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1. need recommendation on PC sound card

Dear Rob,
I too would not consider an issue the question of the magnetic interference of internal PC components: nowadays, high quality audio PCI-PCIX-PCIExpress cards only receive digital signals, converted by external units (usually provided with the cards themselves), therefore are immune from these problems.
I would consider important having digitally controlled headphones amplifiers, so that you can recall automatically exactly the same levels (and, possibly, also digitally controlled microphone preamplifiers for possible further tests involving the recording of sound sources), so if you are thinking about a USB or Firewire interface I'd recommend the RME Fireface 400 and/or the MOTU Traveller (a cheaper option could also be the Presonus 1394).
If you are considering then only internal cards, there are very good products, again, from RME and MOTU: this is not a rule, but MOTU interfaces are usually very stable and used on Apple environments, while RME on PC ones...

Lorenzo Picinali
Faculty of Technology
De Montfort University, The Gateway
Leicester, LE1 9BH
Room GH 5.31 (Gateway House)
Tel 0116 207 8051