Mixing, digital recording, and quality. Audio experts inside.

Ok. So my friends have been playing around making some music, and our stuff sounds pretty good. So now we went and got some stuff - mixers, 8 track recorder, etc… Now I’m wondering, once all this stuff is recorded digitally, how can I get this stuff to my computer without losing quality? Because the equipment we use have analog and digital outputs, but the computer only has a Sound Blaster wanna be card with an 1/8" input plug as well as a MIC input. Now I’ve recorded analog stuff before, with tape and RCA cables through computer before, and it always comes out CRAPPY (hissing, chopped up). I don’t want the transfer from our equipment to have reduce quality as I want to make quality audios that can be played on CD or MP3. I’ve already made a lot of quality stuff on the computer using drum machine software and thousands of WAVs and generally making beats that sound good on CD. I’m mean you really couldn’t tell that is was made with a PC. I sounds GOOD. But I just don’t know how to get high quality sounds that we make from separate hardware that doesn’t interface with computers… to computers.
Basically, how can I get high quality recordings from our equipment (our stuff don’t have SCSI or USB connectors, nothing fancy) to the computer? Do they have sound cards made for such things (Digital inputs, optical inputs?) I know they a lot out there, but what works good?

Thanks in advance.

I think the simple thing is to update the sound card. Check out some of the MOTU rack mount items. They come in PCI and firewire flavours. They have various ones with different routing inputs.

Leaving the digital domain during the transfer isn’t that big of a deal. With a nice sound card you shouldn’t even notice. I have an older Event Darla card (analog rca inputs) in one of my computers and it records great. I could transfer from a CD player, through the Darla via analog, and you’d be hard pressed to pick the difference.

Myself, I like inserting an analog path in my music. I have several ways I create sounds (keyboards, dedicated computer, etc) and they all run into an analog console before going into the digital recorder.

You can go to musician’s friend and there are all kinds of cards and interfaces to get the music into your computer. If your computer has a USB you can get an outboard interface, or just go with a dedicated soundcard as Seven suggests.

What I do when transferring tracks from my 8 track machines is I use midi to sync the recording device with the computer and do stereo analog tansfers. It works perfectly. Usually I just record direct to my computer instead of using the 8 track machines.

What recording device do you have, and what software are you going to use?