Is a Sound Card Needed for Audio Production?

Do you remember the old days of Sound Blaster? They’re still around!

I’ve also just reviewed the EVGA Nu Audio Card. It’s the first time EVGA have taken a step into the audio world. I’m wondering if a sound card is worth it and necessary for audio producers, music production or simply audiophiles in today’s world of technology?

I made a list of arguments and features of the new EVGA sound card and wanted to share them with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Why buy a sound card?

  • If your motherboard has rubbish audio a sound card can give you clean, crisp and usable audio.
  • As an audiophile listening, especially on decent headphones, is going to be a night and day difference.

Why not buy a DAC instead?

  • Keep things nice and tidy inside your PC.
  • Using a PCIe may offer performance (and latency?) improvements compared to USB.

What I like about the EVGA Nu Audio Card

  • Mic input with its own pre-amp.
  • Headphone amp 16-600 Ohms meaning you can drive some serious headphones!
  • Audio converters included in the box (6.35mm to 3.5mm and RCA to 3.5mm).
  • Software with EQ profiles, volume and RGB controls.
  • Studio quality line in (up to 384 kHz).
  • Flashy RGB lighting that can sync to the audio you’re playing (using Nu Audio software).

Here’s a video I made about the card:

What are your thoughts on a sound card?

USB3 is the same speed as SATA.
eSATA can run with 6 Gbps
USB3.1 is due to deliver 10 Gbps

But for pro audio outboard DSP, you really can’t beat Thunderbolt.
So for that reason alone, manufactures such as Slate, UAD and Pro Tools are still safely way above the bar. My TC-Electronics 6000 rig still has the best reverb I’ve heard inside a box. Reverb Demo

Another way to look at it, is outboard DSP completely takes the strain off your CPU.
AVID have solutions for broadcast video rendering pushing a 20 gig video in under 20 minutes.

Interesting so USB3 is very good but Thunderbolt even better.

What are your thoughts on the Focusrite Clarett range with Thunderbolt?

Can’t go wrong. Depending on your sampling rate then the TB gives you the best option.
Value for money wise, can’t be it for quality pre’s.

I had an option to buy a Focusrite analogue 48 chan mixer with digi transport upgrade.
They only ever made 10. Kicking myself i didn’t remortgage the house.

For podcasting, the new Rodecaster Pro is the mutz nutz with 4 mic pre’s, 4 separate headphone sends. phone in, mix minus, built-in recorder and has instant jingle drops but comes in at $700AUD https://www.rode.com/rodecasterpro

Not a bad looking desk at all, portable too, it’s cool that you have jingle hotkeys.

I understand you can also record to Micro SD which is a huge bonus when recording on the move!