Reasons to buy a "Prosumer" sound card

or something…

I was screwing around with the onboard soundcard on my main PC tonight… Had the cans plugged in just listening to some tunes with WMP and came to a sudden realization… what a POS??? I got to listening closely and noticed that every mouse movement had a weird zzzzziiiippp noise accompanying it. Could this be true of all NON “Pro-sumer” cards? Off to check the sons SB card… hmmm… nope quiet as a grave despite severe mouse gesticulations on my part… (Is that legal?) Okay… how about the laptops sitting around the house? Well… the wifey’s and mine both SUCK in the fidelity department but I did not notice any weird noises… UNTIL… I checked my old Toshiba lappy… weird beeping thing happening here… what’s this? Oh yeah… I enabled the IR port to print a document at work. Known bug… IR port causes weird beeping noise on Toshiba. (Note to self: Disable said IR port…)

Conclusion? (Or Diogenes… why don’t you friggin’ SHUT-UP!!!)

Ladies and Gerbils… buy yourself a decent soundcard. At the very least a nice SoundBlaster or better yet an EMU 1212M. They are selling those for less than a hunnert bucks these days and you would have to spend a S%^T load more money to buy a card with better audio specs.

My onboard soundcards (both laptop AND main DAW) SUCK big time.

D

PS #### ZZZZZIIIIIPPPPT noise… can’t even enjoy a few mp3’s… grumble… mutter… POS SoundMax…

PPS THANK GOD for my EMU 1820M.

Sounds like you had a very entertaining evening Diogenes. :D

But, please don’t recommend a Soundblaster, great hardware, but the software will really drive you insane! :D

although the above mouse sounds are (to us) annoying, ask yourself why are they there ? - because the rest of the world (bar us) dont know any better and worse still they dont care -

if everybody (well more) people stood up and complained about the “XXXX” they are sold things (except for the procard makers) would be better -

the ultimate insult to our skills as recording engineers is MP3 we spend £$Y€1000.000.00000.00 every year on the best equipment we can afford, just to have everything destroyed by that bloody convertor - APPLE are to blame for success of this ABOMINATION with that iPODy thing - WMP cannot reproduce a CD correctly for love nor money, Winamp is screwed because its default buffers are set to high - WHO CARES ? SHOULD WE ? when ignorance rules the ears of the proletariat -

Dr J

Quote (Diogenes @ Dec. 29 2006,00:56)
I was screwing around with the onboard soundcard on my main PC tonight... Had the cans plugged in just listening to some tunes with WMP and came to a sudden realization... what a POS!?!?!? I got to listening closely and noticed that every mouse movement had a weird zzzzziiiippp noise accompanying it. Could this be true of all NON "Pro-sumer" cards? Off to check the sons SB card... hmmm... nope quiet as a grave despite severe mouse gesticulations on my part... (Is that legal?) Okay... how about the laptops sitting around the house? Well... the wifey's and mine both SUCK in the fidelity department but I did not notice any weird noises... UNTIL... I checked my old Toshiba lappy... weird beeping thing happening here... what's this? Oh yeah... I enabled the IR port to print a document at work. Known bug... IR port causes weird beeping noise on Toshiba. (Note to self: Disable said IR port...)

Conclusion? (Or Diogenes... why don't you friggin' SHUT-UP!?!?!)

Ladies and Gerbils... buy yourself a decent soundcard. At the very least a nice SoundBlaster or better yet an EMU 1212M. They are selling those for less than a hunnert bucks these days and you would have to spend a S%^T load more money to buy a card with better audio specs.

My onboard soundcards (both laptop AND main DAW) SUCK big time.

D

PS #### ZZZZZIIIIIPPPPT noise... can't even enjoy a few mp3's.... grumble... mutter... POS SoundMax...

PPS THANK GOD for my EMU 1820M.

Onboard soundcards can have some interesting storys.

I remember time ago wanted to make a presentation at school, video+music. We only had a pc with an onboard card. All works fine, but one of the kids said to me "it sound strange"... and yes, it was sounding one tone above of the normal pitch... without any fx activated in software of the soundcard applet...
Said that, i have played with a mother with an "Intel onboard soundcard" and it was no so bad, it sounded decent.

Thanks for tolerating my little rant guys.

Gizmo- I figure the SB is a step up from the RealTek’s and SoundMax’s I have heard despite the weird Creative software issues. Plus, a guy with the “want-to” can grab the KX drivers for his/her SB and step that series of cards up a notch.

DrJ- I hear and understand man… I just put a new car stereo in for my son. He wanted Santa to bring him one with CD/mp3/WMA playback capabilities. I could hear the difference between a good audio CD and a mp3/WMA CD with the windows rolled up from a mile away. :( Why does he want such a thing? “Dad!?!.. It’s COOL! I can put eleventy-seven songs on one CD!” Eleventy-seven crap sounding songs…

I’ll go now before I start another rant. :D

Peace.

D

My laptop (Fujitsu Siemens Amilo somethingorother) gives me that annoying zipper sound with some additional weird low mid noises when I move the mouse or use the touchpad. The background noise level is poor too.

FWIW I think decently encoded wma files are perfectly acceptable in a car where you have all sorts of road & car noises anyway.

Yeah… WMA is not bad encoded at a decent rate. I like 'em better than mp3 anyway…

It’s kinda like DrJ said though, you spend hours laying down tracks, mixing and mastering your magnum opus then convert it to mp3 for posting on the web and it becomes low caliber fidelity wise. Eh… part of the game I suppose.

D

Quote (Diogenes @ Dec. 29 2006,11:37)
- I figure the SB is a step up from the RealTek's and SoundMax's I have heard despite the weird Creative software issues. Plus, a guy with the "want-to" can grab the KX drivers for his/her SB and step that series of cards up a notch.

Eyup!

I can recommend the Kx drivers, provided you have the stamina to wade through the mire and force your little grey cells to understand the complexities of the DSP setup.
Attempting to use the Kx mixer is, in my opinion a recipe for Toupee Abuse.

Once the penny has dropped though, you have a very powerful and flexible system at your disposal.

Steve

Only idiots make generalizations. ( :;): )

Many built-in soundcards are adequate for recording music, even ones on laptops. Perhaps even most, but certainly not all. For systems with adequate built-in soundcards, IMHO, ones time and money are better spent elsewhere; for all but the simplest cases you have to be a very good recording and mixing engineer before the difference in soundcard quality is very significant in the final results.

In a way, the above statement is circular – it’s only true if the soundcard is “adequate”, thus defining the term. But I find that many built-in soundcards are indeed adequate. And many are not.

However, a card like the EMU1212 is certainly money well spent. Having 24 bits makes recording easier – you sweat the analog signal chain more than having to fuss about the digital level peaking above -6dB, etc. And it’s good to know that if the results sound like mud, it’s your fault and not the soundcard.

But for those on a tight budget, I recommend spending limited funds on monitors as a high priority (assuming you have adequate microphones and usable preamps).

But the most important thing (other than talent) is good instruments. I have to chuckle at folks who spend lots of money on a soundcard, and use it to record an acoustic guitar’s pickup, or miking a crappy sounding acoustic guitar.

IMNSHO, of course. :)

Cheers
Jeff

Gotta agree with you Jeff. I’ve heard plenty of fine recordings made on humble SB Live! cards (and lesser cards). Yes there are some crappy cards around but many are more than useful.

I reckon that there’s probably more quality in an SB Live than in what the Beatles had to record on… but they had decent kit, decent instruments, decent rooms, oh… and talented engineers and producers too.

Perhaps we associate crappy cards with crappy recordings because that’s probably where most of us started. As we move up our gear gets better but so do our recording/mixing skills. Dunno?

I do like 24 bits though.

D - I hear you. That pzzzt sound can be pretty frustrating. I’m not totally sure it’s always the card’s fault. Sometimes poor shielding can cause the card to pickup noise from elsewhere. I had a PC that had a similar problem… pzzzt when I moved the mouse. Removed the CD to soundcard connector (antenna!) and it went away.

Also IMNSO…

X
.
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Of course some built-ins are adequate. Mine are not. The SoundMax in my desktop is noisy as crap… and the laptops I have are just as bad. Thus the comment on SB’s or the like. My son has a SB PCI512 that is a decent sounding card for general use. Since I set him up with a Presonus FireBox though, the SB is relegated to WMP playback and system sounds. Even a casual listener can tell the difference.

D

the actual problem lies with the PCB designers, they dont know (or care) what chips they are putting on the motherboard, they just program them into the PCB designer and the computer does the rest, in the GOOD OLD DAYS ? you could actually see the motherboard but nowadays its just one great mass of chips set so close to each other on something the size of a postage stamp - LESS PCB, MORE PROFIT -

SHIELDING what shielding ? no matter how much you spend on decent cables the shielding ends at the input connector on the PC -

have not heard PZIHIZZING on my soundblaster NX2 USB, but it creeps through my M Audio DElTA 4/10 amd my RME 52/96 ADAT card, but again not on the audio section of my Roland SP606 USB - USB seems pretty immune to noise, is firewire noise free ? -

Dr J

Right, Dr. I had a SoundMax in a laptop that sounded great. And (strangely), the built-in on my current laptop was pretty good to begin with but now sucks due to noise/buzz on record. I don’t know what changed, but I didn’t go whole hog to find the problem since I use a MOTU anyway.

No question that there are plenty that suck, and frequently due to MOBO design rather than the chipset.