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Thread: Best USB 2/4 channels sound card

  1. #1
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    Best USB 2/4 channels sound card

    Hello.

    I'm coming back to Ubuntu Studio after some time, and I'd like some help catching up with the supported technology.

    What I want is basically use my laptop as a mobile light studio for:

    - recording into ardour (mainly guitar)
    - use the laptop as a guitar effect rack
    - occasionally, play VST instruments with a connected USB keyboard (already have a M-Audio which works flawlessly)

    Since my requests are fairly basic, I think I can go with a 2 or maybe 4 in/out channel external soundcard. Since my pc does not have firewire, I'm stuck with USB 2.0

    What is the cheapest card I can get that suits my needs, and has perfect out of the box compatibility with Ubuntu Studio?

    Thank you all very much for reading.

  2. #2
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    Re: Best USB 2/4 channels sound card

    Hello Tarrasque,

    Edirol UA-25EX

    It's not the cheapest card though.

  3. #3
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    Re: Best USB 2/4 channels sound card

    Seems fine. Not too overboard in regards of price.

    One more question: the other Edirol model I see on the products page is a 10 in/10 out, which is DEFINITELY too many (and too expensive).

    Is there an out of the box 4 in / 4 out card, even from another vendor, around?

    Thank you very much.

  4. #4
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    Re: Best USB 2/4 channels sound card

    Here is some food for thought for now and I'll get into the research as to compatibility and get back to you. Without a maximum price range, we'll just throw you some decent choices here and go from there. The Roland (Edirol) is a relatively inexpensive compared to MOTU (Mark of The Unicorn) products that you could spend thousands on.

    If your laptop has a card slot, you can check out the SB Audigy2 ZS Notebook sound card.

    http://www.soundblaster.com/products...&product=10769

    It's priced at around $350.00, but it has Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES 6.1 decoding, 7.1-channel output. 24-bit/192KHz output for two-channel DVD-Audio. AutoStatic's excellent suggestion rolls in at around $250.00.


    The Creative Professional E-MU 0202 USB 2.0 Sound card - 192 kHz – 24-bit (same company, E-MU is their pro division) is less than a hundred bucks.

    http://www.emu.com/products/product....&product=15186



    StarTech.com has a USB 2.0 to stereo sound card audio adapter for less than twenty bucks.

    http://www.startech.com/item/ICUSBAU...o-Adapter.aspx


    I hope this helps for now...

  5. #5
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    Re: Best USB 2/4 channels sound card

    I would stay away from Creative products.
    And the StarTech device will work but but it is no way comparable with all the other devices mentioned.

  6. #6
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    Re: Best USB 2/4 channels sound card

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarrasque View Post
    Seems fine. Not too overboard in regards of price.
    And it works out of the box, has decent pre-amps and is a sturdy device. I have its predecessor, the UA-25, and it has never let me down.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarrasque View Post
    Is there an out of the box 4 in / 4 out card, even from another vendor, around?
    USB1 is not suited for 4 IO's as far as I know (too little bandwidth), don't know about USB2. The problem with USB2 audio cards though is that they don't respect any standard so there are very few USB2 soundcards that will work with Linux.

  7. #7
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    Re: Best USB 2/4 channels sound card

    AutoStatic,

    Once again I agree, but his first point was price and we haven't heard if he has a card slot yet. If so, I'd go with a Firewire interface over USB. What do you think of the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP and a FW PC Card (if he has one)?
    http://www.focusrite.com/products/au...ire_pro_24_dsp

    Another option is M-Audio's Fast Track Pro (4 x 4). The Fast Track Ultra is USB 2, But he doesn't need 8x8. I thought your UA-25 runs on Mac OS9, so I would imagine it would be USB1. The EX should serve him well and he said it wasn't a bad price.

  8. #8
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    Re: Best USB 2/4 channels sound card

    Quote Originally Posted by LinuxUser9 View Post
    I thought your UA-25 runs on Mac OS9, so I would imagine it would be USB1.
    Correct - same for the UA-25EX. That means no full duplex in 96khz mode - a limitation I can live with easily.

  9. #9
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    Re: Best USB 2/4 channels sound card

    Thank you for the answers so far!!

    Unfortunately my laptop currently has: no firewire - no cards, so USB is the only option.

    I wasn't very clear on the price range, I admit. What I want to achieve is a decent portable recording studio. I intend to play real instruments into the laptop, and maybe use it as a sound module on stage.

    So I recognize that low level cards are not suited. At least the cards should have jack / cannon inputs and outputs. So while I'd like to stay as low as possible, I don't reasonally expect to be under the 100$ mark.

    A 4 in / 4 out would be nice, because I would be able to use the pc for stereo sample playing and guitar sound shaping simultaneously on separate channels (let's say a guitar multieffect and a keyboard music module in the same box).

    I don't know if this is possible due to the USB limitations I'm reading now...

  10. #10
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    Re: Best USB 2/4 channels sound card

    a little while back i emailed focusrite about their saffire 6 usb audio interface (i too have a laptop i'd like to use for linux audio), they were quite helpful in giving me the info i wanted- the saffire 6 usb is fully usb 1.1 compliant so in theory it will work on linux(?)... im still deciding whether to just go for it and try it out

    also they showed an interest in helping the linux community write drivers for the saffire usb, i forwarded the info to the main alsa dev, not sure if anything will come of that, or even if i sent the right person an email

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