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Topic: Laptop Sound Card Suggestions

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  1. #1

    Laptop Sound Card Suggestions

    Hey Guys!

    I could use some suggestions for an external sound card for a new laptop. Using the built-in card is really not how I want to go. It works, but I'd like to do better. This would have to be plugged in by way of a USB port. Oh, it's a new Lenovo laptop running Windows 7 Pro, 64 bit.

    Thanks!

    Gary
    Serenity Musician Productions (Gary A.)

    Lenovo ThinksStation S30, Windows 10 Professional 64-bit, 20 gig ram, 2 terabyte hd., M-Audio Fast Track, Finale25, Sonar Professional

  2. #2

    Re: Laptop Sound Card Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by serenitymusician View Post
    Hey Guys!

    I could use some suggestions for an external sound card for a new laptop. Using the built-in card is really not how I want to go. It works, but I'd like to do better. This would have to be plugged in by way of a USB port. Oh, it's a new Lenovo laptop running Windows 7 Pro, 64 bit.

    Thanks!

    Gary
    Excellent decision, Gary - You indeed need an interface. Some people manage to squeeze some music production out of a laptop's built in card, but I really don't know how they do it. I could never make the built in card on either a lap top or a desk top work satisfactorily - they're just not built for the demands computer musicians put on their systems.

    The market is so swimming with interfaces, it's a dizzying thing to check them all out. They all basically do the same thing, some just have more features, natch. But you should be able to get something that'll suit you just fine in the area of $150.

    In case you haven't looked at Sweetwater's selection, I highly recommend that company. No shipping charges, fast shipping, excellent tech support:

    Sweetwater audio interfaces

    Have fun shopping!

    Randy

  3. #3

    Re: Laptop Sound Card Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by serenitymusician View Post
    Hey Guys!

    I could use some suggestions for an external sound card for a new laptop. Using the built-in card is really not how I want to go. It works, but I'd like to do better. This would have to be plugged in by way of a USB port. Oh, it's a new Lenovo laptop running Windows 7 Pro, 64 bit.

    Thanks!

    Gary
    Hi Gary,
    My own solution was to go for a PCMCIA (cardbus) card.
    I use an E-MU 1616m which has a very useful breakout box too.
    Sound on Sound magazine seemed to like it,
    see here http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/oct0...s/emu1616m.htm.
    The review is from 2005 and significant work has been done on the drivers since then resolving, as far as I'm aware, all the minor criticisms.
    The main problem is that they seem to have discontinued them, but I picked up a good one off eBay for around half its original price, with the original box and all the wires etc.
    It's possible to get latency down to around 3ms for live playing.

    Just a passing thought.
    Kind regards,
    John.

  4. #4

    Re: Laptop Sound Card Suggestions

    I got a Roland Quad-Capture (USB) that I am liking pretty well. It's around USD $250 or so at Sweetwater...
    Mark McDowell
    Intel i7-920, 12GB, Dual 640GB SATA
    Windows 7 x64 Ultimate

  5. #5

    Re: Laptop Sound Card Suggestions

    I too like PCMCIA sound cards. I also have the E-Mu 1616M, and the Echo Indigo cards-both cardbus and express card.

    However, PCMCIA seems to have become extinct. Your E-Mu is way extinct, as cardbus died years ago, replaced by express card. Unlike Echo, E-Mu did not update with an express card version. (Although their parent company, Creative, did have an express card Soundblaster.)

    In looking at new notebooks, none seem to have express card either these days. PCMIA seems to have died totally, unfortunately.

    True, all notebooks have USB ports, and some have Firewire ports (although the latter seems to be dying as well), and can therefore use any USB interface, and some Firewire. However--one wants portability with a laptop, not a heavy box with AC adaptor. Some USB interfaces are bus-powered, powered by the computer, which is more portable, although those are not usually the best USB interfaces. However, for portability, the smallest lightest USB-powered interface is probably one's best bet these days. I don't know what that is.

    Some Firewire interfaces advertise that they can be run on bus power, but that is deceiving, as that never works with the FW ports on notebooks, but only those on desktops.

    I don't know what has happened to USB 3.0? One has heard about it for years, much faster than USB 3.0 or Firewire, but I have yet to hear of notebooks with USB 3 ports, nor have I heard of USB 3 interfaces.

    The new kind of port called Thunderbolt is suppose to much faster still than USB 3, but I don't know when that will become common, have audio interfaces for it, etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by SysExJohn View Post
    Hi Gary,
    My own solution was to go for a PCMCIA (cardbus) card.
    I use an E-MU 1616m which has a very useful breakout box too.
    Sound on Sound magazine seemed to like it,
    see here http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/oct0...s/emu1616m.htm.
    The review is from 2005 and significant work has been done on the drivers since then resolving, as far as I'm aware, all the minor criticisms.
    The main problem is that they seem to have discontinued them, but I picked up a good one off eBay for around half its original price, with the original box and all the wires etc.
    It's possible to get latency down to around 3ms for live playing.

    Just a passing thought.
    Kind regards,
    John.

  6. #6

    Re: Laptop Sound Card Suggestions

    I use a Roland/Cakewalk UA1 g External usb device velcroed to the laptop cover (along with a 500 gig drive for samples)

    http://www.rolandus.com/products/details/1089
    Fred

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