A Few Questions About Hardware

Hello and greetings to all members, my name is Josh, first time poster on this forum.

I am quite familiar with a Linux/UNIX environment, but I am not familiar with digital audio and recording. I am currently reading a couple books, Linux Music & Sound and I forget the name of the other. I am very interested in using Ardour in a non-production environment, but I do not want to sacrifice any quality that I may be able to achieve. Here is my current situation. I use openSUSE10.2 for my recording station. It is running on a 3.2 P4 Prescott core (1 MB L2 cache), 2 gigabytes of PC3200 DDR, and 240 GIG RAID-5 SATA. The motherboard is an Abit IC7 Intel Chipset.

Is this sufficient for a recording station?

I also have a question about which sound card I should use. I do not want top of the line, but can someone recommend a “budget” priced sound card that would work with 1 channel of recording at a time. I do not need to record live audio just 1 track at a time. The instruments will all be “live” i.e. guitars, drums, bass guitars, and vocals.

Can anyone recommend to a newbie how to get started out in this vast world of digital audio recording? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

Josh Dangerfield


Yes, your setup is sufficient for a recording station.

I’m running a 1,4 GHz Athlon with 1 GB Ram (266MHz), 160 GB UDMA6 HDD and a bad sis900 MB chipset. Normaly I use about 10-12 channels and each channel with about 2-3 LADSPA effects in my mix and it works good. For much more effects my CPU is too slow, but you see that you should be able to do a lot with your stuff :wink:

I use 2 M-audio soundcards - 1 with 2in/2out channels (M-Audio Audiophile 24/96) and 1 with 8in/8out channels (M-Audio 1010LT). Both are equiped with a SPDIF in/out.

The quality is really good - you can record your signals with up to 24 bits and 96kHz. Maybe check out the M-Audio homepage and searched the internet.

If you really need only 1 channel at a time, the Audiophile 24/96 is a possibility for you - you can record 2 mono (1 stereo) signals at a time with it. This card costs about 80-100 Euro (a bit more in dollars).

Maybe have a thought about more channels - If you want to record a drumset, you’ll maybe need more channels than 2. The M-Audio 1010LT offers 8 (mono) channels to record. The price is about 200-250 Euro. There’s also a more professional version of the card with a break-out box but the price is about 2x as high.

Remember that you’ll need mic-preams in front of the cards (they only have line-ins).

I can only write about these cards as I own no others. But they are very well supported in ALSA, the quality is great, and the price is good for the level of quality offered.