• Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

Sound card recommendations..... Anyone have any suggestions??

ChrisM

New Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2022
Messages
11 (0.16/day)
Ok, So i've started to make a list of features i could do with in the hope it helps pin something down.

LoopBack
XLR Inpurts + 48V phantom power
Mic Gain needs to be more than 50db. The Rode NTG2 from a few boxes says that 50db you can't hear it so needs much more umph.
USB3 or C for low latency
L&R RCA or so outputs for powering M-Audio BX5 monitor/speakers and my Sennheiser HD650's
Optical In/Out for future proofing might be a good idea
Twin Mic inputs ideally and outputs this would allow me to ditch using the onboard and pcie sound cads.
6.35mm input for a guitar woudl be good
Very High quality overall, for SNR,THD, Very low noise for Mic's etc - Looking at this as a long term investment so budget doesn't have to be crazy cheap.. Rather pay a bit more for something long term.
Balanced sounds a good idea possibly?
Maybe 32bit+for future proof?
ASIO option ideally.
Windows 10 and 11 support but if they show back further it will give an idea on the manufactures support.

I've started to look at a few ideas but would be amazing to see what people think might begin to fit the bill on the above. Thanks :) And hope this helps a bit more.
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2019
Messages
868 (0.76/day)
Location
Loose in space
System Name "The black one in the dining room" / "The Beast"
Processor Intel Xeon E5 2683 V4 16c/32t / i7 12700K Alder Lake
Motherboard Asus X99 Deluxe / ASRock Z690 Steel Legend WiFi
Cooling Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240 w/4 Silverstone FM121 fans @110cfm ea in push/pull / Arctic LF II 420
Memory 64GB G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4 2400 (8x8) / 64G G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 3600 C16
Video Card(s) XFX R9 Fury X / ASRock OC Formula Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB
Storage Samsung 970 Evo Plus. 480GB MyDigital NVMe, 1TB Samsung 860, 4 Western Digital 2TB / SK hynix P41
Display(s) 43" Samsung 8000 series 4K / 50" Vizio M-series 4K
Case Modded Corsair Carbide 500R / Modded Silver Stone Cosmos II
Audio Device(s) Asus Xonar D2X
Power Supply Corsair AX1200i / Seasonic Prime GX-1300
Mouse Logitech Performance MX
Keyboard Logitech K750 Solar, DiNovo Edge
Software Win 10 Enterprise LTSC / Win 11 Pro 22H2
When I was in radio before retiring we began using AudioScience cards for the last year I was there. Expensive, several different configurations to choose from, analog XLR in & out, AES/EBU digital and more. They were in PC's I built and wired into $15,000 Harris digital broadcast mixing boards. Vast overkill for home use but they worked great for professional broadcast use. Look into used recording studio and broadcast digital gear for the best bang for the buck.
 

ChrisM

New Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2022
Messages
11 (0.16/day)
When I was in radio before retiring we began using AudioScience cards for the last year I was there. Expensive, several different configurations to choose from, analog XLR in & out, AES/EBU digital and more. They were in PC's I built and wired into $15,000 Harris digital broadcast mixing boards. Vast overkill for home use but they worked great for professional broadcast use. Look into used recording studio and broadcast digital gear for the best bang for the buck.
I've had a look a little at those also actually. But i wasnt 100% sure again a bit like the RME on the break out cable options.

At the start i was 100% wanting a pcie add in card. But after loads of looking in to things and peoples replies on here it's making me think an external might well be a better option with more flexibility.

I haven't narrowed things down yet and looking at all the makes but here are some I'm looking at. I need to work out and compare them a bit more specifications wise. I know I could do with MIC gain a good bit over 50db. And a few only have 50db so it may cut those out right away. Each name below is linked in case anyone has used these items or to point anything out i may have missed. But the above still stands for some features so i think it will help pin them down.

If anyone's used these or has any thoughts on them (bad would be good - as i can narrow them down them haha) it would be amazing. Out of curiosity these interfaces use the 6.35mm jack outputs a lot on the rear - I've not looked closely enough yet to see if there is variance but i assume these are single channel outputs generally each? ie not like a Headphone version in stereo? because some say like output 1L, 2R (left and right etc). Wasn't sure with these USB ones if you have an element of control for options to swap settings and in-depth tools like Mono/Stereo etc. I've seen a couple have software to configure things. Some of these i think have better DAC chips than others also.

So it's trying to work out the ones with the best Chips, output and input combinations etc.

Presonus - 1810C

Audient iD44

RME - HDSPe AIO Pro - I know Internal and i'm not sure the cables give me the options i need, but meant to be really top notch quality I think?

Roland Rubix44

Roland UA-1010 Octa-Capture

Rocusrite Scarlett 18i8

Topping DX7Pro+ - Not many input/output options

Topping DX5 - Not many input/output options

MOTU UltraLite AVB

MOTU AVB 624

MOTU Ultralite-mk5

MOTU M6

RME Fire Face UC

I think a few of these will be easily cut out due to the features, but as said i'd love some thoughts on these. I'd rather pay a chunk more, and have loads of features, and importantly high quality etc.

Definitely need something with some muscle. My ASUS card i could flick between my M-AUDIO BX5's and my Sennheiser headphones and generally be at like 8-15% Windows volume level. Currently when i have headphones on I have to have it at 100% and it's not even that loud on the headphones. So certainly need some guts for amping out the audio power.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 9, 2020
Messages
120 (0.14/day)
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
Motherboard Asus TUF Gaming B550-Plus
Cooling Thermalright Frost Commander 140
Memory 2x16 3200@3733 Crucial Ballistix
Video Card(s) Gigabyte RX 5600 XT WindForce OC 6G (GV-R56XTWF2OC)
Storage Some
Display(s) Acer XV280K
Case Cooler Master HAF XB EVO
Power Supply Cooler Master MWE 650 Bronze
Mouse Logitech G502SE
Keyboard Ajazz AK35i with AKKO CS Rose Red Switches and white YMDK PBT keys
I've had a look a little at those also actually. But i wasnt 100% sure again a bit like the RME on the break out cable options.

At the start i was 100% wanting a pcie add in card. But after loads of looking in to things and peoples replies on here it's making me think an external might well be a better option with more flexibility.

For lower latency and solid driver I would only consider RME and Presonus, forget the rest.
Do not want the PCIe card, than go for the
or
 

ChrisM

New Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2022
Messages
11 (0.16/day)
For lower latency and solid driver I would only consider RME and Presonus, forget the rest.
Do not want the PCIe card, than go for the
or
So looks like the best options may be

RME - HDSPe AIO Pro - If i can work out the cables setup and it covers what i need. Has a basic cable setup. Not sure it really offers all the options i'd like unsure.

Presonus - 1810C - Good range of inputs and outputs - lacking Optical out mostly compared to the RME - Fireface UCX II

RME - Fireface UCX II - Looks amazing. Driver support back to XP! Mic Gain to 75db sounds good and plenty of scope. I wonder if i can find a couple comparison reviews for this one and the other couple top end ones.

Presonus - 68C - Compact, Windows 10+ only so feels like they may drop support quickly going forwards. - Mic Gain 80db. Line out though says 20 Hz - 20 kHz (±0.2 dB, unity gain, 48 kHz). My Speakers are 56Hz-22kHz and my Headphones are 10 Hz - 41,000 Hz Range though? Not sure i follow the brackets part? Does that mean it can cover that frequency range?

MOTU Ultralite-mk5 - 2.4 ms Round Trip Latency, ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC, 74Db Mic Gain


The OLD ASUS D2X I had was this - Not sure how much Amplification it has for output but as i mentioned my sound over motherboard now has significantly less umph/output power.
  • Asus AV200 APU (a re-branded C-Media Oxygen HD CMI8788 of some sort)
  • Texas Instruments/Burr-Brown PCM1796 DACs to those 7.1 channels
  • 2-channel input at 24 bit/192 KHz maximum, via Cirrus Logic CS5381 ADC
  • 8-channel (7.1 surround) output at 24 bit/192 KHz maximum
  • S/PDIF input and output, both with optical and coaxial connections
  • MIDI input and output via daughtercard

    Just saw this review on AudioScience for the ASUS STX II PCIe Sound card.
  • Conclusions
    My experience with add-on sound card has uniformly been poor. Despite claims of high measured performance, I would routinely hear my computer activity through them. Alas, I had not tested them for a while so went into this review thinking the situation may be much improved. That was not meant to be. The Asus STX II despite looking otherwise, has a number of serious engineering problems. At best we can say it is susceptible to differences in motherboards. But isn't that what they were supposed to do right for nearly $300? Make a card that would sound good regardless of the machine activity? Measured performance is far, far below specification and in a number of cases, worse than my motherboard.

    Ultimately, my strong advice remains to spend your money on external DACs. USB interface is plenty fast, is plug-and play, and doesn't require opening the machine to use them. The ASUS STX II by the way, required custom drivers to work. Heaven forbid Microsoft changes its driver interface again and Asus doesn't provide an update for that future OS

    :)And a reply when offered to tests D2X.

    Jimster480 said:
    Amir, if you would like to test the Xonar D2X I have one in my downstairs storage.
    I can mail it to you for testing.
    Thanks. Given the issues with drivers and the hassle of installing cards in my PC, I rather pass.

    Haha. Says it all with Drivers.
 

ChrisM

New Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2022
Messages
11 (0.16/day)
@Pictus Thanks for pointing me towards the RME - Fireface UCX II. I Spoke to two authorised shops and grilled them on my intentions setup ways, possible future expansion and such. One expert (At Scans Pro Audio Division - He is also a big music creator also, uses RME himself and other kit and finds issues and reports them also.) on the interfaces called me and talked for an hour. He said when they provide Pro kit to places the Motu interfaces like the Ultralite he said are great for the capability for recording at home or practice and such in studios, but when ever there is anything Live performance related, broadcasting, stage etc where you just can't have anything go wrong. RME is the only choice as it never fails. He said one guy had a piece of kit 15 years old. Spoke to RME and they still had spare parts. They said if he paid to ship to them in Germany they'd fix and service it for him. Incredible company. Most wouldn't want to know you.

Also thanks to @Wirko - suggestinga couple brands i looked in to,@evernessince - for suggesting the audiosciencereview site - Very interesting there! @agent_x007 - Pointing out that it may be worth keeping and eye on windows 10 automated drivers - i have tried to prevent this before but its a good reminder. Also talking about loopback. @Veseleil - Again for those suggestions, i started to look at those Auduent and presonus ones, I also opted to go for a unit that has many expansion options to just future proof.

The units got far more scope than I need, however, i don't know if my 2 young kids would be musically inclined, and also I can do more things i couldn't before with this unit. I'm paying more for stability, quality and a problem free life. Also as it's a business purchase it won't cost me anywhere near to the price I've paid. Will be about 1/6 - 1/4 of the price Depending on variable business income over 4 years.. So it made sense to plump for the best. Also i saw some of RME's Total FX setup videos and my word there's so much scope!
 
Last edited:
Top