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matonanjin

Will I still need a good soundcard (at some point)?

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Thanks to you all on this forum, especially @spaceatl , I got my POD HD500 connected, up and running and it's working great!  But I didn't realize in advance that my POD was actually going to serve as my system's sound card.

 

For something totally unrelated to playing guitar I had to take my computer to the repair shop yesterday.  The service tech informed me that, like me, my computer is getting old and slow.  He was specifically referring to the hard drive but if I'm going to have to replace it at some point I just as well start thinking about a whole new system. 

 

Down the road, should I ever start doing some recording will I ever revert to using my computer's sound card for that?  Or will I always continue using the POD as the sound card?  I have Reaper so that it recognizes my POD as the source so I don't know what that situation would be that I would use my sound card.  Yet I vaguely remember a year or two ago, when I was first learning Reaper, the book that I was studying from talking about sound cards and their speed and latency issues, etc.

 

I figure if I'm going to have to get a new computer I just as well get a great sound card at the same time if I may need one.

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"Sound card" is a somewhat dated term anymore, as it seems they're always referred to as audio interfaces today. Any new computer you get will have a built in audio interface, and a lot of the time they're integrated into the main board. The HD500 is going to be a better interface than almost anything you'd get that actually comes with a new computer. If you're only doing limited recording, like recording guitar and some vocals, the HD500 should work fine. Latency isn't an issue when recording with the HD500 for guitar because you are using direct monitoring - the HD500 is doing the processing and that's what you're hearing.

 

If you want to start doing more complex recording, like recording more than two tracks simultaneously, than you'd want to look at a separate interface. But that isn't something that you would order with a new computer. That would be a separate piece of hardware.

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Soundcard is a dated term... lol! Audio Interface...Thanks Phil!

 

If you ever startup your computer without the HD500 attached, it should switch automatically to the built-in audio interface(sound card lol!)...Even Reaper should switch when you start it with the HD500 disconnected. I use Reaper in Windows 10 and this is how it behaves for me. I just had to set it up once.

 

 

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I haven't bought a sound card in 20 years.  On board sound is fine unless you're using Cubase or something for digital recording.  Then you need to buy a specialized audio interface for that anyway - not a sound card.

 

So the answer is "No, you don't need a sound card".

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Yeah Phil_M, Spaceatl, and joel_brown are right, no sound card needed. Your computer sounds old simply because it doesn't have an onboard sound chip. Use your hard earned cash to a new computer build. Everything will be faster from CPU to memory. Put your OS on a SSD. The motherboard will have a soundchip built in, and you can still use your POD as an interface for multitrack recording until you decide on a dedicated sound interface with more features. For what it's worth, I like Focusrite 2nd generation.

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Don't put your OS an an SSD.  That's a waste of money.  That only makes your computer boot quicker from a cold start.  Allow your computer to go into sleep mode and it wakes up and is ready to go faster than it could boot from an SSD.  Also there is so much memory cache in modern computers that the OS does not run any faster from a SSD than from your hard drive - because it's in cache memory which is faster than SSD memory.  Running your OS from an SSD is now old school and not needed.

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22 hours ago, matonanjin said:

He was specifically referring to the hard drive but if I'm going to have to replace it

 

hard drives are really cheap when compared to what they cost in the past. and the capacity has increased exponentially. 

It is far more economical replacing the hard drive vs replacing the computer, than it was in the past. And, given the hardware and OS changes in recent years, it may just make more sense to keep the old system as long as you can.   

 

 

My suggestion is - 

if you intend on doing any recording that is meant for someone other than you to hear; buy/build a system solely for recording. Don't try using your home computer with anti-virus, Facebook, and iTunes to make 128 track masters. 

 

 

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On 7/27/2018 at 9:25 AM, phil_m said:

"Sound card" is a somewhat dated term anymore, as it seems they're always referred to as audio interfaces today.

 

I am not the least bit interested in whether or not I am using the most "hip" term.  In fact, I'm sure "hip" is a very outdated term.

On 7/27/2018 at 1:05 PM, spaceatl said:

Soundcard is a dated term... lol! Audio Interface...Thanks Phil!

 

If you ever startup your computer without the HD500 attached, it should switch automatically to the built-in audio interface(sound card lol!)...Even Reaper should switch when you start it with the HD500 disconnected. I use Reaper in Windows 10 and this is how it behaves for me. I just had to set it up once.

 

 

spaceatl, thank you.  It is doing that.  It is doing something weird that I posted about elsewhere.  It is just spontaneously disconnecting from my POD after so long.  But it is switching where appropriate.

On 7/28/2018 at 3:07 AM, napynap said:

Yeah Phil_M, Spaceatl, and joel_brown are right, no sound card needed. Your computer sounds old simply because it doesn't have an onboard sound chip. Use your hard earned cash to a new computer build. Everything will be faster from CPU to memory. Put your OS on a SSD. The motherboard will have a soundchip built in, and you can still use your POD as an interface for multitrack recording until you decide on a dedicated sound interface with more features. For what it's worth, I like Focusrite 2nd generation.

I never said my computer sound old.  But that was the point I was trying to get to.  Should I just get a new system (build)  if I'm going to have to get a new hard drive to start with?

On 7/28/2018 at 8:08 AM, pianoguyy said:

 

My suggestion is - 

if you intend on doing any recording that is meant for someone other than you to hear; buy/build a system solely for recording. Don't try using your home computer with anti-virus, Facebook, and iTunes to make 128 track masters. 

 

I absolutely guaranty you I will never "make 128 track masters".  And I further guaranty you I am not about to get a separate system solely for recording.  Should I ever record more than a couple tracks it will be a shock.  Other than me on guitar and a backing track what could occupy  a track?

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46 minutes ago, matonanjin said:

And I further guaranty you I am not about to get a separate system solely for recording.  Should I ever record more than a couple tracks it will be a shock.  Other than me on guitar and a backing track what could occupy  a track?

 

Then why bother asking a question. 

The built-in Microsoft Wave Recorder is plenty good enough for what you want to do. 

 

 

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There are quite a few people on here that do that level of recording.  We don't know if that's something you'd do or not.  If you're serious into recording then you should have a separate system dedicated to that.  Or people like me who are in-between serious and hobbyist and have a nice computer with a nice audio interface for recording but still use it for everything else also.  I could do 128 tracks but typically only do about a dozen.  Just guitar can easily take 2 to 6 tracks with layering.

 

Sounds like your computer is fine the way it is for what you want to do.

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Professional or not, desktop computers are very well capable of doing more than one thing, even at the same time, easily. I personally see no reason to have a 'dedicated' computer for audio recording.

 

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One of the biggest reasons for a dedicated recording computer is to stop all these updates, especially drivers, from happening automatically in the background.  You need to get it working reliably then don't change anything unless you absolutely have to.  Even little things like setting equal CPU for background processes instead of the default, can hurt how well your computer works while recording.  When you're doing this everyday for a living you can't afford to take a chance on something acting strange or crashing.

 

I agree with you duncann, most of us don't need a dedicated recording computer, but some do.

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