One very real problem is that the vast majority of internal cards do not support balanced microphone inputs for "real" microphones" and have rather pathetic output amps. Now that may not be a problem if you are driving "consumer grade" PC speakers or similar, but anything more serious, can reveal problems. External devices (and I'd agree Firewire devices are also good - I've never had a problem with USB 2.0 units either), usually have much better analog stages.
As for immunity to PC noise I'm sorry I disagree. Try running an internal sound card and making a 24-bit recording that really uses the full 24-bit range... good luck.
I guess it depends what you are trying to do really.
Good luck, Neil
On Feb 22, 2010, at 10:10 AM, Paweł Kuśmierek wrote:
for most uses any sound card from the semi-pro market should be sufficient. Look for manufacturers such as M-Audio, E-mu, Lexicon, PreSonus, MOTU, Tascam), or simply go to an online store such as http://www.sweetwater.com
, and look for recording interfaces. Any of these should support 44.1-48 kHz at 16-bit with stereo line level input and output, but if you need more inputs or outputs, another kind of output (mic preamp, instrument level, headphone), analog volume controls, higher sampling rates or bit depths, then there will still a lot of options, but read the specs.
As for external vs. internal - these days decent internal cards are usually very immune to PC noise it I would not say it's an issue. On the other hand, USB cards in some (rare) configurations may have a little trouble running smoothly, Firewire cards are reported to be more reliable. I took me some time to get my M-Audio FastTrack Pro (a USB card) to run without glitches, whereas none of M-Audio PCI interfaces gave me any problems. On the other hand, external interfaces' audio connections are usually easier to connect - the box in your desk and you don't have to work behind your computer (some PCI cards have external breakout boxes though). Fore some people, an advantage of USB cards is that they tend to have manual analog volume controls and mic preamps.
Hope that helps,
On 22 February 2010 09:07, Neil Waterman <neil.waterman@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Is there a particular reason you need an INTERNAL card? Generally the internal environment of a PC is not conducive to high quality sound (far too many sources of electric and magnetic fields for the analog audio stages to remain clean). A much better option would be an external USB soundcard. Since these units keep the analog audio outside of the PC chassis things generally go rather better. Whether there are any external units that provide SDK support is beyond my knowledge though.
FWIW I am current using a PreSonus Audiobox USB and like it a lot.
On Feb 21, 2010, at 7:12 PM, G. Robert Arrabito wrote:
I did a quick search on the last two years of the auditory mailing list archives on pc sound card recommendations and didn't find much on the topic so hence my post to the list. I am looking for recommendations for an internal PC high quality sound card that will be used to output auditory stimuli in my experiments. Would also be nice if there is an accompanying software development kit. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
G. Robert Arrabito, M.Sc.
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