Let's Hook up your audio now, OK?
Ok, lets start by hooking up your onboard sound device or soundcard that came with your computer. So our first stop is to take you to a place you will go to frequently if you get involved in studios. Where is that? Oh no, we are on a trip to...
And there are lots of adapters. These are 1/8" stereo cable adapters. You need two of these if you have a typical soundblaster-type card. One for the soundcard line in and one for the soundcard line out
The above cable is good for connecting your soundcard line outs to your stereo.
Another variation, to connect many keyboards or mixers to your soundcard is below
This is a 1/4 inch to RCA cable that is 9 feet long Sometimes these help.
Want to see more adapters? Oh sure you do They are all on this page
But if you Really Care about Quality, don't get ANYTHING with those little 1/8th inch phone jacks (mini jacks). Don't read the box on the cards and say, b-but tweak, this one has all the coolio features....yeah, yeah, marketing is great these days...
This soundcard is better for recording and playing back software-driven music than a typical consumer card you might find at stores. Its perfect for recording music and using all the new and cool software synthesizers. Its the M-Audio 2496 Note that you can just plug standard midi cables and don't need the 1/8 inch adapter because it has RCA jacks right on the card. You still need the 1/4 inch to RCA cable though.
Huh? Don't like that one? Think that fancy-schmancy USB is more, ahhh, "modern" do you? Tsk, tsk, wrong again! Now aren't you glad you stopped by before you slapped plastic? Let me just say now, seriously, the "technically fastest" solution for audio recording as of this date 03/06/2010 16:15:18 -0800 is a desktop computer and a good old PCI interface or soundcard. If you don't want to go PCI go Firewire. It's almost as fast. Remember, I am talking to the new guys here. USB is still in the situation of trying to catch up to PCI in terms of speed and performance. USB 2.0 is OK but be careful it's new. Aren't "new" products better? Huh, tweak are you flaming MAD?
Hehe, Nope! I just know better. This does not mean that a 1996 windows 95 era PCI card is better. All that stuff is ready for the ashcan. It does mean that a card that has been out for a year probably has better and more stable drivers than one that came out last month. Do manufacturers really release products with beta drivers still being tested? Yep! Take it from a former soundcard beta-tester.
Speed and performance is everything in this game.
Repeat after me OK? " More and Faster is Better!"
Faster CPUs are better. Bigger, faster, more Hard drives are better. More memory is better.
Think of what is going on here. You are going to be sending massive amounts of digital audio data to a CPU and hard drive when you record and playback tracks. You will be going through studio-quality processors that exist totally in the virtual domain of the computer and it has to do it's job so fast that you can still play guitar to a recorded drum track and not miss a beat. Yep, you're getting it..Some computers and soundcards can't go fast enough or in sufficient quantity to do this well for more than a handful of tracks. The big culprits here are low end underpowered laptops with slow drives and yep, a USB 1.1 bus that cannot stream the data fast enough.
Those of you with high end Macs and souped-up PC DAWs already know what you can run. Here's a run through the offerings a zZounds under $200. There is an incredible variety. Lucky you, until relatively recently you could not get a firewire or USB 2.0 interface for under $200. The prices on the older PCI interfaces are really low. (I am not going to list USB 1.1. devices though I don't mind if you look at them. Browse USB 1.1. interfaces).
On to How Sequencers work