Inexpensive Audio Cards

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Bill DeFelice
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Inexpensive Audio Cards

Post by Bill DeFelice » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:16 pm

As far as "non professional" cards go I previously used the M-Audio line of cards, but they were for the older PCI style buss. I now find myself having folks who want to connect their computer workstations to audio consoles and I have yet to find a replacement solution to recommend.

Not wanting to steer folks into very expensive cards does anyone have any recommendations for perhaps a prosumer audio card or, as much as I'd hate to go that route, a USB or Firewire alternative?
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Re: Inexpensive Audio Cards

Post by TPT » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:30 pm

Had same problem when a local college got a "new" computer for their production studio--and the old "Card D" wouldn't work under Windows 7.
Went with an outboard USB device. I remember it wasn't that expensive--around $50--but don't remember the brand. Maybe an Alesis.
Anyway--worked fine.

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Re: Inexpensive Audio Cards

Post by Ray » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:25 am

I've also been looking at audio cards.
I found a Digigram HR series on ebay that we are going to use for our on-air card.
It is about $580 new but with patience, you can get one for around $100-$150 on an ebay auction.
Unlike the consumer grade cards, it has balanced audio in/out for better noise immunity. It also has AES digital in/out that will connect directly to our digital audio board.
I've heard that the old Digigrams have driver issues when using windows 7, so my thought was to get a current model.
That being said, I have been doing tests with the high end external sound blaster cards and the audio sounds fine to me.

Ray

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Re: Inexpensive Audio Cards

Post by Bill DeFelice » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:05 pm

@Ray: Only problem is if those cards require the older PCI slot that new computers don't have it won't help me. I had a bunch of the old Antex ISA audio cards and unless you find some dirt old computer or motherboard they're pretty much useless too - and that's not accounting for the availability of proper drivers for a more modern automation system.

@TPT: Thanks for the info on the USB cards. I'm not all that keen on having yet another cable that could come loose but I'd bet the price point of a decent quality USB audio card would be acceptable to most folks.
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Re: Inexpensive Audio Cards

Post by Ray » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:04 pm

I'm installing a Digigram VX222E card tonight for the first time. It uses the PCI express slot. This is the same as the VX222HR but with the PCI express slot interface. I don't know how long they have been selling the PCIe version. I hope I don't run into any problems but I've read that they can be tempermental to install/configure

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Re: Inexpensive Audio Cards

Post by Ray » Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:03 pm

They have a new PCI express version out. I"m hoping to install a VX222e tonight which is the PCI express version of the VX222HR.
I"ve heard they can be tedious to install sometimes, so hopefully things will go well.

Thanks

Ray

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Re: Inexpensive Audio Cards

Post by Bill DeFelice » Wed Jul 01, 2015 5:11 am

I hope you keep us updated, Ray. I know I would be interested in how well that particular card works.
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Re: Inexpensive Audio Cards

Post by TPT » Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:39 am

If you are working with folks who want to have an outboard console connected directly to their computer, the simplest way to go would be a small console with a USB output--rather than a sound card. My ops manager has such a set-up at home--we have Teamviewer, and in bad weather he'll load content from home, rather than try to get in.

Also has the advantage that you can install the console on a desk with the computer out of the way of the work surface. All the audio connections are accessible, just one cable--the UISB cable--goes to the computer.

The device I got for the college (wish I could remember the brand) was just an interface device--balanced in and out with 1/4" TRS jacks. Which made it an easy replacement for the Card D, which also used 1/4 TRS. We hid it out of site to keep the kiddies from playing with levels.

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Re: Inexpensive Audio Cards

Post by Dale H. Cook » Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:00 am

Ray wrote:I don't know how long they have been selling the PCIe version.
For at least 3-4 years.
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Re: Inexpensive Audio Cards

Post by Dale H. Cook » Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:04 am

Bill DeFelice wrote:I know I would be interested in how well that particular card works.
Bill -

I installed a VX222E a few years ago. It worked great, and older software that could handle a VX222 ran fine with the VX222E under XP Pro.

I have installed several VX222 cards over the years and other Digigram cards, have loved them, and have never had a problem with any of them. Antex and ASI were long my preferred pro sound cards, but Digigram has been my preference for more than a decade.
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Re: Inexpensive Audio Cards

Post by Bill DeFelice » Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:38 pm

I thank you all for your feedback. Depending on the budget I may venture out in trying a USB solution and see how reliability stands.
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Re: Inexpensive Audio Cards

Post by Xenirad » Wed Oct 07, 2015 4:24 pm

If you have a PCI slot I recommend the MIA Midi from Echo audio has balanced 1/4 inch in and out but I think it is out of production. For USB the Henry Engineering USB Matchbox II works very well but it is about $500.
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Re: Inexpensive Audio Cards

Post by TPT » Thu Oct 08, 2015 10:57 am

Lexicon Alpha--about $50 from various sources. Balanced in and out using 1/4" TRS jacks; USB to the computer.

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Re: Inexpensive Audio Cards

Post by Bill DeFelice » Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:19 pm

@TPT: I totally forgot about the Alpha. That's so affordable I could bank a spare or two in case of disaster, too.
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Re: Inexpensive Audio Cards

Post by radiowave911 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:42 pm

We just had a need to finally move to Skype for some remote sports broadcasts. I got an inexpensinve Behringer USB board (Xenix Q1202USB) from Amazon for around $100. 12 inputs (4 MIC/LINE using XLR for MIC and 1/4" TRS for line, plus 4 more stereo line inputs paired together using 1/4" TRS and for balanced or unbalanced audio in). Works well for us - when the laptop behaves. That's another story altogether, though 8)
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