Which Soundcard would you recommend

I am considering to buy a new Soundcard for my pc which has to contain a xlr connection and phantom power for a microphone that will be used for recording vocals and guitar.

Mainly I am producing electronic pop music with a lot of vst resources. Therefore it needs to have great asio / latency support.

At this point I am using a M-Audio Audiophile 2496 pci card. It works fine with my projects but it doesn’t support xlr.
It is important that my KRK monitor speakers can be connected as well.

Which audio interface would you recommend between 200 and 300 euro’s.

Daw: Cubase 8 Pro
Computer: Pc q6600 8gb, 250gb ssd
Audio interface: M-audio audiophile 2496 pci
Speakers: KRK G3 rpr5
Vst: Nexus 2, east west symphonic orchestra gold, choirs and voices of passion, sylenth1 etc…

If you’re happy with your soundcard then why not investigate a separate mic preamp instead which you could then feed as line input. I used to use the dbx mini-pre - I loved the sound of that - probably still got it somewhere - I’m sure it would workout much cheaper and less hassle than upgrading your audio interface.

Click here: http://www.dv247.com/search/0/0/ProductPrice/Ascending/mic+preamp/1/

and sort on price - lot of interesting looking options there including the dbx 286s, hardware compressor, de-esser, expander and gate
Or there’s the ART tube MP - which looks identical to my old minipre - for just £50. http://www.dv247.com/studio-equipment/art-tube-mp-original-tube-mic-preamp-w-48v-phantom-power--20338

I was going to recommend the same … but then after second thought:

PCI is dying technology. Your next PC may not have PCI slot anymore, which means new audio interface becomes necessary sooner or later.

For this kind of usage profile I would recommend RME Babyface. Unfortunately it’s out of your price range. Maybe Steinberg’s UR44 would suit your needs (approx 290€ @ thomann.de). Or maybe just follow PeppaPig’s advice and get a cheapish preamp (ART tube MP) for less than 100€ and start saving for RME and get it when you got money or when PCI is not option anymore. Maybe that’s what I’d do.

Some of these older PCI cards are fantastic - if it were not for lack of driver support I wouldn’t have gotten rid of my DMX6-fire for the world. Latency? What latency - every IO option I wanted plus a great amp with the dbx-minipre - it was the bee knees! My UR44 is very good but it’s still more laggy than my old DMX6Fire. ASIO guard 2 and the onboard DSP direct monitoring effects paper over the cracks for the most part - but it’s still more intrinsically laggy.

As you say if you’re worried about future proofing your PC them there are other concerns - but if modern drivers are available for your card - there are PCI-X/PCI converters available giving your old card another lease of life in newer machines.

There’s also a slightly more expensive version of the ART MP (about £65) which has switchable modelling for the pre-amp stage - if I wasn’t happy with my UR44 pre-amps (which are admittedly very nice sounding) - I’d buy one like a shot. I’ve never needed more than two input channels as I don’t track live bands or drums. Although the extra channels on my UR44 have come in handy for experimentation with outboard gear.


Just butting in here…do you have any info about the ‘real world’ performance of PCI-X/PCI converters?
I have an Echo Layla PCI card, which with I’m quite happy, but I’m about to build a new machine using an ASUS X99-PRO mobo which does not have any PCI slots.

I’m looking at an RME HDSPe AIO PCIe card (not too keen on USB interfaces) but it’s quite costly, plus it’s not as easy to set up I/O wise, no break out box etc.



I must admit I’ve never had anything to do with a PCI>PCIX converter in relation to audio cards - the only time I’ve actually seen some in use was to host a SCSI card for a legacy disk array. It worked - but I have no idea what the performance was like! :laughing:

(edit additional) there are still many high end motherboards around with PCI slots so anyone could still build a PC which will last them 4-5 years with PCI support - I suspect the hardest thing will be maintenance for PCI card drivers.

Yes, but some/most/all (pick the right answer) of those PCI slots are “bridged” which makes them (more or less) equivalent to those PCI slots found on converter cards. They may not work with (some) audio interfaces.

Maybe I’m too pessimistic, but had a personal experience: my current PC didn’t connect to my mixing console with any of my 3 PCI firewire cards while my previous PC did with any of them. Had to move to PCIe.

DISCLAIMER: note a huge amount of parenthesis in this post. They indicate my uncertainty on this issue. After all it’s been 15 years since I built PCs professionally.

Thank you PP, and kiitokset Jarno!

I really don’t want to deal with any uncertainties so I’ll bite the bullet and go for the AIO card, that should do the trick :wink: .

Now, back to the OP…