Best Audio Card for PC??

Hi all

I think it is time to upgrade my sound card. One issue I am having is that I have run out of inputs on my current setup as the Mackie Inyx 400f only has 4 line in and 4 mic pre ins. Also it would be good to have a card that has lower latency (400f is a firewire card and not the fastest one) and better A-D converters.

I know Apogee are well respected but I don’t even think they are compatible with PC.

What would you guys suggest?

RME build good stuff with very solid drivers, low latency and class components. I’m looking at upgrading to them as well. It depends on what kind of inputs you want though. The cheaper RME interfaces have only 2 mic preamps. For me this is fine because I’ll be using it with an analog mixer, but if you need more then the interfaces rapidly get expensive. Note how the RME firewire interfaces can be daisychained, so if you buy more than 1 you can use them together.

Next time I think I’ll try a pair of the Yamaha/Steinberg MR816 interfaces to get 16 inputs and hardware that sinks its probes deep into the software like Yamaha/Steinberg do with this stuff.
I think it will be less wrong than anything else :wink:

Yeah I was looking at those too. Only problem I have with those is that Steinberg doesn’t have too good a trackhistory with keeping hardware updates coming. RME is a much better long-time investment in that regard.
But I agree the integration with Cubase is ace!

True, and I’m aware of it. I’m not a burnt child yet, though, so I haven’t ruled out the possibility of trying. :confused:
I’ll give the big/small company combo the benefit of a doubt since they seem to have taken a more responsive over the last few years. It was the Pinnacle years and the reverb tail from that era that wasn’t such a great experience for the users? [edit]And what do you know, Pinnacle is apparently ownd by who these days? Avid?!!? :astonished: :laughing: [/edit]

But we’re off topic. RME is probably my second choice. :sunglasses:

I’ve been running two M-Audio Delta 1010s for years.

I see no reason why I should ever have to change.

+1 for RME. You also get the amazing Total Mix software for amazing routing possibilities before your audio even hits Cubase.

Best is a subjective term, but if used unqualifiedly without price consideration, for PCI/ PCIe ‘audio card’ based systems, with respect to quality of converters, stability, reliability and support, there are really only two choices: RME and Lynx.


RME all the way!

Rock solid drivers, pretty much the lowest latency on the market if you go PCIe too!
TotalMix is superb too!

I had a Delta1010 for years previously and the difference in quality is night and day i’m afraid… RME stuff is definitely worth the little extra money.

Cant go wrong with MOTU…

OK, I suggest that most here will choose the device they are using. I will do the same. :smiley:

I would also say that Mackie is very distracted currently by live sound mixing and the iPad. :unamused: Which is maybe a vote for RME’s attention to updated drivers. Mackie has a slow driver development department. My current driver was produced almost 3 years ago and this seems rather lame considering the physical firepower they created in the 1640i. That said, I am still very happy with product, call me a simple man.

I didn’t choose the device I’m currently using! I’m very satisfied with my Terratec interface, but it doesn’t offer enough inputs for what the OP needs, and personally I’m looking for something bigger as well. RME is simply what I have found from my research to be the most reliable manufacturer.

Another voice for RME. That is what I’m using, just to be clear :sunglasses:

Drivers, long-term support, Total Mix, DigiCheck, built quality, service - you won’t get anything better in that price range.

Next time I think I’ll try a pair of the Yamaha/Steinberg MR816 interfaces to get 16 inputs and hardware that sinks its probes deep into the software like Yamaha/Steinberg do with this stuff.
I think it will be less wrong than anything else

Had some ‘fun’ with an MR816 recently. It’s a good interface by itself (pres/converters seem very fine) but playing around with it for some hours revealed unexpected shortcomings (see my outraged post here: :laughing: )
Seems like the maximum working setup is MR816 + 8 ch ADAT. When using two MR816 the advance integration features (monitoring via Cubase) are limited to the first device. See what Steinberg say themselves:

BTW, I love their _soft_ware :wink:

I don’t know that you’ll get better AD and preamps than the Mackie on a budget…Isn’t their 8 IO Blackbird like $500?

I think it’s a sad state of affairs when 10-15 year old MoTU units are still the best budget interfaces. If RME, go with the Multiface II. Line f’n level. Buy preamps that you and your mic collection like.

Re: latency…are you not monitoring via hardware monitoring? I’m a picky bastid and use a $99 analog line mixer…f digital…but, I recognize that’s picky–using the control panel should yield “converter level” latency…1-2ms. Completely independent of your buffer. Also, if that bothers you…consider an Onyx board. I personally will never put a digital feed into my phones ever again…it’s not an expensive or hard problem to solve. Cheap analog mixer…done. The Onyx stuff does that AND acts as interface via FW. Sort of a no brainer for a little home studio.

oops! cooooold feet! :confused:
thanks! I continue in your second link! :sunglasses:

This is the key for me.

RME is you can afford it…
the Steinberg units rock come very close to RME both sound and driver wise evn their USB units are doing well at low latency… and much less $

Motu is always a decent option but its a case of you get what you pay for… all do well with low latency/drivers ad/da is ok and mic pres can be ok… depends on the unit of course…

you can go petty high end and get a Lynx Aurora with the firewire or USB add in card

No, I’m not suggesting the device I use: it would be overkill for OP. But my vote goes to RME:

  • The best drivers you can find: Rock solid, low latency.
  • Good A/D/D/A. Not the high-end but good enough for any home/project studio.
  • With their modular products, it’s easy to expand system, add some high-end preamps and A/D/D/A converters if needed.

I thought that too - was a die hard Delta 66 and 1010 user for 7 years…then I found my RME :slight_smile:


Which one?

I use the Multiface II here…wonderful interface with a ton of flexibility. And the sound - well…speaks for itself.