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Advice on sound card sought

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Advice on sound card sought

Postby Dionysus » Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:25 pm

Hi all,

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.

Any tips?
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Re: Advice on sound card sought

Postby Dionysus » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:37 pm

Anyone?
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Re: Advice on sound card sought

Postby BJG145 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:48 pm

Dionysus wrote:The one thing that really peed me off about the E-MU was that it wasn't straightforward.


Hi Dionysus - I doubt the Emu is probably a lot harder or easier than any other similar soundcard really...presumably you're reasonably familiar with it now, it shouldn't require a lot of messing with once it's set up, and if it does everything you need it's still a decent choice.

If you wanted a change, though, M-audio are also usually a safe bet.

http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.family&ID=PCIinterfaces
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Re: Advice on sound card sought

Postby Dionysus » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:47 pm

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 be.

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.
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