What's the Best USB Soundcard?

One of the most asked questions on my youtube videos is "can I buy the cheaper USB soundcard and get the same result?" The answer I have always had to give is "I have no idea". I decided to fix that, I bought 6 USB Soundcards to compare the audio from.

My least favorite cards were the two wired USB adapters. The stereo one (white cord) was just too quiet, and too digital sounding. The 7.1 card (black cord) was simply too loud and completely unuseable. At 2% input gain, I was still clipping. Then we have the virtual 5.1 soundcard which is blue. This card gave me the same problem as the other cards. Too digital and too quiet, but if you are on a budget, it will be a decent soundcard.

Number 3 on my list is The HDE 7.1 which is one of the cheaper cards. I like this card because it provides a much more natural sound and audio compared to the previous 3 discussed. Unfortunately, for me it was too quiet. I had to crank the gain up to about 75% to get a good level, and at that point, the background noise has been turned up along with the microphone. If you are on a budget, this is a great option for a soundcard, and it performed admirably. 

Number 2 on my list is the Sabrent 7.1 card which is the most expensive card that I tested out. I liked this one a lot. It provided natural sounding audio, plenty of gain, however, for what I am doing, I don't need the headphone volume & mute or the microphone mute. These are nice features, but for me are unnecessary. 

Number 1 is the Sabrent Stereo USB Audio Adapter. The card that I have been using since day one. In all honesty, it was just pure luck that I ordered this one, and that it turned out to be so good. I think the audio produced through this is as good as the Sabrent 7.1, but in a simpler package. No buttons to mess with, which I like. It is also cheaper than the 7.1 card.

In conclusion, if you are just recording a podcast, or voice over for a video, I think that the Stereo Sabrent card will work perfectly fine for you. It's what I use and I am completely happy with it. On the other hand, if you are gaming online, and you want to be able to adjust your headphone volume, or mute your microphone, the 7.1 Sabrent card will be the right option for you.

My Ranking

Sabrent Stereo: http://amzn.to/1Ikwqt5
Sabrent 7.1: http://amzn.to/1IkwtVI
HDE 7.1: http://amzn.to/1Ikww3H
Virtual 5.1: http://amzn.to/1T8qZ64
Gino Stereo: http://amzn.to/1IkwCIQ
Gino 7.1: http://amzn.to/1T8r21R

What's In Your Bag: Santa Fe Comic Con Edition

I just got back from Covering Santa Fe Comic Con, and I figured I would do a video of "What's in Your Bag?". I will link each item and let you know how it functioned in the convention setting.

  • Timbuk2 TSA Messenger Bag - This bag has yet to let me down once. Highly recommend it.
  • Zojirushi Water Bottle - Another item that has yet to let me down. It is a bit expensive but it will keep you hydrated and not ruin your computer/camera gear. 
  • Field Notes - Even if you are not going to a con, you need to have one of these in your pocket. You never know when you need to take notes, or write a to-do list, or have a brilliant Idea. I always have one in my back pocket.
  • Fisher Space Pen - This is my favorite pen and it always goes with me. Super small and reliable. And this is a custom version to commemorate hitting 100 subs on my youtube channel.
  • Google Acer Chromebook - I am a big fan of this laptop, and I use it more than my Macbook Pro, however, you do not need to take a computer to a convention unless you know you're going to be doing writing throughout the day. This was unnecessary. 
  • Neewer Lav Mic - These things cost about $7, and you get three of them for that cost. HOWEVER, this mic shorted out and yielded almost all my footage from the convention useless. If you are going to get these, be careful, and make sure to check the recordings and make sure they are working before recording anything important.
  • Zoom H1 - I love Zoom's recorders and this is no exception. I got so much use out of this thing. I set it on autogain, tossed it on the table at panels and hit record. It worked like a charm and it's small and portable. One of the most useful things I brought with me.
  • Emergency Battery - Lucky for me, I did not have to use this. But, I always keep it in my bag with an extra iPhone cable. 
  • Go Pro Hero 3 - This is another one of those devices that you just can't go wrong with. I love this thing and I filmed almost all my footage with this thing, however, the lav mic caused all of it to be useless. Not the GoPro's fault though. I do with there was a way to monitor microphone levels though.
  • Samsung NX1000 - This camera worked alright. In lowlight, it struggled, and I started to get some noise when I was in low ISO's, so I'm not sure if this is a great option for conventions. I didn't use the kit lens either. I did take a lot of photos, but many of them didn't turn out well. I blame my amateur photography skills for that, and not the camera.
  • Samsung NX 16mm LensThis is a great lens, but just not for my needs. This is a lens designed for beautiful landscapes, and I'm sure it can kick butt at those. I will have to test that out and get back to you. 
  • Samsung NX 45mm Lens - This lens is the sex. That's what the kids are saying, right? Well I love this lens. It is beautiful, provides great DOF, and a big aperture and just all around great! I took the majority of my photos with this lens, and some of them look spectacular. When there was enough light, the photos turned out great. I have included an image taken with this camera, above.