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PCI Card choice? RME HDSP 9632 vs. ECHO Layla3G vs. E-MU 1616 vs. M-Audio Delta 1010
Old 9th November 2009
  #1
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PCI Card choice? RME HDSP 9632 vs. ECHO Layla3G vs. E-MU 1616 vs. M-Audio Delta 1010

I can get all of the cards listed above (RME HDSP 9632 vs. ECHO Layla3G vs. E-MU 1616 vs. M-Audio Delta 1010) for about the same amount of cash, give or take a hundred dollars or so.

The question is, what should I select?

I have a Quad core with 3 PCIe slots, running 32bit Vista, and JBL 4328's (that are being held back by my audio interface). I only have one mic right now for recording, and my primary concern is OUTPUT quality. I do like the diea of having some future compatibility in case I decide to do some more recording.

Interested in some opinions from people here.

Thanks in advance.
Old 9th November 2009
  #2
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ChrisCummins's Avatar
 

I can't vouch for the others, but if you are after SUPREME output quality, then the unbalanced outs on the Delta 1010 may not be acceptable for you. However, as a year long Delta 1010LT user, I couldn't recommend the card highly enough. Budget and quality, just unbalanced.

EDIT: This post is erroneous. The 1010 has balanced ins/outs, the 1010LT has the unbalanced outs.

Regards
Old 9th November 2009
  #3
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huub's Avatar
The drivers of the RME will very very likely be better of the 4.
Old 9th November 2009
  #4
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Echo stuff is great as is RME.
Old 9th November 2009
  #5
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If I go with RME it will be the most expensive option for sure. I can't find the card used anywhere to be honest.

It doesn't have a breakout box, while all the others do, also kind of a drawback. But as far as I have been reading RME is like the ferrari of the sound card
Old 9th November 2009
  #6
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ChrisCummins's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mindmasher View Post
If I go with RME it will be the most expensive option for sure. I can't find the card used anywhere to be honest.

It doesn't have a breakout box, while all the others do, also kind of a drawback. But as far as I have been reading RME is like the ferrari of the sound card
If budget is tight, the 1010LT is less than 1/2 the price of the 1010, just lacking the breakout box.
Old 10th November 2009
  #7
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I have a Delta 1010 in our local community theater, and it sounds great ... very punchy, clean and loud.

The analog inputs and outputs are all balanced ...

I believe the self-powered rackmount box moves the A/D conversion out of the PC and into the rack, where it won't be affected by other PC components including power supply

Overall i'm very happy with the Delta 1010.

If you don't have the budget though, the Delta 44/66 are the little brothers of this unit. I also have the Delta 66 on the second PC ... not quite as good as the 1010 but still pretty strong.
Old 10th November 2009
  #8
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You might also consider skipping on PCI cards and instead go for a firewire or USB unit. Then it's portable, can be used with guest laptops, etc. Examples:

Firewire
* Presonus Firebox - 6 analog outs

USB
* M-Audio FastTRack Pro - 2 analog outs
* M-Audio FastTrack Ultra - 6 analog outs

Tascam, Edirol, etc make these types of units. So long as they have balanced outs you'll notice a significant improvement in sound quality of your playback.
Old 10th November 2009
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkowtko View Post
You might also consider skipping on PCI cards and instead go for a firewire or USB unit. Then it's portable, can be used with guest laptops, etc. Examples:

Firewire
* Presonus Firebox - 6 analog outs

USB
* M-Audio FastTRack Pro - 2 analog outs
* M-Audio FastTrack Ultra - 6 analog outs

Tascam, Edirol, etc make these types of units. So long as they have balanced outs you'll notice a significant improvement in sound quality of your playback.
You mean significant improvement over a PCI solution (because that's not what I've heard?). Of perhaps you just mean over my current solution, which is undoubtedly true. I thought about USB, but I wonder about value for cost, from what I've read (and mind you I'm no expert) the best bang for your buck is generally in the PCI option.

I'm certainly open to evidence refuting that however.
Old 10th November 2009
  #10
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You mention pci-e slots but all the cards you listed are regular pci.

First thing to do is to make sure your motherboard doesn't have any strange issues with irq assignment otherwise you could run into trouble if you had to add another pci card.

Worth checking.

You wouldn't be disappointed with the 9632, the drivers are indeed very very stable and ultra low latencies are possible, plus they are ahead of the game with 64 bit drivers should you need them.

Plus you get the Digicheck utility which is probably the best bundled metering solution out there.
The analogue in/out is limited though so if you need more you will have to spend extra on somethign like an ada8000 or one of rme's i/o daughter cards.

But you should also look at the ESI range, they have a fantastic reputation for the price.
If you can't find a 9632 where you are, don't be afraid to look abroad, you can pick up 9632s for next to nothing, and expand your search query terms to include the prefix 'nuendo' instead of 'rme' - steinberg were marketing the 9632, 9652 and the multiface before rme released them under their own brand name, a la Recycle.
Old 10th November 2009
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

+1 Echo

or cheap PCI card with SPDIF (M-audio 2496, Emu 0404) + LUCID DA2496
or Lynx One or Lynx L22
Old 10th November 2009
  #12
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doncaparker's Avatar
 

I'll stick up for the E-Mu. I use an E-Mu 1212m, which is basically the same as the 1616m without the docking station. It works great for me. Some people have trouble with the mixing software, and it is complicated, but once you figure it out, it is very useful and flexible.

A few hints if you go this route:

Go ahead and buy the 1616m instead of the 1616 if you are going to be feeding it an analog signal. The converters are better in the 1616m.

Don't buy the E-Mu if you are using Vista. I couldn't get my 1212m to play nice with a Vista machine. But, it works great with XP.

Make sure you are shopping for the right kind of internal card for your computer. There is a difference between PCI and PCIe.

One last hint: while I use and like the E-Mu, I think most people would consider the RME card the highest quality of the bunch you have identified. If having the best is important to you, buy the RME.
Old 10th November 2009
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mindmasher View Post
I can get all of the cards listed above (RME HDSP 9632 vs. ECHO Layla3G vs. E-MU 1616 vs. M-Audio Delta 1010) for about the same amount of cash, give or take a hundred dollars or so.

The question is, what should I select?

I have a Quad core with 3 PCIe slots, running 32bit Vista, and JBL 4328's (that are being held back by my audio interface). I only have one mic right now for recording, and my primary concern is OUTPUT quality. I do like the diea of having some future compatibility in case I decide to do some more recording.

Interested in some opinions from people here.

Thanks in advance.
Personally I prefer the PCI/PCIe approach and if a breakout box is important, then I would suggest the Echo Layla for best value. If you can swing the $, a step up from that (not huge but noticeable) would be the RME Mulitface-2 which is what I use now (upgraded from Layla 24s which were super solid and reliable).
Old 10th November 2009
  #14
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stag's Avatar
 

ESI - MaXiO 032e

It only has 32 bit drivers for PC but regarding specs, bong for the money, Maxio was my choice.
Old 10th November 2009
  #15
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FeatheredSerpent View Post
You mention pci-e slots but all the cards you listed are regular pci.

First thing to do is to make sure your motherboard doesn't have any strange issues with irq assignment otherwise you could run into trouble if you had to add another pci card.

Worth checking.

You wouldn't be disappointed with the 9632, the drivers are indeed very very stable and ultra low latencies are possible, plus they are ahead of the game with 64 bit drivers should you need them.

Plus you get the Digicheck utility which is probably the best bundled metering solution out there.
The analogue in/out is limited though so if you need more you will have to spend extra on somethign like an ada8000 or one of rme's i/o daughter cards.

But you should also look at the ESI range, they have a fantastic reputation for the price.
If you can't find a 9632 where you are, don't be afraid to look abroad, you can pick up 9632s for next to nothing, and expand your search query terms to include the prefix 'nuendo' instead of 'rme' - steinberg were marketing the 9632, 9652 and the multiface before rme released them under their own brand name, a la Recycle.
I also have two regular PCI slots. Probably should have mentioned that

But I will definitely look. I love the idea of buying the card used (I mean I have sound cards from the late 90's that still work).
Old 10th November 2009
  #16
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TurboJets's Avatar
3 things to consider most IMHO:

1. The RME sports higher quality AD/DA conversion.

2. 1010 vs. 1010LT is strictly a matter of "what kind of cables do you already have?" In's and Out's for the LT are all RCA. The 1010 of course is all balanced 1/4 in. I used the 1010LT for 3 years and loved it but had to buy a whole complement of cables to support the RCA interface. So remember, there's $$ involved in that commitment.

3. Echo stuff sounds awesome but the driver's don't "always" get along with your apps.
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