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Soundcard: help me decide
fewtch
post May 3 2002, 00:58
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QUOTE
Originally posted by user
I can recommend:
Terratec EWX 2496

I read a very "scientific" review somewhere on the Web (sorry, didn't save it) that concluded the M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 is a better card than the Terratec EWX 2496. Just to let anyone know in case they're curious.


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Tes
post May 3 2002, 01:26
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QUOTE
Originally posted by fewtch
I read a very "scientific" review somewhere on the Web (sorry, didn't save it) that concluded the M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 is a better card than the Terratec EWX 2496. Just to let anyone know in case they're curious.


Do you happen to remember why the Audiophile 24/96 is supposed to be better than the EWX 24/96? I am currently trying to decide between either one of these two cards or the Delta 410. I am leaning toward the EWX 24/96 because it is fairly cheap and has an optical S/PDIF output, but if the Audiophile 24/96 is better . . .
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user
post May 3 2002, 07:09
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I have decided between those two, too.
I have found on web very detailed tests about them. But no direct comparing, unfortunately.
The terratec has excellent technical values, too, I have seen no difference in those tests.


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user
post May 3 2002, 08:03
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Here are 2 different tests comparing m audiophile vs. terratec 2496.


http://www.sospubs.co.uk/sos/apr01/articles/soundcard.asp



http://www.io.com/~kazushi/audiocard/ewx2496/

http://www.io.com/~kazushi/audiocard/audiophile/

http://www.io.com/~kazushi/audiocard/


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niktheblak
post May 3 2002, 09:32
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Greetings,

I also am in the middle of purchasing a new sound card and I would like to have some clarification about couple of matters.

Are the M-Audio and Terratec centralized in some particular geographical locations? Because here in Finland I have never seen any M-Audio products and to my knowledge not a single store sells the Audiophile 2496 here. But there seems to be plenty of Terratecs around. I heard somewhere that the Audiophile 2496 is cheap and abundant in USA whereas Terratec dominates Europe.

And there seems to be only one specialized homepageless store selling Echo Mias with an astronomical price tag :eek:.

Has anyone tried out Hoontech's 24/96 cards? They seem to be using the same DSP as Audiophile 2496 and are generally praised despite the extremely poor Win2k/XP drivers (no GSIF/ASIO).

My motives for purchasing a new sound card differs from the gaming folks' because I especially intend to use it for creating music. I need MIDI and GSIF/ASIO multi-client support. Because of the unavailability of the Audiophile and Echo Mia, my candidates are Terratec and Hoontech.

This is a real dilemma. I'm using Win2k and Hoontech doesn't seem to bother making drivers for it while Terratec is much worse at every other aspect. I would really appreciate it if someone would share some experiences about this matter!
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user
post May 3 2002, 16:51
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You could buy M audiophile via online shop, eg. from Germany ?!
It should be no problem, from Germany to Finlandia.
In germany there is M audiophile

But the Terratec ewx is well, too.
I don't see important differences, but it depends on preferred usage.
For the M audiphile there is from M available one adapter coax.-optical and optical coax converter, costs about 50 Euro or more, dunno exactly.
Look at m audiophile German homepage.

Personally i am using terratec ewx, it seems to work fine, I have it only for a week, I have used it up to now only once, for recording two vinyls to CD-R.


And there raised some problems:


It would be nice, if you could record eg. from digitally source CDDA or DAT several following songs in one pass and the tracknumbers would be added automatically.

There are about 3 possibilities:

1. the recording program recognizes a new track by silence.

Not so well method for live concerts eg......
But of course the only way for recording analogue material like vinyl....

2. track numbers are recorded digitally automatically.
The best way, only possible for digital source like DAT or CDDA, of course.
Following preconditions:
1. the digital source (DAT-player or CD-player) must be able to pass trough digitally the track numbers. Not all CDplayers, DAT-tape-players are able to.... (mine old Sony DAT DTC 670 is not able AFAIK, but perhaps the latest follower model should be able to....)
2. & 3. (Soundcard), driver and recording program must be able to recognize track numbers, if they are passed trhough by the player.


3. Manually adding track markers/numbers. Eg. a method for analogue recordings, or live recordings, where no silnece exists and method 1 does not work. Or for digitally recordings, if there is no way for automatically adding track markers.


I asked Terratec support about ability of ewx 2496 reagrding automatically recording tracknumbers.
The answer was very disappointing. They have signed with "EWX support team", but it seems that they never have tried out recording personally. They answered: "We don't know programs for that aim..."
So the answer was complete unprofessional, useless.

Because: In German forum www.DVDboard.de I discussed this problem with "Musicplayer", who ownes a terratec ewx, too.

He told:
3 programs for the 3 methods above:


1. Audiograbber
2. Samplitude 2496 Producer or called: Samplitude Production Studio 24/96
3. Feurio www.feurio.de



Does somebody know another good solution for automatically recording track numbers / markers ?


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niktheblak
post May 3 2002, 21:00
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QUOTE
Originally posted by user
You could buy M audiophile via online shop, eg. from Germany ?!
It should be no problem, from Germany to Finlandia.
In germany there is M audiophile


Good tip user, but I very seldom even consider international orders because I don't own a credit card crying.gif. I might try checking out few companies if they would accept Eurocheques or something.

After hour of googling, I just found a shop in Finland that sells Audiophile 2496, but at a price of 320 :eek:. I thought they sold it at $160 in the US?! Terratec EWX 24/96 is sold at 190 so I don't think I have much choice anyway. The Audiophile is ridiculously overpriced and I simply refuse to pay 130 for a marginal difference...
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Annuka
post May 5 2002, 00:10
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I have a "perfect" listening room, a $7,000+ stereo and pretty good ears. My Live card does not sound ghastly - but then again not sublime either. It is possible there exists bad and good batches of this particular product.

The driver issue is my major complaint. Creative Labs cannot write drivers. However, the standard Micrsoft supplied drivers in Windows XP works fine and they support digital out.

If you use this particular operating system, consider buying an external D/A-converter. It will make the sound card transparrent. I am using a $1,000 Sony EP90S, but it is 4 years old and something cheaper should be avalible.
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jrbamford
post May 5 2002, 00:24
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I've had a quick flick through your replys to your question and just thought I'd add my own alternative..

keep the SBLIVE.. smile.gif

Before you stop reading on let me just explain.. I've just brought a daughtercard for my SBLIVE value for 20 .. slotted in and using a 5 coaxial digital cable (shortly to be improved to a higher spec version) I am now listening to mpcs through my computer through my new Tag Mclaren DAC20 ... quite simply I would recommend this to anyone wanting quality.. not so much the DAC20 tag tho it is lovely.. but the use of an external DAC.. now a days everyone wants 5.1 decoders which means its a great time to buy a stereo DAC... for similar money to these "hifi" sound cards you are able to get the benefits of hifi sound from a real hifi component.. it cost me about 400 but I wanted the tag DAC and reasonably (80) interconnects between the DAC and my amp... all I am saying is that I'm now hearing a silky smooth and defined sound that I previously only really got from my hifi components and not my computer.. tho the same DAC still sounds better from a CD transport the gap is far closer and I think its more to do with using loss compression than anything else.. anyways thats my 2 cents worth.. maximise what you have already got smile.gif
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gdougherty
post May 5 2002, 01:29
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QUOTE
Originally posted by jrbamford
I've had a quick flick through your replys to your question and just thought I'd add my own alternative..

keep the SBLIVE.. smile.gif

Before you stop reading on let me just explain.. I've just brought a daughtercard for my SBLIVE value for 20 .. slotted in and using a 5 coaxial digital cable (shortly to be improved to a higher spec version) I am now listening to mpcs through my computer through my new Tag Mclaren DAC20 ... quite simply I would recommend this to anyone wanting quality.. not so much the DAC20 tag tho it is lovely.. but the use of an external DAC.. now a days everyone wants 5.1 decoders which means its a great time to buy a stereo DAC... for similar money to these "hifi" sound cards you are able to get the benefits of hifi sound from a real hifi component.. it cost me about 400 but I wanted the tag DAC and reasonably (80) interconnects between the DAC and my amp... all I am saying is that I'm now hearing a silky smooth and defined sound that I previously only really got from my hifi components and not my computer.. tho the same DAC still sounds better from a CD transport the gap is far closer and I think its more to do with using loss compression than anything else.. anyways thats my 2 cents worth.. maximise what you have already got smile.gif


I second this opinion. A decent stereo, say a good low-end home theater receiver like my Yamaha HTR-5460 ($320US) hooked up using an SBLive! daughter card via an optical connection gets the conversion and noise away from the PC, and entrusts it to things that are better designed for quality audio. My HTR-5460 drives 100watts RMS into 5 channels and does it very cleanly at all bearable levels. I've never really pushed it up over -20dB (ranges from -100dB to 0dB) and in a quick test just now all hiss fades away at about -18dB with no signal in. At -20dB on most music you can't really hold a conversation in the room, just as a reference, and -28dB is about as loud as I push it for movies.

If you've already got a decent stereo with optical inputs, then all you need spend to get better music is the few bucks on a daughter card, much better than the 100+ on any of the other options. If you don't I'll just say that good clean power makes a big difference in a system, and what's the harm in being set for full surround sound down the road?

G

[Edit] Creative sells the Digital I/O daughtercard for $60 direct.
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jrbamford
post May 5 2002, 03:08
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Firstly look at hoontech.. they sell the same daughter cards (2 variants) for half the price of the creative ones.. the SBLIVE is now so old I don't even know if Creative still sell them.. I looked and couldn't find anything on them on their site but then I found hoontech and its working fine..

Other than that tho I completely agree.. computers are cool, but I still prefer my hifi for music.. moving stuff over to there with regards to computer audio is just a good thing..

My DAC ways 10kg and is in its own isolated case with its own isolated power supply with an extrememly low jitter master clock.. I just don't think this is possible inside a computer on a standard card..

Finally tho one point I do semi-disagree with and that is using optical as the lead to connect.. go coaxial.. preferably terminating at BNC at the DAC end (not sure why on this, firmer plug fit?) basically optical is regarded as the poorest transmission means available for digital.. even 150 optical leads are trounced by 30 coaxial ones.. other than that tho its quite simple..

Surround sound recievers are popular at the moment and do the job ok, I wouldn't rate any of them musically apart from the really expensive one but I'd still rate them above a PCs output... if you don't have a 5.1 reciever look into a stereo DAC.. remember the SBLIVE digi out is locked at 48khz tho..
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JonPike
post May 5 2002, 10:20
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QUOTE
Originally posted by niktheblak
Greetings,

Has anyone tried out Hoontech's 24/96 cards? They seem to be using the same DSP as Audiophile 2496 and are generally praised despite the extremely poor Win2k/XP drivers (no GSIF/ASIO).

My motives for purchasing a new sound card differs from the gaming folks' because I especially intend to use it for creating music. I need MIDI and GSIF/ASIO multi-client support. Because of the unavailability of the Audiophile and Echo Mia, my candidates are Terratec and Hoontech.

This is a real dilemma. I'm using Win2k and Hoontech doesn't seem to bother making drivers for it while Terratec is much worse at every other aspect. I would really appreciate it if someone would share some experiences about this matter!


I don't have direct experience, but reading a review in Computer Music magazine (UK) from November, they say the DSP24 value is:

It's a good, basic card.. has AC97 for some game capability..

Comes in two versions, one without and one with a "expansion slot" bracket, which is actually a card that fits in a second slot. You have to buy the bracket version, if you need S/PDIF optical in/out, coaxial in/out, and MIDI! You can't buy one later if you change your mind, apparently they don't sell it separate. Difference is between 116 UKP and 163 UKP for the two versions..

They say you get ASIO 2.0, GSIF, and MME drivers, for 98, Me, and 2000?

No bundled software to speak of..

They say good audio, but not really a "pro" card.. no balanced connections, or ability to adjust the d/a and a/d sensitivity (?) like the Terratec.

They mention that on a P3-350, they couldn't even run at 96Khz.. but it ran OK on a P3-1Ghz, with 6ms latency.

So it sounds like a really cheap deal, but when you want the other features (like most musicians would) the more expensive version is priced like the other ones..

On the SBLive and digital concept... donno if they're still making em, but I still see OEM versions sold new at computer shows here in the US.. for about $30.. OEM Audigy's for $60... (bought one.. even though Audigy isn't really 24, or 96.. but it's good for 12-15db lower noise floor than my Live, and actually has ASIO finally)

A newer product.. I read in the March Computer Music mag.. is the TerraTec DMX 6fire 24/96.. a six channel card, that has digital optical and coax, as well as analog, ins and outs.. mic in's headphone outs, even phono input! all in a drive bay box, like the more expensive Live/Audigy's, a good bundle, and it costs 170 UKP... sounds like another good choice. It was a short bit, they promise a full review in the near future..

Hope it helps..

Jon
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JonPike
post May 5 2002, 10:29
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Aha... here ya go for more DMX 6fire info:

http://www4.tomshardware.com/video/02q1/020115/index.html
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fewtch
post May 5 2002, 19:27
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Nice internal front-panel rack on the 6fire, but for my money I would still bet on the M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 for slightly better sound quality and about US $40 cheaper. Still, that's a damn nice looking card.

If anyone knows of tests comparing the 6fire with any M-Audio, Terratec or Midiman cards (especially quality of DAC/ADC), I would appreciate a link and/or results. I'm still considering what to replace this SB PCI128 with, and it would be easy to make the wrong choice...


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KikeG
post May 5 2002, 21:40
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A few things:

- The Live! series of soundcards resample quite badly to 48 KHz everything that is thrown at them at 44.1 KHz, even if you use the digital outputs. Better stay away from Creative!!

- The cheap Hoontech card needs an extra card to provide digital I/O. I've read in some reviews that this card is more unstable than M-Audio or Terratec cards, and the audio quality a little bit worse.

- The Terratec cards are said to have worse driver support than M-Audio cards.

- I'm from Spain, and I bought my Audiophile 2496 for 150$ plus shipping (few more $) from www.midi-store.com with my credit card. If you don't own a credit card, you could ask some friend or relative to use his card.
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fewtch
post May 6 2002, 07:51
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Wish I could afford an M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 at the moment. I just got done spending another $65 on vinyl stuff (new stylus, bottle of Disc Doctor cleaning fluid (1 pint - $21.95), applicator brushes). Gosh, anything related to vinyl is insane expensive... biggrin.gif

Maybe this summer... but it would feel funny to have a quality card and be ripping vinyl with a $100 turntable & listening with $45 speakers. One thing at a time, i guess... rolleyes.gif

Anyone know any good lottery number choosing programs? cool.gif


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