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05-10-2012, 11:54 AM #1
New self-built PC (with very specific needs/wants)
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?
05-10-2012, 11:56 AM #2
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".
05-10-2012, 12:05 PM #3
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.
05-10-2012, 12:13 PM #4
05-10-2012, 01:42 PM #5
5.1 soundcard? Plenty of motherboards have 7.1 codecs installed on-board.
05-10-2012, 02:39 PM #6
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:
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.
05-10-2012, 02:46 PM #7
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.Virtual Pilot 3Dô NEVER NOT SCAM!
05-10-2012, 03:05 PM #8
05-10-2012, 03:48 PM #9
05-10-2012, 03:56 PM #10
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.
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05-10-2012, 07:05 PM #20