RME HDSPe RayDAT by weezul
I recently purchased the RME HDSPe RayDAT to make the move from USB 2.0 interfaces to a PCIe solution. I currently have it coupled with a Steinberg UR824 in Standalone mode, and the new Behringher ADA8200.
Installation was very simple. It drops in to any free PCIe slot, and then if needed you can put the expansion into another, although it does not physically connect to the slot.
The only downside to the installation, is the back panel is completely unmarked. You have to look at the manual to see which ADAT port is which. Fine for a one time set up, but if you unplug and replug devices often, it could become tiresome. I've put sellotape on my ADAT cables to remind me what goes where.
Download the latest driver pack from the website, and after one more reboot, you're sorted.
The home of this device is the RME TotalMix software. I have to deduct a point for ease of use, solely because it looks a little archaic. There's no way to see the full names of the input / software return / output strips. This can get old very quickly. Would be perfect if they would allow you to change the width of the channels and/or hide some of them!
Using the ASIO drivers on my Windows 7 PC, I have had it set to a 32 sample buffer and not heard one click or pop while using 16 ins and outs on this card. I tend to use Pro Tools to set up my headphone mixes, but TotalMix allows you to set up latency free headphone mixes there also which is a bonus.
The only time I have had to increase buffer size in Pro Tools so far is to use iZotope Ozone 5. Everything else works perfectly, it really is the most stable device I have ever used.
Feature-wise, the card does exactly what you need it to do. Provide rock-solid and stable I/O at low latency. Not only do you have 4x ADAT I/O but also 2 midi channels, AES and S/PDIF on a breakout cable. It also allows you to change the clock sample rate in tiny amounts for.. well I don't know why but it's there!
Bang for buck... well it's expensive really for what it is, but you can't put a price on stability. Especially when you're getting paid to deliver the goods!