What is a Sound Card?
Before You Buying Sound Cards for Your Digital Home Studio
Sound cards (or audio interfaces) are an important piece of hardware to consider when building your home studio.
Here I will explain about the different types of audio interfaces that are available and what features you should be looking for before going out and dropping the cash on one.
Before You Buy!
You should definitely do your research on them before buying one, you are more likely to find a deal by doing this and avoid overspending on more than you will require.
Audio interfaces these days are able to support the quality of 24 bit/48000Hz recordings. Really, you only need 16-bit quality because that is the standard for CD’s right now. Although, recording at 24 bit will give you a more accurate picture of the sound file while doing mixing and editing to it.
Internal or External Sound Card
There are two types to choose from, internal or external. Both are good choices and the features to look for are the same in both.
Here are features you should look for in a good quality sound card…
- Analog or digital IN/OUT’s that support 24 bit/48000Hz recording or higher.
- S/PDIF connections for other digital hardware that you have or plan to buy in the future.
- XLR inputs for connecting things like microphones.(not necessarily needed if you are using something like a board that already has XLR INPUTS)
- TRS IN/OUT connections for connecting things like powered monitors, external effects processors, instruments, or other gear. (balanced is better than unbalanced)
- Capable of low latency sustained recording.
- If you are thinking of buying audio recording software like Protools LE or Cubase SX, then the audio interface will need to support ASIO drivers.
- MIDI IN/OUTS for your midi devices.
A good choice for an internal sound card that I would recommend for its affordable price and excellent quality is the – MAudio Audiophile 2496
t only $99 US, it makes this a very affordable bargain for doing your high-quality digital recordings.
If it’s an external sound card you are looking for, I recommend that you consider Digidesign’s MBox2. Perfect for the small home studio, and it’s portable.
The MBox 2
An excellent and affordable option for someone who wants to do high-quality recordings is Digidesign’s MBox2.
At $450 US it includes Protools LE software, a wack of effects
plug-ins, as well as the MBox itself (the audio interface). It is perfect for the small digital home recording studio and for someone who only needs a couple of inputs to record into. I love my Mbox!
Both of these audio interfaces just mentioned have the features listed in the information above and are excellent choices to consider. Hope this advice to other peoples on buying an audio interface will help you in making the right decision.