Suggestions for a good PCI-express Sound Card

I Give Up (on Creative)

I’m going to try to be coherent here, but, I’ve reached one straw over the line. I’ve been using Creative Labs cards (not exclusively) for more than 20 years now and, while I’ve often had irritations with them, the price and capability have usually brought me back. That and their general backward and forward compatibility.

I was close to dumping them entirely when they abandoned support for the Audigy line in Vista. Instead I used it as an excuse to buy an X-Fi Platinum to replace the Audigy Platinum Ex. After all; there were hardware issues and I could still use the Audigy in the old XP machine.

Then I got to fight with drivers that wouldn’t do ASIO unless they were hacked and WDM drivers that couldn’t multi-task. Cool. So, I went with the ASIO hack and, it worked fine. Which proved that Creative had deliberately castrated its own drivers.

In the meantime I’ve used any number of other interfaces and, face it, USB just doesn’t cut it for overdubbing. At least not for me. Maybe I’m missing something, but the lag is terrible.

Now my X-Fi Platinum has decided it won’t output sound. No, the connection to the amp is fine. And, it shows sound as going out, but, since the latest ‘update’, there is no sound going out. Not from the line out. Not from the headphones. Nothing in hardware has changed. The VU meters still show sound being generated, but… there’s nothing there.

And, when I go to Creative, I discover that my formerly fairly state of the art X-Fi Platinum is now not even listed for drivers and the ‘product recognition’ program recognizes something new that I don’t have. And it appears that the newest drivers are set to only work with Windows 7, while, unlike many you, I’ve had no particular problems with Windows Vista and don’t feel like feeding Microsoft for the sake of being ‘bleeding edge’.


Anyway, sorry for the rant. But, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’m outta there.

So, I’m hoping that somebody can recommend a decent 24/9600 PCI Express card that can both serve for day-to-day computer sounds and decent low-latency recording.


So, I’m looking for a dedicated sound card. One that I can use for normal stuff like

Hi Zinjifar:

It’s quite a struggle to find the perfect Audio interface for every one’s particular setup and demands…
I discovered
This Card and now have it installed in all the machines I’ve built…
The Drivers seem to behave perfectly for my machines and setups…
I am able to get them locally, where I live and at the best price, anywhere…
Most of the time when I need one I can get it right off the shelf… It’s pretty stable, 99.9% of the time…

This card might be worth considering for your applications…


ECHO MIA MIDI works well.

OH, I hear your pain. I ranted about the creative cards many times. I did however find a working solution, however I’m not sure it will be for you. Below is whats working for me.

SB Audigy 4 (Latest Drivers even though they are old)
Win XP32bit (SP3)
ASIO4ALL latest drivers.

I’m able to record at 24bit@96000hz

Notes: Although not perfect the ASIO4ALL driver sometimes lags (ASIO4ALL icon flashes) during initial playback, however this is only momentary and corrects itself quickly and the latest drivers are better than previous ones. This lag (loading buffers) only occurs when you first load a song for playback (sometimes it’s fine and doesn’t lag/stutter at all) and once it’s playing it’s normally fine. Also once you play back that song, it no longer stutters when you start it. I’ve been using this setup now for at least a couple of years and the lag/stutter on initial play back startup issue is a very small problem but not serious enough to stop using it. Recording works fine.

I was never able to get any creative cards, including X-FI to work fine in Vista or Win7 without track bleeding, which made it impossible for me at least, to use it as a working DAW.

Hope this helps,


EMU 1212M PCI-e

169 bux… Out of the box has balanced stereo I/O expandable via S/PDIF and/or ADAT. With an ADAT enabled eight channel AD/DA converter you get 12 in and 12 out. (Plus MIDI I/O)

Or jump up to 1616M which is the same 1212 card but has an audio dock for I/O. $449.00 16 ins and 16 outs. (Plus MIDI I/O)

Been using an 1820M (PCI) for years… love it. Gonna cry when it dies…


Thanks for the suggestions. In the meantime I’m going to go ahead and ‘upgrade’ from Vista 64 to 7 64 and see if the reinstallation cures the problem with the current POS X-Fi Platinum. If not, I’m seriously looking at the M-Audio 2496 Audiophile, possibly the 192, and the E-Mu 4040. Since I’m using a mixer and don’t really need to record more than 2 tracks at a time I think I can get by with either.

What I like about the E-Mu is that it’s available as a PCI-express and has both optical and coax digital I/O. What I don’t like is that it’s, again, a ‘Creative’ product and, as usual, for the life of me I can’t find the drivers for it at their site, which makes it very likely that it’s not windows 7-64 compatible.

The M-Audio 2496 and 192 on the other hand, are PCI only but, do have the right drivers.

I’d want to use the analog I/O for recording and the s/pdif to just handle the normal computer sound outputs. Anybody know if they can coexist with each other? Although it’s always looked like that should work on the Audigy and X-Fi cards, I’ve never gotten it to work. Just one or the other.

Any thoughts?


How hard was that? :)


BTW… there is a Win 7 Beta driver. I installed it on my machine just the other day although the Vista 64 driver was working fine for me.


Thanks, I found the 4040 too even :)

But, just out of curiosity, where do they hide the drivers? Beta or not…
And, do your digital outs work concurrently with the analog on yours?


Quote: (Zinjifar @ Dec. 28 2010, 3:45 PM)

Thanks, I found the 4040 too even :)

But, just out of curiosity, where do they hide the drivers?
Beta or not...
And, do your digital outs work concurrently with the analog on yours?


Under the huge link at the top of the EMU page called support? :D

Yes, digital and analog work simultaneously. I have 6 channels in of analog and 8 channels of ADAT that can all be used at the same time.

Well, yeah, and duh, but, wait;

In the dropdown from the big ‘support’ is Manuals and Software…

That’s where I’d usually look.

And, further down on the page is a visible button saying ‘Manuals and Downloads’; cool.

And, you can even go to the Creative site and choose the ‘E-Mu/Creative Professional’ and then follow the links to Manual and Downloads and pick a model.

But, with all 3, eventually you get to the page with the Manual, and the ‘Quick Start Guide’ and a ‘Read Me’, but, No Drivers :)

At least if you picked PC as your platform. Which is what I did before asking…


Try that one? ^^^