For the past seven years I have been using my PC to record DJ mixes and
then play around with them in Cubase. In terms of sound quality, I was perfectly happy
with my sound card (E-MU 1212M) - I didn't need pro standard gear, just something that
would do a good job at a reasonable price. Anyway, the E-MU gave up the ghost last year,
as did much of the PC, and now I'm looking to get a new sound card.
The aim is
the same, except now I don't have Cubase (had a cracked version, and after getting a virus
and having my local PC repair shop run their super-powered antivirus-ware, I think that
identified the 'key' to Cubase as a virus and removed it). Anyway, I'm now going to give
Audacity's SourceForge a shot, seeing as its free. If it's crap then I might buy a legit
copy of Cubase (I did love Cubase), but no harm in trying the free stuff first.
So... sound cards. The one thing that really peed me off about the E-MU was that it
wasn't straightforward. I don't want to read 100 pages of technical stuff which, frankly,
I don't understand just to set up a sound card. I want to open up my PC, put a
good-quality, good-value sound card in that will do my mixes justice (bear in mind that
the audio may be mp3 or vinyl quality), plug in decks to a mixer, plug in mixer to the
sound card, set the software to point to the sound card output and not have to wade
through endless settings.
Budget-wise, I'm far from skint, but the reason I'm
far from skint is because I know how to avoid overspending. Based on my purposes, I can't
imagine spending more than £200, and I bet I could get something perfectly fit for the
task at hand for less than that.
Thanks for your response, BGJ145. To be honest, I'm not convinced I was familiar with the
E-MU at all. I had a PC built with creating and editing DJ mixes in Cubase in mind, and so
the Patch Mix was all set up and I didn't need to worry about it. (It's no doubt evident
that I'm not a music-maker so much as someone who fiddles around with sound that has
already been made by someone else.) Once I actually had to worry about the settings in
Patch Mix I realised that sound cards are not as easy to use as I'd imagined they would
Another thing that has stopped me rushing out and buying a 1212M (which was
a perfectly decent sound card for my purposes) was the fact that I bought it in 2005. I
just presumed that seven years on I could probably get something much better for the same
price (or something equally good for much cheaper).
I think, due to my
knowledge, this will come down to relying on a brand or taking good recommendations from
people. The alternative is to buy a complete set-up from a company specializing in music
PCs, but I'm averse to doing that as I already have a really good quiet PC which could be
turned into a great music PC if only it had a decent sound card (currently has no sound
card) and a bit of a boost in terms of RAM and processing power.