Dancing Dots
Where Music Meets Technology for the blind
Dancing Dots serves blind musicians and their educators through technology and training

Audio Interfaces (Sound Cards) from Dancing Dots

Dancing Dots sells and supports hardware accessories that we know are compatible with our audio production and notation software products. This page focuses on a number of high-end soundcards that not only sound great but which are screen-reader friendly as well. Use them with your current workstation or with one of our Dancing Dots Accessible Audio and Notation Workstation. If you're looking for MIDI musical keyboards and related devices, check out our MIDI equipment page too. By the way, even if you can see just fine and don't need to use a screen reader to make music with your PC, the soundcards below still sound great! Dancing Dots does have a number of sighted customers who order our soundcards and other mainstream products because they get top quality gear, it's competitively priced and sometimes because they realize that their support of our business helps blind musicians everywhere.

For best results with SONAR or Sound Forge, you should acquire a high-end soundcard to dedicate to processing the audio which you can record with any of the sound cards listed below. You will assign JAWS to exclusively use your PC's consumer soundcard such as a SOUNDBLASTER or other low-end audio card. FireWire vs. USB Audio Interfaces(soundcard) Most audio interfaces(soundcards) connect to a computer using one of two popular connection technologies: FireWire or USB.

Audio interfaces(soundcards) that connect using FireWire (also called IEEE1394, 1394, or I-Link), provide superior performance to interfaces that connect using USB. Interfaces that connect using FireWire operate at lower latency. This means that audio signals pass through them in an extremely short amount of time, making it possible to, for example, sing in to a microphone while listening to the sound echo back through headphones. A computer with a FireWire audio interface(soundcard) will be able to work with a slightly higher number of tracks than the same computer with a USB audio interface(soundcard). FireWire audio interfaces(soundcards) are extremely picky when it comes to compatibility, though. Only a few computer motherboard and chipset combinations will work flawlessly with FireWire audio interfaces(soundcards). For this reason, we suggest that you not consider using a FireWire audio interface(soundcard) unless you've ordered a specialized Digital Audio Workstation that has been approved for use with them, or unless you have previously checked with Dancing Dots to be sure that your computer will be compatible. Please be aware that most desktop and laptop computers that include FireWire ports are not sufficiently compatible with FireWire audio interfaces(soundcards).

Audio interfaces(soundcards) that connect using USB (Universal Serial Bus), are compatible with most all modern computers. If you're not using a specialized Digital Audio Workstation, a USB audio interface(soundcard) is your best option. While USB audio interfaces(soundcards) don't provide as low of latency as a FireWire audio interface(soundcard), and aren't able to handle as many tracks of audio, their compatibility with a wide variety of computers makes them a great option for people with moderate recording needs or small budgets.

In general, if you plan to purchase a specialized Digital Audio Workstation to use for recording, we suggest the use of a FireWire audio interface(soundcard). If you plan to use an existing desktop or laptop computer for recording, then we suggest a USB audio interface (soundcard).

For FireWire interfaces, we suggest the Mackie Onyx line. Please see below for more information.

If you plan to use an audio interface that connects via USB, we recommend one of the devices from Roland listed on this page.

Do you need to record several performers at a time, or do you need to record live drums and work with other situations that require complex microphone setups? Dancing Dots can supply audio interfaces (soundcards) that can simultaneously record from 8, 16, or more sources. Please contact us for recommendations that are accessible and will best meet your needs.

Online Purchasing

Microphones, Preamps and Mixers

If you wish to record with a microphone you may need a high-quality microphone pre-amp to boost the signal. Check the soundcard's specs to determine whether you need a preamp or not. You will not need a pre-amp to record an audio signal taken via line-in such as the line-out from a CD player or the audio out from an electronic keyboard.

By the way, an excellent workhorse of a microphone is the Shure Beta 58A Supercardioid Dynamic Microphone.

If you already own an audio mixer, you most likely do not need to order an Audio Buddy as your mixer has built-in pre-amps. If you're looking for an excellent multi-channel mixer, consider the Mackie 1202VLZ or the Mackie 1604 mixer.

Desktop Digital Audio Interfaces (Sound Cards)

  • All are 24-bit/96kHz full-duplex.
  • Driver support across all platforms, OS and audio standards.
  • Low driver latency and zero-latency monitoring for unequalled performance.

Dancing Dots will provide a descriptive text of the control panel of the device to visually impaired customers who order one of the Digital Audio Interfaces below.
Name Description Online Price Add to cart
Roland DuoCapture EX

This is a 24-bit/48kHz, 2-channel USB Audio and MIDI Interface.

Roland Duo-Capture EX at a Glance:

  • High-quality interface in a small package
  • An audio interface for musicians on the go
  • Low-noise USB audio interface
  • Dual VS preamps with XLR/TRS combo inputs
  • Powered by USB, 3 AA batteries, or optional AC power supply
Roland TriCapture

This audio interface lets you hook up your microphone, guitar, and additional stereo equipment all at once

Roland TriCapture at a Glance:

  • xlr mic input
  • 1/4" line or instrument input
  • Stereo RCA inputs
  • 1/4" outputline
Roland Quad-Capture

This audio interface is great for a musician that usually records by overdubbing parts one at a time. You can connect up to two audio sources at once, including microphones, guitars, or keyboards.

Roland Quad-Capture at a Glance:

  • 2 x PremiumVS preamps (XLR combo)
  • Auto-Sens function intelligently sets optimal input levels for both preamps
  • Extremely stable low-latency VS Streaming driver
  • Supports most major DAW platforms on Mac or PC, including OSX 10.6 and Windows 7, through ASIO 2.0/WDM (Windows) and Core Audio (Mac) drivers

Picture of the Roland QuadCapture

Roland Octa-Capture

This USB audio interface is perfect for recording many performers at once, or for recording complicated microphone setups. You can record up to 8 microphone or line-level sources at a time.

Roland Octa-Capture at a Glance:

  • 8 x premium VS PREAMP mic preamps (XLR combo)
  • AUTO-SENS function intelligently sets optimal input levels for all preamps
  • Extremely stable low-latency VS STREAMING driver
  • 4 x independent software-controlled Direct Mixers for creating custom monitor mixes
  • Internal 40-bit DSP processing for cue mixing
  • Supports most major DAW platforms on Mac or PC, including OSX 10.6 and Windows 7, through ASIO 2.0/WDM (Windows) and Core Audio (Mac) drivers
  • Dimensions: 11-3/16" x 6-1/4" x 2"
  • Weight 2.9 lbs.

Picture of the Roland Octa-Capture

Yamaha AG06 Yamaha AG6

Armed with 24-bit/192kHz audio quality and innovative connectivity, the Yamaha AG06 USB mixer and audio interface aims to be a flexible solution for webcasters, gamers, and mobile musicians. Connect a mic or headset into channels one and two, add compression, EQ, and reverb, and you've got radio-ready vocals. Plug your guitar into channel two or your keyboard into channel three for direct recording. Complete with a loopback function for easy live streaming, the Yamaha AG06 USB mixer is a smart desktop solution when you need maximum flexibility in a simple, streamlined mixer.

Yamaha AG06 at a Glance:

  • Studio effects with software control
  • Easy internet streaming with the loopback function
  • Class compliant for iOS compatibility
  • USB mixer and audio interface for webcasting, gaming, and music production
  • Built-in DSP for EQ, compression, filtering, and reverb
  • Loopback mode combines all inputs and playback channels for easy internet streaming
  • Outstanding audio quality, with D-PRE mic preamps and 24-bit/192kHz resolution
  • Ready for your microphone, guitar, keyboard, and even your gaming headset
  • Includes Cubase Al downloadable version
Mackie Onyx 1640i

The Mackie Onyx 1620i FireWire recording mixer gives you the power to mix on a familiar, classic analog console while sending audio to your computer via a fast, reliable FireWire interface. Certified by Mackie for use with all major DAW software, the Onyx 1640i opens up a new world of options for anyone interested in computer recording. In addition to an ultra-high quality 24-bit/96kHz FireWire recording interface, the Onyx 1640i mixer offers proven analog features like boutique-quality Onyx mic preamps, classic "British-style" Perkins EQ, and pre/post assignable aux sends, all of which can be flexibly routed via FireWire. The Onyx 1640i is a better way to record!

Mackie Onyx 1620i at a Glance:

  • 16-channel premium analog mixer with integrated 24-bit/96kHz FireWire I/O
  • Qualified by Mackie for use with all major DAWs
  • Eight Onyx boutique-quality mic preamps
  • 4-band Perkins EQ with sweepable mids on mic/line channels
  • 3-band Perkins EQ on stereo line channels
  • Hybrid mono/stereo channel with 4-band Perkins EQ with sweepable mids
  • Flexible FireWire routing, including aux sends and pre/post EQ assignment for all channels
  • Stereo playback from DAW, returned to control room or into channel for integration into mix
  • Four aux sends with pre/post assignment
  • Smooth 60mm channel and master faders
  • Built-in DI on first two channels for direct connection of guitars, bass, etc.
  • Individual 48V phantom power switches on all mic inputs
  • Any of the 16 channels can be used as an output in Sonar.

16-channel, 1x1 High-speed USB MIDI Interface The 1in/1 out version of this compact, affordable MIDI interface! No computer surgery or technological voodoo is required with the MIDISPORT 1x1; the high-speed USB makes computer connection incredibly easy, and MIDI transfer fast and reliable. It works cross-platform, provides 16 MIDI Channels for both input and output, and is easily expandable just plug in additional MIDISPORT units!

MIDISPORT 1x1 features at a Glance:

  • 1in/1 out MIDI interface
  • OMS compatible
  • PC and Mac compatible
  • Take it anywhere.

2-In/2-Out USB MIDI Interface The MIDISPORT 2x2 Anniversary Edition celebrates M-Audio's 20th anniversary of providing reliable, affordable audio recording solutions! This compact MIDI interface has a sleeker, darker look, and can save you a lot of headaches. No computer surgery or technological voodoo is required with the MIDISPORT 2x2 Anniversary Edition; the USB 1.1 port makes computer connection incredibly easy, and MIDI transfer fast and reliable. The MIDISPORT 2x2 Anniversary Edition works cross-platform, provides 32 MIDI channels for both input and output, and is easily expandable just plug in additional MIDISPORT units! For an attractive and affordable MIDI solution, it's the M-Audio MIDISPORT 2x2 Anniversary Edition!

MIDISPORT 2x2 features at a Glance:

  • 2 in/2 out MIDI interface
  • 32x32 channels of discrete MIDI I/O
  • USB 1.1 computer connectivity
  • Mac OS X (class-compliant) and PC compatible

4-in/4-out Commemorative USB MIDI Interface The MIDISPORT 4x4 Anniversary Edition celebrates M-Audio's 20th anniversary of providing reliable, affordable audio recording solutions! This compact device is a multi-port MIDI interface with easy USB connection for fast, trouble-free MIDI transfer. Best of all, it's incredibly easy to install and operate. No computer disassembly or cards to install, no jumpers to set, no I/O addresses, IRQs or DMA channels to configure! With the MIDISPORT 4x4 Anniversary Edition expansion is just as easy - just plug in additional units for more MIDI ports. If you're after a sleek, and affordable MIDI solution, take home the MIDISPORT 4x4 Anniversary Edition!

MIDISPORT 4x4 features at a Glance:

  • 4-in 4-out MIDI interface (64x64 MIDI channels)
  • Easy connection to USB-equipped PC or Mac computers
  • MIDI activity indicators for each port
  • Bus-powered - requires no external power supply
  • Comes with 6' USB cable
  • Mac OS X (class-complaint) and Windows XP and Vista compatible
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