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I'm looking to retire my old Windows XP desktop which has been my studio for a long time now and move to a Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate laptop (i5 processor w/ 6Gb RAM). The final hurdle is replacing Terratec's DMX 6Fire PCI sound card, which has been absolutely amazing for about 8 years or so.

My DAW software of choice is Fruit Loops Studio and I'm looking for a low-latency external sound card in the region of £200/$330. This would be used for recording electric guitar, keyboard/drum pads and vocals (not simultaneously) so it would need an audio jack and MIDI input. XLR input with phantom power would be nice but not essential. Firewire or USB is fine so long as the latency is low enough to do real-time recording.

Does anyone have any recommendations, more specifically, of kit they've used themselves? Also, are there any issues I haven't considered in moving to a laptop / external sound card / Windows 7?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I recommend the M-Audio Fast Track Pro. It has 2 inputs for microphone/instrument and ASIO drivers for low latency.

I own a M-Audio Profire 2626 and have been very happy with the clean clear sound it delivers when recording my keyboard. You should be able to get similar quality of sound from the Fast Track Pro.

I record using Reaper on a PC running Windows 7.

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ASIO enabled recording for audio, MIDI, XLR and phantom power. Significantly under budget too. Great suggestion. –  jeebs Jun 2 '11 at 13:31
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