PC Soundcards for Ableton

Hi,

I've decided to build a PC from scratch to save money and get the elements I really need.

I have memory, processor and storage covered. The unit I'm working on already has a basic video card but no sound card. That's where I'm looking for advice.

Should I go for a super basic soundcard or does anyone here have recommendations on what to get?

Don't let budget be a barrier, I'm saving a lot by going down the custom route so I can splurge a little if it is worth it.

Thanks!
A

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AlienableTone 10 months ago | 0 comments

5 answers

  • Near Earth Object
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    2 votes

    Hi!

    Personally, I also had my studio PC built for audio production, but without a built in audio interface. The reason for that is, that i use an external audio interface.

     

    Even if you use an internal soundcard, you will still need to be able to connect stuff: midi in/out, ext audio, connection to your speakers, etc.

    You could use an internal one, but will still need external connection, at least for your speakers.

    The advantage of an external interface:

    more room for connections, interface is only attached by a cable, so moveable. Also easier to replace or disconnect than an internal one. 

    If you are going to spend a lot of money on a custom pc, a high quality interface would be useful as well. The whole audio setup is only as strong as its weakest link.

    Putting everything inside the pc is at least not very efficient, unless you add an external interface or external connections. 

    Having to crawl behind your PC every time you need to change a connection is not really useful, in my opinion. Besides that, using an external interface nowadays is no problem, because of fast connections and options.

    So if you want to spend good money on something useful, I would spend that money on an external interface and make sure the onboard connections are fast and modern: firewire or fast usb? Make sure you have fast and reliable firewire or usb ports. 

     

     

     

     

    10 months ago | 0 comments
  • AlienableTone
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    Thanks for the answer!

    I get your point and have read on other sources that even the simplest of interface will help drastically reduce latency.

    Now, everything I read about audio interfaces seems to be related to audio recording mainly. Which is not something I intend to do for the time being. I'm focusing on MIDI, mainly due to budget restrictions but also preference in terms of workflow - I'll be using Push and an MPK 49 Advance.

    i can't find any info re. best interfaces for MIDI setups. Any recommendation on this front?

    Thanks!

    10 months ago | 0 comments
  • Near Earth Object
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    Depends on what you mean by "midi setups"?

    The controllers you are talking about both have a usb connection to your computer, and can handle all their signals via that same connection. In other words: you don't need any outboard midi connections for that.

    You only need midi outputs if you want to control outboard gear that only has a midi connection. 

    Inside Ableton do can do all the midi routing you want: no need for any special midi device or interface.

    And even if you use midi devices or whatever, you still need a good AUDIO interface to make them sound good. 

    So if you plan on only using Push and MPK49 for now, all you need is some usb ports :-)

    10 months ago | 0 comments
  • AlienableTone
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    So if I get this right, basically I don't need an audio interface to make Push and the MPK WORK well, but I do need one to make them SOUND well?

    Sorry for the noob questions, but on this particular matter I've found it hard to find useful info that I can understand...

    So I'd still need an AI with a few USB I/O ports. Plug both controllers through the AI and then in my computer, right? Or is the AI just used as a sound treatment interface and both controllers can be plugged directly on my computer's USB ports?

    10 months ago | 0 comments
  • mcbpete
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    Yes, the latter - The USB leads from the Push and the MPK plug directly into the computer rather than the audio interface. Think of them as controllers like the mouse and keyboard, though rather than sending keystroke and mouse position information for the computer to interpret - they're sending it midi data.

    The audio interface is the box that makes the 'noise' at the end after the computer has worked it all out, they can have (and usually have) midi ports at the back of them but are mainly used for the input (eg mics, instruments) and output (speaker, headphones) of sound.

    10 months ago | 0 comments

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