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High quality sound card (especially analog in)


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#1 of 13 Steve Owen

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Posted October 24 2001 - 06:48 AM

Hi... I'm looking for a VERY high quality sound card for recording analog audio. Should have a good Analog-to-Digital converter, low noise, etc.

It used to be that Turtle Beach was the company to go to for high quality sound cards like that, but it seems that they've gotten bought by someone and have shifted direction.

Is Soundblaster pretty much the only game in town anymore? The Soundblaster Audigy Platinum EX seems to be their top-of-the-line.

I'm not interested in whiz-bangs, game sounds, etc... just high quality recording from an analog or microphone input. Of course I know that I'll get other stuff too, but for this purchase, this is the key parameter.

Any suggestions outside of the Soundblaster stuff...?

Thanks!
-Steve
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#2 of 13 Seungsoo Hwang

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Posted October 24 2001 - 07:18 AM

Id look at more pro-sound oriented cards, maybe like the m-audio audiophile 2496 or the like. http://www.midiman.com

#3 of 13 Bill Slack

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Posted October 24 2001 - 07:44 AM

The previously mentioned m-audio audiophile 2496 is what almost everyone on the AVS Forum uses for their HTPCs. It is supposed to be excellent. It's around $150-$200... Not cheap, but not bad, either...

#4 of 13 Kelley_B

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Posted October 24 2001 - 10:35 AM

Hercules Game Theater XP.....best all around soundcard out there bar none. Have it and I love it. Plus they just added 7.1 features to the card!

#5 of 13 Gary King

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Posted October 24 2001 - 11:39 AM

Good analog recording is something that very few cards do well... I haven't tried the Audigy line, but I'm not a big fan of Creative Lab's previous DACs/ADCs (which were particularly bad in the Live 5.1 line). Isolation from internal noise is a rather difficult problem in PCs, so I'd recommend you look at professional sound cards, rather than consumer hardware.

You might want to search for cards that have breakout boxes that include the ADCs.

#6 of 13 DaveF

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Posted October 24 2001 - 01:24 PM

For high-quality consumer-oriented hardware, the new Creative Labs SoundBlaster Audigy cards are supposed to be nice. They claim 100dB S/N, which is very good for this sort of card. It also comes with a external breakout box, for connections.

#7 of 13 Kelley_B

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Posted October 24 2001 - 01:49 PM

Quote:
You might want to search for cards that have breakout boxes that include the ADCs.

Something like the GTXP....which is a breakout box that has so many connections on it.

#8 of 13 Steve Owen

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Posted October 24 2001 - 03:39 PM

Quote:
Hercules Game Theater XP.....best all around soundcard out there bar none. Have it and I love it. Plus they just added 7.1 features to the card!

Well, I'm not interested in that stuff for this. Just quality A/D. It's for industrial sound recording and acoustics engineering, so I have no need for surround sound features.

Quote:
but I'm not a big fan of Creative Lab's previous DACs/ADCs (which were particularly bad in the Live 5.1 line).

Agreed, which is why I was hoping to avoid them. They're fine for games on crummy speakers, but for serious recording, I've found them to be completely lacking. (I've done some archiving of tapes and records to CD on my Sounblaster Live and I know the recording could be MUCH better.

Quote:
so I'd recommend you look at professional sound cards, rather than consumer hardware.

Agreed again... the m-audio card looks promising. Any other vendors I might look at?

Quote:
You might want to search for cards that have breakout boxes that include the ADCs.

That's sort of a different possibility all together. Get a completely separate A-to-D box and capture digital signal from there. Lots of D-to-A boxes out there, but what's available for outboard A-to-D?

Also, I'm not particularly concerned about price. The price of the card is fairly small compared to the cost of the whole project, and this is a key ingredient. With that in mind, $100 is essentially the same as $1000 for this.

Thanks,
Steve
"He says the sun came out last night. He says it sang to him."

#9 of 13 JohanK

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Posted October 26 2001 - 03:01 PM

Why not the Philips Acoustic Edge card which has a SPDIF in and use an external A/D converter of sufficient quality?

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#10 of 13 Vince Maskeeper

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Posted October 26 2001 - 03:55 PM

Some cheaper studio cards are decent:

Echo Gina (or the cheaper MIA)-- 96/24 convertors... good quality, even has digital input and output. Gina can do multitrack input/output. The Mia is like $220. Gina is like $400.

Careful, read up, as it doesn't work with some chipsets.

http://www.echoaudio.com

-Vince

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#11 of 13 Todd Hochard

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Posted October 27 2001 - 12:31 AM

You know, I hear a lot about how noisy the inside of the PC is, and yet both the SB Live! and Turtle Beach Santa Cruz claim >96db S/N ratio. How can that be?

Todd
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#12 of 13 JohanK

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Posted October 27 2001 - 02:25 AM

I always thought the 'noise' is what is introduced by the actual card (ignoring the PC itself) when obtaining the SNR measurement; i.e. it is only a testbench measurement.

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#13 of 13 Gary King

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Posted October 27 2001 - 07:53 AM

Quote:
yet both the SB Live! and Turtle Beach Santa Cruz claim >96db S/N ratio

Any card that records 16-bit data can claim a >96db S/N ratio. It doesn't take noise introduced by other electronics into account.


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