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Thread Laptop sound card advice

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1 Laptop sound card advice
I'm a hobbyist and long time amateur musician using Cakewalk Home Studio on an HP Pavilion 7000 laptop, P4 2.66, 1g ram, 60g internal hd and 80g external hd. I'd like to get a better sound card, but I'm not very knowledgable on that topic. I'm guessing I probably need an external card? My needs will mainly be limited to the following:

1 -- Composing (in Finale) and playing back MIDI via soft synths/instruments, Garritan Personal Orchestra for classical fare (I have to check on compatability with Home Studio), but undecided on what product to use for pop/jazz oriented stuff yet.

2 -- Live recording of two instruments at a time, rarely three.

My main wish is to get the most realistic acoustic instrument sounds from MIDI files. I don't do much in the way of 'electronic' sounds. I'd like to keep it simple and have everything done with software with the exception of the external sound card, if possible. I have an email in to HP to see if I have any internal sound card options, but from posts in another forum I'm led to believe I don't. I can't even tell from their web site what my existing sound card is :) Can anyone suggest an external sound card that would be suitable in the, oh, say, $200 range? I'll spring for a higher price if there's a compelling reason. Thanks in advance for any advice.
2
I suggest you m-audio audiophile 24/96 usb or fbetter firewire.
Card has 4in 2 out or 2 in 4 out. (2 lines are programible). Card has midi in too and it cost around 200 Euro. For more go to http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.list&ID=mobileinterfaces
3
I looked at the M-audio Audiophile earlier but didn't see an external version. I'll do another google. Thanks for the tip.
4
Hey Tunesy,
I am dealing with a similar type of setup and audio interface inquiry. I am currently looking at purchasing the Edirol UA-25. I've been looking at both Digidesign's M-box and various M-audio products, but for what I want to do the Edirol seems to be the best (and the price is right!). Check out more info about it at : http://www.edirol.com/products/info/ua25.html

I think it is running around $300 canadian right now.
5
Thanks, Chardo. I'm pretty new to the 'sound hardware' side of computers. Does an "Audio/MIDI interface" serve the same function as a sound card, or is it something to buy in addition to a sound card?
6
Yes that is a soundcard and can has other functions too. Like preamp.
7
Wonderful! Thankyou very much. I'm just learning the basics of the hardware side of music. At least now I know that whenever I see reference to an "audio/MIDI interface" I'll know it's just a jazzed up way to say 'sound card'. That little tidbit removes a layer of clouds that I was trying to navigate through. ;)
8
Goodluck with your setup Tunesy. There are a lot of choices out there, but once you read up and learn more about what products will best suite your needs you will quickly minimize your options making your choice more clear. It is actually a lot of fun doing the research, makes you feel more confident with your purchase.
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