#1
I just got a new laptop. It has a Realtek High Definition Audio card/speakers. I'm guessing this is an average soundcard.

My question is, is this good enough to record with? Or should I return and spend an extra $200 for the one with a Beats Audio soundcard? (My friend said that I can't change the soundcard on my laptop)
I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer. The future's uncertain and the end is always near.

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#2
Have the same soundcard, and well... its enough.. for me?
Depending on what you want to do with it :P I record amp>pc, and it records the same thing you would hear from earphones/amp nothing less, for me it even sounds better because it doesnt sound so frickin muddy as it does from when its coming out of my amp.
Last edited by DocArunas at Sep 30, 2011,
#3
most laptops use integrated sound cards and cannot be replaced, but I will say that the integrated works well enough for all the recording that i have done on my laptop.
#4
Quote by {offc}firefly
most laptops use integrated sound cards and cannot be replaced
Cannot be replaced, but you can use a good USB audio interface instead.

If you want high quality recordings for a small price get a Focusrite Saffire 6.
#5
If you want to use it for recording, you'd be better off getting a desktop rather than a laptop. If you want decent quality with a PC, you'll need a decent soundcard and an interface, using the mic input won't be the best.

Alternatively, look into getting a multitracker - that way you know you've got a purpose built unit which will be more than good enough for everything the typical home recording artist needs without having to rely on your PC at all.
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#6
A USB interface bypasses the sound card completely, so if you have one, the sound card specs don't matter. Still, recording isn't very resource-intensive unless you're playing back tons of tracks at the same time. I've found the main concern is noise; laptop line-in ports are noisy as hell, and if you're using software distortion/overdrive, that noise will be magnified.
#7
the quality would be bad, I would go for an interface. The new Focusrite scarletts are great
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#8
Yes, I am going to get an interface regardless. But can the interface plug into the USB soundcard?

EDIT: Wait, so you're saying an interface will bypass the soundcard? Then why do people even need a good soundcard? If they're just plugging a mic straight into their computer?
I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer. The future's uncertain and the end is always near.

Quote by BlackIce87
I'm not gonna lie, goin' mobile looks like Sebastian Bach in the eighties.
Last edited by Goin' Mobile at Sep 30, 2011,
#9
A sound card is one way to interface audio signals, which are analog, with the computer, which is digital. A recording interface is another. A sound card is part of the computer by default; on a computer that doesn't have a separate interface for recording, it handles all the mic input and speaker output. It comes with the computer, therefore it's part of the price, and it's good enough for most people.

But most people don't record music. That's where a recording interface comes in.

A recording interface cuts down on latency and noise, both of which make recording more difficult. Since it's all digital, there's no noise between the interface and the computer.

The interface plugs into a separate USB port, which shouldn't have anything to do with the sound card.
Last edited by Cavalcade at Sep 30, 2011,
#10
Ok cool, thank you Cavalcade. I will be using Reason 6.

So can I record an analog synth by plugging it into the interface? Do they even make cords for that?
I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer. The future's uncertain and the end is always near.

Quote by BlackIce87
I'm not gonna lie, goin' mobile looks like Sebastian Bach in the eighties.
#11
Yeah. in fact, you can just use a 1/4" cable if your interface has a 1/4"-in port (and damn well it should). Oh right, that's another advantage of using interfaces: All sorts of input options, like S/PDIF or XLR.
Last edited by Cavalcade at Sep 30, 2011,
#12
Quote by Goin' Mobile
Ok cool, thank you Cavalcade. I will be using Reason 6.

So can I record an analog synth by plugging it into the interface? Do they even make cords for that?


Your analog synth should have a 1/4" (think guitar size) output (a lot of the time there are two, one labeled L and one labeled R, for left and right...usually only of them has (mono) written under it) that goes into a 1/4" instrument input on a USB Audio Interface.
#14
Next question. When using the virtual drums and virtual synthesizers in Reason will they still sound like my computer's soundcard even if I have an interface attached?

Because if I'm using a keyboard controller it will just be controlling the virtual instruments.

Thanks
I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer. The future's uncertain and the end is always near.

Quote by BlackIce87
I'm not gonna lie, goin' mobile looks like Sebastian Bach in the eighties.
#15
Quote by Goin' Mobile
Next question. When using the virtual drums and virtual synthesizers in Reason will they still sound like my computer's soundcard even if I have an interface attached?

Not sure exactly what you mean by this... but your interface replaces your soundcard when it's plugged in.
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#16
TS: The interface only handles audio input. Virtual instruments are rendered using samples that are already on your sound card (called a "soundfont"). Actually, depending on your setup, the samples might be in your computer's software, in which case the sound card isn't even rendering them in the first place.
So yes, they probably will sound the same.
#17
Quote by Cavalcade
TS: The interface only handles audio input. Virtual instruments are rendered using samples that are already on your sound card (called a "soundfont"). Actually, depending on your setup, the samples might be in your computer's software, in which case the sound card isn't even rendering them in the first place.
So yes, they probably will sound the same.


Yes, this is what I was asking. Thank you. Do you think there would be a difference between the soundcard in a MacBook Pro vs. my Realtek HD Audio soundcard?
I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer. The future's uncertain and the end is always near.

Quote by BlackIce87
I'm not gonna lie, goin' mobile looks like Sebastian Bach in the eighties.
#19
Depends more on the conversion from 10010101 to actual sound. This is call Analogy to Digital conversion. It's the bit where 10101 become electricity which hits the speaker to become sound.

So if your using an interface if will handle the A to D conversion will determine the sound quality that you end up hearing. This would more than likely, be better than something not dedicated, like a pc sound card. But it depends how far you want to take it. If you're serious I'd save up and by a solid interface. focusrite, motu gear is pretty good for a low end product.

You can read here more about AD to DA converters.

http://tweakheadz.com/digital_audio_converters.htm

and nerd out hard here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital-to-analog_converter
#20
Quote by Wild Hopkins
Depends more on the conversion from 10010101 to actual sound. This is call Analogy to Digital conversion. It's the bit where 10101 become electricity which hits the speaker to become sound.

So if your using an interface if will handle the A to D conversion will determine the sound quality that you end up hearing. This would more than likely, be better than something not dedicated, like a pc sound card. But it depends how far you want to take it. If you're serious I'd save up and by a solid interface. focusrite, motu gear is pretty good for a low end product.

You can read here more about AD to DA converters.

http://tweakheadz.com/digital_audio_converters.htm

and nerd out hard here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital-to-analog_converter

No.
Recording with a sound card, especially a laptop soundcard, the problem has nothing to do with the actual conversion. If the A/D conversion isn't perfect, there isn't much consequence, just a few values off here and there, but generally, the conversion process doesn't change that much.
The problem is what comes just before the conversion, which is noise. A laptop's line-in port is noisy as hell, and I speak from experience. An interface is designed to be less noisy, for example, by using a shielded cable.
#21
Thanks guys. I am going to ask basically the same question again, but a little different...

If I plug a keyboard controller or a MIDI controller into a good interface, using the virtual synths on Reason, will the virtual synth sounds sound like my computer's soundcard or my interface?


Sorry but I'm worrying a little. I have 60 more days to return my computer. About to return my computer for one with Beats Audio or a MacBook Pro... unless I can work around it with a good interface.
I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer. The future's uncertain and the end is always near.

Quote by BlackIce87
I'm not gonna lie, goin' mobile looks like Sebastian Bach in the eighties.
Last edited by Goin' Mobile at Oct 19, 2011,
#22
Quote by Goin' Mobile
Thanks guys. I am going to ask basically the same question again, but a little different...

If I plug a keyboard controller or a MIDI controller into a good interface, using the virtual synths on Reason, will the virtual synth sounds sound like my computer's soundcard or my interface?


Sorry but I'm worrying a little. I have 60 more days to return my computer. About to return my computer for one with Beats Audio or a MacBook Pro... unless I can work around it with a good interface.

Your virtual synth sounds have nothing to do with your interface or your computer's sound card. Both of those are just reproducing the sounds for playback through them at the best of their abilities. Using a virtual instrument has nothing to do with the sound quality of what you're using to monitor its output from, the samples are the same on your system as they would be in a multi-million dollar recording studio.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#23
Quote by Goin' Mobile
Or should I return and spend an extra $200 for the one with a Beats Audio soundcard? (My friend said that I can't change the soundcard on my laptop)

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO


Onboard audio is fine for recording, if you get serious you'll step up to an external soundcard anyway. I've been recording using the generic onboard Realtek HD on my desktops for years with no problems at all, using ASIO4ALL.


The Beats stuff is an overpriced line for people who're ignorant about sound (just like most of Monster's products). It's all about marketing and celebrity endorsement.
#24
Quote by Goin' Mobile
Sorry but I'm worrying a little. I have 60 more days to return my computer. About to return my computer for one with Beats Audio or a MacBook Pro... unless I can work around it with a good interface.

Wow, you've really fallen for it, hook line and sinker!

By the way BEATS audio isn't even a soundcard - it's just dodgy software that enhances the sound (which is exactly what you DO NOT WANT in a recording environment!). It probably has slightly better speakers than an average laptop - but if you're using laptop speakers for recording, you probably shouldn't be allowed near sharp pencils,

There's also some evidence that the whole thing is a bit of a scam, which is no surprise coming from a Monster product.

What monitors are you using, by the way?


The moral of this story?
DON'T GET SUCKERED BY MARKETING!

When you're recording, you want the cleanest, highest-quality signal with no colouring at all, no gimmicks or 'enhancement'.

Keep your laptop if you're happy with it (or better still, get a much more powerful desktop for half the price), and then get an external soundcard/interface. Problem solved.


Also: why do you need a laptop?

You could get a custom-built desktop PC for about $400 that would blow both of these out of the water, and probably still leave you enough change for a basic little netbook to take out with you.
#25
Quote by kyle62
You could get a custom-built desktop PC for about $400 that would blow both of these out of the water, and probably still leave you enough change for a basic little netbook to take out with you.

+1 to this.

Hell, for $700, you could build an i7 rig and run OSX on it if you like
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#26
Quote by MatrixClaw
+1 to this.

Hell, for $700, you could build an i7 rig and run OSX on it if you like


You could even replace the power light with a little apple logo, if you wish