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Mike Smith
sound card / audio interface Windows 7 64 bit / mic in
on Mar 20, 2011 at 11:03:31 am

Any thoughts on a decent, budget sound card or audio interface for Windows 7 64 bit, with a microphone-in 1/4" socket? I think I'm getting confused with mic in / line in, -19db +4 db specs ...

Many thanks.


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Ty Ford
Re: sound card / audio interface Windows 7 64 bit / mic in
on Mar 20, 2011 at 1:55:12 pm

Hello Mike, and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum,

You have a mic with a 1/4" jack? I don't know any that are really good mics.

Have you considered a USB interface to bypass the PC audio I/O?

What do you want to record and where do you want to record it?

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide





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Mike Smith
Re: sound card / audio interface Windows 7 64 bit / mic in
on Mar 20, 2011 at 2:37:02 pm

Hi Ty, and thanks for the welcome. As you can tell I'm on new ground here. Scary. Though years and years ago I was trained a little in film studio sound, using 1/4" analogue nagras, SQN mixers and a range of microphones. But it's all a very hazy memory.

I wouldn't be against a usb interface, but thought I might get better performance from an internal card / pci ?

What I'm wanting to do is set up a way to write and demo record songs - not recordings for sale or a production studio, obviously, but demos of writing. Long, long ago I studied classical guitar for a while, though I haven't really touched music for years. Last year, though, a local writer and amateur singer asked me to set a poem to music for a soprano singing group. This took me some time, working with guitar and staff paper. Since then, I've learnt there's software for all that now, and have experimented with some sequencing software and would like to do more. It turned out I had a version of Cubase VST with an old Soundblaster, and I've also been playing with a free version of MuLab and wondering about e.g. Sonar as a possible tool.

So now what I'd like to try to do, in an amateur way, is to record a singer, ideally giving a live audio out from a sequencer into headphones for her. So I guess "full duplex" sounds like a good idea ?

On the microphone front, I think I might be OK for now. For demo voiceovers for (offline edits of) videos I've used (and have) a Bayer dynamic mike (M300 ) and a mini-condenser Sennheiser (MKE300), but when people asked to keep my voice on a couple of videos I invested in a Rode K2, which offers an XLR-to-1/4" lead from the power supply, and produces what for me is a nice sound. I figured this was the one to use - good enough for current purposes anyway.

On the where-to-record thing, I've made a reasonably quiet space around my video edit gear - far from perfect, but again good enough for now for my purposes. I want to keep this off the video gear if I can, and record onto a (quiet) Windows 7 / 64 bit machine which is in the same area.

Thanks for any guidance.


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Ty Ford
Re: sound card / audio interface Windows 7 64 bit / mic in
on Mar 20, 2011 at 2:58:25 pm

MIke,

You certainly have the background. Let's see....I hear a lot of problems with sound cards that I can't confirm are actual card problems or user errors, more so in PC than Mac, so I'm not sure what the problems are. I'm a Mac guy so I can't help suss out the various control panels and settings.

In a recent telephone consult with a PC-owner friend, even getting their USB mic to be seen by their audio hardware and software was problematic. They got it to work, but there was still some noise. I think it was from the mic itself. It advertised as a Big Diaphragm, but the specs showed 16 mm; decidedly NOT big. So simple diaphragm size may be the issue. Then too, this was a $99 USB mic. :)

Full duplex: I get that. USB is getting better, but some computers are faster than others and the slower ones have latency issues. So your vocalists voice has to get digitized, go through the computer and back out, be converted to analog to feed the headphones. That trip can cause delay (latency) that can be very offputting to the person speaking or singing. Firewire has a faster throughput. If you aren't having latency issues, you're good to go.

Yes, the K2, used as you describe, should do the job for your current purposes.

Try MixCraft as a simple PC-based software that allows "full duplex" multi-track recording. It's like Garage Band for PC.

OK on your space.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide





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