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Gear / Technical Help => Post-Processing, Computer / Streaming / Internet Devices & Related Activity => Topic started by: Numpy on July 18, 2020, 07:33:57 AM

Title: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: Numpy on July 18, 2020, 07:33:57 AM
My oldschool cards have been moved to my repurposed to Linux box  (now featuring improved liquid-cooling with large quiet fan)

I'm building out a new machine, and may go mini-tower, allowing a "good" soundcard for analog transfers

What does one use in 2020 ?

Looking for something around these $200 contenders:

ASUS Essence STX II

HT OMEGA CLARO II

Creative S.B.  ZxR


Would USB be more versatile and sound as good ?
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: jerryfreak on July 18, 2020, 08:06:31 AM
have internal cards come of age? those are cadillac for sure but im wondering if they can hold their noise specs with analog signals inside of a RFI-noisy desktop environment vs say a modern external offering from motu, focusrite, etc?

also those are geared to multichannel vs a lot of the external breakout boxes which are 2X2 or 4X4. Do you need multichannel?
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: heathen on July 18, 2020, 10:01:23 AM
Personally I'd look at whatever Terry Watts or Charlie Miller are doing and try to copy that, on the assumption that they've already done the homework.  Why reinvent the wheel?
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: buckster on July 18, 2020, 12:39:51 PM
I've just been through this process.  I did a new PC build, moving from Win 7 to Win 10, a few months ago and my old Asus sound card did not fit the (newer) pci slots in the mobo.  Fine, it was a chance to step up to a better quality sound card, but as I researched and as JF noted, I began to realize internal cards weren't the way to go.  To answer your question, YES, USB is just as good.  I ended up with the Schitt Audio Modi external DAC and it sounds great.   :headphones:


https://www.schiit.com/products/modi-1?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI6bOVsZrX6gIVVQiICR1DoQ0kEAAYASABEgKVjPD_BwE (https://www.schiit.com/products/modi-1?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI6bOVsZrX6gIVVQiICR1DoQ0kEAAYASABEgKVjPD_BwE)       
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: voltronic on July 18, 2020, 03:25:14 PM
Go with an external interface for maximum flexibility, portability, and also the reasons jerryfreak mentions.


I recently picked up a MOTU M2 and enthusiastically recommend it.  Under $200, and I doubt anything else out there in this price range comes close.  Get the M4 if you need more inputs.

The best part from a playback standpoint is that the headphone amp is plenty powerful enough to drive low-impedance headphones, so much so that I was able to sell my dedicated headphone amp for my HD 600s.

https://motu.com/en-us/products/m-series/m2/ (https://motu.com/en-us/products/m-series/m2/)

Very thorough and technical review:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3ednXYd1pA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3ednXYd1pA)
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: Numpy on July 18, 2020, 05:04:22 PM
I did not know the Motu ventured beyond the Macspace.
I also have a usb-c MS Surface, this could be another recording option.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: jefflester on July 18, 2020, 06:56:09 PM
Personally I'd look at whatever Terry Watts or Charlie Miller are doing and try to copy that, on the assumption that they've already done the homework.  Why reinvent the wheel?
Charlie uses a Tascam DA-3000.
https://tascam.com/us/product/da-3000/top
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: voltronic on July 18, 2020, 09:52:16 PM
I did not know the Motu ventured beyond the Macspace.

That's ancient history with them.  They've been pumping out pro-quality interfaces for years.  It's only very recently that they started making high-quality units that are also low priced.

I almost bought one of the Schiit units mentioned earlier, but I'm glad I went with the MOTU as it does every audio thing I need.  Also, loopback recording!
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: jerryfreak on July 19, 2020, 04:35:00 AM
some good reviews of a lot of this gear

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?forums/audio-interfaces-adc.52/

remember that all the ADC chips used in these are cheap and common and not far off in specs, its implementation that makes the difference in most cases
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: voltronic on July 19, 2020, 06:51:51 AM
some good reviews of a lot of this gear

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?forums/audio-interfaces-adc.52/

remember that all the ADC chips used in these are cheap and common and not far off in specs, its implementation that makes the difference in most cases

For sure.  Another one of the big separators of these is the quality / power of the headphone amps, which is one of the biggest factors that drove me to the M2.
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: DigiGal on July 19, 2020, 05:46:58 PM
Solid State Logic has entered the arena with the  SSL 2 link (https://www.solidstatelogic.com/products/ssl2) for around $200 or their  SSL 2+ link (https://www.solidstatelogic.com/products/ssl2-plus) with more features for more.

SSL 2 reviewed by the same fellow in his  video here (https://youtu.be/DOT5eFx_G3s)


Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: voltronic on July 20, 2020, 07:03:43 AM
Solid State Logic has entered the arena with the  SSL 2 link (https://www.solidstatelogic.com/products/ssl2) for around $200 or their  SSL 2+ link (https://www.solidstatelogic.com/products/ssl2-plus) with more features for more.

SSL 2 reviewed by the same fellow in his  video here (https://youtu.be/DOT5eFx_G3s)

Interesting to see this from SSL.  Other than the very low EIN, it was disappointing to see that the performance Julian measured was inferior compared to some of the other units in this range.

I wonder how many people who use the "4K" console emulation switch will understand what they are doing to their signal and that it is irreversible.  I have always been against "baking in" EQ and heavy distortion into digital recordings.
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: lerond on July 20, 2020, 04:22:21 PM
Lack of S/PDIF I/O on most of these is a deal killer for me: I have too many DATs that need to be transferred.

Realized about a month ago that my old sound card, an M-Audio FireWire, wasn't working perfectly for me... it's somehow developed a habit of randomly inserting 8-sample noise glitches
Could be the W7 machine instead.
Seems to be quite unpredictable and intermittent, but it's a problem no matter what!

Now doing digital transfers DAT to SD722, then pulling them off that machine via the FW connection.
Kind of a hassle, but it solves that part of my problem.

Lack of computer/network connectivity on the Tascam DA-3000 is another bummer.
I don't think it makes sense to make a digital transfer to flash media, then move the physical media to another machine for editing access to it.

I assume that anyone using the DA-3000 is only using it for transfers.
Anyone out there saving the flash cards as an additional backup source?
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: spyder9 on July 21, 2020, 02:34:04 PM
I use an HT Omega eClaro for about 5 years now. 

Works perfectly with Windows 10.  It's PCI-e and sounds fantastic!    :headphones:

https://www.htomega.com/eclaro.html



Stay away:  Asus Essence STX I & II:  Asus' drivers suck.  Although there is a community-based 3rd party driver
 out there, the driver's bugginess always made me nuts.  I sold my Asus and went back to HT Omega.

My 2 cents.
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: fobstl on July 28, 2020, 12:47:56 PM
Lack of S/PDIF I/O on most of these is a deal killer for me: I have too many DATs that need to be transferred.

Realized about a month ago that my old sound card, an M-Audio FireWire, wasn't working perfectly for me... it's somehow developed a habit of randomly inserting 8-sample noise glitches
Could be the W7 machine instead.
Seems to be quite unpredictable and intermittent, but it's a problem no matter what!
Interesting. I have been having the same issue on my M-Audio 2496 card with Windows 10. Intermittent soft noise glitches when transferring DAT > SPDF in. I have moved to: DAT>SPDF>Tascam DR680>SD Card>Computer. Not ideal but it works. Would love to get back into a SPDF in card or box to go directly digital into the computer.
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: voltronic on July 28, 2020, 03:31:03 PM
If you are looking for a good interface with SPDF I/O, my Focusrite interface has been in the YS for a while.  It's a very solid unit for not much money.

https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=194711.0 (https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=194711.0)
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: morst on July 28, 2020, 04:14:50 PM
Interesting. I have been having the same issue on my M-Audio 2496 card with Windows 10. Intermittent soft noise glitches when transferring DAT > SPDF in. I have moved to: DAT>SPDF>Tascam DR680>SD Card>Computer. Not ideal but it works. Would love to get back into a SPDF in card or box to go directly digital into the computer.
Could you move this project to an older machine, or boot from an XP backup? (don't connect to the internet maybe!)
Title: Re: Soundcards 2020 - Windows 10
Post by: Justy Gyee on July 29, 2020, 02:27:07 PM
Lack of S/PDIF I/O on most of these is a deal killer for me: I have too many DATs that need to be transferred.

Realized about a month ago that my old sound card, an M-Audio FireWire, wasn't working perfectly for me... it's somehow developed a habit of randomly inserting 8-sample noise glitches
Could be the W7 machine instead.
Seems to be quite unpredictable and intermittent, but it's a problem no matter what!

Now doing digital transfers DAT to SD722, then pulling them off that machine via the FW connection.
Kind of a hassle, but it solves that part of my problem.

Lack of computer/network connectivity on the Tascam DA-3000 is another bummer.
I don't think it makes sense to make a digital transfer to flash media, then move the physical media to another machine for editing access to it.

I assume that anyone using the DA-3000 is only using it for transfers.
Anyone out there saving the flash cards as an additional backup source?
id get a good CF card and skip the slowfire wire transfer speeds.
there are a couple people here who do just buy new cards as they old ones fill up.
thats great for cheap SD media, not so much for CF