PCI based audio interface - quality over quantity

Hi, I am a “home recorder”, have been using the Roland Octa-Capture but finding it’s not very reliable and often needs to be rebooted. I am looking to move to a PCI-Express based board rather than USB/FW.

I can find some quite impressive RME cards boasting things like 384 channels of audio. But at home I just need 4 channels. 2 x XLR with Phantom power, and 2 x Jack/Phono to plug in a piano. Maybe I will get another 8 channel just to be on the safe side. But I really don’t need or want something with hundreds of channels.

What I am looking for is something of professional quality but not a huge amount of channels which would simply be wasted. Ideally a PCI card with then a proper rack mount or desk mount breakout box, rather than just cables hanging directly out of the back of the card. Does anything like this exist that isn’t ~10 years old?

Budget isn’t something I’m considering at this stage, I want something of high quality, and just don’t want to be paying for excess channels.

The RME Fireface 800 looks good, but I’d really want something hooked up via PCI-Express and not FW/USB. Plus that thing is 11 years old now. Help? :slight_smile:

I’m pretty much in the same boat as you. I’m very happy with my Echo Layla 3G PCI (rack montable or desktop) card but am planning a new machine, the problem is, I don’t know of any new mobos (such as the x99 ones) which have even one PCI slot.
And as you say, the PCIe cards with just a couple or a few I/Os, and a breakout box, don’t seem to exist.

I’m kind of ‘forced’ into considering an RME HDSPe AIO PCIe card which does the have potential to run a lot of I/Os, but does have all those cables hanging at the back of the computer, and no breakout box. Very awkward in my situation, and expensive.

In the past I had an RME DIGI 96/8 PST PCI card, one stereo in, one stereo out on the back of the card, plus the possibility of having 8 I/Os via a light pipe. I was very happy with that until RME decided not write x64 drivers for it. So when I built my present machine with Windows 7 x64 I had to find another card, enter the Layla.

It is somewhat perplexing that no-one seems to make a high quality, low latency PCIe card with a breakout box and just a few I/Os. There must be a market for one?

End of rant, and I’m sorry I can’t be of much help :frowning: ,



These DO indeed work!

Thanks, I’ll look into that!

Though it may work in this case, unfortunately I couldn’t get something like this to work for my Motu MTP 8X8 midi serial router. But I ‘could’ just take one of the midi out’s, into the midi in of my sound card.

But speaking of PCI based audio cards, I have several older Aardvark Q10’s and Aark 24 cards which are all PCI. In addition I read that Aardvarks as well as some other older PCI based cards won’t get enough voltage on many recent motherboards that even have PCI slots.
My solution is simply to not use the Aardvarks on newer boards, but use older boards that are fully compatible. To me, my Aardvarks are far more important than a ‘new’ machine…yeah, even though I must stay on Win XP 32 bit to continue using them. I get around the XP/32 bit limitation by networking multiple XP machines, and have all the resources I need! :ugeek:

Too bad the antelope audio dude won’t update the old aardvark stuff. Same guy after all.

Yeah, that would really be something. Though I find business people don’t do things out of the goodness of their hearts, and would much rather fry larger fish $$$$. I’d also think the other partners would have to relinquish some kind of control as well to make it legal, even though their product line is dead.

At least, while others have found them useless without the ability to be able to use them on current 64 bit systems, it’s given me the opportunity to have picked up extra interfaces at great prices, which has also allowed me to have several great full featured cards to experiment with multiple computers.

And regarding part of this thread title “quality over quantity” I feel I have both.

Thanks all. Still on the lookout (but probably going to have to wait) for PCI-E solution. For now, I just picked up a Steinberg UR44 to replace the Roland. Much more stable, no pops/crackles at the low rates, and I like the simplicity of the twisty knobs on the front rather than the Roland interface which was a bit gimmicky for me. That’ll keep me going for now!

I traded old school for old school.

I recently sold my Delta 1010’s for EMU 1820M’s. I looked at the RME’s on eBay for real cheap, but they are not really the HDSP, even though some are advertised as such.

I might go thunderbolt soon though. If the right interface comes along.