[linux-audio-user] Re: [linux-audio-dev] Soundcard spotting

Kai Vehmanen kai.vehmanen at wakkanet.fi
Tue Oct 22 18:27:01 EDT 2002

On Tue, 22 Oct 2002, Peter L Jones wrote:

>>> * MidiMan Delta Audiophile 2496 (Envy24)
>>>   * Creative SB PCI 128 (ES1371)
>> I've used both of these extensively with JACK and numerous other ALSA apps
>> and they work really well (full-duplex, low-latency use). Other
> Heh.  Now, one of these I have in my machine ((PII vintage) Celeron 400) 
> already.  The other would set me back £150.  Your comment makes me think 
> there's little to choose between them.  So, simply upgrading my soundcard 
> from a £15 low end consumer-oriented unit to something costing 10 times the 
> price looks like getting me nothing.  Or am I missing something? :-(

Well, yes. ES1371 brings you 2ch in+out with max 48000Hz sampling rate,
and 16bit sample resolution. Midiman 2496 on the other hands provides up
to 96kHz sampling rate, 24bit sample resolution, 2ch in+out and digital
in+out. Check the specs from manufacturer's site.

And btw, I confused Audiophile with Delta44 (which I have, has 4ins + 
4outs, no digital in/out). Both are based on the envy24 chipset, should 
perform equally well. Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

>> - GUS MAX (this very, very old ISA-card can still beat a number of
>>   today's crappy chipsets... I don't know whether to cry or laugh ;))
> I noticed that the ENS1371 seems to have a better rating on one site I looked 
> than to EMU10K, so this doesn't surprise me!

Yup, I'll probably never get tired of the following slogan: "sb128 
(ens1371) is the best creative card as it's the one they didn't make 
themselves". :) Ok, maybe the current SB cards are better, but I'll
never forgive the company the disappointment their AWE64Gold caused me. 
Such waste of money! ;)

>> All in all, most of the PCI-cards supported by ALSA have fairly good
>> drivers.
> But how do I compare one card with another?  What should I be looking for?  
> How can I tell which will reduce the load on my computer and which will 
> increase the load?  Is there any difference?

Well, it depends on what you want to do. How many channels you need in 
and/or out, do you need high-quality recording, do you need digital 
ins/out, do you need hardware support for multi-open, etc, etc? 

I'm not a hardware expert so I can't answer to all these questions, but I 
can tell about the criteria I used when I selected my last card. My 
primary use is multitrack recording and mixing. I needed capability to 
record >2 channels, high-quality a/d and good support for low-latency and 
full-duplex. My choice was midiman delta44. It has 4 ins, an external 
a/d&a/d box (important for high-quality conversion), good ALSA drivers and 
wasn't too expensive (ie. a lot cheaper that the RME cards for instance).
So far I've been very satisfied with this purchace. 

PS Let's cross-post to linux-audio-user. That and alsa-user are
   probably the best forums for this discussion.

 Audio software for Linux!

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