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Best Sound Card for creating sound?

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Hey everyone, I want to get into creating songs for my games. I don't know anything about this synth stuff, I have been mainly playin' with midi notation software. So I was wondering what would be a good sound card overall??? I was looking at this: Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 Value SB0400 8 (7.1) Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card Do I want a card with more poly voices or something? What should I look for? Thanks :) I'd like to keep my price below like $100 if possible :P I'd more just like to hear what makes a good sound card, and why, and maybe good software to learn. I played the piano for a while, had some music theory in high school, but haven't really done much for a few years.

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This is a pretty good card to start with. A friend of mine has used this for a long time for making music with his PC and a guitar and mike and only recently "outgrew" it.
You don't need "higher polyphony" because if you are using a software synth, the voice count depends on it (and your processor) instead of your soundcard.

Well, and the software... I like reNoise, a modern tracker program which you can use with MIDI gear, VST instruments and all. Others swear by (on? spelling?) FL Studio.
It all depends on how much money you can spend.
An ok synth for starters is the LinPlug FreeAlpha softsynth, if you really have money to spare try LinPlug Albino or the really really GREAT Native Instrument's Absynth 3.

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thanks for the comment

i guess i never did get the synths, it seemed like you weren't making your own music, just using a collection of others... i dunno; but i tried to find places to dl free VST instruments (to figure out what they were and how to use them) but no such luck; this is why i've stuck to the midi notation editor programs

thanks for your help, ill look at some of those programs, i used FL studios back when it was fruit loops, but i never really understood it, ill check it out again

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That sound card will do at the beginning - (it's not worth spending a lot of money unless you think you can get the most out of it) - but I'd recommend an M-audio Revolution 7.1 as an upgrade when you need it. The best value pro-soundcard is an M-audio Audiophile 2496 - but you'll really want/need a decent amp and speakers to run it through...

However - along side your sound card - and just as important - (if not more-so) - are some good speakers - and I recommend upgrading your speakers before getting a good sound-card. I can't really give any advice on these though - as I've not really had that problem. (I run my DAW through my hi-fi).

Another (the main!) place to start to look for free VSTi's (Virtual instruments) is www.kvraudio.com

I also have to vouch for Renoise - (I've got it too) - it's great for just mucking around on...:)

See what you think to my music ;)

Darren Tomlyn
Composer/Tune-writer & Fiddle-player
http://www.ic-musicmedia.com/DarrenTomlyn

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My personal advice is to avoid the sorts of products you could buy at the Best Buy, and that includes the Sound Blaster you mentioned. I'll probably offend someone by saying this, but Sound Blasters are for games, not making music. If you're serious about getting into making music on a computer, go to a music store (Guitar Center, Sam Ash, etc.), not an discount electronics superhubamegastore and see what they recommend. Or, call up Sweetwater. They're very friendly and will get you going in the right direction. Would you buy a piano at the Best Buy? How about one of those guitars they sell at the Target or the Wal-Mart? You get what you pay for. M-Audio and Echo both make reasonably priced semi-pro and pro gear. For their lower-priced equipment, you'll spend only a bit more than you would for a Sound Blaster Audigy, but you'll get much higher quality.

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Quote:
Original post by DarrenTomlyn
pro-soundcard is an M-audio Audiophile 2496


I do have one of these. It's a good card; 4 years old or so.

Beware of using consumer cards; they don't always work as advertised. There was a big bruhaha over the Audigy not actualling supporting 24/96 like it says although I'm not sure what ever came out of it.

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Chalk another recommendation for the 2496. Affordable and sounds -great-. Also GSIF compatible, which is why I bought it.

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Generally when you're looking at a pro or semi pro card, you're going to be getting a higher quality ADC and DAC...The quality of the ADC and the master clock are critical for getting a good recording. Also, better cards can generally produce lower latencies when being used with soft synths.

In addition, while I don't think this is the case with the Audiophile, pro cards generally work at the higher-end +4dBu instead of -10dBV (hotter signal = less affected by low-level noise). And, if you were to go with a card that used 1/4" TRS connectors, such as the Echo Mia, you'd likely be getting balanced connections, which helps to reduce noise picked up by cables.

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