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I'm a bit confused on how to get the most out of my gear. I have an 8 track mixer (LD Systems Vibz 8) where all my instruments (mostly synthesizers) are connected. The mixer main outputs are connect to the L/R line inputs of a digital recorder (M-audio Microtrack II) and the control room outputs are connected to my studio monitors (Alesis Elevate 5 MkII). I love this setup because it allows me to record any idea that may pop out at any minute with the just the tiny recorder and my mixing skills.

Now here's when i'm starting to get confused: i want to master some tracks that i recorded with the method above mentioned using a DAW (Studio One) and some mastering plugins (Ozone 7) on a Windows 10 machine. I currently use the 2-track stereo input to connect my computer to the mixer using the onboard soundcard output. Is this sufficient? Should i use ASIO4all as audio device on my daw instead of the onboard's one(Realtek ALC892)? Should i use an audio interface? If an audio interface is indeed preferred over the previous methods, should i connect it's main outs to the mixer or to the studio monitors ? Please bear in mind that i don't want to change the way i record my staff. I love my recorder's mixdowns. So if an audio interface's advantages over the onboard card are the inputs only , i skip it.

Please let me know what you think.

Best regards

closed as primarily opinion-based by David Bowling, Todd Wilcox, Richard, Dom Mar 6 at 17:13

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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From looking at the recorder, it seems you could connect it to the pc via USB and transfer recorded tracks directly from it into your DAW. No need for an interface unless you want to not use your recorder and record instead directly into the computer.

  • Yeah thats exactly what i do. But the sound output of the interface isnt better thr thr inboard's one? I mean, more fidelity to whats going on in the daw – userUSeruser Jan 22 at 12:56
  • Yes, the interface will reduce latency and should give a cleaner signal out than the stock soundcard. – user48490 Jan 22 at 13:34
  • Isnt asio4all sufficient for latency purposes? – userUSeruser Jan 22 at 13:51
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Yes, in most cases. But not if you're experiencing any issues with it. The most common issues are probably noise and latency. None of these should really be an issue if you're only using the sound card for audio playback of already recorded material (off-line recording with your recording device) and not using the inputs.

There is no reason really to use the ASIO4ALL driver for your use-case, since you should not care about latency in this case as far as I understood, only mastering already recorded tracks. It will not improve the quality of the sound.

If you are not disturbed by any noise on the output of the Realtek sound card, you're fine. I would never recommend to use the Realtek chip for recording purposes (which you aren't planning to do), since it probably has a much lower signal-to-noise ratio than a real audio interface. The signal-to-noise ratio is only critical for recording.

Personally, I would always go with an audio interface. This is because I know that I can trust that the audio reproduced is not influenced by the audio interface. The decision really comes down to if you think that the Realtek chip sounds good. If you don't like it, get an audio interface.

Regarding the signal path to the monitors of the audio interface, if you get one, keeping the shortest signal path possible is always preferred. As I understood you are constrained by wanting to use the mixer as well and therefore I would say that running it through the mixer is fine in this case.

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