When you know what features you would like, and have assembled a shortlist of suitable models, compare their feature sets to see which is most appropriate. Your final choice should be the one that has the best balance of features for your particular style of music.
It’s always useful to find out what existing users have to think about specific makes and models, but do bear in mind that most will only have experience of a few cards. In addition, you can’t always judge the reliability and ease-of-use of a soundcard based on one or two opinions. Only if you see a rash of praise or grumbles on a forum should you be prepared to be swayed in your decision.
A far better way to gauge the pros and cons of each soundcard is to read detailed reviews in a magazine like Sound On Sound. For instance, to date (December 2000) I’ve now reviewed 42 soundcards, so the comments in my reviews are based on a host of experience with both good and bad. Ultimately however, you have to make your own decision, since only you know exactly what you need your soundcard to accomplish.
If you intend to spend more than £500 on a soundcard, you would be best advised to visit a specialist dealer to see competing models in action, and even to consider buying a complete PC system with your choice of soundcard and software already installed. This will minimise teething troubles.
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Which Soundcard 7: So which one should I buy?
For anything relating to music-making on Windows computers, with lots of FAQs. Moderated by Martin Walker.
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