Author Topic: Can anyone recommend a soundcard?  (Read 5451 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline MAtT

  • Beginner
  • *
  • Posts: 98
  • Karma: 11
  • Thou shalt not question Stephen Fry.
Can anyone recommend a soundcard?
« on: August 29, 2008, 13:48:36 »
Previously, my main way of playing music was on CD, but now I've transferred everything to FLAC I'm considering buying a decent sound card. I've currently got a standard Soundblaster Live.

This is to pair with a decent Naim Nait amp and some old but useful Mission speakers.

Any suggestions or experiences welcome....


Offline lostflower4

  • Curefan Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2613
  • Karma: 108
    • The Imaginary Lemurs Cure Site
Re: Can anyone recommend a soundcard?
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2008, 04:24:10 »
Previously, my main way of playing music was on CD, but now I've transferred everything to FLAC I'm considering buying a decent sound card. I've currently got a standard Soundblaster Live.

This is to pair with a decent Naim Nait amp and some old but useful Mission speakers.

Any suggestions or experiences welcome....

I'm currently using an ESI Waveterminal 2496, but these have been discontinued and are difficult to find anymore.

http://news.harmony-central.com/Newp/1999/Waveterminal-2496.html


Probably the closest thing that is currently on the market is the M-Audio Audiophile 2496:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Audiophile2496


I used to own an external FireWire version of this (which has been recently discontinued), and the sound was on par with my Waveterminal.


The thing I didn't like about the M-Audio devices is that they don't have an internal preamp, so the input recording levels aren't adjustable. If you're only interested in playback, this isn't an issue.

You will probably need some sort of preamp/amp/mixer in order to run speakers or headphones with any of the higher-end cards, which typically provide basic line outputs, but it looks like you have this covered.












Offline crowbi_wan

  • Curefan Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2437
  • Karma: 228
Re: Can anyone recommend a soundcard?
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2008, 06:24:23 »
I've been pleased with my ESI MAYA44  :smth020

http://www.djdeals.com/egosystemsMAYA44.htm?gclid=COCMxqnatJUCFQ8QagodxwJlQQ

Specifications.
- <Analog Audio>
- 1. Sample rate supports : 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, (176.4, 192)* kHz *Playback only
- 2. Analog Input :
- 1) Connector Type : 4 Channel analog inputs
- * 1/4" TRS(stereo) jack(line in 1 and 2) common with 'Mic. in
- * 1/4" TRS(stereo) jack(line in 3 and 4)
- 2) Peak level : 0dBFS @ +6dBV
- 3) Programmable gain: -48dB ~ +24dB(1dB step size)
- 4) Impedance : 10K Ohm
- 3. Analog Output :
- 1) Connector Type: 4 Channel analog line outputs
- * 1/4" TRS(stereo) jack
- 2) Peak level: +6dBV @ 0dBFS
- 3) Attenuation: -48dB ~ +0dB(1dB step size)
- 4) Impedance: 33 Ohm(line out 1 and 2), 0 Ohm(line out 3
- and 4, H.P. out)
- 4. MIC Preamp
- 1) Mic Preamp Gain : +21dB
- 2) Peak level : 0dBFS @ 246mV
- 3) +48V phantom power supply
- 4) Impedance : 3K ohm
- 5. Headphone Amplifier
- 1) Load Impedance Range: 32-300 ohm (for the best
- performance)
- 2) Output Power: 125mW @ 32ohm per channel

- <Digital Audio>
- 1. Sample rate supports : 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, (192)kHz *Coaxial Output only
- 2. A/D Converter
- 1) SNR : 102dBA(0dB @ fs=48kHz)

- 2) DR : 102dBA
- 3) THD : - 95dB(1kHz, -1dBFS)
- 4) Interchannel Isolation : 90dB
- 3. D/A Converter
- 1) SNR : 108dBA(0dB @ fs=48kHz)
- 2) DR : 108dBA
- 3) THD: -97dB(1kHz, 0dBFS)
- 4) Interchannel Isolation : 100dB
- 4. Digital Output
- 1) Connector Type : Coaxial, Optical
- 2) Format : IEC-60958 Consumer(S/PDIF)
- 3) Resolution : 24-Bit
- 4) Digital Pass thru




Offline lostflower4

  • Curefan Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2613
  • Karma: 108
    • The Imaginary Lemurs Cure Site
Re: Can anyone recommend a soundcard?
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2008, 06:37:48 »
I've been pleased with my ESI MAYA44  :smth020

http://www.djdeals.com/egosystemsMAYA44.htm?gclid=COCMxqnatJUCFQ8QagodxwJlQQ

Also would recommend that one, but the thing I don't like about it is that you actually have to install a whole separate card just to have digital inputs like S/PDIF.   :?

Of course, not an issue if you don't don't record digital audio or just use it for playback.

Or if you happen to have a surplus of PCI slots, unlike me.  :lol:

Offline MAtT

  • Beginner
  • *
  • Posts: 98
  • Karma: 11
  • Thou shalt not question Stephen Fry.
Re: Can anyone recommend a soundcard?
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2008, 14:22:57 »
Thanks guys. The only one I'd heard of there is the Audiophile 2496, which I'd spotted on eBay. I'll check the others out too.


Offline jmusiclover

  • Beginner
  • *
  • Posts: 38
  • Karma: 0
Re: Can anyone recommend a soundcard?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2008, 10:20:30 »
If you're looking for something and budget is limited I'd recommend a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS. I picked one up for less than £20 on ebay recently as I am currently converting some old master tapes to 24Bit wav. The sound quality is very good for the price and the card supports speaker arrangements up to 7.1. If you do choose an Audigy, then go for the ZS as it's got a higher spec than the std card (eg. 108dB SNR whereas the std Audigy 2 is 106dB SNR) amongst other things. Good news is, there's plenty of them about 8)

Offline bluewater

  • Newfan
  • **
  • Posts: 144
  • Karma: 6
Re: Can anyone recommend a soundcard?
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2008, 09:43:02 »
I have auzen prelude which is great. http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-fi_prelude.php
Life's too short to listen to lossy music

Offline lostflower4

  • Curefan Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2613
  • Karma: 108
    • The Imaginary Lemurs Cure Site
Re: Can anyone recommend a soundcard?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2008, 15:55:47 »
I just have to say that my experience with Creative cards, including Audigy, has been terrible.

Plus you have that nice resampling issue to contend with (Creative cards love to resample everything that goes into them, regardless of whether it's necessary it or not).

I'll continue to stand behind the recommendations to get an ESI or M-Audio card.

Or if you really want to go all out:

http://www.studica.com/products/product_detail.cfm?productid=11541&storeid=2


Personally, I think that's overkill...

Offline lostflower4

  • Curefan Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2613
  • Karma: 108
    • The Imaginary Lemurs Cure Site
Re: Can anyone recommend a soundcard?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2008, 23:14:07 »
Thanks guys. The only one I'd heard of there is the Audiophile 2496, which I'd spotted on eBay. I'll check the others out too.

I've kind of overlooked this one in the past, but this seems really nice:

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Audiophile192.html


You can find them on eBay for under $150 if you shop around.

Really good specs, better than the Audiophile 2496. Sample rates up to 192 kHz, although I just can't fathom how that can be useful unless you want to take up massive amounts of hard drive space!  :eek:

Similarly, there is a point where specs don't really make much of a difference beyond a certain point. A signal-to-noise ratio of 113/108 dB looks great on paper, but in practice it's really not going to provide any benefit over something with a 100 dB S/N ratio, which is still quite excellent.

This especially goes out the window if your primary goal is recording from cassette, which has a S/N ratio much, much poorer than this.

Offline lostflower4

  • Curefan Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2613
  • Karma: 108
    • The Imaginary Lemurs Cure Site
Re: Can anyone recommend a soundcard?
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2009, 03:44:10 »
Incredible deal here:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=310158369433


Too cheap, really. I'd pick it up if I didn't already have a spare.  ;)

I've always preferred ESI products over M-Audio in terms of user-friendliness, stability, and features. But for some reason M-Audio seems to be more popular these days.  :smth017

Offline crowbi_wan

  • Curefan Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2437
  • Karma: 228
Re: Can anyone recommend a soundcard?
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2009, 08:36:24 »
Yeah, ESI makes a solid soundcard.  I found a similar deal on the Maya 44 a while back and gobbled it up for a spare.