m-audio delta 1010lt or emu 1820?

which would you choose?

Hi all,

I’m looking to record a 5 piece band during practices. From a previous post, you have convinced me that my best strategy is to step up and buy a good multi-channel card.

Various posts on the Delta 1010lt look positive, and I was all ready to lay down some green. However, it looks like Guitar Center now has a $50 rebate on the EMU 1820. Thus the price difference now is around $100

So, your advice/experience is welcomed:
- It looks like the main advantage of the EMU is the external box. Otherwise, the cards seem similar in feature/function. Agreed?
- Building a simple snake for the Delta1010 (I believe) would cost around $50, which makes the price difference between the 2 quite small.

So, the bottom line questions are:
Which of these cards would you recommend?
Which works best with N-Track?
Is there any other card I should consider (similar price range and function)?

the 1010lt is a great sounding stable card, you can pick it up for around $200 on ebay even new ones.
the 1820 looks pretty good, especially since you can do real time effects for your monitor mixes (you have to use N-track’s LIVE feature otherwise) so if you’re computer isn’t up to par, the 1820 is awesome

in the end though, you’re gonna’ need some mic preamps. so the price difference between the two becomes more important. The delta 1010lt is almost $200 cheaper if you go ebay-then can buy a mixer with some mic inputs and headphone jack and such.

or you could go the ADAT route and buy

that’d give you 8 channels, and buying a second ADA8000 will give you 16 inputs/outputs
not bad… 16 channels for $600

The Emu has much better convertors IMO. Also, the preamps on the EMU aren’t too shabby. Here’s a little ditty that I did on my EMU 1820M with only the on board pres. It should also be mentioned that the 1820M comes with a firewire port on it as well as ADAT so you can add an additional 8 input channels later on.

he said the 1820, though the difference between teh 1820 and 1820m is only the extra card that offers what-2 more inputs and word clock?

I didn’t realize adat was included already. that’s a pretty good freaking deal then.

Nope, the convertors are different. The 1820 has cheaper convertors which are more in line with the M-Audio convertors sound wise. You are correct that the 1820 does not have the wordclock, SMPTE, or MTC sync card. The 1212M and 1820M have the same convertors as the Pro Tools HD systems (AKA $$$$) and they absolutely are great sounding convertors. Yes, ADAT is already on all the EMUs, as is SPDIF, Wordclock, SMPTE, firewire, a phono in with a preamp to run turn tables, a 2x2 MIDI interface on the 1820M. Um, yeah, the EMU cards are an amazing deal.

I see. the 1212m would be pretty nic for him-$200 including ADAT and 2 extra inputs. through on that ADA8000 (obviously not the best converters but mine sounds fine.)

while a card may have the same converters as a more expensive card-much of the quality has to do with the circuit and not that single component. That said, I’ve never heard that card, and you have so there we go :)

I assume you CAN’T use S/PDIF and ADAT at the same time?

is the ADAT S/MUX compatible? it says it’ll do 192khz?

I know what you mean with the design. Some makers put cheap opamps or some other cheap circuitry around the convertor and it doesn’t work to its potential. This isn;t the case here. The Emu M cards have some of the highest S/N and dynmaic specs out there with real world test being around 117db. That’s derned amazing. They did the job right on the convertors.

As for SPDIF and ADAT, there are two ports on the cards. An optical in/out that can be used for SPDIF or ADAT as well as a dedicated RCA SPDIF in/out. So yup, you can use both at the same time, but only one SPDIF at a time. If you set the optical port to SPDIF, it disables the coax port. But optical ADAT and coax SPDIF side by side is fine.



is the ADAT S/MUX compatible? it says it’ll do 192khz?

Yup! Go check out the manual and it has all this stuff answered for you. Did I say it was a deal?

wow. that’s awesome. so it really is 18 inputs at once. I may have to sell my echo layla and hook myself up with one.

how are the two mic pres? obviously they have the two really good converters, but how do the pres sound? it should be easy to tell since the converters ARE good :) and aren’t masking anything. 40db of gain doesn’t seem like too much? even my behringer has 60db.

that’d be pretty sweet to have that many inputs for such little money.

I don’t use optical s/pdif anyways. I don’t see the point :)

I just wish this thing was a full size rackmount- maybe I’ll buy two lol

how are the two mic pres? obviously they have the two really good converters, but how do the pres sound?

Um, look up. See my first post in the thread. :;): They are quite good pres. I used an SM7 on the vocals and an SM7 needs some gain, lots of gain.

sounds good :)

"Also, the preamps on the EMU aren’t too shabby"

honestly that’s kind of vague

I was looking for a more specific frame of reference- like the bass response is tight, but the mids are a little grainy…

you know, something utterly subjective I could grasp :D

Clean and balanced. That’s about as good I can do.

that’s good :)

I see that the emu card’s inputs drop dramatically when using 96 or 192 khz sample rates.

Plus the effects are only good at 48khz and lower.

I don’t really record at more than 48khz anyways-too much cpu stress and harddrive space.
I was mostly interested in the realtime effects-I’ve been using the Live feature for that and latency can become a real problem with a full band’s worth of inputs.

The E-MUs pretty much follow the S/MUX rule above 48K. 96khz = 1/2 the Ins 192khz = 1/4 the Ins. The manual details it pretty well. I do my stuff at 24/48. The other day I recorded some stuff at 96k to see if there was a HUGE really NOTICEABLE difference. Nope. Subtle, strain your ears off difference maybe. I honestly don’t know if the higher sample rates are worth the trouble…



PS Stick a DSP Reverb in an AUX in PatchMix for the bands monitor mix and you can still record everything dry to toy with effects later. No CPU strain.

Well, here’s my opinion. The main reason higher sample rates are necessary is for the cut off filters on the high end. In cheap convertors, one would use a high sample rate so that all the cut off of the high frequencies happens in a very high inaudible range. With better convertors, the cut off filtering is much better so you get very little benefit. That’s why a well designed 16/44.1 convertor can smoke a cheap 24/96 convertor. It is all in how they handle filtering, jitter, etc. Personally, 48khz is fine for me.

Now, as for the losing channels at 96/192khz, that is how the S/MUX standard works. The S/MUX standard is a standard defining how to interleave separate channels to get a higher sample rate.

I agree Bubba. As far as the topic if this thread goes…I looked at everything before I decided to try the E-MU. The E-MU just looked too good to be true. All those promises for $499?? Well I am happy to say I LOVE my 1820M. If they would come out with multi-card support, I’d order two for church.


Well, you know I did the same thing. It was a hard thing to believe. Got mine, love it. Though I will say, the Emulator X sampler is still buggy with N-track. An update is supposedly on its way and I am anxious to see what comes of it. N-track is one of the DAWs that Emu is using for testing for compatibility after I bugged them.

I understand the s/mux part of it, but the manual seems to show me that the whole card loses inputs- like the converters for inputs 3 get turned off and stuff. while I understand adat limitations due to the cable, I don’t understand taking inputs away that aren’t adat related.

How audible is the conversion quality difference provided by the 1820M over the 1820 and Delta1010lt?