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

Peter L Jones peter at drealm.org.uk
Thu Oct 24 02:27:00 EDT 2002

On Tuesday 22 Oct 2002 23:22, Kai Vehmanen wrote:
> On Tue, 22 Oct 2002, Peter L Jones wrote:
> >
> > 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.

My original pick was the Delta44 but I don't need that much I/O.

> > 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?

All I'm currently doing is driving a soft synth (TiMidity++) from a USB MIDI 

My current view, just starting out, is that I only need a single in for 
sampling and a single out for playback.  For future use, digital i/o might be 

I've come to the conclusion that putting a MIDI synth onto a sound card is a 
bad option - you can always find a larger set of samples you want to play 
with.  So most of the grunt work is going to be on the CPU.

Thus my main concern is that the card isn't going to slow the system down 
while it's processing the samples.  And that the card doesn't prevent the CPU 
feeding it audio data as fast as it can play it.  Mostly those are to do with 
system configuration rather than hardware, I think...

> 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.

Well, getting the positive feedback on the Envy24 is really good.  Like you 
say, given the (relatively) low price on the 2496, I'll probably go with it 
to try for future proofing.

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

I've kept them on the CC but I'm not subscribed - I'm currently struggling to 
keep up with LAD and ALSADEV :-(.

-- Peter

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