PCMIA Audio Card

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magritte
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PCMIA Audio Card

Post by magritte » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:20 am

Do you guys have a recommendation for a PCMIA audio card for a Dell laptop (1405 inspiron)?

I have a creative card but it's "fat" and doesn't fit in the thin slot. What's then name for the new/thin pcmia interface? That change sneaked up on me.
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Post by Gentleman Jim » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:12 am

Do you mean ExpressCard?

To further complicate matters, there's and ExpressCard 34 and an ExpressCard 54. I believe the numbers are the width measurement in millimeters. Someone correct me if I'm wrong there.

http://www.expresscard.org/web/site/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expresscard

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Post by ctmsound » Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:49 pm

What kind of inputs do you need? mic, line, digital, how many?

For starts, check out:

http://www.rme-audio.de/en_products_ove ... php#extern
multiface and express card

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Post by magritte » Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:08 pm

Forgot to mention that this is for a notebook and an express 54.
I'd like a 24/96 card. Not sure what to look at other than Creative. I was looking at this one: http://www.amazon.com/Creative-ExpressC ... roduct_top

Does anyone have a better suggestion?

Thanks
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Post by ctmsound » Sat Aug 22, 2009 6:03 pm

Stay away from anything creative labs, they are terrible cards and are not designed for recording in any way. How many mic inputs or line inputs and outputs do you need? Maybe we can offer suggestions.

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Post by magritte » Sat Aug 22, 2009 6:45 pm

ctmsound wrote:Stay away from anything creative labs, they are terrible cards and are not designed for recording in any way. How many mic inputs or line inputs and outputs do you need? Maybe we can offer suggestions.
i just need 1 input and 1 output. i record 1 track at a time.

i am running xp. the pc has a 54 express slot, 2gb ram, dual core.


thanks!
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Post by Aj » Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:48 pm

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Post by Gentleman Jim » Sun Aug 23, 2009 5:08 am

Also, there are ExpressCards that just have expansion on them, (e.g. Firewire, USB, eSATA), so you could get one of those and then use whatever USB or Firewire interface you want.

http://www.amazon.com/s/qid=1251029207/ ... xpresscard

Remember, ExpressCard 34's will work in your ExpressCard 54 slot.

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Post by magritte » Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:17 am

What makes that card better than the creative?

it costs 150$ more, so i'm just curious..
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Post by ctmsound » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:13 am

Sound quality is a step up and it's a full duplex card. Which means the ability to record and monitor at the same time with low latency. The creative labs is a half duplex.

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Post by magritte » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:31 am

ctmsound wrote:Sound quality is a step up and it's a full duplex card. Which means the ability to record and monitor at the same time with low latency. The creative labs is a half duplex.
awesome, thanks.

didn't want to spend that much but i did go ahead and purchase it for 180$ off ebay. i'm sure the card comes with it's own driver, but should i use that or continue using the asio full duplex driver that i've been using?
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Post by Aj » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:36 am

I've never used the Echo card I linked above. But I've researched this same question (ExpressCard sound interfaces) recently.

The Echo card repeatedly gets recommended by users doing pro audio applications (people using things like Ableton Live, virtual synths, etc., as well as multitrack recording). You are paying for it's ability to do low latency playback/recording without pops, clicks, tracking errors, etc. This is essential for any pro audio use.

The Creative card can't do this; nor is it intended to - it's not a pro audio card.

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Post by magritte » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:47 am

Aj wrote:I've never used the Echo card I linked above. But I've researched this same question (ExpressCard sound interfaces) recently.

The Echo card repeatedly gets recommended by users doing pro audio applications (people using things like Ableton Live, virtual synths, etc., as well as multitrack recording). You are paying for it's ability to do low latency playback/recording without pops, clicks, tracking errors, etc. This is essential for any pro audio use.

The Creative card can't do this; nor is it intended to - it's not a pro audio card.

Aj
Thanks. Yeah, I've been having nightmares with my inboard soundcard crackling, popping, etc. This will be worth the price if it does what you say.
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Post by Aj » Sun Aug 23, 2009 12:08 pm

Exactly... the onboard soundcards on laptops aren't designed for low-latency recording/playback applications. You didn't do anything wrong - they are "supposed to" click and pop when you try to get them to work with Cubase, ProTools, Reason or any other kind of pro audio program. They pretty much all do that.

The technical reason is they don't have the driver software (nor the hardware) for the programs we pro audio types use. The Echo card, like other pro audio cards, is a soundcard that uses a (technical term coming up!) "low-latency ASIO driver". No consumer laptop soundcard can run that sort of driver. The Echo can (as do all the other pro-audio soundcards you can buy for your PC).

One other thing - there is a generic ASIO driver called ASIO4ALL which attempts to provide some ASIO-like functionality to generic soundcards. Sometimes, it will allow a cheap or on-board soundcard to work without pops/clicks. Could be a good temporary solution. Find it here:

http://fileforum.betanews.com/detail/AS ... 80068068/1

And finally, yes, the Echo should fix the click/pop issue. That's what it's designed to do, again because it is built to work with low-latency drivers (which should come with it on an install disk). Bear in mind there are two models of the Echo Indigo card - one has four outputs and no inputs (for people doing playback of soft-synths, etc. exclusively and maybe also doing in-the-box mixing). The other has two inputs and two outputs. You could use that one for recording.

Aj

P.S. Once you want to do something more robust (like 8+ inputs simultaneously), you'll need to step-up to a USB or Firewire based soundcard for your laptop. However, it's always nice to have an Echo Indigo card because it's so small/compact (no breakout box, like mostly all of the USB or Firewire solutions). One other thing: RME makes an ExpressCard with a breakout box that can do 8+ inputs. It's expensive though, and bulky like the others. Great reputation/quality though.
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Post by magritte » Sun Aug 23, 2009 12:46 pm

hey thanks yeah i am currently using the asio4all driver with my factory soundcard. it works okay, but i notice crackles during the cubase mixdown to wav file. the strange thing is that sometimes there are no cracks, sometimes many. it's odd.

i take it that when i do get this echo card i'll use their driver instead and this will be resolved. that would be great.
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