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Im looking to record some songs for a garage band like thing. I would like to know if I should get a 24-bit sound card and if I do will Sony Acid, and/or Vegas will do the job. I also might need a sound board but im not sure. Any products and/or tips I should get or use would be helpful.


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Jirobinson said: Im looking to record some songs for a garage band like thing. I would like to know if I should get a 24-bit sound card and if I do will Sony Acid, and/or Vegas will do the job. I also might need a sound board but im not sure. Any products and/or tips I should get or use would be helpful.


Im definitely no expert but Im buying one soon I hope. I use to have the 2496 Maudio.

Generally speaking, heres a gross history. When I looked into them I noticed that back in the articles from the early 2000s, they mention relatively cheap high quality cards were suddenly available. Entry level decent recording cards that used to cost 500-800, were superseded by cheap new cards like the Maudio 2496 which is still well regarded and Echo MIA etc for as low as $200 or so bucks. They fell to the 150 range around 2002-2003.

You can now get the Maudio2496 for 100-129 with midi. This doesnt have balanced ins and outs but no big deal. Ive read it was the most popular entry level card. Maudio was taken over by ProTools which is hyped as the stuff pros use. The reason though the price went down on the Maudio recently though was because, believe it or not Creative came out with a line cards after taking over Emu. Creative has been bashed royally by serious recording types since a lot of yokels always recommend SBlives and the much better but still lame Audigy for serious recording. However with the new line of serious recording cards put out under the EMU brand they got raves for quality recording at low cost price points.

EMU CREATIVEs line up with midi--------------------------------

The 0404 entry level ---- $79-100 which got raves and has great specs
to the point other card makers lowered their prices and came out with new cards.

EMU 0404 -$79 to 100. Excellent specs. Doesnt have balanced ins and outs. May not work with
as many different software programs - SOS mentions Gigasampler. I think it doesnt work with Emulator X
though not sure about X2.They have a separate program called Proteus as an addon for it.
Some users complain about bugs which others deny of the EMU stuff being more finicky
and some complain the patchmix software for the EMUs is complex and that the Maudio
2496 though older is easier to use.

The 1212m --- $200.

The 1820m ---which is around $400-500 I think and has a breakout box.
The M supposedly stands for modified and they used to have a 1212 and 1212m etc.
The M versions had even better S/N ratios. They dropped the non Ms for the 1212 and above I think.
Dont see them anymore. Ive seen these cards discussed at various music and hardware sites including
RightMarks some software they use to measure specs on hardware. The techies there were impressed with it
after voicing skepticism about Creative as usual. The bad things --- didnt support some things
but others said the software it didnt work with wasnt important. The other is , it was new in 2004 so
there were bug reports.

They have some software sampling system called Emulator X which is getting raves.
Its a bit confusing. They used to have something called Emulator X that bundled the
1212m with the software for more $300 or so I think. Then they had a Emulator Studio which bundled
the 1820m with emulator X. They now came out with various versions of Emulator X2 a new version.
They have a upgrade and standalone versions now which sell for as much as $300 just for the software.
You dont need this but people say its excellent.

The card comes with its own software. You can get the Maudio and Emu stuff at all the online sites - MusiciansFriend, ZZounds, Amer Musical Supply and the other places including midi oriented sites. However you can also get the EMU stuff at Dell.

EMU 1212m --- Works with Emulator X but thats a separate program you have to buy.
Comes with some hardware effects too. Comes in two cards. One is the recording
card I think and the other is for hardware effects. You get various software too.

MAUDIOs line up ----------------------------------------------------------------

Maudio is still selling the 2496 $100

Maudio 2496 $100 or so --- very good, doesnt have some things like breakout box on much more expensive setups
or balanced outputs but all that is no big deal. The S/N ratio which was very good isnt as good as
the newer EMU stuff. Probably has more mature drivers support cause its been out since 2000.

Maudio in response to EMU came out with the Mudio 192 which has great specs
for $179 - 199.

Probably the 0404 or Maudio is more than enough for simple recording of bands. If you want to get into
electronic music ---- sampling and all that you might want to look into the 1212m and the
emulator X bundle though you can get into that stuff even with the cheaper cards. It doesnt come obviously with mic premaps/mixers. You can get that separately.

Reviews -----------------------------------------------Info

Here are some reviews. Ive been reading about this junk for the last few months planning on getting the 1212m.

Site info EMU 0404 review 2004

Maudio2496 info and review back in 2001

Echo MIA another popular one back in the early 2000s which Im not sure is still on sale
I think SOS actually preferred this a bit over the 2496. The 0404 is newer than both though.
You dont hear much about the Echo MIA nowadays and one guy posted he doesnt like the newer ones for
some reason.

Other info --------------------

You can get refurb versions of the EMU stuff here but I dont think its worth it since
you can get a discount at Dell etc. At Dell the 1212m is 179 and add a coupon and you
can get it lower. You might be able to do the same thing with the 0404 but I havent checked the prices at Dell.


Some comments about the 0404 at the Cubase forums

You get Lite versions of software with the card so youll be able to do recording with it without buying any

Unofficial forums for EMU cards - great info on EMU cards and software

Tips for setting up Patchmix 0404 (EMU)

Recording ---------------------------

Im assuming you were doing rough live recordings.

Heres a basic description of the two types of recordings.

Simple live recording - using two input recording card
Two mics for stereo recording a live band or even more microphones adjusted for levels in a hardware mixing board
even with two inputs. You could put more mics on the drums and vocals etc. The problem is the way its recorded the levels of various instruments and vocals are mixed down by the external mixer into only two inputs in the PC/card because thats all you have - two inputs.

You can lay down lots of tracks with separate instruments and vocals on each track even with only two inputs, but you have to only record two things at a time since most software can support lots of separate tracks. So if you did them separately you would have to do bass and drums first --- on two separate tracks; then rhythm guitar and a vocal tracj;then say two more vocal tracks, etc and so on. These would be totally separate tracks for mixing down later for better flexibility. Many home electronic type musicians dont need that many inputs cause they have midi inputs to lay down a lot of tracks and lay down live instruments later one by one or so. They arent doing the band thing anymore.

If you want lots of live separate inputs you need a card like the Maudio Delta 1010 etc which has 8 separate analog
inputs into the card. I think these DONT have midi though.

So depending on the inputs youll obviously be limited on how many tracks you can capture where you get each
instrument recorded. You can have lots of mics going into a mixer but if you only have two ins on the
recording card then thats what its going to record. Youll have to set the level with the external mixer
and youll be more limited with what you can do later on when mixing it down if you dont get the sound
mix pretty close to what you want. The current trend with tons, countless midi stuff --- samples, soft synths
drum machines etc you can literally lay down all the tracks with one person. So you really dont need lots of analog inputs for live recording so two is enough.

If you want the most flexibility for LIVE recording 4-8 or more inputs could be what you want but
that adds much more to the cost. You need more mics, large mixer etc.

There are cards with 4 ins and 8 ins like these at reasonable prices

Delta 44/66 4in This place is pretty cheap 139/169

$199 8 in

Heres a review with the breakout box
This is more like $359-399

Software ----------------------------------------------------

Main ones are Cubase and Cakewalk Sonar

Cakewalk has tons of cheaper versions like Guitar Tracks Pro and other lite versions of their big software package.

Heres links to software

The popular Cubase


A lot of people like the cheap Behringer products for mixers and monitors but some people
bash them for various reasons. Theres kind of some ill will towards them by a few cause they
feel the firm "rips off" other peoples designs and sells them at a much lower cost so
some rave about the incredible value while others snipe about their alleged lack of quality that
may cause them not to last as long as more expensive products.

You can find a lot of external hardware mixers and nearfield monitors at Zzounds , MusiciansFriend
etc and various midi sites. Some of the behringers are among the lowest priced ones and have good reviews.

Heres some pics of some home studios though many are electronica type home studio on a desk things.


Simple grid that asks basic questions

There are tons of midi oriented stuff if you want to get into that. Stuff like Native Instruments etc where they mimic the sound of a Hammond Organ, synth sounds all the way to using samples for vocals, strings etc. Lots of stuff on laying drum tracks. There are software drum machines and hardware and loops you can slice and dice to make drum tracks.


I bought this thing called PC Drummer Pro.

However almost all software has some kind of built-in stuff to make your own drum loops etc

You dont need any of that midi stuff if you are just recording live music.

You should have a room that has decent acoustic properties. A lot of people put sound absorption panels on the walls etc so there isnt a lot sound bouncing around off hard surfaces. Some people have a separate vocal room and panels to put around various instruments like drums etc. Some people may have tons of inputs you can use two 1010 cards to mic each part of the drum separately so they are recorded on seperate tracks giving you much more flexibility later on in mixing it down.

The basic aspects of a good room for recording. Heavy materials like cement and brick etc are good at blocking out sounds from outside - traffic and dogs etc. So a basement is good though you might furnace sounds and plumbing sounds - whatever. You want dense materials to block out sound from going in and also out so as not to disturb neighbors.

The other thing is you dont want things resonating in your room and you dont want reflections, lots of hard surfaces. People usually put sound absorbing materials on the walls and on panels. Some rooms may also reinforce some frequencies and cause other problems.

The LA times and others have had articles on the home recording revolution where people using a simple program and a notebook PC record music using a few mics and mixing board which may actually work for some indie recordings if you want a raw kind of sound.

A lot of people recommend the Shure Sm57s I think for a cheap all around mic. Some engineers seem to have an encyclopedic knowledge of various mics that can sometimes cost a small fortune they use for various situations.
The shure Ive seen prices mentioned around the 60-80 range. Tweaks lists one other mic to get listed at 100 bucks at some sites which seems popular too.

Duh forgot your question about Acid. I actually bought this since it was FREE at CompUSA with Sound Forge a few months ago. Good deals. Havent really used it but everyone does say its fine for recording but my impression was its more for looping and stuff like that but of course it should have the basic recording features. Theres some cheaper end Cakewalk stuff and other programs even free ones like Audacity but find out what works with what. In general most hardware and software work together but for instance people say the ASIO drivers are good on the 0404 but the WDM arent etc. Not all software have ASIO drivers. I think Audacity didnt have them but I may be wrong.

Acid does but see if theres a forum for Acid there usually is for all this type of software ---- and see if anyone is using the 0404 or whatever card you choose. Also as I mentioned the recording cards come with Lite versions of recording software so you should have to buy anything if you are doing some simple recordings.

Amazon reviews of version 6 Acid probably answers the question.
According to some review they say its much better than 5 and more like serious recording software than simple looping software.

Tweak Heads Lab Check the whole site out for lots of info on recording and midi stuff
covering the basics and more.

nothing to add, except thats quite a post Radford!

legzakimbo said: nothing to add, except thats quite a post Radford!

Yep, Radford never leaves a stone unturned when he replies - A+

legzakimbo said:

nothing to add, except thats quite a post Radford!


I actually forgot one important thing. This is strange cause its not mentioned at all at many of the music sites.
However it was mentioned a lot at some PC hardware sites and DAW sites. This is only in relation to MIDI though Im not sure if the pops and clicks might happen just in general recording too,

Possible problems with nforce4 and music PCs.

Heres a link

Here they are talking about various tests people were doing to test latency (lag).

The claim was -- with the nforce4 chipset boards, people started running into bad latency problems and
clicks and pops with their music cards. It was strange cause the chipset was supposed to be more advanced
and the CPUs used with them were faster obviously than the nforce2 boards. There was lots of speculation
about PCI express video somehow hogging the system etc.

This was last year. At the time the consensus was there were serious problems with the nforce4 and single core CPUs. The strange thing is a few people claimed theirs worked fine.

I stopped following the thread so Im not quite sure what the resolution was. The threads I saw later claimed DUAL CORE CPUs seemed to fix the problem with nforce4. Nforce3 and 2 were OK.

With INTELs the new chipsets --- the problem wasnt that bad. They still had a problem but people claimed if you use a wimpier video card it cured most of the problems.

I have no idea if they found another fix for single core if the recommendation is go with dual core for AMDs or if later nforce4 motherboards are better.

The link I posted last TWEAKHEADS LAB I think it was called is a great site with reviews on cubase, sonar , cards etc one of the very few sites in fact only site in which he comments on everything. The only problem is he doesnt cover the very latest cubase and sonar yet in 2006. I didnt see any mention of the nforce4 latency problems either but then I dont see that mentioned at most of the music oriented sites. Its more at the hardcore hardware sites where some people who said they put together DAWs for a living were talking about the problem.


Ill keep adding more here since I have tons of links since Im getting a card and getting ready to get into it in a more serious way.

This card was mentioned at the RightMarks site. It seems more popular in europe than the US. I see it mentioned at some hardware sites in the US but I dont see it selling at many places so I would stick to the EMU.


Pros - another great low cost card. Very unique design. They cant fit all the balanced
and RCA ins and outs on a standard card. Many will leave them out - balanced ins --- or have a cable, like
medusas head which sprouts into tons of ins and outs. This one , the card splits in two and you can reverse it so
it has rca plugs or balanced ins etc --- weird but unique design.

Start checking Amazon for books too.

And a book link courtesy of instapundit
Sound reinforcement Handbook

Check Amazon for HOW tos on cubase/Sonar and studio mixing and setups.

Amp modelers

This has been out for some time and every guitarist etc knows about this stuff.
In the old days you had to get a decent amp, decent mic , a room with good acoustics , crank the amp up or whatever and hopefully have understanding roommates and neighbors and no extraneous noise leaking into the recording.
And of course you had to do this during some reasonable hours.

You could go directly into the mixer or PC card with your guitar and get godawful tones too.

Then they came out with these amp modelers. Line6 was the first big one. They digitally mimicked the sound of the classic amps. You plug directly into the POD and set the cabs and amp (Marshall, Fender, Mesa) and cranked how much distortion you want. Additionally you add effects --- phase shifter, compression, delay etc. All in one add on that plugs into your mixer or PC card. No mics, no amps, no hassles.

Theres the basic models POD 2 and Behringer VAMP. There are RACK mount versions POD PRO and Behringer Rackmount that cost more. There are foot pedals to make it easier to use live if you want to actually use these things more like an effects box with an amp for live playing.

With it because the sound goes from guitar to pod to card/recording ---- the only time you hear it is through headphones connected to the POD or mixer or PC or if the pod is connected to an amp which you dont need unless you want to hear without headphones. This makes it ideal for recording at any time during the day or night or practicing.

Its very controversial in some circles with some loving it and analog purists hating it. Like audiophiles there are the usual analog purists who love tube amps played live and believe a good usually expensive amp, good room and mic and setup are the only way to go. Of course thats way way way more expensive and more of a hassle.

Theres ones for bass too. As usual the Behringer Vamp and VAMP pro and Vamp Bass/pro are all knockoffs of the Line6
POD versions and much cheaper. If you want cheap ---- the behringer vamp was as low as $99 and some people actually prefer it over the POD. Ive got the POD 20. The POD XT cost more and came out after the 20 and is said to have a few more features which some prefer and others dont.

I got this super cheapo Behringer Bass direct in box which has very limited modeling features just to lay bass tracks. I would have preferred the Behringer Bass Vamp but didnt think I needed ALL those tons of features.

For guitar though I recommend at least getting the Vamp which has a zillion features compared to a direct in box with a few modeling features.

Line 6 The POD 2.0/XT

Behringer Vamp

Not everyone likes these as I mention, some hate this stuff.
And even if you dont mind it you might not get the sound you want with a modeler and have to use the mic.

Jirobinson said: Im looking to record some songs for a garage band like thing. I would like to know if I should get a 24-bit sound card and if I do will Sony Acid, and/or Vegas will do the job. I also might need a sound board but im not sure. Any products and/or tips I should get or use would be helpful.


Miking live stuff with two mics or more

Heres some beginning overviews at least a start to get you thinking.
What type of mics? How many mics? How close or far?
Acoustics like using panels etc.
You know there are different patterns that mics capture. Some are ominidirectional and
capture over a wide angle and others a narrow angle.

You read some tricks on miking guitar amps. Some put it super close to the cone. One close like that and another far.

These guys are into the simple two mic thing with a portable recorder

Mixing and Miking tips



Jirobinson said: Im looking to record some songs for a garage band like thing. I would like to know if I should get a 24-bit sound card and if I do will Sony Acid, and/or Vegas will do the job. I also might need a sound board but im not sure. Any products and/or tips I should get or use would be helpful.


Post a link when you are done. Its fun to listen to peoples projects as long as its not a cheesy dance tune or one guy with a guitar singing about his dog.


For people who dont have a drummer handy.

You can use samples and lay down your drum tracks in cakewalk, Acid etc but some
people like me, find it weird and hard to do. You probably get used to it if you force yourself to do it
but in the meantime the software drum programs seem easier for some people.

PC drummer Pro - the one I mentioned $50
Demo d/l and samples
samples of sounds made by PC drummer

Basically its a grid where you pick the time signature and then lay down each element you pick -
bass drum, cymbal, cowbell --- drums and percussion over each measure. You pick the intensity and duration.
Then you can dupe measures and add a measure where you set a different pattern etc. You can lay out , duping
or constructing new patterns over and over until the tune is done and then export it as a wav into your recording program. Of course many programs have elaborate slice and dice features in which you can edit it again.

The other program that seems like its big competitor which is similar to it in Europe
is DrumSite.


Dont know much about it but it seems similar with a grid etc. The thing it has going for it is the forums
and patterns already done. Though PC drummer has some preset rock and other patterns if you dont want to create your own or you want to use them as a base to mod your own pattern --- drumsite seems more active because of the forums with patterns for specific songs. I wish PC drummer had that. You know an active forum where people uploaded their VooDoo Child pattern or Little Wing pattern etc --- for the rhythmically challenged.

Drumsite seems to cost more though the initial cost is 50 bucks I think but you pay 70 for some samples with it. Not sure if its because you get more samples than PC drummer or if PC drummer has more samples bundled with it at a lower price. PC Drummer is 50 for the pro version in which you get lots of samples of various drums and percussion and some free downloads and some low cost add on kits.

If you have an older version you can upgrade to the 5.0 version for 20 bucks. Not sure what the policy is for drumsite.

They both have a bass thing too. You can lay a bass track down with it but you can do that with any midi program/keyboard too and I think its easier to buy a cheap bass for 100-150 and a direct in box or vamp and play a bass line unless you cant play of course but for most guitarists I think it would be easier.

Jirobinson said: Im looking to record some songs for a garage band like thing. I would like to know if I should get a 24-bit sound card and if I do will Sony Acid, and/or Vegas will do the job. I also might need a sound board but im not sure. Any products and/or tips I should get or use would be helpful.



Uploading and Selling your music

Weird Site Dreammusician.
You can download "famous tracks" which have various parts removed - vocal track, guitar track, drum track etc.
Kind of like a Karaoke thing for $2 a tune.


They are also looking for orig tunes. But heres the weird catch. They want the complete download for free.
The versions with various parts removed for $2 a download. So if you want to be a Karaoke King ---- make
some cheesy songs that have wide appeal and then remove various parts and upload them here for a cut of profits.

Sells indie music only direct from "musicians"

CD baby



What is TuneCore?TuneCore is a music delivery and distribution service that gets music you created (even cover versions) up for sale on iTunes, Rhapsody, MusicNet and napster without asking for your rights or taking any money from the sale or use of your music.

Havent checked this out but one article describes it as sounding too good to be true and usually stuff that sound too good to be true............ But the article goes on to claim its "legit" another calls it a "revolution".

Another article on it at Harmony says Frank Black of Pixies fame is one of the first artists to go with it.

Some software to set up your music store dont know anything about it but it looked interesting for $68

Book at Amazon that looked interesting about selling your music

Yet another site for bands - probably no 1001
Garage Band says it partnered with CD baby in an article
Of course I forgot the most obvious one

Heres a thread about some sites. They bash
CD street was mentioned by many sites a while ago similar to CD baby but
they say CD street is horrible. A lot of these small places come
and go so you have to really read up on them. Various others like Vitaminic
also seems offline thats mentioned a while ago at various sites. Thats why
your own store may or may not be preferable if the costs dont outweigh the
income obviously. They also say CafePress sells cheapo junk. The thread is at CD baby
so draw your own conclusions but I dont think CD street is up anymore.

Javamusic is also mentioned by many places but seems to be offline. Theres a note at their website that
says they are rethinking their service since I guess they didnt make a profit.

Anyway Cafepress is mentioned a lot as a place to
have your Tshirts and mugs made and then sold through their stores.

Other hosting sites
Have no experience with these so caveat emptor


For cheapskates:

Theres always some product thats called a giant killer and raved about by some and putdown by others.
Various DVD/CD players --- theres always some 150-300 player that people claim is equal to an expensive
audiophile one. Theres the Sony budget SACD/DVD player and Pioneer 656a older one (I have this one) all the way to the 500 series out now is often cited. An older Toshiba and other makes were also cited. For CD players the NAD
and Onix players were mentioned but they both have been getting too expensive especially the Onix which used to be
$250 I think is now 399 or something.

With receivers --- the onkyos and Panasonic digital receivers were mentioned. Anyway Behringer which is often mentioned as good super cheap gear. They have been known for their Truth nearfield monitors, mixing boards, Vamps, active crossovers (particularly their $250 digital active crossover) and other accessories --- but now they came out with some amps that get rave reviews by some. They have these 150 watters and less and maybe higher ones too I think. They are dirt cheap in audiophile terms. Theyve been praised like crazy by some and also bashed by a few but then there are always bashers. Havent seen any definitive reviews on them but if you want some cheap power amps for your hi fi system look at a Behringer. Up until recently there were very few choices for cheap power amps if you want to go the separate pre-amp/poweramp route. Havent kept up with the buzz on it so check up before buying as the buzz can change about various items suddenly going negative as bashers point to new info.

Studio Equipment
At TweakHeadz site he lists tons of equipment
Note he has a poll on this page which has various equipment
and he himself has the 2496 Maudio as the best entry level card
but on another page he lists the 1212m/1820m as one of the best cards to get.

He also lists Wharfdale DP8.1A Diamond Pro Active Monitor $250
He uses a bit of hyperbole here claiming they turn the whole mkt on its head they are so good at such a low price.
Wharfdales have been hyped the new ones. It seems like they used to be OK cheaper end euro speakers but a few cheap new Wharfdales got really hyped reviews from some mags in europe which have been hyped in the US in ads etc. Anyway he says these are great.

Mixers though there might be newer models out that are better. THese type of guides cant stay up to date to the minute

Notice in the headphones they pick some Sony headphones in the poll under 100 bucks.


A500 $179 chump change in audiophile numbers
I think it was 150 watts per channel into 8 ohms
They give the 4 ohm figure here to make it seem like even more watts.

If you are really into building your own stuff Foreplay III tube preamp $369
still seems like a interesting option. Probably not suitable for a studio though.

Saw these. Note -- if you have small near field monitors which are very popular now, most are biamped internally so you dont need amps for them. Youll only need amps if you have speakers that arent internally amped. Ive got some dinky, Maudiophile near fields just to see what they are like. The dinky near fields are said to have a really flat freq response to get an accurate sound for mixing. Its got a dinky 4-5 inch woofer so youll need a sub if you want any real bass from a lot of these monitors. They are meant to be placed fairly close to you like on your desk.

Amazon Onkyo POWER Amp 100 x 2 8 ohms $227

Audio Source
Power amp 100 50 x 2 $106 Talk about bottom of the barrel pricing. The Behringer is a better deal though. Ive heard Audiosource described as mediocre by some. Dont know if these are the kind of amps that can push hard to push speakers. Maggies arent hard to push in the traditional sense. They dont have impedance curves that go all over the place like a roller coaster with really low dips but they are relatively low impedance, low efficiency speakers which many amps just cant hack. Amps like that hooked up to maggies etc. get hotter and hotter as you turn up the volume but the volume stays low. With speakers like that people always recommend an amp that can put out close to twice as many watts in 4 ohms as its 8 ohm rating --- or at least thats the advice that Magnepan and others give. Strangely enough a digital Panasonic receiver can run them easily, my Jolida tube hybrid amp cant.


AudioSource Amp One 80 x 2 $199

AudioSource Amp 200 High-Current Stereo Amplifier (80 Watts x 2) $249

Audio Source PreAmp $149 J&R

Parasound Zpre Series 2 (factory Refreshed - refub) at Audio Advisor $229
maybe a safer choice. Theres some serious bashing at Audio Review by a few consumers of the Audio Source Preamp

Theres a lot of cheaper decent integrated amps out now too for fairly cheap.

Ive heard mixed things about Audio Source products and the low prices make you a bit suspicious. The consumers seem to rate them highly but you can never tell how knowledgeable they are. Im sure a lot of this stuff is cheap stuff from over seas. ZaphAudio claims --- the quality control is no where near the first world with speaker drivers so I would assume its kind of true with this stuff too which seems ridiculously cheap. But it may be decent for the price.

Audio Source Preamp reviews at Amazon from consumers though higher in price there

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