external audio card

Dear Guys,
I am planning to make my studio mobile and buy a laptop with and external audio card to be able to work from anywhere. Musicians I work with are hard to count on, so I thought better if I move with my studio than waiting for a singer to come over:)
I use Cubase 7 and Komplete 8 plug ins. At the moment I have EMU soundcard which is great, the only issue is that it cannot handle streaming 2 audios at the same time which is annoying. I also need something smaller to pack in a suitcase if I travel.
I need mostly for recording vocals, but even Midi connection is useful.
Could you suggest which sound card have good quality, compatible etc?
Thank you,

What kind of laptop are you using, and which connections does it have?
Also, how many simultaneous inputs do you want minimum?
Do you need phantom power (for condenser microphones) and/or high-Z inputs? (for directly recording guitar)

thanks for replying. Your questions creating more questions! I dont have the laptop yet, still looking. Do you have any suggestions what connection do I need to have on the laptop? I know I need CD player which many dont have. Is there something else I need to be careful with not to miss?
I would mostly use for recording vocals I guess, if guitars, I think I wouldn`t record straight with cable, rather through speakers.
I have 2 inputs at the moment and that is fine. (I have two midi, two audio input).

Most audio interfaces are connected by USB, which most laptops will have. I was just asking because if you have FireWire and/or Thunderbolt you’d have a couple of additional options, but for your needs you have plenty to choose from when considering just USB audio interfaces.
Other points of interest could be if it’s mains powered or USB powered. USB powered is of course more mobile, but it’ll drain your laptop battery and I don’t think you can use phantom power when running it off USB power.
I’m guessing, since you want to be mobile, you’ll mostly be monitoring with headphones. Perhaps you want 2 headphone outputs, so someone else (the artist) can listen in simultaneously.

The only other advice I can think of is to take a model that has received a driver update fairly recently, that makes it more likely the unit will be supported in the future and it will probably last you longer.

I know Steinberg offer some small format audio interfaces designed for mobility, so you can definitely consider those.

I hope that helps :slight_smile:

Thank you, that is helpful. i was looking at Steinberg too, and also found Focusrite which had the two headphone outputs which is really useful. I always struggle, that one of us can`t hear, especially when recording live two of us.

I have a first gen Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 it is very good and quite capable of what you want. I have just updated to a 2nd gen Scarlett 18i20 which, build and audio quality wise, is also very good, but unfortunately uses the latest Focusrite software, which doesn’t seem as capable as the previous software supplied with 1st gen products. All 2nd gen Focusrite Scarlett interfaces use the same, awkward and limiting software, so if you go for Focusrite Scarlett I would recommend 1st gen stuff. Purely so that you get the older software. To be fair for simple recording functions the new software is probably fine, but if you want to use it as the centre of a studio system it seems a bit awkward, and there are things which I haven’t yet been able to do with it. Also 1st gen stuff is much cheaper and probably esily good enough for your purposes.
Good luck