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Old July 10th, 2003, 11:33 AM   #1
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Monitoring Audio on your PC

What's a good soundcard/pc speaker combo to accurately monitor audio while editing. The Vegas Training DVDs from ClassOnDemand.net suggest the "Darla" audio card and some speakers I've never heard of?
Beings I don't come from an audio background I've never even heard of a "Darla" audio card!
Currently I'm running a Sound Blaster Audigy and listening via Klipsh ProMedia 5.1s. I paid a pretty penny for this set-up and have found the fidelity is quite impressive- although bot the Audigy and the Klipsh ProMedia speakers weren't even mentioned when they were listing soundcard/speaker options for monitoring audio. Does this mean they are sub-par?! Granted I bought them for gaming but wont an Audigy and a $400 set of 5.1s do the trick?!
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Old July 10th, 2003, 12:57 PM   #2
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glen -

your setup should be sufficient for just monitoring audio while you edit. However, a darla card is definately a huge step up from anything made by soundblaster. one big difference will be in the quality of A/D and D/A conversion.
the darla is a semi-pro audio card marketed and sold to pro recording studios, etc.
but if you're not using your card to capture audio from an analog source, you can probably use what you've got as long as you trust the way it sounds.

good luck!

-martino
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Old July 10th, 2003, 01:57 PM   #3
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How do I know to trust the way it sounds? I mean the Audigy and Klipsch combo is the best in the PC world for gaming but how is it for video editing?
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Old July 10th, 2003, 05:00 PM   #4
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just try doing some simple testing.
use your setup to listen to some recordings that you have an intimate knowledge of. something you've heard a thousand times on tons of different systems.
try the same with some movies if you have a dvd player in the computer. pick movies you've seen so many times that you know exactly what they should sound like.
just do a little cross referencing with your computer setup and a couple other setups, using the same recordings.
trust your ears.
put your favorite album on your computer and check it out. if it sounds right, then you're probably good to go.
i have a feeling that if your main need is just to monitor accurately, then your Audigy card is probably plenty good enough.
i would worry more about the surround setup being an accurate way to monitor stereo audio from the captured clips. maybe you can have two different configurations - one for gaming and a simpler, stereo setup for editing.... ?

-martino
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Old July 10th, 2003, 06:57 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ryan Martino : I have a feeling that if your main need is just to monitor accurately, then your Audigy card is probably plenty good enough. -martino -->>>

I agree that if you do not use the card to capture that it is probably good enough. However as far as speakers go, you may want to consider something like the AKG K240s. It is used in professional studios all over. They are accurate and pretty light on your ears too.

If you do decide to go ahead with the AKG, make sure you get the K240"S" version and not the K240"M" version unless you add a headphone amp.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh6/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=245335&is=REG
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Old July 10th, 2003, 07:09 PM   #6
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Unless you're specifically authoring for 5.1, I wouldn't monitor on such a multispeaker. Your audio from your camcorder is two tracks, four tracks at most. Many of these setups virtualize center channels using signal processing. If you have a sub-woofer, you probably have it cranked up more than usual.
The little satellite speakers are terrible for juding high frequency
content. If they're not positioned at ear level and pointed right at you, you're listening to duller audio.

If you plan to distribute your audio, you have to consider the
playback system of your customers. I monitor using a set of Sennheiser HD 570 headphones (~$100 from amazon.com). They have a tight sound that's good for identifying pops and clicks without the artifical bass and treble boost found in many "great-sounding" headphones. Headphones offer a greater degree of environmental isolation than do speakers. Monitoring with speakers will also include the reverberation of your environment, which is quite significant in my wood-floored, bare-walled living room.
If you plan to do any audio signal processing work to clean up hums and clicks, work with headphones and check with speakers.
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Old July 11th, 2003, 05:05 AM   #7
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Might want to check this thread on studio reference monitors for speaker suggestions. Unfortunately, although those Klipsch speakers are great for enjoying music and for gaming, you won't find those in any professional editing suite. Of course, many would argue that with our DV camcorders too so once again it comes down to how much you want to spend and for what quality because there is a difference between consumer speakers and studio reference monitors.
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Old July 11th, 2003, 11:32 AM   #8
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The mentioned thread is good but not inclusive.

The pro's that write about the craft will tell you that NearField monitor speakers are the only way to be certain of your sound. Surround sound setups should only be used to mix surround sound, not eval and edit the sound.

Furthermore, they will tell you that headphones, while great for identifying some types of problems, are not good editing tools. They just aren't the same thing as speakers driving a room.

I found that when I switched to NearFields, my sound improved and the ability to play it in most enviroments became a normal event. I didn't have to change my music editing style, it came about as a normal course of being able to hear the sound properly.

If you have a poor room from a studio standpoint, the addition of a $400 acoustic kit would greatly enhance the aural performance.
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Old July 14th, 2003, 09:15 PM   #9
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Mike is right (as usual).

Once you have a good set of near field monitors, your whole life will change. You'll be able to accurate mix your sound... something you can only do hit or miss using something less.

I've got the Mackie 824's, and they're a pretty decent set up... I can't complain. I think I might have given $850 for the pair.
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Old August 5th, 2003, 02:24 AM   #10
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Sound treatment is a good thing, but you don't have to spend a lot of money on it. Check out some of the home theater sites. There are instructions on how to build your own wall panels, bass traps from stuff you get at a hardware store.
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