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Thread: Breakout Box vs. Sound Card

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    Krakit's Avatar
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    Question Breakout Box vs. Sound Card

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    I'm debating with myself weather to purchase one or the other.

    Here's my dilly of a stupid question

    I keep reading that breakout boxes are instrumental in elimating the "noise" associated with direct sound card recording.

    Here's the thing. I see no definitions of what "noise" is supposed to be

    Noise can be actual audio contamination, like the hum of the PC's innards, but it can also be RF interference. I can see a strong argument for either meaning.

    Here's the thing, if I get a sound card with optical digital inputs and plug into that (instead of say phono or coax) won't that make either noise issue moot?

    I'm thinking that since my HD studio has optical outs on it, that I'll get a soundcard with optical ins. Light shouldn't be effected by RF or extraneous sounds, should it?

    To further cement my moron status, I'll ask the next gem:
    As long as I'm using digital I/O does audio interference matter even if it isn't optical? Couldn't I get anything with simple S/PDIF and never fear that my cooling fans will bleed into my mix?

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;
    that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
    -John Kenneth Galbraith

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    ola's Avatar
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    Re: Breakout Box vs. Sound Card

    >I'm debating with myself weather to purchase one or the other.

    You don't have one or the other. If you have a breakout box, then it's connected to a soundcard.

    >I keep reading that breakout boxes are instrumental in
    >elimating the "noise" associated with direct sound card
    >recording.

    It can help

    >I can see a strong argument for either meaning.

    RF interference is what a breakout box can help with. The mechanical noise won't bleed affect your converters, which are the ones we want to protect.

    >Here's the thing, if I get a sound card with optical digital inputs
    >and plug into that (instead of say phono or coax) won't that
    >make either noise issue moot?

    Yep, because then you have already made the A/D conversion outside of your computer. Handlig a digital signal inside a computer is pretty safe.

    >I'm thinking that since my HD studio has optical outs on it, that
    >I'll get a soundcard with optical ins. Light shouldn't be effected
    >by RF or extraneous sounds, should it?

    That would be the best option

    >As long as I'm using digital I/O does audio interference matter
    >even if it isn't optical? Couldn't I get anything with simple
    >S/PDIF and never fear that my cooling fans will bleed into my
    >mix?

    That would be safe as well. It's the A/D conversion that is sensitive so if you just plug S/PDIF into your soundcard, wether it be optical or coax, your set. Unless your HD studio is located near a big RF source...

    As for your stupidity - The only thing stupid in your post was your droning about your stupidity. If you hadn't said anything, I wouldn't have noticed

    /Ola


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    ola's Avatar
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    Just testing

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    Krakit's Avatar
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    Red face forgive the self deprication

    Think of me as that guy that was frozen in ice on South Park.

    I've been out of recording (any and all types) since the mid 80's.

    Much has changed in 15 years

    One thing I did wrong was not clearify that I'm using an SB AWE64 and I was either going to upgrade (which is actually sounding like the way to go here) or get a break out box.

    I think I'll wait until I get a stand alone burner to take advantage of my toslink outs on my portable. I'm going to go with a less expensive S/PDIF card instead.

    Thanks for the assist, Ola. I hadn't been able to find an answer to this question anywhere on the net.

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;
    that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
    -John Kenneth Galbraith

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    ola's Avatar
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    Re: forgive the self deprication

    Originally posted by Krakit
    I hadn't been able to find an answer to this question anywhere on the net.
    I did

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    JimH is offline Dedicated Member
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    It may go without saying, but I just thought I'd mention that having a breakout box does not necessarily avoid electrical interference from the computer, depending on where the A/D converters are. Some breakout boxes are just used as a place to mount more 1/4" connectors. The converters are still on the card. However, some boxes may at least convert the impedance of the analog signal within the breakout box to minimize susceptibility to interference. I think some of the GadgetLabs products did that.

    Jim

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    dachay2tnr's Avatar
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    The Delta Soundcards put their A/D converters in a breakout box. I believe the GadgetLabs cards had the A/D converters on the PCI card.

    When I bought my soundcard I was debating between the Delta 1010 and the GadgetLabs 824 and went with the Delta mainly because they had the A/D converters in the breakout box. Turned out to be a wise choice... as GL ultimately went belly up.

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    AlChuck's Avatar
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    dachay2tnr,

    Careful there... while the Delta 1010 indeed has its converters in the breakout box, the Delta 44 and Delta 46 do not -- the converters for these are on the card.

    -AlChuck



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    dachay2tnr's Avatar
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    Thanks for the clarification, Alchuck. I should have been more specific in my response.

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    The LynxOne has the converters on the card and they are much better then Delta 1010's or Layla 24's.

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