Fri, 25 Jan 2008
I've tried for a while now to get an appropriate soundcard for working on music at home on a laptop. The first thing I tried was an M-Audio Firewire 410. Latency issues, clicking and poping, poor mic preamp quality all led me to the conclusion that I'd never be buying from M-Audio again. A quick foray into the M-Audio Ozone 2 reminded me of why - the gear just feels cheap and uninspiring, and then when you plug it in you realize that your initial impulse was correct.
After some time, I thought I'd give Creative/E-mu a try with their new 0404 USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI interface. Although a step in the right directly, this time I was very unsatisfied with the sound quality on the output stage (which doesn't really make much sense considering the specs), as the outputs seemed to render the sound dynamically flat and loud, without depth. I recall being bothered by timing on something, the details are fuzzy. Suffice it to say, I gave up on this one as well.
Recently I dove into the tried-and-true PCMCIA territory with the Digigram VXPocket V2. I had read decent reviews and they had been very accommodating with Linux driver developers, a good sign. Turns out the Windows XP drivers still needed some work. I experience intermitant digital popping from within Cubase. When I tried to use the standalone Emulator X2, I was only able to record digitally for one pass until the driver decided to wig out and set itself back to analog recording, leaving me with a very irritated ear canal after numerous digital yelps. What a pity.
So now I realize after all the returns and all the time wasted trying to make crap work that I should have just gone with RME all along. They should be coming out with their new PCI-e PCMCIA cards for the Digiface and I will gladly buy one in order to move on with my life. RME, I can almost guarantee it, will not let me down.