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Advice: MIDI, Soundcards, etc.


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Hi everybody! I'm in the market to upgrade my old PC-based MIDI setup and need some advice on what is out there. I've been using an ANCIENT AWE-32 soundcard for years now, with a Roland A-33 MIDI controller, and Cakewalk. I'm not a keyboardist, nor do I do any recording on my PC, but I do use this setup for composing and arranging (orchestral, jazz horn sections, etc). I'm basically looking for something that can provide MIDI samples for my controller, play standard audio (for mp3, CDs), and maybe have a better I/O setup (the 1/8" jack doesn't cut it). Most of the new Soundblaster cards I've checked out are geared towards playing music, 5.1 surround, home theater, etc; most of which I'm not interested in anyways (I usually use Studio Monitor headphones while working and my speakers suck). Any suggestions? Thanks for the help! J
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I have a SoundBlaster Live Platinum 5.1 and it seems to me that a SoundBlaster will do for what you need the card for (and they are very accessible). The Live has surround and home theater as you say and: so what? I don’t use that either. It has a front console (Live! Drive IR) which has various plugs including one for headphones (you said: “I usually use Studio Monitor headphones while working and my speakers suck”). The SoundBlaster Audigy includes ASIO drivers support (this will allow you lower latency with ASIO oriented programs) and the more expensive model also includes a front console. Anyway, there are lots of music programs that are Directx oriented. You can load soundfonts (you mentioned samples). The SoundBlaster cards are not the best for music though (everybody says so), but might be a good compromise if you are not a pro.
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