[PlanetCCRMA] I'm really getting into this -- need input onentry-level pro-quality hardware

Aaron Heller heller@AI.SRI.COM
Sun Apr 4 22:49:01 2004

Brian Jarrett wrote:

> I'm assuming you meant the M-Audio OmniStudio...
> I had seen some for sale on ebay, but thought the USB connection might be problematic...

Yes.  \begin{rant} I found multi-channel USB, Firewire, and PCMCIA audio interfaces to be completely unsuitable for critical applications.  Either I've been very unlucky or there are a lot of people out there who are more tolerant of dropped samples than I.  I've had pros give me recordings made with a Metric Halo Mobile I/O, probably the best of the Firewire interfaces, nonchalantly add, "... and, ahhh, [looks at floor] oh yeah, there are dropped frames every few minutes, nothing a good pop/tick filter can't take care of." \end{rant}

> Now I see that there is also an OmniStudio product with PCI card.  Is that the model you are using?

Yes. The combination of the Delta 66 PCI card and the Omni I/O breakout box is called the Omni Studio, not to be confused with the Omni Studio USB.  With the Delta66, 44, and Omni Studio, even though the analog connections are on an external box, the converters are on the PCI card.  

The only M-Audio product that places the converters in an external box with separate power supply, is the Delta 1010 (not to be confused with the Delta 1010LT).  I've used the Delta 66 with the simple breakout box, with the Omni I/O, and the Delta 1010.  With the 66, et al., if you crank up the gain, the noise floor you hear comprises clicks and buzzes correlated with CPU and disk activity.  The noise floor of the 1010 is another 10 to 15 dB lower (around -105 dBm) and is uncorrelated noise.

I should add that in my experience, all of these work quite well.  In practice, it is difficult to find an analog source that justifies 90dB S/N no less 105dB, so the difference between the 66 and 1010 many not be that important. 

Also, although it has been discontinued, you can still find a 1010AI, which interfaces an ADAT Lightpipe connection to the 1010.

Aaron Heller <heller@ai.sri.com>
Menlo Park, CA  USA

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Fernando Pablo Lopez-Lezcano [mailto:nando@ccrma.Stanford.EDU] 
> Sent: Sunday, April 04, 2004 8:49 PM
> To: Brian Jarrett
> Cc: planetccrma@ccrma.Stanford.EDU
> Subject: Re: [PlanetCCRMA] I'm really getting into this -- need input onentry-level pro-quality hardware
>>only partially supported.  So, can anyone recommend something that
>>works well?  Im hoping to find something with the following features
>>(and realizing that I may not get them all):
>>24bit/96khz A to D conversion
>>External unit (so there is no interference from PC circuitry, unless
>>experience shows this isnt really a problem.)
>>At least 4 inputs, 8 would be better
>>Less than $500??
>>Good dynamic range
>>Ive got a few devices that output SPDIF, so it would be cool if I
>>could get an input for that too.
> I have a lot of Midiman OmniStudio boxes here at CCRMA (a Midiman Delta
> 66 + external OmniIO box). It is well supported by ALSA (as well as the
> 1010lt mentioned in the same thread) and has 4 line level inputs and
> outputs (balanced), 2 mic amps, can do 24/96Khz i/o, and has 1 spdif
> port. Very good audio quality. The only thing missing is a MIDI port. 
> -- Fernando
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