Need for 2 Soundcards?

I am building a computer for a client who primarily wants to use it for Recording music, etc. He has stated that using his current system, when he has one app. open, then tries to use another app. that needs a SC, he gets an error that the SC is in use.

My question is, does he need 2 SCs, and what are the limitations/issues with this sort of activity. If he is using a MIDI app. with one SC, then opens another MIDI app. using the other SC, will it work? What sort of things will he run into, etc?

Simply, the client knows very little about PCs, and I know very little about PC Recording stuff. The overall PC is as solid as can be built, but I don't want to mislead him into thinking that buying a $270+ SC is going to resolve the issue he has presented to me, as I think it is due to other factors.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Right now, I am leaning towards a MoBo w/onboard sound and the Terratec DMX 6Fire 24/96 SC.

Thanks again,
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More about need soundcards
  1. No, windows can only have one device enabled for each audio feature. The reason for having two or more cards are to benefit from features that are not available on one soundcard, e.g. one has a good Digital-Analogue Converter and the other has good MIDI features. I have heard, but not seen that there are tools that allow you to enable two devices, but I don't know what they are or how they do it.

    It sounds like your guy has a limited soundcard. Some soundcards can only use one feature at a time e.g. midi, recording, playback, cd etc.

    It may also be a driver problem.


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  2. Windows handles this pretty well. In Win Me, this can be manipulated in the "Sounds and Multimedia" applet in Control Panel. There you choose which device you wish to use for voice and MIDI (can be different for each). The average person has no need for two soundcards. But in special instances you might. If for example a gamer wants maximum DOS compatibility, there is no option but to install an ISA sound card (like an SB16) alongside the main PCI card.

    Personally, I have four sound devices on my machine so mine's a bit messier. Two of them connect through the MIDI ports on my ISA sound card, so I also have to mess with the Line Ins on the volume control. It all works pretty well; I'm impressed with Windows' ability to manage the data flow seamlessly.
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