external & internal soundcards

what is best for a non-movil DAW

Hi friends. Im begining the process to upgrade my system to something better. You know, search info about the hardware you want buy.

I have been looking for any good soundcard and have found external boxes attached to pci soundcards, and external boxes attached trough “fireware” or “USB” ports. Im not interested in move my system, always the same place.
There is any diffrence in performance between this two kind of systems?

thanks your advise

USB is not known for reliability and such. Firewire is still fairly new, but does pretty well. PCI is probably the most stable, but getting a firewire device is great in case one day you actually may want to move it, or maybe borrow a laptop from your friend for the local gig etc…

as for which one to get, that’s even tougher. do you need mic pres? digital ins/outs? how many ins/outs you do even need? I know you use MIDI correct? you’ll want something with some ins/outs for that.

give us some more detail and we’ll give you a better idea of what’s best.

Mainly i need good performance with ASIO for use with samples (im planning to use Garritan PO with kontakt). But two mic inputs can be a good idea, any “upgradeable” soundcard?

I use the usb onmistudio by m-audio and it works great for me…no need for an internal card and the new usb is just as fast as firewire…I’ve heard that firewire is fading to usb…just a rumor i"ve heard tho. it’s a quagmire these days tho!

Marce, I’ve listened to all the music that you’ve posted, (and it still depresses me to realise how good MIDI can be :() LOL, but as MIDI is your main arena, then I still have to recommend the Audigy range.

Yeah, I know Creative takes a lot of crap (and gives it), but the Audigy2 ZS range really is something else, especially when coupled with the KX project drivers.

Upgradeable? Well, if you’re handy with a soldering iron, it is hardware-wise.

And as far a software-wise is concerned, there’s a lot of nerds (said in an admiring tone of voice, not a disparaging one), who are constantly producing DSP FX and soundfonts all the time.

As for internal versus external, I’d say go for internal. As guitar69 says, PCI is proven, and reliable.

Anyway, just my thrupennybit’s worth. :)


Thanks the advises guys,
the creative things are not bad, only that they marketing is a “little” lier to the public. But beyond of this, can be a good idea.
Is the audigy performance using ASIO good, poor, or medium?
I have a old sblive with regular performance using ASIO (kx ones) because my computer is also old (PIII 300mhz), but with it i have the soundfont thing covered.

Marce, using the Creative Asio drivers with n-track 3.3 has been slightly problematic with me. So with n, I used to use the creative WDM drivers instead.

But, with Cubase SX 2 and Fruityloops, the Creative Asio drivers were fine.

But I now use the KX project Asio drivers with SX and Fruity, and I’m afraid I hardly ever open n-track anymore, so I’m not really in a position to comment on how reliable they are with n.


If you’re not going to move your DAW, I would recommend getting an internal card. While an external card, using FireWire might work OK, there’s no real advantage for using it if you’re not moving it from machine to machine.

The MOTU 896 external audio interface I justed for our new live CD was flakey at times, i.e., I had to turn the machine off/on to get my system to recognize the device. I’ve never had that problem with my internal PCI card.

My $0.02.

Marce, I got your e-mail on this, but I figured I would reply here. I woul dgo PCI too. Firewire is certainly convenient for moving the device. But if you never plan to move it, why bother with the extra expense? What ever you get, get something with tried and true drivers. That is the one thing that will kill you. I would suggest the new Emu cards, but I am noticing some driver weirdness from time to time the more I work with it. It is still a good card, but not something I would say is 100% reliable yet, but more like 90%. They are a heck of a value if you don’t mind a few glitches from time to time. M-Audio seems to be very good on driver development as is MOTU, so I would start my search there. As with anything, the motherboard and chipset can make or break the whole thing, so what may be rock solid for one may not work for another. The Emu does have very low latency though.

in the past i’ve got big problems with creative Audigy and Extigy usb souncard…
big lags and unstable drivers, SBlive was really better for me…


i’ve got USB Edirol UA5 24bits-48khz work fine with N …(38 Tracks session)

and i’ve got usb digidesign Mbox 24bits-48khz work very well with N.

Thanks again all the advise friends.