I want to start music production and I am a total newbie.
I already have most of the equipment required: a (dektop) PC with a more than decent CPU, a Beyerdynamic headset and decent Creative speakers. For the DAW, I watched and read a lot of comparatives and tested some of them before eventually settle for Presonus Studio One, at least for now.
All I lack now is a master keyboard and a real soundcard.
When I selected components for my PC I decided not to buy a sound card at the moment mainly because I had no more money left on my budget. Now that I want to start producing music, I think the time has come that I invest in it. If possible, I'd like to go for a cheap solution – ideally under $100 (I'm just getting started in music!)
Initially I wanted an internal soundcard like Asus' for instance because I like to keep a clean desk and I don't see the point of having a tower with lots of space if you use external components; and also because I listen to music a lot (obviously) and am not sure an external card is better for listening.
However all the articles and tutorials I have read always mention external cards like Presonus AudioBox (which I really feel like buying because of the free Studio One licence). I searched for debates about internal vs external soundcards and I couldn't extract any answer from them.
What I understood is that external cards are better because they have a physical interface for changing the volume and tons of other parameters; and because they have a better audio input. But the thing is my speakers already have a volume and tone button that I barely use, so I'm not sure I'll need those on an external card; and I don't intend to record anything but rather only use midi intruments.
I am therefore completely lost and have no idea what I should go for. Any insights welcome :)
The most important use of this soundcard for me would be to have a great output sound, namely better than my motherboard's chipset's.
I don't really intend to record things with it for now, mainly because I don't have a proper mic and my budget is tight enough that I can't invest in one for now. And also because I can't and won't sing. What I'm interested in is producing melodies with MIDI instruments. Sampling, I think, is not my thing.
Therefore I think (using the word think because I am a newbie and I may be wrong totally) that I'll need well basically one input port for my MIDI controller and one input port for my speakers or headset.
Volume control is a cool thing to have, although I bet any external soundcard has one. But it's not mandatory for me, because I already can control volume on my speakers. And tone, too, which I almost never do.
What's more to a sound card I don't know, and this is why I'm asking for advices. Hope this edit made my needs easier to understand and can help people answering.