Sound card and mixer/preamp questions

using mixer preamps, soundcard choices

Hi folks,

I am new here, though I have lurked for a while. I’m about to purchase my first 24 bit card. Since I am on a budget and can’t imagine that I am going to be recording a drum kit any time in the near future, I can probably get away with 2-4 inputs unless someone here shows me a reason why I should get something else.

I currently own a Soundcraft Folio F1 mixer with eight mic preamps that I really like but there are some issues with using this mixer:

The only pre-eq section way to grab the preamp outputs is through the unbalanced effects sends (one per channel, at least). The only balanced outputs on the whole thing are the main mix outs. OTOH I like the sound of the preamps and like the eq section in general.

I do not know how much of an effect passing the signal through the eq section with the controls set flat has WRT phase shifts or noise but I want to record things in a way that make them easiest to mix and get a good result.

What I will be doing mostly is tracking vocals, guitars, bass, synths and hand percussion. I will mix these with softsynths and sample/synth based drums. I have access to a very basic selection of mikes including a couple of SM57s, a Marshall V67g and some cheap drum mics but these should probably cover most of my needs.

I do also plan on using the computer live to play softsynths, samples and to run some sort of looper.

I will probably record at home in 24 bits but perform at 16/44.1, if possibile, to reduce the chance of gliches occurring live.

At home, my computer is located in a seperate room from where I work. It would be nice to have the mixer/preamps near where I sit so that i do not have to go into the other room in order to trim levels etc. but this means that the cable run between the mixer and computer will be around 20 feet. I may be able to get that down by about five feet depending on how I set up but twenty to twenty five is probably realistic.

As far as sound cards go, the top two input choices for me seem to be the Mia Midi (1/4" balanced I/O), the Audiophule 24/96 (rca i/o) and the Delta 410 (no midi and rca i/o). Each has different things going for them. To go for more inputs would likely mean a delta 66(no midi but external 1/4") or a delta 1010lt(rca i/o) and I dont know if I need to spend the extra money right now.

MIDI is an issue as I need to end up with FAST MIDI via PCI no matter what I do. I will not trust USB for anything - too many bad experiences.

BTW: Right now my sound cards are a Turtle Beach Monterey with a home made 1/4" unbalanced breakout and a SoundBlaster Live

I would love to hear people’s input on this as I am aching for a new soundcard but somewhat tight on cash.

Peace,
TrackGrrrl

The Audiophile 24/96 has received a lot of rave reviews in the past few years. This might be the one for you Trackgrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrl.

You didn’t mention your PCs strength…it will matter if you up the sampling rate…if your PC cant handle it …you may end up not being able to take advantage of the new specs. SUB issues? That makes me suspect of your computer system…I dont see to many USB problems layed out here in the forum…

Hi syn707,

Well I have several PCs

The one I will likely use is an AMD 2600+/Barton it currently has 256MB of 333/ddr but could easily be upgraded. I believe the motherboard has a Via KM400 chipset but if that posed a compatibility problem I could grab another motherboard or switch to my second system which is a Celeron 900 with about 512MB and a BX chipset. All my drives are 7200 RPM.

I didn’t say I currently had USB problems. I know enough about how USB is frequently implemented that I do not trust USB and I will add ESPECIALLY for real time applications.

I am not worried about sampling rates as I do not plan to go to high sampling rates in the very near future. I want to go 24 bit because I want a better s/n ratio going into the box and maybe to worry a bit less about clipping at the converters. Guess I was not too clear about this.

Noise is something I hate and that is one reason I am concerned about using the unbalanced f/x sends to get the outputs from the mixer preamps.

Peace,
TrackGrrrl

FWIW, it often happens that one ends up wanting more than one has, pretty soon after the purchase. Prices on cards with 8 ins are down enough that perhaps another month of saving money would be a good idea. Maybe this is not true of your situation, but it might be better to pay the bit extra than be stuck on an upgrade path in a few months that will cost more in time and money.

Just something to think about. :)

Hi TomS,

AFA money goes, I go more upside down every month. Probably have to sell something to pay for this stuff. Eventually I will end up with only a shopping cart with car batteries below and the computer and studio stuff up in the basket (the strat will be strapped to my back, I guess).

If I did buy a card with more inputs is there anything worthwhile that is relatively inexpensive beside the Delta 1010lt.

The 1010lt would still leave me with the issue of unbalanced output from my mixer preamps that I mentioned before. I also worry about using unbalanced inputs and outputs live, especially via RCA jacks/plugs.

Still may be worth it as I cannot imagine that I will need more inputs anytime in the forseeable future.

Any other suggestions?

Peace,
TrackGrrrl