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Users' Opinion - Hoontech DSP 24

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As promised, here is the DSP 24 Adda 2000 test.

What’s in the box ?

  • a PCI dsp 24 card
  • a digital daughter board SPDIF RCA and SPDIF optical
  • a 1U rack.

Connections Wirings :

  • 8 mono jack in / 8 out
  • 2 XLR in / 2 out with 48 volts phantom power supply
  • 1 midi In / out
  • 1 Headphone output with level adjustment

The digital connections, are placed on the rear panel of the PCI board :

  • 1 optical SPDIF In / out
  • 1 SPDIF RCA In / out
  • 1 AES/EBU In / out

Mic and line standard connections can be found as for all multimedia cards because this card offers a « Pro » interface with the Rack and the DSP 24 as well as a multimedia integrated circuit. Good point for players or for net surfing when you own only one PC.

Multimedia functionnality use to work under Windows 98/SE, but no longer worked under Windows2000 Pro. Maybe the drivers have not been developped.

Installation : : Hardware and Software installation are easy to do. It is recommended to get the latest drivers version here STAudio website. Just take care of IRQ configuration in ACPI mode under windows 98/SE because the card doesn’t seem to like it at all. Do use under Windows 2000 or XP a PC standard configuration (see page Tweaking Windows XP for Audio), ), or you will maybe ear cracking noises.

Card configuration is a little bit harder. A graphic interface let you manage the connections between the PCI card and the external rack. For single configuration, no troubles at all, but if you try to route it with a sequencer, this could become harder. Use the welldone manual to help you.

How does it work ? The Card works fine with almost all audio software with very few latency. To get good performance, you need a good PC Hardware configuration, a good motherboard and at least, an optimized BIOS Configuration.

SWith Large cubase 5 projects, the card go down very quickly (about 50/60% CPU) and cracking and poping noises appear. I mean by Large projects around 15 audio tracks with 3 inserts per tracks, 4 master effects and a latency set up at 23 with 16 bits resolution (on a PIII 800, 512 Mo, ATA100).

Sound quality : At this point, I’ve got a lot of reproaches to do :

  • Important residual noise through mono jack in/ out
  • XLR Preamp not good enough
  • Early saturation (-2 dB over Cubase = Red led in the card mixer) and you can hear it.
  • Average sound quality : Right before, I owned a Marc 4 midi which sounded much more better

About residual noise, I would just add this comment: it’s sounds like a pressure-cooker !!! After having removed the card to resell it, I installed a SB PCI 128 (20€), waiting for the RME I have bough, I got the surprise : Less noise than with the hoontech system for some audio application with the same PC configuration.!!! This was confirmed with the new card… You can solve this problem by using XLR connection on the rack but this lead to only one Stereo I/O. About the micro preamp, those of my Behringer mixer are better, so …I/O are very quickly saturated and dynamics results are getting down. This audio card doesn’t sound good and has to be used in a multimedia environment.

Conclusion : This system has a good Price – I/O rate (c'est quoi ?), but when requiring a higher standard of performance, the card does not give enough and reach quickly its limits. Nevertheless, you can do good thing with this card. There are enough I/O for keyboards, microphones, and even for external routing effects from Cubase...

Just trust your ears !!!

?subject=Michael : DSP 24 + ADDA 2000">Michael

 , on the 29-11-2003

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