How to choose a good Sound Card

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Mohammadyarahmad
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Joined: 15 Jan 2023

Post 03 Mar 2024

Hello,

I have a pair of JBL 1 Series 104 speakers(Max peak spl:104 dB, Max peak input level: +6dBV/+-20.3dBu)
and an AKG K701 headphone.(62 ohm, 10Hz - 39.8KHz)
My sound card is Presonus USB96( https://www.presonus.com/en-US/interfac ... 00105.html ).
My working genre is EDM.

It seems my sound card is not enough for them.
How can I select a decent sound card?

What is your recommendation?
What is important in choosing it? Is it the frequency response / sample rates?

Thanks

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mcatalao
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Post 03 Mar 2024

First and foremost this should be on the hardware forum, so if any admin can pull it there, I'd be great.

To the point...
The choice of a soundcard depends on the functionality you want from it. You say your audiobox is not enough for your monitors and headphones, but this is a bit too undefinite because from what i read it has 2 outs and a headphone jack. What is your problem really?

Anyway, from 2in/2out to 128 channels, you have a long assortment of choices on the market!

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selig
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Post 03 Mar 2024

I have to wonder if it’s the other way around. The sound card looks fine, it’s the monitors that look more like the weak link here.

I make gear decisions based on the weak link, meaning I look at my tools and first make sure I have one of everything I need. If my needs include a mic, an interface, monitors, headphones, DAW, and a computer, and I already have one of each, I’ll see which is the weakest link and upgrade that item.

As for the interface:
Do you need more inputs? Do you need a mic pre with less noise and/or more gain? Do you need a stronger headphone amp?

Otherwise, describe the issue you’re having, rather than the solution you assume is required. That way we can suggest possible solutions you may have overlooked!
Selig Audio, LLC

Mohammadyarahmad
Posts: 98
Joined: 15 Jan 2023

Post 03 Mar 2024

selig wrote:
03 Mar 2024
I have to wonder if it’s the other way around. The sound card looks fine, it’s the monitors that look more like the weak link here.

I make gear decisions based on the weak link, meaning I look at my tools and first make sure I have one of everything I need. If my needs include a mic, an interface, monitors, headphones, DAW, and a computer, and I already have one of each, I’ll see which is the weakest link and upgrade that item.

As for the interface:
Do you need more inputs? Do you need a mic pre with less noise and/or more gain? Do you need a stronger headphone amp?

Otherwise, describe the issue you’re having, rather than the solution you assume is required. That way we can suggest possible solutions you may have overlooked!
The sound card doesn't unleash the full dynamic range of them(especially the headphones). So, I can't use it for mixing and mastering since we need a suitable headroom for it.
I need more gain for headphones and speakers.

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mcatalao
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Post 03 Mar 2024

I agree with Selig.

And I don't think you have an issue with the phone amp either, at least considering the AKG K701 are 65 ohm, so there shouldn't be an issue with them or the soundcard.

Do you listen to music with this system? How does it compare to your productions? What do you mean to say the card does not unleash enough dynamic range?

This is very odd... Not only because (unless you have a broken device) most cards now are more than enough and all have a very good dynamic range, may it be output or input (by current standarts) as you work in a music genre that is not that dynamic at all. I'm not dissing the genre, even if you went to something more organic it wouldn't be as dynamic as Classical music wich has about 70db dynamic range!

Mohammadyarahmad
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Joined: 15 Jan 2023

Post 03 Mar 2024

mcatalao wrote:
03 Mar 2024
I agree with Selig.

And I don't think you have an issue with the phone amp either, at least considering the AKG K701 are 65 ohm, so there shouldn't be an issue with them or the soundcard.

Do you listen to music with this system? How does it compare to your productions? What do you mean to say the card does not unleash enough dynamic range?

This is very odd... Not only because (unless you have a broken device) most cards now are more than enough and all have a very good dynamic range, may it be output or input (by current standarts) as you work in a music genre that is not that dynamic at all. I'm not dissing the genre, even if you went to something more organic it wouldn't be as dynamic as Classical music wich has about 70db dynamic range!
For example, when I listen to music with AKG K77(32 ohms) the level of the sound is high enough(in the headphones) that gives me lots of headroom for mixing and mastering works. But when I use AKG K701(62 ohms) the level of the sound is reduced by half.
Both in the same sound card (Presonus USB96)

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bxbrkrz
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Post 03 Mar 2024

Which inputs in the back of the JBL are you using, TRS yes?
757365206C6F67696320746F207365656B20616E73776572732075736520726561736F6E20746F2066696E6420776973646F6D20676574206F7574206F6620796F757220636F6D666F7274207A6F6E65206F7220796F757220696E737069726174696F6E2077696C6C206372797374616C6C697A6520666F7265766572

Mohammadyarahmad
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Post 03 Mar 2024

bxbrkrz wrote:
03 Mar 2024
Which inputs in the back of the JBL are you using, TRS yes?
Exactly

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bxbrkrz
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Post 03 Mar 2024

Mohammadyarahmad wrote:
03 Mar 2024
bxbrkrz wrote:
03 Mar 2024
Which inputs in the back of the JBL are you using, TRS yes?
Exactly
The last thing I would double check before spending the $$$ is using a split cable stereo jack to L/R TS, from your headphones out to the JBL.
757365206C6F67696320746F207365656B20616E73776572732075736520726561736F6E20746F2066696E6420776973646F6D20676574206F7574206F6620796F757220636F6D666F7274207A6F6E65206F7220796F757220696E737069726174696F6E2077696C6C206372797374616C6C697A6520666F7265766572

Mohammadyarahmad
Posts: 98
Joined: 15 Jan 2023

Post 03 Mar 2024

bxbrkrz wrote:
03 Mar 2024
Mohammadyarahmad wrote:
03 Mar 2024


Exactly
The last thing I would double check before spending the $$$ is using a split cable stereo jack to L/R TS, from your headphones out to the JBL.
The JBL has a headphone input.
Is it okay if I connect my headphones to this input?

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bxbrkrz
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Post 03 Mar 2024

Mohammadyarahmad wrote:
03 Mar 2024
bxbrkrz wrote:
03 Mar 2024

The last thing I would double check before spending the $$$ is using a split cable stereo jack to L/R TS, from your headphones out to the JBL.
The JBL has a headphone input.
Is it okay if I connect my headphones to this input?
Do you mean AUX In? https://www.jbl.com/studio-monitors/JBL-104-BT.html
I don't know if that's OK.
If you have a split cable try the headphones TRS output on your audio interface, to the Left/Right TS of the JBL. Control the level with the headphones knob. Try that first.
757365206C6F67696320746F207365656B20616E73776572732075736520726561736F6E20746F2066696E6420776973646F6D20676574206F7574206F6620796F757220636F6D666F7274207A6F6E65206F7220796F757220696E737069726174696F6E2077696C6C206372797374616C6C697A6520666F7265766572

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selig
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Post 03 Mar 2024

I wonder if the issue is that this interface is USB powered, and doesn’t have as much power as other interfaces?
I don’t know if these are the “best” interfaces, but I’ve had good experiences with both the Scarlett and Clarett line of interfaces by Focusrite.
Selig Audio, LLC

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moalla
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Post 03 Mar 2024

...
Last edited by moalla on 03 Mar 2024, edited 7 times in total.
https://soundcloud.com/user-594407128
Reason12.5, Yamaha EG112, Ibanez PF10, RhythmWolf, Miniak, Ipad+SparkLE
SE2200t :arrow: VAS micpre MOTO:better repair-mod well made stuff than buy the next crap

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moalla
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Post 03 Mar 2024

A big step up from your Presonus Interface would be a Audient Id14 mk2, what I owned and what’s now my brothers Interface. It’s has really nice preamps and Converter quality is on par with my RME FirefaceUC, the preamps sounding better with my SE 2200t tube mic than the RME ones.

The driver and virtual mixer is very comfortable to use, really fast latency’s, it comes with 2 mic inputs, one of them usable for a guitar, + spdif digital Adat input, if you one upgrade your inputs, a separate master out and headphone output, no midi in and out, one stepped volume dial, usb C bus powered, the predestor had a power supply.

The headphone output of this interface is strong enough to drive my beyerdynamic DT880pro 250ohm. really well.

For me it’s more or less the best interface in this price range I tried. Still using a old first gen RME babyface with my ipad and the Audient sounds better, especially the headphone preamp!

So for example, a Behringer 404hd of a friend of mine, has great preamps, but the output preamps are more semi nice, not the big thing, the Scarlett’s output stage sound maybe a bit better but also not so much, but we only used the first gen of the small one focusrite…

A Jamsession colleague with a Linux Bitwig Machine switched from a entry level m-audio fast track to a native audio kontrol1 and the difference in details and pressure on his BX4 speakers from 2023 are so huge, like night and day, keep in mind when you think both interfaces are released 2005-2007.

So what’s the hack with interfaces, converters are no longer the big thing, but input and output stages of entry level 100 bugs interfaces are mostly not so powerful and still failing in articulation and precision. Arround 200bugs there is no big difference between MOTU or Audient, ESI especially when it comes to long time driver support und musicality of their electronics. I don’t know how nice are expensiver lines from presonus and focusrite, but i thing they are as well good interfaces. It depends at least what’s your needs. So don’t buy please the new m-audio stuff horrible and native stuff now the same cheap thing. The cheaper universal audio interfaces are as well marketing hyped and you get them on eBay around 80-90bugs or less here in Germany of it’s quality :lol: My hint, save money a little longer for a better interface, and you will be happy much longer with it ;).

Nice start in the new week fellows
Last edited by moalla on 03 Mar 2024, edited 6 times in total.
https://soundcloud.com/user-594407128
Reason12.5, Yamaha EG112, Ibanez PF10, RhythmWolf, Miniak, Ipad+SparkLE
SE2200t :arrow: VAS micpre MOTO:better repair-mod well made stuff than buy the next crap

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selig
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Post 03 Mar 2024

moalla wrote:
03 Mar 2024
A big step up from your Presonus Interface would be a Audient Id14 mk2, what I owned and what’s now my brothers Interface. It’s has really nice preamps and Converter quality is on par with my RME FirefaceUC.

The driver and virtual mixer is very comfortable to use, really fast latency’s, it comes with 2 mic inputs, one of them usable for a guitar, + spdif digital Adat input, if you one upgrade your inputs, a separate master out and headphone output.

The headphone output of this interface is strong enough to drive my beyerdynamic DT880pro 250ohm. really well.

For me it’s more or less the best interface in this price range I tried. Still using a old first gen RME babyface with my ipad and the Audient sounds far better, especially the headphone preamp!

So for example, a Behringer 404hd of a friend of mine, has great preamps, but the output preamps are more semi nice, not the big thing, the Scarlett’s output stage sound maybe a bit better but also not so much, but we only used the first gen of the small one…

A Jamsession colleague with a Linux Bitwig Machine switched from a entry level m-audio fast track to a native audio kontrol1 and the difference in details and pressure on his BX4 speakers from 2023 was so huge, like night and day, keep immune when you think both interfaces are released 2005-2007.

So what’s the hack with interfaces, converters are no longer the thing, put input and output stages of entry level 100 bugs interfaces are mostly not so powerful and still failing in articulation and precision. Arround 200bugs there is no big difference between MOTU or Audient, especially when it comes to long term driver support und musicality of their electronics. I don’t know how nice are expensiver lines from presonus and focusrite, but i thing they are as well good interfaces. It depends at least what’s your needs. So don’t buy please the new m-audio stuff horrible and native stuff now the same cheap thing. The cheaper universal audio interfaces are marketing hyped and you get them on eBay around 80-90bugs or less here in Germany of it’s quality :lol:

Nice start in the new week fellows
OK, have to check in on you here because you just posted the same thing as your last post but with additional text that sounds very “bot” like. Or you just had a stroke. Either way, just checking in - am happy to delete either post just not sure which is the ‘real’ post!
Selig Audio, LLC

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moalla
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Post 03 Mar 2024

Double post on my way at home sorry, the thing with the timeout or whatever the problem is, when your editing the text on a mobile device :shock: and at least I´m not allowed to delete it :( I´m not interested to promote a especial company, but some newer cheaper china oem interfaces are not the yellow of the egg, compared for example with a really inexpensive professional card Emu 1212m pci card from creative in 2009, or older esi/hoontech stuff :oops:
https://soundcloud.com/user-594407128
Reason12.5, Yamaha EG112, Ibanez PF10, RhythmWolf, Miniak, Ipad+SparkLE
SE2200t :arrow: VAS micpre MOTO:better repair-mod well made stuff than buy the next crap

Mohammadyarahmad
Posts: 98
Joined: 15 Jan 2023

Post 04 Mar 2024

bxbrkrz wrote:
03 Mar 2024
Mohammadyarahmad wrote:
03 Mar 2024


The JBL has a headphone input.
Is it okay if I connect my headphones to this input?
Do you mean AUX In? https://www.jbl.com/studio-monitors/JBL-104-BT.html
I don't know if that's OK.
If you have a split cable try the headphones TRS output on your audio interface, to the Left/Right TS of the JBL. Control the level with the headphones knob. Try that first.
Under Aux in is a headphone input.
Okay, I should buy and check.
Thanks

Mohammadyarahmad
Posts: 98
Joined: 15 Jan 2023

Post 04 Mar 2024

selig wrote:
03 Mar 2024
I wonder if the issue is that this interface is USB powered, and doesn’t have as much power as other interfaces?
I don’t know if these are the “best” interfaces, but I’ve had good experiences with both the Scarlett and Clarett line of interfaces by Focusrite.
Could you tell the exact model of Focusrite Scarlett?

Mohammadyarahmad
Posts: 98
Joined: 15 Jan 2023

Post 04 Mar 2024

moalla wrote:
03 Mar 2024
A big step up from your Presonus Interface would be a Audient Id14 mk2, what I owned and what’s now my brothers Interface. It’s has really nice preamps and Converter quality is on par with my RME FirefaceUC, the preamps sounding better with my SE 2200t tube mic than the RME ones.

The driver and virtual mixer is very comfortable to use, really fast latency’s, it comes with 2 mic inputs, one of them usable for a guitar, + spdif digital Adat input, if you one upgrade your inputs, a separate master out and headphone output, no midi in and out, one stepped volume dial, usb C bus powered, the predestor had a power supply.

The headphone output of this interface is strong enough to drive my beyerdynamic DT880pro 250ohm. really well.

For me it’s more or less the best interface in this price range I tried. Still using a old first gen RME babyface with my ipad and the Audient sounds better, especially the headphone preamp!

So for example, a Behringer 404hd of a friend of mine, has great preamps, but the output preamps are more semi nice, not the big thing, the Scarlett’s output stage sound maybe a bit better but also not so much, but we only used the first gen of the small one focusrite…

A Jamsession colleague with a Linux Bitwig Machine switched from a entry level m-audio fast track to a native audio kontrol1 and the difference in details and pressure on his BX4 speakers from 2023 are so huge, like night and day, keep in mind when you think both interfaces are released 2005-2007.

So what’s the hack with interfaces, converters are no longer the big thing, but input and output stages of entry level 100 bugs interfaces are mostly not so powerful and still failing in articulation and precision. Arround 200bugs there is no big difference between MOTU or Audient, ESI especially when it comes to long time driver support und musicality of their electronics. I don’t know how nice are expensiver lines from presonus and focusrite, but i thing they are as well good interfaces. It depends at least what’s your needs. So don’t buy please the new m-audio stuff horrible and native stuff now the same cheap thing. The cheaper universal audio interfaces are as well marketing hyped and you get them on eBay around 80-90bugs or less here in Germany of it’s quality :lol: My hint, save money a little longer for a better interface, and you will be happy much longer with it ;).

Nice start in the new week fellows
Interesting.
Because I called two stores and they recommended ID4 MKII as well.

Mohammadyarahmad
Posts: 98
Joined: 15 Jan 2023

Post 04 Mar 2024

bxbrkrz wrote:
03 Mar 2024
Mohammadyarahmad wrote:
03 Mar 2024


The JBL has a headphone input.
Is it okay if I connect my headphones to this input?
Do you mean AUX In? https://www.jbl.com/studio-monitors/JBL-104-BT.html
I don't know if that's OK.
If you have a split cable try the headphones TRS output on your audio interface, to the Left/Right TS of the JBL. Control the level with the headphones knob. Try that first.
I tried that. The sound level of the speakers increased by two times!
I even tried that on my laptop's Aux input and got the same result.

Why do TRS cables decrease the sound level that much?

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selig
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Post 04 Mar 2024

Mohammadyarahmad wrote:
04 Mar 2024
bxbrkrz wrote:
03 Mar 2024

Do you mean AUX In? https://www.jbl.com/studio-monitors/JBL-104-BT.html
I don't know if that's OK.
If you have a split cable try the headphones TRS output on your audio interface, to the Left/Right TS of the JBL. Control the level with the headphones knob. Try that first.
I tried that. The sound level of the speakers increased by two times!
I even tried that on my laptop's Aux input and got the same result.

Why do TRS cables decrease the sound level that much?
Wait, the ONLY thing you changed was the cable? I thought you were ALSO switching from the line outputs to the headphone outputs, which SHOULD be louder (possibly more distorted too for a few reasons).
Selig Audio, LLC

RobC
Posts: 1848
Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 04 Mar 2024

Scarlett Solo Gen 3 is great for recording, but I wasn't impressed by the HP out. A bit noisy and inaccurate.

E30 II + L30 II are premium quality, and compatible with everything.

I (re)searched for years until I found these, thank god (or rather ASR : ) ).

Mohammadyarahmad
Posts: 98
Joined: 15 Jan 2023

Post 05 Mar 2024

selig wrote:
04 Mar 2024
Mohammadyarahmad wrote:
04 Mar 2024


I tried that. The sound level of the speakers increased by two times!
I even tried that on my laptop's Aux input and got the same result.

Why do TRS cables decrease the sound level that much?
Wait, the ONLY thing you changed was the cable? I thought you were ALSO switching from the line outputs to the headphone outputs, which SHOULD be louder (possibly more distorted too for a few reasons).
I changed the cable and plugged it into the headphone input of the sound card(from the speakers).

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selig
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Post 05 Mar 2024

Mohammadyarahmad wrote:
05 Mar 2024
selig wrote:
04 Mar 2024


Wait, the ONLY thing you changed was the cable? I thought you were ALSO switching from the line outputs to the headphone outputs, which SHOULD be louder (possibly more distorted too for a few reasons).
I changed the cable and plugged it into the headphone input of the sound card(from the speakers).
My point is that the headphone output is "hotter" because it has to drive an actual speaker, and it has a much different impedance than the speakers expect. It can also distort more easily because it is designed to move a magnet rather than to feed an amp. Or to put it another way, you are feeding the output of one amp into the input of another.

Bottom line, it's not the cable that is causing the difference, it's the level of the HP output being hotter that explains why the output is "hotter"!]
Selig Audio, LLC

Mohammadyarahmad
Posts: 98
Joined: 15 Jan 2023

Post 05 Mar 2024

selig wrote:
05 Mar 2024
Mohammadyarahmad wrote:
05 Mar 2024

I changed the cable and plugged it into the headphone input of the sound card(from the speakers).
My point is that the headphone output is "hotter" because it has to drive an actual speaker, and it has a much different impedance than the speakers expect. It can also distort more easily because it is designed to move a magnet rather than to feed an amp. Or to put it another way, you are feeding the output of one amp into the input of another.

Bottom line, it's not the cable that is causing the difference, it's the level of the HP output being hotter that explains why the output is "hotter"!]
Got it,
Thanks :puf_smile:

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