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  Sound cards  tayn at 10:24 on 07 October 2009
 

Hi,

Can anyone recommend a good quality sound card for playing back compositions on Sibelius? If you're able to quote prices, that would be great.

Many thanks.

Martin

  Re: Sound cards  Hugh Boyle at 20:44 on 08 October 2009
 

Unless you have an ancient computer, the soundcard built into your computer should suffice. If you have a an old pc (desktop computer) and are knowledgeable enough to be able to install a new soundcard, or have a friend who could do it for you, then it would be well worth spending 50 or 60 quid on a mid-range soundcard but I wouldn’t spend big bucks on an external soundcard, especially if it is only for playback.
I bought an external behringer soundcard a few years ago for £130 and it was a big waste of money. You need to install drivers on your computer for these things so that the computer will know where to direct the incoming and outgoing sound, amongst other things. I bought mine for recording and midi applications and the drivers for it were really bad and the soundcard ended up making the computer run really slow and sometimes crash when I used it. So in the end it was too much of a chore to use it and I put it back in its box as I was spending more time trying to get the most out of it, rather than spending time composing.
If you have a decent soundcard in your computer then an alternative could be a ‘notepad’ like the following
http://www.planetdj.com/i--NOTEPAD
http://www.soundcraft.com/products/product.aspx?pid=1
which would could connect to the soundcard and use to channel your output to a good set of monitors etc; basically have a basic home studio setup without having to use a usb device. Usb is good of course for things like mice and keyboards but, whilst it is improving, it isn’t always successful in providing audio solutions.

You didn’t provide much info but I assumed you were looking at a usb soundcard so hope that is useful.

Hugh

ps what version of sibelius do you have? are you sure it's not the sibelius playback rather than you equipment you're looking to improve?

  Re: Sound cards  tayn at 16:04 on 11 October 2009
 

Thanks Hugh, and apologies for the lack of information. I'm using Sibelius 5 and my computer is a Dell Studio desktop (only 7 months old). Obviously I can play back compositions with the sound card which came with the computer, but I really wanted to see if I could improve the quality of the instrumental sounds, particularly in large instrumental combinations such as full orchestra. Sibelius pointed me towards a fast-track USB external sound card (
http://www.maudio.co.uk/products/en_gb/FastTrackUSB.html). But I guess this is a similar type of approach to the one you took. No one mentioned the need to install drivers, so that's useful to know.

Maybe I'm looking for a quality of sound that doesn't yet exist?!

<Added>

Thanks Hugh, and apologies for the lack of information. I'm using Sibelius 5 and my computer is a Dell Studio desktop (only 7 months old). Obviously I can play back compositions with the sound card which came with the computer, but I really wanted to see if I could improve the quality of the instrumental sounds, particularly in large instrumental combinations such as full orchestra. Sibelius pointed me towards a fast-track USB external sound card (
http://www.maudio.co.uk/products/en_gb/FastTrackUSB.html). But I guess this is a similar type of approach to the one you took. No one mentioned the need to install drivers, so that's useful to know.

Maybe I'm looking for a quality of sound that doesn't yet exist?!

<Added>

(P.S. This message appears twice as I was trying to delete the final bracket on the link which shouldn't be there, needless to say it didn't work.)