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Thread: What kind of sound card should I buy?

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    What kind of sound card should I buy?

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    Hello,

    I've bought the Novation Launchkey Mini with Ableton Live and I love it, but I'm new to music production on computers and I have a specific question I could not figure out myself.

    I'm looking for a sound card for my Windows PC, preferably one with an instrument jack or two. However the most important part is that it bypasses the default motherboard audio (I think?). Now my MIDI keyboard / launchpad is working without latency only with "ASIO4ALL" drivers, which is a major hassle because I can't play music from other programs at the same time. I'd like to have a real ASIO sound card so I could play anything I want on my PC without latency, while using Ableton Live at the same time without lag. The Launchkey Mini only has a USB output and no MIDI, so I'm a bit confused as to what kind of device meets my needs. Would any external (or internal) sound card work for this purpose and feed all the audio on my computer through it, so I wouldn't have to change inputs when I'm playing the keyboard or just playing music off Youtube?

    I know Novation has cards specifically designed for this with USB inputs, but I'd rather consider different (possibly cheaper) options - so what kind of card should I be looking for?

    Thanks in advance!

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    ASIO won't give you the ability to do other programs. The sound part of MIDI is regular system audio. Now, some (ASIO)drivers can have multi-use built in, but they normally don't say that in the specs.

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    Thank you for the clarification!
    So if I want to get rid of latency that occurs with my MIDI controller in Windows, what's the best way to go for it while keeping the ability to play audio from other programs at the same time?
    Should I get an internal sound card, so I can push it through regular system audio (MME/DirectX in Ableton)?
    EDIT: Or if the "multi-use" is something I need anyway, could you give an example of a sound card that achieves this?

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    Well, I'm saying there isn't really any latency in MIDI. A regular controller going to a sound module works like a breeze. Sure there might be some MIDI delay in a computer, but latency is, usually, about making audio.

    With the regular built in soundcard, you want to find the simple VST sound module and compare that to the VST sounds you are using. A lot of modern USB controllers use a generic USB driver - says USB device instead of akai device. You want to try all the USB ports to see if that makes a difference.

    So, there shouldn't be MIDI delay, but it's a computer and you never know. Audio delay will be the VST. you might have a virtual keyboard in the DAW and that latency will be there.

    My Blaster notebook card has a extra driver device called Record what you hear. That routes youtube to your inputs. My Realtek has that. and it seems my Soundmax does that, also, but I have no control. My interfaces are usually under ASIO and that is all I get.

    Now, some VST will run in Stand Alone Mode right from a Desktop ICON. That stuff that runs outside a DAW might help you determine if computer and software latency is a problem

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