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PICList Thread
'sound cards, spdif, etc [OT] (or at least heading '
1999\07\19@011843 by Thomas Brandon

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What you say is of course true. The SB Live is nothing more than a toy in
the world of pro audio but at least it has a price tag to suit. I have made
a few small points below.

I gather you own a Pulsar. What is it like. The specs look great I'll have
to have a look for an Australian reseller. What is your setup? As I am sure
you can gather I don't exactly have a studio setup but am interested in
getting one together (later rather than sooner given the cost). Thus I am
always on the look out for good names to put away for the time I fork out my
hard earned cash.

Thanks for the info. I was aware of most of your points but it's nice to see
*some* pro audio people don't ignore you simply cause you have a soundcard
worth less than your house.

BTW: What kind of music do you produce? I would love to get to know some
music producers for advice in future purchases.

Thanks,
Tom.
> hello tom,
<SNIP>
> one thing you should realize about the sound blaster or any other
> generic sound card, is: it is only a generic sound card...if you want
> to do some real production, get a real sound card...
> now i know this sounds pretentious, but youre ears know the difference.

I wholeheartedly agree the SB Live is nothing but a toy in the world of
digital audio. I also agree that *your* ears notice the difference, I'm not
so sure *my* ears would notice the difference (to any degree other than
"Yes, those sounds are slightly different") but give em time. May I just say
the main reason I bought a SB Live is that it uses the EMU101K DSP chip and
thus runs under Emu APS drivers (without analog I/O unless you mod it) and
thus has ASIO drivers with 7ms latency and does all the hardware effects an
APS does in Cubase (which IMHO ain't bad for about 1/5th of the price of an
APS). Also, using the APS drivers means the AC97 codec is not used and thus
the quality should increase (I know it aion't gonna exactly get to
APS/Pulsar quality but the money in my pocket helps relieve that pain). I
also live in Australia which means SB products cost about 25% more than in
the US (taking into account currency of course) and any professional audio
product costs 50-100% more than it should.

<SNIP>
> now in the pro-audio world we have 24-bit, 96khz commonly, and in the
> extreme high end we have 32-bit, upwards of 376 khz! some SSL sound
> boards cost a million dollars in change!

I've always wondered what you use to transmit such quality of audio. I know
qualities >24/96 are used internally in many products but these rates are
usually brought down to 24/96 or even 24/48 as soon as they leave the
device. Out of interest what format accomodates >24/96 and what products
accept it?

> now, im not saying you should spend that much money on gear
Good.
<SNIP>
> youre talking about killing say 100 hours on a project that may not be
> what youve expected?
> well, you should have simply bought a better card.
<SNIP>
Well, this project would not simply be for a SB Live. I have done a fair
ammount of investigation into low end professional multitrack cards (i.e.
Gina, Layla, Darla, APS etc.). Most of these souncards do not have every
format of output and if they do generally only in smaller numbers. There are
cards that have all the different formats (like the Pulsar) but they cost
alot more (for good reason usually). My idea would be to create a device
with a multitude of various input and output formats. For example it would
have analog input (RCA, 6.5mm, XLR), digital input (AES/BEU, SPDIF (RCA and
TOSLink) and analog and digital out (same connectors). Thus you could
basically plug any 2 devices together no matter what format. It wouldn't be
so much a tool used in production but a test tool to allow maximum
versatility with minumum cost. Thus you could plug any device into your
system and use it.
<SNIP>
>   creamware (im not affiliated with them) makes a damn fine card for
> the PC, it cost around $1400 bills and has 20 in, 20 outs, (2 fiber
> pipes in, 2 fiber pipes out) 24-bit, at 96 khz...it utilizes the ADSP
> 21065 32-bit SHARC dsp chips from analog devices...and has connector to
> link up to a dsp farm containing 20 more SHARCs...giving you 376 khz of
> bandwidth!
I gather you mean the Pulsar. That is a damn fine card (Only 20 bit ADC
tho:( That ain't good enough (HeHe), guess they expect you to have an
external ADC as well.)

At the moment I'm just getting started with Pro Audio. I have an MC-303
(It's to the TB-303 what the SBLive is to the APS in my opinion) and a
Yamaha DX-7 and that's it. Of course neither of these have Digital out. I
didn't buy the SBLive as a Multitrack card (which of course it isn't. Hell,
it's barely a soundcard), I bought it as a soundcard and for it's price it
ain't a bad soundcard (especially with APS drivers). As I said before, I
have nothing with Digital out hence a multitrack card ain't on top of my
list of priorities. However I wouldn't mind having a Digital I/O for
occasional use. For instance I have friends with DATs and I have a CD
burner. It'd be nice to be able to copy DAT to CD (or WAV) for my own use
and vice versa for my friends use. This is of course about the limit of the
SB Live. At least if I use 48kHz it won't resample (It'll resample
everything else tho inc. 44.1kHz). I was seriously considering getting a
multitrack card but the price drove me away. I know I will need one for
production but I'm not producing at the moment so 24/96 audio ain't a
priority. When I've got another synth or two and am starting to think about
recording semiprofessionally then I will need a Multitrack audio card. Until
then I'll make do with my SBLive.
<SNIP>
>   i was interested in the thread about spdif and converting it into
> another format...but again, what for? if you have a TASCAM dat (for
> example) and it use one format, why not buy the right sound card or DSP
> farm to record to it?
<SNIP>
Yes, if *you* have a TASCAM DAT you go out and buy a professional
converter/soundcard for it. But, if your friend has a TASCAM DAT it'd be
nice to be able to plug it into your setup for a day without having to buy
another soundcard.
> i think in the long run, youll be happier with the attempted recording
I don't doubt you'll be happier, you'll also be down about another $1000.

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