View Full Version : Soundcards for music production

16-04-2009, 02:10 PM
Hi guys/gals,

For those of you/us on here that play around with music production, what sort of soundcards are you using?

I need to upgrade the stock one to a dedicated card to reduce latency/buffering. I'd like to know pro's/con's/brands and rough prices (just so I can compare to quotes/info I have).

I would like to be able to produce any sort of sound/combination (in response to questions about what style I will be producing, as yet I haven't settled firmly).

I've seen/heard of dedicated cards at the local computer shop for $80-$200, and likewise had a search of eBay and came across m-audio cards going for $100+... I'm not sure to what degree I need to go in it's specs and hence price.


16-04-2009, 02:14 PM
Ive used Edirol and Digidesign

16-04-2009, 02:56 PM
For a good, cheap pro audio card check out the ESI Juli@.

ESI - Juli@ (http://www.esi-audio.com/products/julia/)

16-04-2009, 03:03 PM
Depends what you'll be using, whether you need 2xguitars,2x keyboards,2x electronic drumkits, 2x mics or just to plug in some studio monitors etc.....
I got the M-Audio 1814 firewire card for around $700 i think it was 8 or so months ago which seems alright, It's my first real audio card so can't really compare it to anything. I've only got a mic, 2 studio monitors and a subwoofer plugged in though so it's probably abit overboard for what i need......Don't have my midi keyboard plugged in cause its USB.

M-AUDIO - FireWire 1814 - 18-in/14-out FireWire Audio/MIDI Interface w/ ADAT Lightpipe (http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/FireWire1814.html)

16-04-2009, 03:10 PM
At the moment, I have the MIDI keyboard connected via USB straight into the PC.
I have a Yamaha Audiogram interface which I plug my guitar and mike into, this connects by USB to the PC.

I haven't yet added any monitor speakers to the system (I have some, just havent had the time to unpack and connect) , I'm using reasonable quality PC speakers and my Seinheiser headphones for audio out.

16-04-2009, 03:52 PM
*Sorry Teedo! :)* Avoid M-Audio as the drivers have a bad rep and cause instability.

I'm running a PreSonus Firebox flawlessly with my Macbook Pro, I paid $350 second hand off eBay.

If you're after a decent card for music production, you should budget around $300-700 for a mid-range card.

I *highly* recommend the MOTU Ultralite, I'll be upgrading to one of these babies when I get the chance.

16-04-2009, 05:33 PM
why doesnt the new macbook have firewire :(

16-04-2009, 05:50 PM
I'm using a MOTU 828 mk2 USB. Loads of I/O's sound quality is awesome. For the price well worth it. Theres a MK3 out now so you should be able to find one pretty cheap on ebay now.

16-04-2009, 05:52 PM
why doesnt the new macbook have firewire :(

USB2 is faster and they now have FW800, not sure if it's on the macbook though

16-04-2009, 06:01 PM
Ive been using one of these for years and its still awesome. Never had any problems and Cubase / Acid etc is always rock solid with low latency for VSTi's etc

M-AUDIO - Delta 44 - Professional 4-In/4-Out Audio Card (http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Delta44.html)

EDIT: The new unibody Macbook lost firewire but has 2 x USB 2.0 ports. IFAIK the Macbook Pro still has firewire tho :)

16-04-2009, 06:07 PM
Ive been using one of these for years and its still awesome. Never had any problems and Cubase / Acid etc is always rock solid with low latency for VSTi's etc

M-AUDIO - Delta 44 - Professional 4-In/4-Out Audio Card (http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Delta44.html)

have to agree with the earlier post, the drivers for M-Audio for my audiophile were really flaky on both windows and OSX.

16-04-2009, 06:20 PM
^^ that's weird. I've had this card in 2 PCs over 9 years and its been great. Both were AMD machines tho, dunno if that'd make a difference.

16-04-2009, 06:29 PM
USB2 is faster and they now have FW800, not sure if it's on the macbook though

It may be faster by the book, but Firewire is still proven to have better throughput. There's a few decent USB2 audio interfaces out though, Novations Nio2, Edirol UA-25 and the PreSonus Audiobox are some decent examples.

Apple, for some silly reason, removed FW400 from the latest models. The Pro only has FW800 from memory? They would've copped a huge flaming from a lot of people so I'm guessing it'll be back on the next models.

18-04-2009, 05:12 PM
I've never had an issue with M-Audio gear, and can't recommend their gear enough. As for audio interfaces, I can list a couple:

1. Integrated Realtek HD card (I'm not kidding), using Asio4All (ASIO wrapper for WDM devices). Awesome low-latency and good sound production. This is my setup on my laptop.

2. For use on the keyboard or workstation, I have an M-Audio KeyStation 49i with an integrated M-Audio sound card. Awesome again.

I can see the added benefit of a cool dedicated high-end audio card, but most of the time the above solutions are fine for me. It's not like I am that serious or anything. Also, it appears not many home-producers have high quality output anyway, it's usually compressed to beejezus and the staging is low, flat and narrow,a nd worse, output as MP3... argh! Unless your serious, save your several hundred dollars. Give your existing card with ASIO4All a try. You can now buy ASIO-compliant USB inputs for devices as well.

18-04-2009, 05:23 PM
+1 on that, Asio4All does wonders for latency on built in interfaces like the Realtek. Good for starting out (I started out using this method) but when you start becoming serious about production then look into getting not only a better audio interface, but also some decent monitor speakers AND treating the room for better sound.

18-04-2009, 05:33 PM
Decent monitors, good room acoustics and a good amp are a must for serious music production anyway. You need a good reference that tells you exactly how it is rather than something that boosts the sound in any way or a room that messes with the acoustics. :)