Soundblaster Cards

I also play games which these cards are particularly good for.
But are they good enough for musicmaking?
I’m using onboard audio at the moment … :unsure:

Personally; I’d upgrade to one of these:

Yep, today’s soundblaster cards are still nowhere to be found compared to the Gravis Ultrasound cards back in the 90’s…
In other words:Soundblaster cards suck immensely.

Unless you are planning on recording a lot of live instrumentation, there’s no real reason you need to upgrade your card. If you find that you’re able to make the music you want without problems, keep on doing what you’re doing. A long time ago (ten years!), I found that I started to experience lag and delay in recording / playback. I had just been running into the line in on the back of my PC at this point. I started to learn about dedicated audio interfaces. My point is to wait until you feel you are being limited by what you have and then upgrade accordingly. A better / “more appropriate” card may give you a truer reference as to how your music sounds from a mix stand point, but ultimately, if your music sounds good to you, then don’t worry about it.

My brother makes beautiful music running from a tiny mixer into his line in on a laptop, using some old version of ACID. It helps that he has a decent microphone and a great sounding room to do it in, but nevertheless.

That depends, if you are using a midi device to record some snippets with plugins, just to add that human touch, the lag is pretty cumbersome. Recording with the computer-keyboardmakes no difference either btw.
But if one has no problems with 30 to 40 ms of delay or don’t mind only being able to play a couple of tracks without crackles when the delay is brought down, upgrading is not really necessary then.
If you have a cheap soundcard, you can also degrade the quality of your samples and/or change the quality of your soundcard output.

I figured that they weren’t experiencing any of those problems yet, since they didn’t make any mention of that being a hinderance. It really depends on what you want to accomplish as a musician. If you are just sequencing samples, I think you can get away with a pretty lean set up. If you want to start adding in a lot of effects or plug-ins and doing anything live (even using a midi controller), then yes, you will definitely want something dedicated.

There’s no reason you couldn’t use that card for games and pick up a USB audio interface for music.

My latency is 35ms but I don’t hear any delay or anything.
The thing is I didn’t hear any difference between onboard audio and my Audigy2 SoundBlaster card (which suddenly died on me one day), so I figured I could get by with just onboard.
I don’t do anything live but I might be using my Midi controller in the near future (I have a usb midi interface). I do like to use lots of effects and vst instruments.
Some songs are getting jumpy because of the high cpu load but I think that’s because of Renoise demanding more and more cpu usage with (almost) each new version.

Thanks for the answers, I’ll just stick with my current setup for the time being.

For a list of good (low latency) midi adapters, have a look at the…di-latency-test benchmark results.