Weekend Open Forum: What audio interface do you use with your desktop/laptop computer?

By Justin Kahn ยท 42 replies
Jun 20, 2014
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  1. While I guess some people don't use audio interfaces at all, especially with a laptop on the go or something of that nature, I find them to be an essential part of my home desktop set-up. Personally I like to...

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    misor likes this.
  2. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 5,057   +4,099

    The only interface I use is the Guitar Rig mobile I/O. I use it to run audio from my laptop to external speakers and as an input for guitar audio signals. The guitar input is the obvious primary utility, but I also prefer to rout audio through it because it gives me much greater control over the output levels.
  3. Satish Mallya

    Satish Mallya TS Maniac Posts: 156   +119

    Output is through an xfi titanium card, dolby over optical to speakers (z5500)
    Input (which I rarely use) is either a wireless Logitech f540 headset or a USB midi in.


    I use a Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 audio interface with my macbook pro. I have two KRK Rokit 5" monitor speakers that I use with it; specifically for when I'm producing music. The interfaces powered through firewire but also has an optional 12V DC power input. It provides great audio fidelity (up to 96kHz), and not only am I able to use it with my Macbook but I am also able to output audio from my Playstation 3 to the interface. I sometimes will use headphones with the interface but I primarily use the monitors for audio output. Its a nice little interface and only cost me around $140 because I bought it from my friend. I recommend it to anyone looking for a nice portable interface to use with their computer.
    SNGX1275 likes this.
  5. Experimentongod

    Experimentongod TS Maniac Posts: 277   +113

    Good ol' (8 years) Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Elite Pro (with external I/O console; that could be considered a so called "audio interface") connected to 7 year old Logitech Z-5500 speakers. Still rockin' that soundcard is the reason my next motherboard will need to support the pretty much obsolete PCI slot. I don't have compelling reasons to upgrade, maybe a SoundBlaster ZxR could be marginally better. Games sound great with 3D support for old titles thanks to Creative ALChemy and I can connect my PS3 through optical cable to get hardware Dolby Digital decoding. For movies I use software decoding. I have the computer hooked up to the speakers with analog cables. Basically between the Z-5500's and the soundcard I/O module I can connect a lot of stuff.
    FAETHFLEX likes this.
  6. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,559   +1,701

    Klipshe promedia 2.1 with Zune media center. Speakers sound great and Zune sounds pretty good. I use to use winamp but it doesn't work well when I change my default audio device. Sound stops working with it until I restart if I have it open when I switch from headphones to speakers or visa versa
  7. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,830   +1,025

    I have an ASUS Xonar STX sound card which is run with the "Xonar Audio Center" software package. It's pretty extensive in what it can do. And paired with my Corsair Gaming Audio SP2500 2.1 Speaker System, that combination can rattle some windows (much to my neighbors delight) ;).
  8. A Tascam US-122L. Bit old, but still works, beats the crap out of any internal sound card, and has phantom powering for mics, a simple recording mixer, and MIDI. And nowadays, it can be had really cheaply.
  9. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,278

    What the hell are we talking about here? English please.
    SNGX1275 likes this.
  10. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 741   +287

    My main rig has just realtek 7.1 that I run to some Logitech Z520 speakers, for headset on this system I use the Logitech H800 wireless headset so that has its own soundcard as well. My other rig has a Creative X-Fi SB1090 hooked up to my Plantronic Gamecon 777's and if it ever needs a speaker both the monitors have speakers which I have on the audio feed split to both of them.
  11. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,200   +479

    Most of the time my main rig's chain is USB to my WooAudio WA7 but the rest of the time it's SoundBlaster Z - toslink - Onkyo receiver. That receiver also receives an S/PDIF connection from my linux fileserver.
  12. Mr WW

    Mr WW TS Member Posts: 24

    I have an external M-AUDIO 410 firewire box. Actually only connected when I DJ or produce music.
    I can't hear much of a difference between the internal sound card or the external.
    So the main purpose is to have low latency and to have extra inputs and outputs (It has 4 analog stereo outs and 1 in and 1 digital in and out)
  13. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,480   +973

    I think it is an audio interface people can use to control their sound system.

    I use the integrated Realtek controller. No dedicated sound system here.
  14. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 5,057   +4,099

    The question is whether or not TS members send the audio signal from their computers through a fancy-pants audio box before sending it to their speakers. As you can gather from the preceding comments, most of us do.
  15. at0mic_Mike

    at0mic_Mike TS Member Posts: 30

    Glad I'm not the only one who's never heard of this.
  16. Satish Mallya

    Satish Mallya TS Maniac Posts: 156   +119

    Most of those who chose to reply. Self-selection bias rears its head again.
  17. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 5,057   +4,099

    Seeing as the vast majority of computer users don't run their audio through a special interface, I figured it to be self-evident that "us" would refer exclusively to those who have responded thus far.

    I'll make note to state the obvious in the future.

    (I'm being sarcastic.)
  18. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 940   +42

    Currently still relying on the shitty realtek 5.1 with the dolby home theater thingy, because I upgraded my speakers and now only analog connection is available. I used to rely on TOSLINK (optical) to let my speaker do its own decoding. for my other pc, a logitech z-cinema which uses USB connection so the decoding is also done on the speaker itself...

    also used to own x-fi before. probably won't buy another one because im sure my next speakers will be using receiver which uses HDMI. not a fan of soundcards or DACs, though I know they make a difference.
  19. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,278

    Now why would anyone do that? Is it not far simpler, not to mention cheaper just to plug your speakers or headphones directly into your sound output? I plug my headphones directly into my Asus Xonar DX soundcard and boom, I'm good to go, no fuss, no muss. Can't you do the same thing with fancy pants speakers?
  20. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 5,057   +4,099

    Much simpler and much cheaper, yes. However, when you run your audio through an interface you have much more control over what comes out of the output device. Same goes for input.

    In a way, it's like the difference between consoles and PC when it comes to hardware/software settings. On a console, your control over hardware and software is relatively limited. With a PC, however, you can fine tune more or less every aspect of the experience. The same relationship exists between your on-board audio equipment and an external interface.
    Skidmarksdeluxe and misor like this.
  21. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,303   +254

    Damn, I got nose bleed episodes before reading davislane1's explanation:
  22. rpjkw11

    rpjkw11 TS Member Posts: 20

    I use an ASUS Xonar DGX 5.1 on my desktops for only one purpose: Better audio control. Onboard audio works well enough, but I like more options when it comes to overall sound. My laptop has Sound Blaster Cinema which works very well, but options are limited as is the volume. I'd like a bit more volume, especially with a headset.
  23. Tom Geml

    Tom Geml TS Rookie

    Aune X1 Headphone Amp>BX5A Studio Monitors + Klipsch KSW-12, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones.
  24. Luay

    Luay TS Enthusiast Posts: 84   +13

    I have a 7 year old ATX desktop with a sound blaster sound card. It's fine for games but even the music sounds better than the motherboard's sound chip.

    In the living room my newer mitx htpc has an R9 290 connected to my AV receiver through HDMI. the video passes through the receiver but the audio is processed there. It sounds more crisp than any sound card I have tried. Separates truly bring the best audio experience, but there are other (richer) people who have a pre/amp + surround processors instead of a single separate sound solution.

    Now I'm thinking of getting a USB DAC for my laptop, smartphone and tablet. I never was a fan of listening to music or gaming on the go but as I'm travelling more often now it seems like a good idea.
  25. Wizwill

    Wizwill TS Enthusiast Posts: 73   +18

    Not sure if this qualifies but I use a device worn around my neck called a ComPilot using bluetooth to send both audio and 2-way phone calls to my Phonak hearing aids. I answer the calls by pressing a button on the ComPilot. I use the device with both my smartphone and laptops.It would also work with a bluetooth-equipped PC or Mac. The audio portion also works well with my tablets.
    Because my hearing loss is rather severe, this device setup allows me to hear audio much better than any other method. Headphones feedback and listening via speakers allows outside noise to pollute the audio stream and then it is amplified by the hearing aids.

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