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  1. #1
    Network Hub Olero's Avatar
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    New self-built PC (with very specific needs/wants)

    Hello all,

    My dad wants a new PC, and I volunteered to built one for him (which I really like to do, so no worries there).
    I've got most of the parts sorted out (without knowing the budget yet, so I have multiple options). However, the one specific thing he definitely wants is audio. And to be more specific, he wants:

    • multiple INput channels
    • multiple (separate) OUTput channels


    He wants to create art-projects with sound, and be able to record multiple things and play different sounds / channel (at least 5). Will any soundcard + speaker set with 5.1 surround suffice for the latter? And what can be used for the former? And does anyone of you have experiences with / recommendations for good products in both categories?
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  2. #2
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    hm. what kind of output channels?

    Also, it may pay off checking reviews and internet sites that sell hardware generally, but more specifically sound hardware. does he want to record instruments or synths or...?

    Because then its a whole different game. It used to be so that you need a specific card, with a specific board and cpu, so you get the best recording quality possible, and no "fritzing".
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  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Sounds like something that might be better suited for some external hardware rather than within the pc? You can get home mixing desks that will interface to a pc which would have what he's looking for for inputs. Some will have outputs too. A VA and musician I know uses a M-Box 2, it has 4 analog inputs, 6 analog outputs and supports up to 32 simultaneous audio tracks. I'd recommend something like that over something inside a pc.

    For outputs, a 5.1 soundcard would do, but it'd be up to him to determine what audio goes on what channel so it get's routed out of the correct speaker.

  4. #4
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    Sounds like something that might be better suited for some external hardware rather than within the pc? You can get home mixing desks that will interface to a pc which would have what he's looking for for inputs. Some will have outputs too. A VA and musician I know uses a M-Box 2, it has 4 analog inputs, 6 analog outputs and supports up to 32 simultaneous audio tracks. I'd recommend something like that over something inside a pc.

    For outputs, a 5.1 soundcard would do, but it'd be up to him to determine what audio goes on what channel so it get's routed out of the correct speaker.
    That would of course work as well, but I was thinking more about M-Audio PCI cards; I know there is one with 2 IN and 2 OUT, I think 2 of those are XLR as well. And generally, you can still use the sound bit of your motherboard as well as that card.
    - Tom De Roeck.

    verse publications

    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

    "It's frankly embarrassing. The mods on here are woeful."

    "I wrinkled my nose at QC being a mod."

    "At least he has some personality."

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    5.1 soundcard? Plenty of motherboards have 7.1 codecs installed on-board.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Get this:
    http://www.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_D2X/

    Has optical output and input so you can record digital spdif audio, which will give you absolutely clear audio since optical recording does not get affected by electrical interference. In addition to that, the card has EMI shielding and isolated power (the card uses a floppy drive power connector as a power source, not from the pcie slot itself) so regular audio recording has minimal interference (much MUCH lower than regular built-in audio).
    In addition to that, you get 3 analogue 3.5mm input jacks (Mic in, CD in, Aux in), 3.5mm to RCA cables for each jack, 2 digital input ports (coaxial and optical SPDIF), a separate MIDI port board with two MPU-401 MIDI ports (you also get the MIDI cables).

    What interested me in the card, in addition to Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect, was is it's amazing ASIO 2.0 support which I experienced when I originally bought the PCI version in 2008. Basically, ASIO bypasses the Windows kernel to give very low latency sound output and input. It was pretty amazing to get 6ms latency from this card without bogging down the CPU which allowed for a lot of cool stuff. You can't get this level of low latency from Creative soundcards. It's quite important for recording as well, check this for reasons why:
    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr9...es/letency.htm

    EDIT: You also get a nice selection of full version audio tools including Ableton Live and Cakewalk Production Plus.

    This card is not easy to find, in fact I had to spend a premium $250 to get it from the UK, but it offers the most flexibility for playback and recording. It's also cheaper than a good external firewire or thunderbolt recorder.
    Last edited by mashakos; 05-10-2012 at 02:43 PM.
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  7. #7
    Lesser Hivemind Node Shooop's Avatar
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    The only requirement then is to get a good soundcard.

    Look at ASUS soundcards as they make some which are aimed at professional audio creation instead of gaming. Or you could buy external audio recorders.

    It all depends on how serious he is about recording. You could easily spend more on that than the base computer itself.
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  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sakkura View Post
    5.1 soundcard? Plenty of motherboards have 7.1 codecs installed on-board.
    no digital or MIDI recording support.
    no ASIO support, so live monitoring is out of the question.
    Electrical interference is too high for pro audio requirements.
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  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mashakos View Post
    no digital or MIDI recording support.
    no ASIO support, so live monitoring is out of the question.
    Electrical interference is too high for pro audio requirements.
    Meh, you can get shielding for motherboard audio too. Plenty of MIDI recording support of course, you just need software and an input device.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    It all comes down to his (or his fathers in this case) needs.

    MOBO codecs and shielding might not be enough for his case. Works fine for me cause all I do is play games and use a mic. I wouldn't use if for audio recording of anything though.

    An ASUS card as recommended or external recording device would be best. Since you said you want to make a computer, I guess you don't want another box, so get the card above.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sakkura View Post
    Meh, you can get shielding for motherboard audio too. Plenty of MIDI recording support of course, you just need software and an input device.
    you can get shielding on the cables, which reduces interference from a monitor or power plug, but how would you shield the DAC chip and audio ports on the motherboard itself?
    If you get a MIDI to USB converter you bypass the built-in audio entirely.
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  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mashakos View Post
    you can get shielding on the cables, which reduces interference from a monitor or power plug, but how would you shield the DAC chip and audio ports on the motherboard itself?
    If you get a MIDI to USB converter you bypass the built-in audio entirely.
    Oh, say, with shielding?
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  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sakkura View Post
    Oh, say, with shielding?
    what, are you trolling? Get serious.
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  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mashakos View Post
    what, are you trolling? Get serious.
    That's the codec chip with shielding around it. You asked for it, you got it.

  15. #15
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mashakos View Post
    what, are you trolling? Get serious.
    I honestly think that was a proper reply. Counterreply please, Id like to know. (not that I would do it this way, but maybe it is a possibility)
    - Tom De Roeck.

    verse publications

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    "It's frankly embarrassing. The mods on here are woeful."

    "I wrinkled my nose at QC being a mod."

    "At least he has some personality."

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuantaCat View Post
    I honestly think that was a proper reply. Counterreply please, Id like to know. (not that I would do it this way, but maybe it is a possibility)
    It's trolling. The pic is of a motherboard with emi shielding on the audio capacitor. So basically he's saying the best approach is to buy a n completely new motherboard with emi shielding or if you're building a PC consider only the motherboards that have EMI shielding on the audio capacitor - regardless of the merits of said motherboards.
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  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mashakos View Post
    It's trolling. The pic is of a motherboard with emi shielding on the audio capacitor. So basically he's saying the best approach is to buy a n completely new motherboard with emi shielding or if you're building a PC consider only the motherboards that have EMI shielding on the audio capacitor - regardless of the merits of said motherboards.
    No, it's EMI shielding around the codec chip, the very piece of hardware you were referring to (well, you said DAC chip, but codec is just DAC combined with ADC).

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sakkura View Post
    No, it's EMI shielding around the codec chip, the very piece of hardware you were referring to (well, you said DAC chip, but codec is just DAC combined with ADC).
    Post something more than a small pic and we'll know you're not rolling.
    The round cylindrical things are capacitors BTW.
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  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mashakos View Post
    Post something more than a small pic and we'll know you're not rolling.
    The round cylindrical things are capacitors BTW.
    I posted a small pic you can click to make larger. I also posted a link to the review site it was from, where they describe the feature (it's shielding the whole audio area on the motherboard, including the front panel audio header).

  20. #20
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sakkura View Post
    I posted a small pic you can click to make larger. I also posted a link to the review site it was from, where they describe the feature (it's shielding the whole audio area on the motherboard, including the front panel audio header).
    Sounds good, yeah.
    - Tom De Roeck.

    verse publications

    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

    "It's frankly embarrassing. The mods on here are woeful."

    "I wrinkled my nose at QC being a mod."

    "At least he has some personality."

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