Sound cards

I’ve been eyeing some affordable cards and Im conflicted with 2 models here:

Audiophile 2496 and EMU 404

Anyone tried both of these and compared?
The EMU 404 seems to have more options both are 2 in/out which is all I really need but I want clean reliable converters and excellent drivers to minimalize latency.


I’m very happy with my 2496.

Any has used the EMU 404 cards?

I’ve got the 1820M and I love it. The latest EMU drivers have really come through. There are some issue with N-track and EmulatorX/PowerFX, which are being worked on, but barring that, the card works swell for me.

So its the quality of the drivers that really makes the difference between these cards?

The EMU 404:
PCI audio interface
E-DSP accelerated effects processing and mixing
Zero-latency, hardware-based mixing and monitoring via included PatchMix DSP mixer
2 - 1/4" analog inputs (24-bit/96kHz, 111dB SNR converters)
2 - 1/4" analog outputs (24-bit/96kHz, 116dB SNR converters)
S/PDIF I/O coaxial/optical (24-bit/96kHz)
Ships with ASIO 2.0 and WDM drivers
Includes Steinberg Cubasis and WaveLab Lite, SFX Machine LT, and a trial version of Minnetonka’s diskWelder BRONZE
Works with most major PC audio and sequencer applications

Audiophile 2496
Award-winning 24-bit/96kHz digital audio card
2x2 full-duplex audio performance
Gold-plated RCA jacks
S/PDIF digital I/O with 2-channel PCM and AC-3/DTS passthrough
1x1 MIDI I/O
Zero-latency monitoring
Software-controlled 36-bit internal DSP mixing/routing
Apple G5 compatible

24-bit/96kHz multitrack recording
MIDI recording and playback
Supports digital transfers; digital mastering
A great card for LP/cassette-to-CD transfers
Ideal for computer-based home theater and hi-fi systems

Oh the choices :O

If you want to record “inside the box”, that is, record softsynths while monitoring previously recorded tracks, there are only two choices: the Echo Mia or the Creative Audigy (the best one, don’t know the model). They are the only one’s that let you set up “virtual” I/O’s. If you’re recording external sources then the previously mentioned cards are fine. I use the 2496, but am changing to the Mia as soon as I can afford it, for the above reason. One thing, since I’ve upgraded my system to XP, the 2496 is doing some weird sh*t. A vital program (Guitar Synth) can’t lock on to the sampling rate of the card no matter what I’ve tried. Don’t know if it’s the program or the card’s driver (latest).

Etaws - don’t completely agree with you comments, depending on what you exactly mean. I can monitor/record softsynths with no problems at all.
And I’m running my 2496 on Windows XP.


When I record a track, then try to monitor that track along with a track I’m trying to record in real time, I always get track bleed from the previously recorded track induced in the real time track. This only happens when I try to record softsynths either stand-alone or in Chainer outside the multi-tracker (n-Track or any other) using Hubie’s loopback or Midiyoke for the input path to the multi-tracker. I’ll bet you’re referring to using softsynths inside n-Track utilizing the n-Track VSTi “host function”? Unfortunately, I’ve found this VSTi “host function” in n-Track very unstable and cumbersome and long ago gave up on it. I’ve tried every conceivable I/O combination that the 2496 offers with no success. If you have a way around this without using n-Track as a host, please let me know how. Thanks.

i just bought a new Dell with a Sound Blaster Audigy™2 ZS card. anyone know anything about this card and how it will fare with n-track?

It’ll do ok. Just make sure you record at 48khz, as it resamples to this rate.

just ok? would i benefit greatly from getting a different card?

Quote (geekformayor @ Nov. 23 2004,22:35)
just ok? would i benefit greatly from getting a different card?

'tis a bit of a difficult question really. It's a bit like saying "I have a 4-door saloon family car, is this OK". Well it is if you have a family and just need to get from A to B and are not that bothered about its colour and performance etc. as long as it gets you there comfortably, safely and reliably. Totally useless though if you want to do a Grand Prix!

You could stick with the Creative card until your experience of N demands more than the card can offer. Once you "know" what you need and what is missing, you could balance the cost of a new card (+ the cost of the card you are abandoning) with the "real" benefits you might gain. Often the "real" benefits don't outweigh the costs.
Quote (geekformayor @ Nov. 23 2004,22:35)
just ok? would i benefit greatly from getting a different card?

They have a low noise floor, thats' good. To get better clocking you'd need to spend a lot. I say something like that is really fabulous for home recordists. More important are mics and pres and your talent. :)

sorry…wrong thread…