m audio 2496 - 4-In/4-Out Audio Card question

I am getting a lot of latency, and cracks and pops when I have 10 or more tracks-audio, midi, and instrument.

Should I replace my Sound Blaster X-fi platinum with an M audio 2496 - 4-In/4-Out Audio Card?
The sound blaster card will accommodate 96/24.

My processor - Intel Pentium 4 CPU 3.00GHz with 1.5 GB DDR RAM

My guitar and microphones are connected to a Yamaha MG8/2FX mixing console which is output to my card inputs.

If not the M audio card, what?

Besides the latency and cracks and pops, I would like to think I would get a better sound.

I ran an M-Audio 24/96 for several years. I later replaced it with the Delta 10/10 - both of which perform very well. I suspect though that your biggest issue may well be your PC’s spec? A P4 is somewhat antiquated may be somewhat stretched as your track count increases… all depends on the plugins etc that you’re running as well of course.

Personally I think you’d be best to consider a upgrading both your PC AND audio hardware.


Hi Michael

Same here, and I am happy with their sound quality. If you are sure you want to upgrade your sound card, then have a look at them and in addition, note that they are quite ‘old spec’ and do wider research.

Your pops and crackles: Like Ian, my first reaction is to upgrade your computer and you’ll quickly bypass that particular problem.

However,there are a variety of tweaking and fault-finding things you can do with what you’ve got.

1: Are you using a fast hard drive … and are your project-vawe files on clean disk space at teh edge of the platter … ie some dedicated partition on the bit of the platter which spins fastest. Also, is it an internal hard drive, rather than a USB 2 external - I’m only asking that because I’d rather double check the obvious than miss it out.

2: have you looked at your startup files, and also running windows ‘processes’, to check if there are more things running in the background than you actually need.

3: Are you using the latest drivers for your present soundcard

4: When you set up your soundcard, did you DISable the motherboard’s onboard sound-chip, if it has one?

5: Are you doing Uber-Geek searches in the old forum’s archives for ‘crackle’ and ‘latency’.

6: have you found out what happens if you upgrade your RAM from 1.5 gig to 3 or 4 gig?

Those are my best shots.
I hope you get it sorted
Best wishes
Glyn :slight_smile:

Thanks guys…and now, a moment of silence while I ponder…

I still use my 2496 card, and have had it for several years. I highly recommend it, and with a street price of under $100 you can’t lose. I would buy this first for two reasons:

  1. You should never use a gaming based sound card for recording. The fidelity is inadequate because it was not made for this purpose.

  2. If you already have to replace the sound card, there is an outside chance that it’ll be sufficient, i.e. that you won’t need to upgrade your computer. If you’re using XP Pro and Cubase 4.5.2 or older then a P4 may be sufficient if you’ve tuned it properly. There are several articles, I am sure, on tuning your PC for home-based recording.

Your PIV is plenty fast enough for doing multi-track audio with Cubase…and a 24/96.

I had the 24/96 for a few years in a P4P800 with PIV 2.8ghz Prescott.
Worked just fine.

However, I then upgraded to got a MOTU UltrLite and an RME 9632, and they totally left the 24/96 in the dust.
The MOTU and RME are a quantum leap in audio quality in every context and respect.
(Sorry, don’t mean to be rude to 24/96 owners…but you have to hear what you’re missing to believe it. You will not regret upgrading.)

Anywhoo, the other issue with the 24/96 is that it has no balanced i/o - which creates a vector for introduced RFI, EMI, buzz, hiss and hum.

I would recommend a PCI card or USB or firewire interface that has balanced inputs and outputs.
There’s lots out there in the same price range as the 24/96.
Check m-audio.com or even Steinberg’s CI series of interfaces.


I don’t want to “stir the pot” but I must offer a contrary opinion to almost all that’s been written here. A few points:

your Pentium 4 is indeed powerful enough to handle the amount of tracks, etc. you indicate you want to use. I started out on a P 3 and had no problems doing this

contrary to popular myth, the audio specs ON PAPER of even a Soundblaster exceed those of many “prosumer” analog equipment of days gone by. Sure, it may not be as “good” as a 2496 or an RME card, but it’ll do if that’s all you have

I’m going to assume the Soundblaster is the card that came with the computer. It’s true that its main intent is for gaming, but it can be used for recording. The reason you get so much latency is probably because you’re using the included DirectX drivers, or something equally bad. What you need is a good ASIO driver, which is intended for recording. Unless I’m wrong, the ASIO4ALL driver will work with your soundcard; it should allow you to get some pretty decent latency. You can get the driver here:


You’ll need to open Cubase and switch the current driver to the ASIO driver. It should work. If it doesn’t, then I think the 2496 is a decent inexpensive alternative.