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  #1  
Old 03-27-2016, 01:01 AM
LochNESS LochNESS is offline
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Default Sound card recommendations?

So, my PC build is done. Drivers installed. PT installed. Using an old sound card + interface, looking for better options. What are you all using for sound cards, if not using HD Native?

A/D conversion gear: Black Lion Audio Sparrow mkII, samples 44.1kHz -192kHz, superb clock, outputs AES & coax/optical SPDIF (matched with BLA Auteur preamps)

Old all-in-one interface/card: Creative Audigy SoundBlaster 2ZS ... 24-bit, but I think max sample rate is 48. Don't believe it can handle 96, will have to verify. Interface can receive firewire in addition to optical and coaxial SPDIF (was using a PreSonus Bluetube preamp)

If it works, should I just keep it? Use the SPDIF optical out from Sparrow into Audigy? Have not tried this yet, again just wondering what everyone else is considering a good standard these days for sound cards. Sorry I'm just still a little confused about the signal path. I have preamps, ADC, now just need to get the signal into the mobo
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Gigabyte H97M-D3H, Intel i5-4590 @ 3.3GHz, Intel H97 chipset, 24GB Crucial Ballistix 1600 DDR3, Win 10, Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD, WD Black 1TB HDD (x2), TP-Link N900 PCIe, EVGA 500w PSU

Dell Studio XPS 8100, Intel i7-870 @ 2.93GHz, Intel 5 Series/3400 Series chipset PCIe, ATI Radeon, Win 7 (64-bit) Home Premium, Realtek HD, THX TruStudio, Chicony 350w PSU
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  #2  
Old 03-27-2016, 05:06 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is online now
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Default Re: Sound card recommendations?

A lot depends on whether you want an internal interface or external. Outside of gamer cards like that Soundblaster there isn't that much anymore. So you'd be looking at an external interface and what you get there depends on many factors: what computer ports do you have (USB 2, USB3, Firewire, possibly Thunderbolt but as you're on Windoze that'd be difficult). Also what's your budget? How many channels of audio do you need? How many preamps do you need? There are awesome external units out there. A good mid-level setup budget-wise can be done with MOTU interfaces; they used to have have an audio PCI card system but that has gone by the wayside.
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  #3  
Old 03-27-2016, 10:38 AM
LochNESS LochNESS is offline
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Default Re: Sound card recommendations?

Thanks for the reply. Based on what I have read here (and what I posted), looking for an internal interface. I already have preamps, ADC, just need the method of taking that converted digital signal and getting it into the mobo.

Mobo has multiple USB3 and 1/8" TRS line input ... I could get a USB interface but, again after reading the boards, I am under the impression that the fastest data transfer will be PCIe card interface. Would really like to find an alternative to HD Native, which I simply can't afford today. Surely there is another card out there besides HD Native and this old Soundblaster.

Soundblaster Audigy 2ZS interface/card has Firewire and SPDIF (digital) ... my ADC outputs SPDIF (in addition to XLR). I'm looking at the front now, it says 192kHz / 108 SNR. I've seen 112-120 SNR online, like Focusrite products, is 108 good enough? or too low for modern studios?

Maybe I should just keep this setup?

I don't need to have a separate interface for every channel, do I?

What I mean is, my ADC has two XLR inputs but only one SPDIF output (well, one coax and one optical) so can I take two tracks/signals out from the ADC on one single SPDIF cable? and send that to the Soundblaster SPDIF interface? I don't need a separate interface "channel" for each analog signal path, do I?

The Soundblaster card I have was actually intended for music audio recording, before it became a legacy product and the company began focusing heavily on gamers. So that's why it has the Firewire and SPDIF inputs.
It also has MIDI in/out, 1/8" TRS out, ... two 1/4" TRS line inputs + one RCA line input (currently receiving the PreSonus preamp) ...

Maybe I should just keep the old interface? if there is nothing better? hard to believe ...
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PT 12.8.2, Sibelius 8.6, Melodyne 4, Cubase LE AI 9, Audacity

Gigabyte H97M-D3H, Intel i5-4590 @ 3.3GHz, Intel H97 chipset, 24GB Crucial Ballistix 1600 DDR3, Win 10, Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD, WD Black 1TB HDD (x2), TP-Link N900 PCIe, EVGA 500w PSU

Dell Studio XPS 8100, Intel i7-870 @ 2.93GHz, Intel 5 Series/3400 Series chipset PCIe, ATI Radeon, Win 7 (64-bit) Home Premium, Realtek HD, THX TruStudio, Chicony 350w PSU
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  #4  
Old 03-28-2016, 05:41 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is online now
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Default Re: Sound card recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LochNESS View Post
Thanks for the reply. Based on what I have read here (and what I posted), looking for an internal interface. I already have preamps, ADC, just need the method of taking that converted digital signal and getting it into the mobo.

Mobo has multiple USB3 and 1/8" TRS line input ... I could get a USB interface but, again after reading the boards, I am under the impression that the fastest data transfer will be PCIe card interface. Would really like to find an alternative to HD Native, which I simply can't afford today. Surely there is another card out there besides HD Native and this old Soundblaster.

Soundblaster Audigy 2ZS interface/card has Firewire and SPDIF (digital) ... my ADC outputs SPDIF (in addition to XLR). I'm looking at the front now, it says 192kHz / 108 SNR. I've seen 112-120 SNR online, like Focusrite products, is 108 good enough? or too low for modern studios?

Maybe I should just keep this setup?

I don't need to have a separate interface for every channel, do I?

What I mean is, my ADC has two XLR inputs but only one SPDIF output (well, one coax and one optical) so can I take two tracks/signals out from the ADC on one single SPDIF cable? and send that to the Soundblaster SPDIF interface? I don't need a separate interface "channel" for each analog signal path, do I?

The Soundblaster card I have was actually intended for music audio recording, before it became a legacy product and the company began focusing heavily on gamers. So that's why it has the Firewire and SPDIF inputs.
It also has MIDI in/out, 1/8" TRS out, ... two 1/4" TRS line inputs + one RCA line input (currently receiving the PreSonus preamp) ...

Maybe I should just keep the old interface? if there is nothing better? hard to believe ...
PCIe does have a fast data transfer rate but USB3 is just about as fast and there are several excellent USB3 interfaces. Please divorce yourself from the pcie only thinking or you'll be without some excellent interfaces. Heck even USB2 can more than adequately handle 32 i/o and you have the faster USB3. There's only one pcie interface company that I know of and that's RME but their stuff, while excellent, ain't cheap.

You need an interface with enough channels to work for what you plan to record. You don't need separate interfaces for each set of channels. Your adc only has two channel input and if you want to record more than that you're going to need an interface with more channels - it's that simple.

Once again I'd dump that Soundblaster and adc setup and go with an all-in-one external box. MOTU will do a lot and in one box. As I mentioned even MOTU dumped their pcie interfaces. Between thunderbolt and USB3 there's plenty of speed. Unless you're recording 128 channels you don't need the bandwidth of pcie.
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  #5  
Old 03-29-2016, 12:15 AM
LochNESS LochNESS is offline
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Default Re: Sound card recommendations?

Jack, thanks again for that reply. I am listening, I hear you man. USB3 is pretty fast and your intuition is correct, I'm not tracking more than 32 channels. So I promise to stop being stubborn about PCIe.

All-in-one interfaces are a-plenty on the market, but top models advertise the same 24bit/192kHz as my ancient Soundblaster ... so ... is it really extinct trash? I remain confused on this issue. I am thinking the difference lies in the SNR statistic. I noticed many of the top interfaces are at 108, which again, is the same as the Soundblaster. However my ADC is the highest I've yet to see anywhere online, 122dB Unweighted (124dB A-Weighted) ... RME Babyface is only 113 ...

Black Lion Audio is truly top shelf in design and components. In fact, many pros using MOTU, Focusrite RED, and Digi racks send their gear to Black Lion for "mods" upgrades and repeatedly report improved sound. So I will definitely not be dumping the ADC from my chain. I just need to find the missing link to connect it to my mobo.

I may not have the most state-of-the-art CPU and mobo, but all that has to do is manage and route my data. ADC is the singular most important device in the signal path for digital recording. Word clock is probably #2 and this one has a top shelf clock as well, so I'm keeping it for sure.
__________________
PT 12.8.2, Sibelius 8.6, Melodyne 4, Cubase LE AI 9, Audacity

Gigabyte H97M-D3H, Intel i5-4590 @ 3.3GHz, Intel H97 chipset, 24GB Crucial Ballistix 1600 DDR3, Win 10, Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD, WD Black 1TB HDD (x2), TP-Link N900 PCIe, EVGA 500w PSU

Dell Studio XPS 8100, Intel i7-870 @ 2.93GHz, Intel 5 Series/3400 Series chipset PCIe, ATI Radeon, Win 7 (64-bit) Home Premium, Realtek HD, THX TruStudio, Chicony 350w PSU

Last edited by LochNESS; 03-29-2016 at 01:11 AM.
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  #6  
Old 03-29-2016, 05:50 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is online now
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Default Re: Sound card recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LochNESS View Post
Jack, thanks again for that reply. I am listening, I hear you man. USB3 is pretty fast and your intuition is correct, I'm not tracking more than 32 channels. So I promise to stop being stubborn about PCIe.

All-in-one interfaces are a-plenty on the market, but top models advertise the same 24bit/192kHz as my ancient Soundblaster ... so ... is it really extinct trash? I remain confused on this issue. I am thinking the difference lies in the SNR statistic. I noticed many of the top interfaces are at 108, which again, is the same as the Soundblaster. However my ADC is the highest I've yet to see anywhere online, 122dB Unweighted (124dB A-Weighted) ... RME Babyface is only 113 ...

Black Lion Audio is truly top shelf in design and components. In fact, many pros using MOTU, Focusrite RED, and Digi racks send their gear to Black Lion for "mods" upgrades and repeatedly report improved sound. So I will definitely not be dumping the ADC from my chain. I just need to find the missing link to connect it to my mobo.

I may not have the most state-of-the-art CPU and mobo, but all that has to do is manage and route my data. ADC is the singular most important device in the signal path for digital recording. Word clock is probably #2 and this one has a top shelf clock as well, so I'm keeping it for sure.
That spec means nothing by itself - it's the support electronics around it and the quality thereof. Soundblaster have been nothing but low rent gamer cards. And there's nothing wrong with Black Lion modded equipment per se but I find them more snake oil than anything.
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  #7  
Old 03-30-2016, 03:53 PM
LochNESS LochNESS is offline
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Default Re: Sound card recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman691 View Post
That spec means nothing by itself - it's the support electronics around it and the quality thereof. Soundblaster have been nothing but low rent gamer cards. And there's nothing wrong with Black Lion modded equipment per se but I find them more snake oil than anything.
Maybe their recent gamer cards are "low rent" - I don't know - but the specs on my 2003 Soundblaster card are exactly the same or better than 90% of the interfaces released in 2015. I have to challenge your statement.

"The support electronics around it ... quality thereof" sounds to me like that statistic is an excellent indicator of the quality of the product. If the RME has an SNR of 113, and the BLA Sparrow has SNR 122-124, then I'm sticking with the Sparrow.

FWIW, according to some local engineers I've consulted, once my BLA Sparrow converts my signal to digital, it doesn't matter what sound card it passes through, as long as the card can handle the same sample rate. So I could in theory get a really "low rent" Soundblaster card that handles 192kHz (such as the one I currently have) and the quality of the signal coming out of the Sparrow will be unchanged.
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PT 12.8.2, Sibelius 8.6, Melodyne 4, Cubase LE AI 9, Audacity

Gigabyte H97M-D3H, Intel i5-4590 @ 3.3GHz, Intel H97 chipset, 24GB Crucial Ballistix 1600 DDR3, Win 10, Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD, WD Black 1TB HDD (x2), TP-Link N900 PCIe, EVGA 500w PSU

Dell Studio XPS 8100, Intel i7-870 @ 2.93GHz, Intel 5 Series/3400 Series chipset PCIe, ATI Radeon, Win 7 (64-bit) Home Premium, Realtek HD, THX TruStudio, Chicony 350w PSU
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  #8  
Old 03-31-2016, 04:10 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is online now
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Default Re: Sound card recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LochNESS View Post
Maybe their recent gamer cards are "low rent" - I don't know - but the specs on my 2003 Soundblaster card are exactly the same or better than 90% of the interfaces released in 2015. I have to challenge your statement.

"The support electronics around it ... quality thereof" sounds to me like that statistic is an excellent indicator of the quality of the product. If the RME has an SNR of 113, and the BLA Sparrow has SNR 122-124, then I'm sticking with the Sparrow.

FWIW, according to some local engineers I've consulted, once my BLA Sparrow converts my signal to digital, it doesn't matter what sound card it passes through, as long as the card can handle the same sample rate. So I could in theory get a really "low rent" Soundblaster card that handles 192kHz (such as the one I currently have) and the quality of the signal coming out of the Sparrow will be unchanged.
Whatever dude, whatever. Like I said a lot depends on how many channels you want to record and you never answered that. For more than one or two channels you're going to need a decent audio interface that's not a gamer card.

I'm done wasting my time with you.
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  #9  
Old 04-01-2016, 07:32 PM
LochNESS LochNESS is offline
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Default Re: Sound card recommendations?

Do you sell interfaces or something? LOL why are you getting upset over a tech discussion.
I mentioned in my first post that my ADC and sound card are capable of the max sample rate and bit rate. After some additional research, I learned additional gear isn't necessary for my needs. I posted what I found for others to learn. I appreciate your suggestions but I don't need another interface.

And again, this particular card is not a gamer card. The card and interface were produced before the company started focusing on gamer ware. I don't even care though, because all I need is something to pass the binary digital signal from my ADC. It doesn't matter what bells and whistles the card has, or how old it is, long as it works.
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PT 12.8.2, Sibelius 8.6, Melodyne 4, Cubase LE AI 9, Audacity

Gigabyte H97M-D3H, Intel i5-4590 @ 3.3GHz, Intel H97 chipset, 24GB Crucial Ballistix 1600 DDR3, Win 10, Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD, WD Black 1TB HDD (x2), TP-Link N900 PCIe, EVGA 500w PSU

Dell Studio XPS 8100, Intel i7-870 @ 2.93GHz, Intel 5 Series/3400 Series chipset PCIe, ATI Radeon, Win 7 (64-bit) Home Premium, Realtek HD, THX TruStudio, Chicony 350w PSU
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  #10  
Old 04-02-2016, 01:52 PM
musicman691 musicman691 is online now
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Default Re: Sound card recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LochNESS View Post
Do you sell interfaces or something? LOL why are you getting upset over a tech discussion.
I mentioned in my first post that my ADC and sound card are capable of the max sample rate and bit rate. After some additional research, I learned additional gear isn't necessary for my needs. I posted what I found for others to learn. I appreciate your suggestions but I don't need another interface.

And again, this particular card is not a gamer card. The card and interface were produced before the company started focusing on gamer ware. I don't even care though, because all I need is something to pass the binary digital signal from my ADC. It doesn't matter what bells and whistles the card has, or how old it is, long as it works.
I don't sell interfaces but just want you to have the best possible setup you can have and a Soundblaster gamer card isn't it. Never has been, never will be. I don't know what gives you the idea I'm upset just because I keep bringing up certain things. I just know you're one of those that come here asking for help and when it's given to you you ignore it and continue on with a system that's less than optimal. If you can't bear to hear the truth that's not my fault.
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