I have an existing home setup and I'm beginning to reach the limit of my hardware. I have a powerful Windows 10 laptop (i7 processor) which I use to run my DAW. I use Sonar X2 from Cakewalk. I have a MIDI keyboard which interfaces via USB (Oxygen-61 from M-Audio) and a USB microphone (CAD u37).

I've run into issues with latency where the recorded analog audio (and sometimes even the MIDI input) doesn't match up with the metronome or existing tracks. I've tried quite a bit to tweak the settings but haven't gotten past that.

I think my problem might be with the hardware itself, namely my audio card. I have the built-in Realtek High Definition Audio card, so I thought I might be able to get something better to supplant it. I looked at some USB Audio Interfaces but quickly realized I didn't know what I was looking for. Most of my devices are USB so I don't really know if an audio interface is what I need.

So can you advise me? Is there a device out there that can take the inputs I have any get them to work better with my computer? Am I totally barking up the wrong tree thinking my sound card is to blame?

1 Answer 1


An audio interface is definately what you need...

Really this is very basic stuff, so just go on Google and type "Usb audio interfaces" and just find one that suits your pocket and your needs, it'll instantly make a world of difference and actually set you on the right tracks.

If you are any close to being serious about your art/recording/music or w/e please don't even go close to a realtek card.

Edit to answer the question in the comments:

As far as the keyboard goes , USB is just a way to pass the midi info ..

Now i have never messed up with USB mics , but they should have a type of onboard soundcard , for AD purposes. Im 99% sure that it can be run parallel , and yes the Soundcard will increase your overall performance.

But i would recommend selling the USB mic and buying a proper analog one, this way , you will be able to have 0 latency monitoring since cards allow the analog signal to be monitored while recording. If you want to monitor WITH live effects , search for a card with onboard DSP , because monitoring live effects through any program will sooner or later give you poor performance.

To clarify that, you might be able to play your guitar and run amplitube for example and everything is fine , but if you try running a live amplitube when 3/4 instances of amplitube are live in a mix , then nothing can stop the latency!

There are ways to go round that but include techniques inside a DAW software.

This happens with all the effects when monitored live by any DAW , while a card with Onboard DSP might not give you Amplitube(which is just here as an example of any VST) most of them will give you the most common effects!

Monitoring with onboard DSP , is 0 latency along with 0 latency from the analog signal , so it's great! :D

Good luck

  • Thanks. Yeah, this was the one thing I wasn't considering at the time I bought my computer.But I have one last question: since my microphone and MIDI keyboard are both USB (and so can't go through an AI), will it still improve the performance of my DAW to connect one? Oct 3, 2016 at 13:07

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