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Windows PC Spec & Optical Audio PCI card?

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Windows PC Spec & Optical Audio PCI card?

Postby james090 » Wed Jul 08, 2020 8:28 am

I am new to PC and the Windows side, as I mainly use Mac but would love to use both platforms. I have used W10 before but only on much older laptops.

I have been offered this spec Tower PC, which will mainly be for Live 10, alongside my i5 iMac which is also running Live, and a lot of VSTs..

This PC was a self build around 5 years ago, (W10) would be a secondary machine for mixing, recording and mastering, with some PC only fx and plug ins :

Spec : CPU - Intel core i7 8th generation.
3.5 GHz (3.8 GHz Turbo)
16GB GDDR4 Ram
1 TB Seagate Hd

Update : Its got free SATA ports? (Can i use this for an SSD or two?)
RAM Board supports up to 128GB RAM

Would this be ok for running Live 10 and a few other programs?

Secondly for the Audio is it possible in the PC world, to get a PCI Optical Audio Card so I can transfer audio in/out via larger Optical Audio ports? Not sure if this exists?

Thanks for any help
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Re: Windows PC Spec & Optical Audio PCI card?

Postby Matt Houghton » Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:37 am

james090 wrote:Update : Its got free SATA ports? (Can i use this for an SSD or two?)

Yes.

james090 wrote:Would this be ok for running Live 10 and a few other programs?

Yes. But it also depends on what you're trying to do with Ableton and those other programs.

james090 wrote:Secondly for the Audio is it possible in the PC world, to get a PCI Optical Audio Card so I can transfer audio in/out via larger Optical Audio ports? Not sure if this exists?

I assume you mean PCIe (PCI is very old, and not catered for by most motherboards, and most PCI hardware won't have up to date drivers). In which case yes. But there are different optical formats, so you'll need to be clearer. RME do a range of PCIe cards with ADAT or MADI optical connectors. Optical S/PDIF is rarer in pro audio cards, but it uses the same physical connectors as ADAT, and I'm sure some allow you to choose the format using the interface's control software.

BUT... unless you have a very specific requirement, you don't need to use PCIe. There are USB options. For example, I use an RME MADIFace USB. The same company make a more affordable 32-IO ADAT USB interface. And if you're short on USB ports, you can add a PCIe USB card.
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Re: Windows PC Spec & Optical Audio PCI card?

Postby james090 » Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:26 am

Matt Houghton wrote:I assume you mean PCIe (PCI is very old, and not catered for by most motherboards, and most PCI hardware won't have up to date drivers). In which case yes. But there are different optical formats, so you'll need to be clearer. RME do a range of PCIe cards with ADAT or MADI optical connectors. Optical S/PDIF is rarer in pro audio cards, but it uses the same physical connectors as ADAT, and I'm sure some allow you to choose the format using the interface's control software.

BUT... unless you have a very specific requirement, you don't need to use PCIe. There are USB options. For example, I use an RME MADIFace USB. The same company make a more affordable 32-IO ADAT USB interface. And if you're short on USB ports, you can add a PCIe USB card.

Thank you Matt, yes I probably do mean PCIe, as forgive me I haven't used a PC in a while and not up to speed with the latest terminology.

The reason i wanted Optical Audio in/out, is because I use this exclusively on the Audient iD-22 which has 2 sockets, and transfer and record simple stereo/2-track audio this way?
So coming out of the PC with a built in card with Optical Audio in/out, i could record and send audio either way to my Mac all in the digital domain...
I don't really need ADAT or more than a simple Digital stereo pair
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Re: Windows PC Spec & Optical Audio PCI card?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Jul 08, 2020 2:25 pm

I'd echo Matt's suggestion to use a USB interface rather than an internal one. Since you are already familiar with the Audient you could always use a second one with the PC. RME are also good but their Digiface USB is going to be much more than you need (although it would work fine). It is a pity that Zoom have discontinued their U-44 as that had optical in and out for a very reasonable price.
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Re: Windows PC Spec & Optical Audio PCI card?

Postby Pete Kaine » Wed Jul 08, 2020 5:51 pm

I use an RME AIO with an optical out to an external headphone amp fine, so that's one option.

However, if you want to do loop back capture on your stereo output, some interfaces will do this in their routing matrix internally or you could do it in software.

I use "Totalrecorder" to capture audio going through the system stereo mix when required myself, although this is assuming windows audio and not an ASIO source is being captured. With ASIO I would just assume that you could export the content, but then I might be overlooking some usage scenario here that wouldn't be covered by that.
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