Things to Consider When Buying a Sound Card
First of all, choosing the right sound card for you can be a bit tricky. There are many options to consider such as different input and output numbers, connection types, and formats. So how do you find the best sound card for you? As Now You Tech, we will help you determine the most suitable sound card model for your needs in this article.
What is a Sound Card? What are the Working Principles?
A Sound Card is hardware that connects your microphones and other audio devices to your computer. A typical audio interface converts analog signals into digital audio information that your computer can process. It sends this digital audio to your computer via some form of connection.
At the same time, your sound card reverses the same process, taking digital audio information from your computer and converting it into an analog signal that you can hear on studio monitors or through headphones.
Most audio interfaces include Line-level analog inputs and outputs, one or more microphone Preamplifiers, and have digital inputs and outputs such as AES, S / PDIF, or ADAT (Lightpipe)
Is The Sound Card In Our Computer Sufficient?
There are several reasons to use a proprietary audio interface instead of the sound card included with your computer. Many onboard sound cards have a consumer-only stereo Line level input, a headphone output, and possibly a consumer quality stereo Line level output. Electromagnetic and radio interference, vibration and excessive delay reduce or adversely affect sounds, both on the outbound and the exit. You will need a reliable audio interface to record and monitor production quality audio.
How to Choose the Right Sound Card?
For example; If you are a vocalist or songwriter, a sound card with 2 inputs (vocal microphone and for single instrument recording when required) and 2 outputs (left-right) will do the trick.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 MK2, M-Audio 2X2M, and Audient ID14 are the most preferred and exemplary models in this class.
Phantom (48V) Support for Condenser Microphones)
If you are going to use a condenser style studio microphone, your sound card must be producing the 48V Phamton Power to feed the microphone. This feature is found in almost every sound card produced for music production in the industry.
Digital Output (ADAT) for Expanding
Digital I / O may not seem important in the first place. However, it can provide a very useful and practical use in line with the developing technology and your needs. For example, high-end 1 or 2 channel microphone preamplifiers have digital outputs so you can connect to your sound card via optical cable without missing Line level inputs.
If your interface comes equipped with the standard ADAT Light pipe I/O, you can easily expand your system with 8-channel microphone preamps equipped with ADAT. Eight extra channels can turn your personal recording rig into a system ready to watch a full tape.
Different Connection Options to Your Computer
Despite all technological developments, aging connection types. Several types of audio interface connections were adopted as standard. Thunderbolt, USB, FireWire, and PC. Most computers and Mac computers have USB ports (USB 2 or USB 3); whereas FireWire (400 or 800) is mostly found on Macs. Both of these protocols average the same speed (480Mbps), which is fast to record up to 64 tracks at a time under ideal conditions. Also, some simple interfaces still use USB 1.1, they are much slower but fast enough to record one or two channels.
The thunderbolt connection method is the fastest connection method with USB 3.0. Devices with USB 2.0 output are the most used sound cards in the industry with their price-performance features. When purchasing a sound card, it is very important to choose a device with the connection formats supported by your computer. If you have a computer with a USB 2.0 output, it won’t matter if you use a USB 3.0 sound card.