Sound Card

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Sound Card

Postby Vinni Smith » Mon May 03, 2004 3:01 am

Hey Andychap. I have a question about a sound card.

I have a Creative Soundblaster PCI (WDM).

My plans with Cakewalk Home Studio 2004 is to use the drums and percussion on the computer with the pattern brush and then add guitars, bass and vocals in audio channels, of course, and even the keyboards will be audio. This is my plan, that is.

My question is, can I use this sound card that I have or will I need to buy another one? We tried to record a guitar into it last week and it was a bit distorted. I think it was just set wrong but what do I know? It sounds awesome just plugged into my computer but when we try to record is when we get the fall out.

I hired a guy that works at the local music store to come over here and give me a two hour lesson on Cakewalk and to look over my system. I had two appointments with him a both times now he has stood me up. I was going to pay him $25 per hour at a 2 hour minimum. What a flake! Now I am looking for another person to teach me about this stuff. I am not lame. I have a bit of computer savey. I just do not understand this stuff. Does anyone know of someone in the Modesto, Ca. area???

Thanks in advance, Andychap. YOU DA MAN!!!

Vinni Smith

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Postby Vinni » Mon May 03, 2004 4:16 am

Let me be a bit more specific as to what it is doing. I just tried it again.

I get plenty of signal and the signal seems to be just about where the instructions say. However, the sound is delayed like an echo and the echo repeats itself a few times and is distorted if you hit a nice strong guitar chord even in the clean setting.

Now, I had Cubase last year on a very slow computer and the same type sound card and I was able to adjust the card settings to get rid of the latancy problem. This one, however does not seem to be easily corrected in that way. This is why I am questioning this card.

BTW, I am using a Pentium4 with 256 megs of Ram.



Postby andychap » Mon May 03, 2004 10:18 pm

At a push it will do what you want to do but don't expect great quality.

First thing to do is make sure your line levels are right. There will be a miss match between the soundcard line in and a guitar jack. This is usually overcome with a small preamp. You will need a preamp if you plan to record any vocals. The microphone socket on the soundcard will be awful quality, it is designed for these desktop multimedia stick mics rather than a musical one.

I would suggest a small mixer to overcome these problems. Even the cheapest of the Behringer range comes with preamps.

The latency problem is always going to be a problem. In order to overcome the latency you will have to lower you souncard buffers and this will lead to stuttering and crackles etc in your playback and recording. You will have to set the buffers just above what you need to get clean play back and accept what latency it gives you.

If HS 2004 can use ASIO drivers then I would suggest the ASIO4ALL drivers. These piggy back the WDM drivers so to speak and can give lower latency with clean sound.

To be honest it is really going to slow you down and you will never be happy with the results you get with that card.

The cost of decent audio cards are coming down all the time. Have a look at the Audiophile 24/96 and the new Terratec Phase 22 (looks like a real good card). You will still need a small mixer or preamp but they are essential in most home studios these days.

Your System itself is fine. More RAM never goes amiss but a P4 will do what you want no problem.

I wish I lived near you, I'd be round in a flash for $25 an hour :wink:
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New Card

Postby Vinni » Wed May 05, 2004 3:47 am

Well Andychap,

I bought a new sound card today. I bought a Soundblaster AudigyLS 24bit. I paid about $69 for it. Anyway, I uninstalled the old sound card, installed the new one and ran the install cd.

When I first tried to record with it all I got was a bunch of hiss and no guitar at all. Even with the amp unplugged from the pc. All of the meters were pegged. Then my Son came in and clicked on a few things here and there and the hiss went away. We do not know what we clicked on to do this. Now the meter pegs for imput but the meters on the right are not lighting up at all. HMMMM

What do you think I have happening here? I went to the soundcard adjustments and see nothing there.

You know, I am going to keep at this thing till I get it right. I still am trying to get the tutor over here but that is looking like next week.

Any suggestions will be accepted and appreciated MUCHO!


sound card

Postby Vinni » Wed May 05, 2004 4:36 am

Well, I just reinstalled Cakewalk just in case. No difference. I am pretty sure it is between the sound card and the recording program. Last night with the old card, I did get signal but it was late and distorted. Now i dont get that. I just get a real strong signal from somewhere that is keeping the input meter pegged. I unplugged the amp and it is still there. Well, I am going to be tonight and tomorrow is another day.

Good night all!


Sound Card

Postby Vinni » Wed May 05, 2004 4:39 am

One more thing before I go to bed. I tried a cd and it sounded great. i do get plenty of my guitar coming out of the speakers even though the meter is pegged and the sound is good but I think it is simply feeding thru my computer and not the recording area.



Postby andychap » Wed May 05, 2004 10:10 am

I really don't know much about the Audigy. TBH Creative cards are not that good for music production and you could still have problems.

Creative Drivers are not great, if anything I would say the ASIO drivers for the audigy would be the best option if HS 2004 can use them if not you will have to use the WDM drivers and probably have to check the 'use MME interface box' or choose the MME drivers from the drop down box.

I would work through all the driver options in HS and see if other drivers solve your problem. Make sure you have run wave profilers etc and you have selected the correct inputs and armed your audio track. Using all the driver options will show you which will give the best performance.

Aim for buffer settings of 512 or 1024 and then adjust the latency slider as low as you can go before you start to get dropouts. If you try 1024 first and manage to get the slider all the way to the left and no drop outs or distortion when you play back, try 512 and do the same thing until you find a balance between latency and quality. Aim for latency settings of less than 20ms, ideally less than 10ms but anything up to 20 you can work with.

Creative cards also have their own little softare mixer, make sure you have the correct recording options checked, you want the line in checked and your source plugged into the line in socket.
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