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First audio interface, only need output

Anything about hardware musical instruments.

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KVRer
 
21 posts since 5 Nov, 2012

Postby bltpyro; Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:09 pm First audio interface, only need output

I have just been using the onboard realtek sound card, but lately it has really been bugging me with noise artifacts. Especially with tenor choirs, there is a loud high pitched buzzing sound, which makes me cringe any time I hear it, so I figure I need to upgrade.

I have 0 real instruments and no plans to get any right now, and not worried about vocals either, so the audio inputs and nice preamps aren't as big of a concern. I have a midi keyboard but it plugs in USB without any problems so the midi isn't as big of a concern either. I just really need something that sounds decent that isn't too expensive. With that in mind, what would be a good choice?
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KVRian
 
986 posts since 26 Oct, 2007, from UK
  

Postby do_androids_dream; Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:27 pm Re: First audio interface, only need output

Is it for a desktop or laptop?
Professional online mixing and mastering at very competitive rates.
Web / Soundcloud
KVRer
 
21 posts since 5 Nov, 2012

Postby bltpyro; Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:40 pm Re: First audio interface, only need output

It is for a desktop PC.
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KVRian
 
1077 posts since 6 Jul, 2012

Postby Turello; Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:45 pm Re: First audio interface, only need output

M-Audio Fast Track Ultra, also second hand: good preamps, good conversion AD\DA and the greatest price ratio! ;-)

Cheers From Sickcily...
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KVRian
 
986 posts since 26 Oct, 2007, from UK
  

Postby do_androids_dream; Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:49 pm Re: First audio interface, only need output

Sounds like you want a nice DAC (digital to analogue converter) to improve the audio quality. For a desktop i would recommend a PCI card solution (rather than something that connects with USB) if you're not after lots of ins and outs. Something like an Maudio 2496 would be a good start. I have an Echo Mia which is a great sounding card.
Professional online mixing and mastering at very competitive rates.
Web / Soundcloud
KVRist
 
187 posts since 9 Nov, 2012, from Colorado, USA

Postby MachineClaw; Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:06 pm Re: First audio interface, only need output

get a MAudio or a Focusrite Scarlett.

Anything will be a much better improvement over the RealTek onboad with ASIO4All driver.

You don't list where you are living but check pawnshops or used music stores and pick up a used interface and downloadable online drivers.
lfm
KVRAF
 
2629 posts since 22 Jan, 2005, from Sweden

Postby lfm; Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:23 am Re: First audio interface, only need output

You choice of interfaces will be more limited with only output options, and most probably not made for homestudio stuff - meaning long delay on output(high latency). Output only DAC are usually made for listening and improving streamed media etc.

Look at Mackie Blackjack, it should cover anything you need for a long period of time.
Really good preamps for the day you need it, and really affordable.
KVRer
 
21 posts since 5 Nov, 2012

Postby bltpyro; Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:55 am Re: First audio interface, only need output

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm not saying that I only want output, just that that is what currently matters the most to me. If there was an audio interface that was good except for the preamps which was a dealbreaker for most people, it would be fine for me. So I was actually hoping to be more open to options rather than limit myself based on things I wouldn't be using.

I live in Utah, not sure how much luck I would have at pawn shops, and seems a bit iffy. Never bought anything at a pawn shop actually. I take it you buy things as is? So if I did buy something there and it didn't work I'm out of luck? I usually prefer to buy hardware new for the warranty.
KVRian
 
1445 posts since 15 Oct, 2008, from Germany

Postby paterpeter; Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:08 am Re: First audio interface, only need output

For output only I can highly recommend the Native Instruments Traktor Audio 2. Cheap, great sound, great drivers. I've never had a single issue with it. You get two independent stereo outputs for e.g. monitor and headphones. Also nice if you're DJing and have a external DJ mixer. The outputs aren't balanced, though. I've added a Behringer HD400 to balance the signal and get rid of some weird computer noises I heard on my monitors.

For a bit more (actually, the same as a Traktor Audio 2 + the HD400), you can get a Scarlett 2i2 which gives you two inputs with nice preamps. That makes it a bit future proof. Having a couple of inputs is never a bad idea IMO, even you don't see immediate use right now. Unlike the Traktor Audio 2, the 2i2 only gives you one stereo pair as output (balanced, though, which is nice). You can still connect monitors and headphones at the same time, but both will play the same thing. If you need two distinct stereo pairs, the next step up is the 2i4, which basically combines the output configuration of the Traktor Audio 2 with the inputs of the 2i2. Only one of the output pairs is balanced, though.

I can't say much about other brands, but I do have a Traktor Audio 2 and two Scarlett interfaces (6i6 and 18i20) and I'm pretty happy with all of them. If you don't need four distinct outputs, the 2i2 is a good choice IMO.
KVRer
 
21 posts since 5 Nov, 2012

Postby bltpyro; Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:21 am Re: First audio interface, only need output

The Scarlett looks like it has had quite a bit of good reviews. What do you usually use 2 distinct stereo outputs for?
KVRer
 
21 posts since 5 Nov, 2012

Postby bltpyro; Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:54 am Re: First audio interface, only need output

I found the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 on ebay for $143 new with free shipping. Is that a pretty good deal for it? Since I haven't shopped for these before I'm not sure what they have gone for in the past. Seems about the same price as the 2i2, so I'm wondering if I should just get it or wait a bit.
KVRAF
 
5311 posts since 25 Mar, 2004

Postby BERFAB; Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:15 am Re: First audio interface, only need output

Komplete Audio 6.

I believe NI recently reduced the price on this. Rock solid here on Win 7, very reliable. True plug and play.

-B
Berfab
So many plugins, so little time...

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