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Users' Opinion - PCI 24

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This soundcard is made of two complementary pieces: the soundcard itself, and an external converter.

The card (PCI for Mac/PC or Nubus for Mac) has S/PDIF (RCA) or AES/EBU (jack) in and out, but doesn?t have audio connectors? Ins and outs on this card are only digital ones. So you will only be able to record digital sounds (from a digital mixing board or a DAT), or else you will need to buy an external interface, a 1U rack with VU-meters and a few simple buttons to set the conversion ratio and the input level.

The A/D-D/A conversion is done in this external rack (ADA1000). The main advantage of this solution is that we can use this rack to independently convert an audio signal, to record on a device (DAT) whose converters are of less good quality. The conversion is done in 20bits, the internal process in 24bits. The external rack allows to control (on two channels) the sound that comes in the computer and avoid the important signal distortion. We can also set the sampling rate (32, 44.1, or 48kHz).

At last, what has to be known is that the card doesn?t have his own processor (at least not in the Mac version), so the sound is processed by the computer?s processor, which limits the number of tracks. We can work according to our own power: if we have a small station, we can work with 8 tracks, and with more money, we change the processor, and we can work with 32 tracks.

I have a CPU 604 150MHz, and I can process without any problem 32 simultaneous tracks, no problem either in playing nor in recording.

The only problem is that the card is 2 IN 2 OUT, so you can?t have a control room. It is a bit more restrictive for the mixing board (one effect is used in the monitoring feedback), but as the process can be entirely done in Cubase (with dozen of effects), that?s finally not so serious?

The soundcard has no problems, except the fact that the driver (i.e. the software which integrates the soundcard in the different applications) is in the process of being improved, further to various infantile diseases. The ASIO driver is OK, and the PEAK driver has just been finished?

I have just learnt that it has its own DSP, that is to say that it should be able to hold digital effects, but I don?t know yet in which way it could allow me to free my computer?s processor. If you know it, please write me! Thanks.

Conclusion : simple use, even transparent, the PCI24 only does one thing, but does it well !

Miroslav HERMAN

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