Yes, it's:  Soundcard Recommendations Time!


I’m the guy who had all the MOTU hullabaloo. Miserably pulling myself up with a mouthfull of dust. But hopefully looking forward!

I’m after something I’m going to run an 8-ch/4-buss board into, a Tascam M-30. Need routing options and good converters. At least 4-inputs. PCI w/ break-out box preferred.

Nothing over $500.00 will pass the boss’s gauntlet! :)

Peace, and oh yeah- thanks again in advance!!

Did you try the 4xx motu card? How’d that go?

At the $500US mark, EMU 1820m seems to be the shnitz as far as converters go. Delta 1010 is a standard, getting a bit long in the tooth though, perhaps the 18/14 would be a better move.

I’m gonne LURK BIG Time on this thread… I’ll be watching all the replies… I hope everyone jumps in here… I don’t know about sloom but I’ll be holding my breath till the smoke clears… I hear RME stuff being talked about… But that stuff ain’t cheep… I’m hopeing you all jump in and tell us your stories… What DAW combinations and your likes and dislikes… and all…

I think I need to move beyond this Lexicon Core-32 hardware… ??? AND '98SE…


Hi,I used to have a Delta 44 now I have a Delta 1010 (8ins and Outs).I’ve been very happy with these and I find the inbuilt mixer software easy to use and understand.

The EMU cards have had good reveiws and can do a lot (inbuilt effects etc) but it could be at the expense of added complication.

The Deltas are very straightforward, just line level i/o no built in mic pres ideal for use with an external mixer.
Echo and RME are also well regarded.

Being on a somewhat limited budget at the moment, I settled for an m-audio USB FastTrack.

In the past I have used SoundBlaster cards and the nVidia on board sound simply becuase I was new to the whole computer recording deal and was trying to decide which software suited me for my needs:one track at a time recording.

n-Track took care of that nicely. Once I got that all figgured out, it was time to search out hardware.

In the end I settled on the USB FastTrack because it was inexpensive -I didn’t want to shell out big $ on something the first time around - and was simple for my needs: one track at a time recording.

It has a 1/4" guitar input, an XLR input, headphone jack and RCA outs. It’s very portable, does both 16 and 24 bit and just works: plug it in and go. It also makes a decent sound card for laptops (which, historically, come with crappy sound).

Eventually. I’ll want something better but for now, it’s perfect.

I highly recommend you consider buying a unit used on ebay. The following ebay search list includes 16, 20, and 24-bit cards that are often available at low prices (I got one for under $100). For your budget, you can even get two of them for 16 channels, as long as one has S/PDIF out and the other has S/PDIF in and can sync to it. IIRC, all of these with S/PDIF inputs can do that. All are supported on XP and the companies are still in business. This was a couple years ago; I suspect the pickings are a lot better now – meaning, you can also find good deals on premium cards.

(“delta 1010LT”, “delta 1010”, delta1010, dsp2000, “dsp 2000”, layla20, “layla 20”, ews88mt, “ews 88mt”, terretec88, “terretec 88”, inca88, “inca 88”)

The Delta 1010LT doesn’t have a breakout box; instead all the cables dangle from the PCI card. If you go for either 1010 or 1010LT, be SURE you get both the PCI card and the cable or breakout box: I saw a lot of auctions for half of the gear, and not always a clear indication that you needed another part to make it work.

PS: I use a Tascam M-30 too – one I’ve had since 1981 or so. Doesn’t have the high S/N ratio of today’s boards, but the two hi-z mike inputs are very handy, and 4 true independent buses with integral 8x2 submix makes for a very versatile recording station.

I use bus 1&2 as stereo monitor channels, and 3&4 as soundcard feeds. Any other soundcard feeds (to my MOTU 828, dare I say it?) I “Y” to both MOTU and mixer for direct monitoring.

I use the built-in 8x2 submix as an alternate monitor; sometimes as musician’s cue (when I’m recording others) but usually as the monitor feed to my speakers, so I can easily crank up or kill independently of headphones. Sometimes also as a feed to a second stereo for comparison monitoring. Very handy little unit.

I currently use an Echo Layla 24/96 and have been pretty happy with it. I used to use a delta 1010lt and it was a major step up from the sound blasters, but the echo sounds about the same as the 1010lt while using balanced connectors, in addition to an ADAT input for an extra 8 tracks. These days I’d really like to drop some cash on a MOTU, but I would spend more than $500. Presonus has a new interface coming out, it’s just like their firepod, but has an additional ADAT input to go with their 8 channel ADAT mic preamp they’re putting out soon (like the behringer ADA8000)

I was very happy with my 1010lt and since the direct outs on a mixer are UNBALANCED there’s not really a need to get a balanced input soundcard. As far as converters go, I don’t think you’re gonna’ get a real step up on them until you spend like $1000 or get an apogee big ben or something. Unless you have a good mixing room, you probably won’t be able to hear the difference anyways.

ok, feel free to jump on me, but after awful experiences with soundblasters i picked up the fca202 by behringer. it cost about £60 ($100), looks white and shiny like an ipod, has a groovy blue light and oh, yes, hooks up to firewire with a latency of next to nothing. i think it must be quite new cos not many reviews of it around, but i’m quite a fan!

I’ll put a vote in for the Terratec EWS88MT. I got it off ebay about a year ago for about $175US and just saw one go by for about the same price on ebay last week. It’s a discontined card/breakout box, but there is an XP Asio driver buried on Terratec’s webpage (google it). it has 8 analog in/ 8 analog out with a breakout box (with 16 RCA jacks) that can mount in a 5 1/4 bay or be external. It does 24bit/96K with very little latency. I’m a very happy camper with it…

I’ve got a M-Audio Delta 44 that I’ve been using for a few years and its great. On nice thing about the Delta series are the mature and stable drivers. Driver stability is a “make or break” factor when considering a soundcard.

I dont want to vear off here but isnt the SB latency problem just in 24 bit? I have a simple SB value($50) and no problems with delay.
Of course from what I can tell Sloom, your way ahead of me and are looking for something more high tech.

Quote (nick @ Feb. 03 2006,05:08)
The EMU cards have had good reveiws and can do a lot (inbuilt effects etc)

The Emu is really a good choice! I use it myself. the effects could be better but they are usefull for some instruments. Most important is the quality of the soundcard in recording and feedback and for that purpose it's a good card, good converters.

Hi n-Trackers:
I found that link to that 8-I/O hardware… I haven’t seen much talk and reviews on this stuff but from what I can gather on this hardware . it looks pretty interesting to me…

It doesn’t look as though '98SE desks will support the drivers… That may-or-may not be important… as well, the In-and-Outs cannot be balanced…

In some ways the hardware attracted my attention cause it’s not talked about very much and it might be an alturnitive to the Hi-End stuff… and Middle-of-the-Road, Hype’d… Hardware…


And yes… there’s a link to n-Track, on the page…

Whoah! I forgot to check-mark the “Track Topic” button when I posted. You guys threw in, man!

Cool, thanks for all the replies. And that link is interesting, Bill, nice looking specs, as well as I can tell. I am leaning toward the 1010-LT at this point. Went to Guitar Self-Center Friday to shop it. Looks plenty adequate.

This is great information, you guys, and thanks for the insight on your M-30 mixer-fronted jig, jeff. All very helpful stuff. Sometimes I leave here feeling like I’ve taken a piece of someone’s house away with me… :laugh:

Quote (Willy @ Feb. 02 2006,22:18)
Did you try the 4xx motu card? How'd that go?

At the $500US mark, EMU 1820m seems to be the shnitz as far as converters go. Delta 1010 is a standard, getting a bit long in the tooth though, perhaps the 18/14 would be a better move.

Hey, Willy,

I never did the upgrade- I would, but I've thought it over and actually don't see the need to spend the bread. In fact, I've spent $220 on the MOTU and would like to stop there, if I can! I don't know if the MOTU sounds better than the Delta, or if it's discernable; I do not have a 'high-end' room/scene going on here.

There are still options to look at- I'll end up doing one or the other. One is even to go with a motherboard that'll support the MOTU 324 card. I have to kind of see what's better to do in the long run. Whatever I get, I'll be sticking with for a couple years, at least. In that light, going backward might be a bad idea. So the next thing is sell MOTU, buy Delta...?

EMU fanboy here. I loves my 1820M.

Quote (Bubbagump @ Feb. 05 2006,13:58)
EMU fanboy here. I loves my 1820M.

Yeah, I know all about you guys... :D

Just about nothing but good reports on those. I A/B'd it (in the box... :p ...) with the Delta 1010LT, and I think the Delta with a 6' snake is probably going to be adequate for a while. I can move 'up' in a couple years, if need arises.

But, there are so many.

I picked up a s/hand Delta 1010LT on ebay which does the job nicely. It does tend to get a bit messy cable-wise with the break out cable, then the RCA->TRS Snake. Then of course, theres the lack of pre-amps. But hey, if you’re on a budget then “forgedd aboud-idd”… (sorry, lame - been watching too much futurama).