also provides Phantom Power for mics that need it.

    Also search the threads here for tons of posts like this one.

    Ron
    "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Albert Einstein

    http://composersforum.ning.com/profile/RonaldFerguson

  3. #3

    Re: Please recommend me a (200$ or less) sound card

    Quote Originally Posted by sirwilliamwallace View Post
    So I'm interested in getting either GPO4 or EWQLSO, with the following PC:
    - AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 2.21 GHZ
    - 4 GB Ram
    - Integrated sound card

    Assuming the rest of my computer is fine (is it?), the obvious upgrade is the sound card. It needs to have ASIO drivers for low latency with MIDI keyboard (hooked up via USB). That is really my only need.

    I don't do ANY real-world recording, only samples, and I know next to zero knowledge when it comes to music production, so it'll have to be easy to set up.

    It would be nice to have an external one, just to make it easier to setup and to save me the trouble of putting it in, but I don't have firewire. I'm just an amateur looking for basic functionality... is USB really that bad? If you do recommend a firewire one then please link me a cheap PCI firewire port card as well.

    For internal cards, how are the Creative X-fis? I've heard they're bad for music production, but yet I have a few friends that use them and they seem to think they're alright. Again, I'm only an amateur, not a professional audiophile.

    Thanks in advance.
    Hello sirwilliamwallace,

    Welcome to our forums.

    Personally I prefer internal sound cards and they are so easy to install. Just open the side of your computer, check you have a spare PCI or PCIe slot, plug in the PCI or PCIe card then install the drivers.

    I use the M-Audio Audiophille 192. This is a popular high quality card intended for audio work. It has no on-board sounds so would not be suitable for gamers although the on-board audio could be used for that.

    I agree with Ron, don't go with Sound Blaster for audio and music production.

    There are many threads on sound cards and I would suggest also trying a forum search; below are just a few examples:

    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ht=sound+cards

    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/showthread.php?t=57566&highlight=sound+cards

    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ht=sound+cards

    Good luck.
    Michael
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

  4. #4

    Re: Please recommend me a (200$ or less) sound card

    Hi!

    I usually recommend Presonus Audiobox USB for my friends. It's an external USB-card and no, I don't think USB is that bad. I personally have Firewire, but actually Firewire seems to consume even more CPU than USB-devices.

    Here's the product page: http://www.presonus.com/products/Det...x?ProductId=53

    Please feel free to google some reviews of it, too.

    I think it's quite good for the money.
    Film Composer - www.juhanalehtiniemi.com
    My latest project: Our first indie pop -single, produced in Ableton Live, available also on iTunes and Amazon
    Mac Pro 6-core 3.33GHz

  5. #5

    Re: Please recommend me a (200$ or less) sound card

    My best friend swears by his M-Audio Delta 1010-LT, and it's well under $200.

  6. #6

    Re: Please recommend me a (200$ or less) sound card

    For an external USB card i suggest the US-144 by Tascam

    Worked very well for me (until i upgraded to something bigger). And has a little more functionality than you require, just incase you decide to expand your sonic adventures!

  7. #7
    Senior Member sd cisco's Avatar
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    Re: Please recommend me a (200$ or less) sound card

    I use the Tascam US-122L - it is USB external and 0% latency, easy to install software, bypasses your internal sound card, which can be left in place and does not interfere. Also, has great RCA stereo outs, can record audio signals thru guitar jacks or XLR stereo inputs, take a look online. I bought mine early this year and was about $150.

    Good luck!
    sd cisco

  8. #8

    Re: Please recommend me a (200$ or less) sound card

    There is also one from Cakewalk now. Basically rebranded Roland/Edirol
    units. They have very solid drivers.
    Here is the link:
    http://cakewalk.com/products/hardwar...px?Prod=UA-4FX
    The unit sells for around $200.00

    Ed

  9. #9

    Re: Please recommend me a (200$ or less) sound card

    Hi, sirwilliamwallace

    As you can see from all the helpful responses you've gotten so far, there are simply a Ton of choices out there for what you need. The market is overflowing with boxes or cards that do what you need.

    Between my two computers, I use several of the units mentioned on this thread.

    On my desk top I have the card Michael mentioned:

    M-Audio Audiophile 2496

    It's been The standard card for quite awhile now for the simple reason that it is absurd and nothing else in your price range would beat it. You would just need to decide if those short little cords on the break out components would suit you OK. Take a look at the link above and you'll see exactly how it's built. You would want your system permanently hooked up to those short cords sticking out behind your computer--INCLUDing, by the way, your MIDI keyboard - since as you'll see, the card has MIDI cords also.

    It is a BIG help, though, to have a box that sits out on its own, its controls conveniently close to your keyboard. Volume knobs, headphone jack. At this point I couldn't possibly live without a box like that.

    So on my desk top I also have the unit Sd mentioned:

    Tascam US-122


    Take a look, and you'll see what I mean about having all those ins and outs conveniently on the box. This is basically like a Million similar boxes made by many companies.

    Do not worry about USB connection in the least. It's all I've ever used with no problems directly related to that connection.

    The larger Tascam US-144 that Ben mentioned is a step up, maybe more than you need right now.

    Notice these units usually also have XLR microphone inputs. Maybe you think you'll never need those----I suggest that as you go on making music on a computer you are Very likely to need a microphone at some point.

    One more--My newest unit is the one I use on my laptop:

    Alesis iO|2

    It's great, identical controls to the Tascam. I got it because it's a bit more compact and can fit in my laptop's carrying bag.

    And those just scratch the surface. They are ALL under $200, $150 being the average price. Very competitive market - You can look for more, or just go for one of the units mentioned on this thread. I don't think you could go wrong.

    Randy B.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
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    Re: Please recommend me a (200$ or less) sound card

    For best low latency performance I'd say go with a pci card if possible.
    Audiophile 2496.

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