Cheap soundcard vs. Creative
I used to have a Creative Soundblaster Live! 24bit external soundcard. It was terrible, beside being able to hear your body’s position by the noise, I could not use 1/2 the features of the device. Having this card attached (the sound itself (beside noise) was ok) to a good amplifier (nad) and kef speakers is a shame.
So I looked around for another usb card and my eye fell on a edirol card, there simple, use an open interface standard and are 100% compatible. The specs are equal to the Creative I had before, but I suspect it will actually be better.
So I have ordered one (from a store specialized in music instruments, not pc’s). What I also saw there was an simple card from Behringer the UCA202. I bought this card out of pure curiosity (it was cheap, and I already have a use for it, when the edirol arrives.)
The card performs remarkably well, it sounds good, I need to turn my amplifier completely open to hear some noise (like gsm noise and I can hear noise caused by the fan in the mac mini). If I plug it in my laptop running on battery power, I don’t hear any noise when I fully open my amplifier. (So I need to filter the usb connection somehow)
This itself is lot’s better then the Creative card, with the creative I could turn the amplifier up for 50% and the noise was already to loud, even if connected to the laptop.
If I wouldn’t want the digital-in that the edirol has and the 24bit playback (that is nice for playing the 24bit recordings I have lying around), this card would have been sufficient.
Another thing I like about this card, and the edirol. They don’t use mini-jack but RCA for the line-in and line-out and have a build in headphone-out with separate volume control.