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#8748 10/13/08 04:58 PM
PowerTracks Pro Audio Wishlist
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I've been using Powertracks Pro 12 for about a year now and was wondering if I should step up and pick up a real sound card. The onboard sound is the infamous Realtek alc888s and I'm using Vista Home Premium 32 bit with many performance tweaks, so ASIO4ALL is running okay with about 10ms latency. I've been using 16bit/44.1K and played around a little with 48K and 96K using the line in input.
I've seen a few discussions and the m-audio 2496 and 1010lt look like good cards. Does anyone have any thoughts on these or any other cards that will work and will I really notice 24bit recording differences? Do both of these cards have the same performance characteristics but differ only with the number of inputs? the 1010lt claims zero latency monitoring - is that also true of the 2496? Isn't it true I would need to later dither back to 44.1K/16bit for a CD recording? I'm hoping some of you may be able to guide me. I do mostly solo recording and woudn't mind midi on the card too, but I already have a midisport 1x1. Will a real sound card "WOW" me???

PowerTracks Pro Audio Wishlist
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The M Audio cards are real good for the price. The 1010 I believe gives you 8 analog INs and a stereo Spdif digital IN, same for the OUTs. Even though it's a 24 bit card you can still record in 16 bits. If you decide to record in 24 bit which gives you more headroom and dynamic range then you can dither down to 16 bit when it comes time to write your master for your CD. The 1010 is a PCI card usually with a Breakout box that houses the inputs and outputs so you have to make sure you have a free PCI slot in your computer. If you are recording alone usually then 8 analog ins seems to be a bit much. Oh yeah, and zero latency means that the unit supports Direct Monitoring which bypasses the computer path and you can monitor what you are inputting through the card itself. I still have the Delta 66 in one of my computers and that was plenty for home recording, but I got a Firewire MOTU Traveler because I needed the 8 analog INs to transfer tracks from other sources as I do mixing and mastering jobs too. I do tracking with this interface too but I also have a laptop and the USB interface I got for that is a simple thing called the EMU Tracker Pre and it also has Direct Monitoring. You can't really go wrong with a USB interface, or Firewire, but for laptops Firewire becomes a bit of a concern because most laptops usually only come with 4 pin Firewire connection and audio recording needs the 6 pin, so you have to go and get an adapter card that converts to 6 pin. Texas Instruments make the best and stable ones so you have to shop around.
You may not be wowed by the 1010 but I think you will notice an improvement, and you can't go wrong for the price. But, in summary, if 10 inputs is a bit much then shop around for good USB interface with 2 or 4 inputs. Hope this helps.


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You may not get a gigantic improvement in your latency (or the sound quality), although you can expect some. With an M-Audio Delta 1010, I get reliable performance at 5-6 ms latency. Things will work at lower latencies of 3 or so, but with occasional disasters that make the improvement not worth the bother.

The 1010 LT is different from the standard 1010; the LT does not have a breakout box, but instead a great snarl of RCA cables out the back, like a plate of spaghetti. It sounds decent, and you can get good ones cheap off eBay, from people who have upgraded. As Fivehands says, the amount of I/O on a 1010 is huge. The 2496 is enough for a lot of people, especially if you get a little mixer.

WARNING: In previous years, there was widespread trouble with the MIDI I/O of the 1010 LT. That MIDI was often unusable, because it induced constant soft popping in the audio. MIDI in all other M-Audio PCI cards is excellent, although the Delta 44 and Delta 66 (with breakout boxes) do not provide MIDI at all.

PCI soundcards still remain less troublesome than external ones, if you have the choice.


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