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I need some suggestions for a new sound card. 2 to 4 inputs, built in mic preamp. Decent bundled software. Creative sound products are not being considered. Any thoughts?

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I bought the M-Audio Fast Track Pro recently, Marty. It's got two inputs, works well except that if I change application -- like from Audition to Premiere -- I have to turn the unit off then back on again before the new app can find it. It's probably something I'm doing wrong, but apart from that, it's good. It sits on my desk and I plug my earphones into it. It's got phantom power too. I got it off eBay.

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I'll second the Fast Track Pro Marty. It's not flashy, the software is rubbish but it's bullet proof and the sound is clean.

Kirk, if you have onboard sound, make sure it's disabled in the BIOS. Any time a PC resets, or has an abnormal shutdown the BIOS can restore it's default settings... eg. re enable onboard sound. Audio programs then get confused re which drivers to load.

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I know this may seem like overkill, but the Tascam US1641 is by far the best deal in inexpensive interfaces.

The Fast Track Pro goes for $200 and has 2 inputs and 6 outputs (including 4 RCA outputs) while the US1641 goes for $300 and has 14 inputs (8 XLR and 6 1/4") and 6 outputs (1/4").

So for $100 more you're getting an interface that you won't have to worry about out growing in the future, especially if you want to record a band, some friends jamming together, etc. and it's a good quality unit too. I've read many reviews on it that said it was a step up from the M-Audio Delta series. I've also heard some recordings done with it that sounded very good.

-tkr

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