How To Choose A Professional Sound Card For Your Studio?
A professional sound card is an extremely important component of any home or commercial recording studio. There is a large selection of sound cards for recording, which differ in different parameters, including – How to connect to a computer (external or internal sound card, USB or Firewire card) – Number of inputs and outputs on the card (number of converters in and out) Quality of converters – The various features of the card (Preamp, MIDI interface, headphone port, powerful controller and more) Need to choose a sound card for a home studio? In this article, we will try to arrange the mess and help you choose the card that suits your needs
What is the role of a sound card?
The sound card is responsible for processing sound that goes in and out of and from the computer, and for converting the sound from analog format to digital format (inputs) and digital signal to an analog signal (outputs). The higher the quality of the card used, the higher the conversion and processing quality and the sound we hear or record becomes clearer and less distorted.
Do I need a professional sound card?
Almost every computer comes with a built-in sound card on its motherboard. Is such a card enough for studio work and music creation? The answer is negative. An on-board sound card will produce poor quality sound that may be suitable for the average user who wants to play computer games and listen to music here and there on Youtube but not to create high-level music. Also on the motherboard built-in card, there are no suitable connections for professional microphones, and the recording quality will be very poor.
Also, the built-in cards allow you to process and listen to audio at only 16bit resolution – resolution not sufficient for studio needs. If you want to start making music as a marginal hobby without investing too much money into purchasing a sound card, you can use the built-in sound card first, if you download and install the free Asio4all driver that helps overcome the latency problem created when using the built-in card.
So which professional sound card to choose?
1. Internal or external card
An internal sound card will usually be cheaper and generally does not fall in sound quality from an external sound card, but it will usually be less comfortable for studio work. If your audio computer is a laptop, or if you want an audio interface to use with live performances, you need an external sound card. Most new professional and semi-professional sound cards will be external, however, there are still unusual ones, and of course, internal cards can be found in the pre-used market.
2. USB2 and USB3 or Firewire connectivity
An external sound card can connect to a computer on USB or Firewire. In the past, the Firewire connection was considered to be higher quality but with the advancement of technology and USB2 input and now USB3 into its image its advantage disappeared, and in fact, the Firewire connection becomes less and less popular. However, many cards still use this connection. Note: Not every computer has a Firewire connection and even if there is one it is usually not of sufficient quality. For audio work, a high-quality Firewire card is required, when a card with a Texas Instruments chip is recommended.
A sound card connected to Firewire in combination with an unqualified Firewire card will in many cases produce unwanted results such as side noise, disconnecting audio communications, clicks, ticks…
you got the idea. If you want the convenience of an external sound card without getting too involved and looking to the future, you may want to purchase a USB audio interface.
Regarding cards that connect to USB, note that many cards do not support USB3 connection, and will not work properly with them. Check that your computer has a free USB2 connection that will allow such cards to be connected, and in any case, check compatibility issues with the store from which you purchase the card.