[RDD] Fwd: What reliable ALSA cards are you using?

Wayne Merricks waynemerricks at thevoiceasia.com
Mon Jan 6 17:06:04 EST 2014


I've battled with sound cards, my ideal fit would have been something 
like a Delta 66 with real balanced outs on the last two ports but sadly 
that isn't the case.

The Delta 1010LT is cheap but unbalanced ruins it for 
production/broadcast (hello to the hiss on cable runs).

The only PCI/PCIe cards I found that were reasonably priced when I was 
stuck with a Delta 44 and needed 2 more inputs were the ESI Juli at .  They 
are good cards but pricey considering you get two outs and two ins.

I'm wary of USB cards although I must admit I've got an EMU 0202 (sadly 
out of production) and another one that I'm blanking on the brand that 
have both been running for over 6 years now.  Only other USB I had an 
Echo Gina on test for a few weeks, I think one of our offices in South 
Africa still uses it.  Seemed to work fine but ALSA mutes either Left 
out or Right out by default so you have to change the levels in 
alsamixer before you waste time thinking its a wiring fault.  It had all 
the ins/outs I needed but I wasn't happy with it being USB

I have used Saffire Pro LEs and the 10 ins/outs firewire rackmount 
versions.  Also had another expensive Firewire rack mount which I think 
was a MOTU 828 Mk II.  Firewire absolutely sucks on sound cards in Linux 
in terms of driver support so avoid like the plague.  The LE dropped 
some outputs then upped and died after 3 years, the MOTU lasted about 4 
and the rack mount Saffire ended up with bricked firmware that could not 
be fixed after about 3 years.

Only other card if you move up to about £400 that I quite liked was the 
Digigram VX442.  It has tons of outputs all as XLRs and apparently has 
ALSA support but it seems you need their drivers which are Redhat only 
so I've never tried them under linux.  I've had two of these for nearly 
5 years, it has some driver issues on Windows Servers which caused 
horrible crackling on some IBM xServers but which was fine on a random 

Had some older Digigrams which I think were PCX 922s, again good cards 
and still working as new near to the 10 year mark.  Could never get them 
going under linux either.

So yeah if anyone knows of a "Delta 66/Echo Gina'alike" which is PCIe 
I'm still searching.



On 2014-01-06 21:43, Lorne Tyndale wrote:
> Hi,
> I've had similar hits and misses with USB audio solutions, as a 
> general
> rule I now avoid them, for consumer use they are fine but for a more
> professional environment I've found they lack reliability.
> In my opinion you're better off with an actual card.  I will also 
> echo
> having good results with m-audio delta stuff.  The biggest difficulty
> that I've run into is with the M-Audio Delta 1010 (the one with the
> external rack mount breakout box).  I've experienced capacitors going
> bad in the breakout boxes resulting in loss of audio and / or poor 
> audio
> quality.  In every one of these, after replacing the capacitors -
> everything has returned to full functionality.
> The Delta 44's and 66's don't experience this - their breakout boxes 
> are
> just pass-through boxes if I recall correctly (it has been a while 
> since
> I've had one of those apart).
>> I'm not *opposed* to USB solutions, but have been bit in the past 
>> with
>> 24/7/365 operation reliability issues of USB devices, but maybe that 
>> is
>> a thing of the past...
>> It seems to me there is a hole in the market for something more 
>> flexible
>> than on-board, yet not as expensive as ASI.  M-Audio was the perfect 
>> fit
>> for this market, but do they even make anything besides headphones
>> now-a-days?
>> -Alan
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