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Mixing - external sound card

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Joined: 01/12/2013




I've have shared recently some of the trials I made with hydrogen with a friend of mine and he told me that the drums was mixed way too loud, especially the kick drum (there was a drum track + 1 or two guitar tracks). Well, I mixed the whole thing on my laptop computer which features some tiny speakers, and I know that the low frequencies are dim on it but I did not expect that, to such an extend I mean...


On an other hand, If I plug my hifi system to the headphone socket of my computer, the low frequencies are so increased that I have to cut down completely the bass on my hifi system to hear something... It seems that the internal sound card of my laptop increases the bass, maybe because the headphone signal is the same as the one sent to the speakers... I don't know...


Whatever, it seems that I will have to buy an external sound card. But I wonder... I think that an external sound card is just a set of good analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converter, with a small amp no ? But maybe the low quality of the sound I have is due to a bad data processing in the digital level itself no ? In this case, an external sound card won't change anything, or it won't be enough to have a very good sound. I mean, a video card in a computer has its own algorythm to process the pictures, but a sound card is not involved with the data processing no ? So the quality of the sound is totally based on the quality of the converters or is there anything else that must be taken into account ? 


Secondly, do you have any recommendation regarding the choice of a good USB external sound card, especially working with linux (Ubuntu). (I need a jack input and a microphone input, I don't need to record several tracks in the same time ; but well, it may be usefull in a near futur... For the outputs, I just need two RCA sockets, and a jack output for the headphones, I don't need some powerfull outputs to connect directly some loudspeakers to the card).


Another problem regarding the mixing, if I do it with a (very good) headphone plugged directly to the output of an external sound card, and if I manage to get a very nice hifi sound, it might sound not that great if someone listens to my music on a laptop on any cheap audio system... I know many professional recordings nowadays are badly mixed (with the "loudness" trend and all), to take that issue into account ; and the mp3 compression as well... I don't intend to do any professional mixing, but I would like at least that my music may sound descently on any kind of audio system. Do you have ant recommendations for that ? Maybe it is not the good forum to talk about that, so if you have any good link on the topic, that's fine too :)