We are about to upgrade from WniXP to Win8. The current PC has an M-Audio Audiophile 2496 card to take the input feed from a Church PA desk and also output sound from video playing to the desk.
Will the built in audio card on a new PC do this ok or should we put in a separate audio card and if so what has worked or not worked?
There are no official M-Audio Audiophile 2496 drivers for Win 8. The Win 7 drivers “may” work OK.
Whether or not the sound card works with Audacity will depend on whether or not the drivers work properly. M-Audio would be the people to ask about that.
Standard sound cards that are included with PCs are usually fairly poor quality (even on expensive PCs).
If you can’t get the 2496 to work in your new system, I’d go-ahead and try the built-in soundcard/soundchip. Often the line-input is acceptable. (The mic-input on any consumer soundcard is pretty much worthless for quality recording.)
If that doesn’t give you acceptable results, the [u]Behringer UCA202[/u] is an economical option.
If you want to go a little higher-end, there are lots of USB or Firewire audio interfaces ([u]example[/u]). The external USB/Firewire interfaces are more popular than high-end soundcards, and you’ll find more choices than with internal pro/prosumer soundcards. (But, it’s another box and another wire added to your set-up.)
…And …Don’t throw-away your old system 'till the new system is up-and-running! I’d actually recommend that you record with both systems in parallel until you’re confident the new setup is working reliably. …Computers (and computer users) do fail once in awhile, so if it’s critical for you to “capture” the service every week you should always have a backup recorder running in parallel.