[linux-audio-user] Multiple soundcards

Tobiah toby at tobiah.org
Mon Mar 31 13:25:00 EST 2003

Bryan Koschmann - GKT wrote:
> Hello,
> I'm looking at (for now) utilizing the SB 128PCI's I have laying around
> and doing 3 of those for input and 1 SB Live Value for midi and output.

You will be unhappy with this arrangement because the cards are not 
timed perfectly, and will slowly drift in time with respect to one another.

> As I said in my posts awhile back, I have 2 instrument mics, 1 vocal mic,
> and a keyboard with midi. The mics are all XLR with 1/4" (transformers?).
> Will I be needing any preamps/mixer for these? If so any recommendations
> for something with 3 mic preamps?

I'm guessing that your mics are in around the $50 price range.
If they are condensers, then you have mics that will perform
ok for casual recording.  your main problem here is going to
be noise, noise, noise.  Aside from stepping up to $200 -$300
mics, the greatest favor that you could do for yourself on a
budget would be to get some channels of decent mic pre.

I went with a Mackie 1202-VLZPro mixer  I got one new for
around $350 when it was first introduced.  It was worth every
penny.  I'm pretty happy with the mic pre's.  They are really
clean.  You get four channels with preamp, plus four *stereo*
channels, which are the greatest thing since whoopie.  It's like
a good deal on mic pre's with a mixer attached.

This would also give you the ability to run your mics
balanced ( using XLR on both ends of the cable)  which should
make them run a little quieter.  You really have to do this in
order to use the Mackie properly.  i'm assuming that you have
a couple of Radio Shack mics that are really balanced,
but end in unbalanced phone plug so as not to confuse the

The mixer also gives you the ability to run mics that need
phantom power, which they will, when you finally realize that
your present mics are crippling your recordings, and you move
up to the low end pro stuff.

For what it's worth, I bought two Marshall MXL2001 large
diaphragm condensers, and while they are now the noisiest
link in my setup, I think that they were a steal at $300/pair.
They are definitely way quieter than my old R/S condensors,
(which were also a good deal at $20 each), but I HATE noise,
and so another upgrade will be in order.  Next stop is maybe
Neumann TLM103's at $1500/pair.  Geze, I could buy a car for
that much money.


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