14 years ago I bought a Phonic AM220 Mixer together with a Rode NT1-A microphone and phase 22 soundcard (SOrry I cant add more then 2 links..)

I used to connect the mixer with the soundcard through a phone connector 6.3mm.

My question is, since the soundcard is so old, should I just get a cable like this

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and connect the mixer with my default PC soundcard? What would give better sound? I have a onboard NIVIDEA sound card. Thats all the information that I could gather about it:

enter image description here

  • ......good luck with the drivers that's where all audio hardware falls down. especially if you got win10. – Stephen Hazel Jan 14 '17 at 22:03
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    @StephenHazel I got win7, driver still works. – Adam Jan 14 '17 at 22:07

Your computer's 'soundcard' is actually the 'Realtek High Definition Audio'. The NVIDIA device is part of your graphics card.

If the Terratec Phase 22 card fits your computer and has ASIO drivers for your current operating system, I think you should at least give it a try. As you use an external mixer, we assume you do live recording, maybe multitrack recording, and low audio latency may well be an issue. ASIO4ALL is a great deal better than nothing, but not as effecient as an ASIO driver designed for specific hardware. Also, the Phase 22 and Phonic both offer balanced Line audio connections.

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I suspect that the modern integrated sound card would sound about the same. New sound processing and advances tech over the last 14 years would probably have closed the gap. Linus addressed this with modern sound cards. That being said, why not both? Try them side by side. They are probably not very expensive.

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The obvious potential problems with a 14-year-old card and a modern PC are (1) the PC motherboard doesn't have the correct type of slots to physically plug in the card, and (2) there are no drivers for the latest operating systems.

This manual (dated 2003) only talks about Windows XP, and says "ignore the warning that driver is not Microsoft Certified," which are two red flags!

24 bit audio at 96 KHz sample rate was "something special" 14 years ago, but it's not so special now. I suggest trying your on-board sound first (before trying to install the phase22), and if you are happy with that, stick with it.

If you need an ASIO driver (for example to use VST based audio software), http://www.asio4all.com/ should work fine with your on-board Realtek andio hardware.

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  • Hmm, its a PCI card, it still fits in the slot of my computer. I am using Win7, and the winxp driver still works fine. But I still think its probably better to either buy a new sound card or use the onboard card.. – Adam Jan 14 '17 at 22:07
  • Really, it depends how you are using what you have. If you have a bunch of 14-year-old equipment, assume that something might stop working and be unrepairable at any time, with no warning. If that doesn't bother you, that's fine. If it does bother you, do something about it before it happens! – user19146 Jan 15 '17 at 8:28

The analog input circuitry of built-in soundcards usually is so-so at best. The parts of A/D-conversion profiting from higher amounts of digital circuitry might deliver a better bang for the buck than they used to but this will not buy you the S/N ratios of good analog input circuitry.

I don't know where the Phase 22 sits in the universe of sound cards but I'd take something like the RME Multiface (also about a dozen years old, but high end with hella impressive specs that aren't primarily a reflection of wishful thinking but supported by the actual hardware) over any builtin soundcard blind without looking twice.

Another answer mentioned that the Phase 22 supposedly offers balanced Line audio connections: that would be very unusual for built-in audio and makes quite a difference regarding just how much noise becomes part of your signal right from the start.

Basically I would not expect too much in quality over a good cassette tape drive from current-day built-in audio. Which means that it tends to be good for quite a bit of music juggling. A vintage dedicated soundcard will range in quality from somewhat below that to considerably above.

High-quality analog input circuitry of 12 years ago will likely never be beaten by built-in audio in general-purpose computers since there are hard limits in how much board space and price tag people without audio interests are willing to accept.

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