[PlanetCCRMA] [OT?] Advice needed for hardware

Niels Mayer nielsmayer at gmail.com
Sun Aug 29 18:52:11 PDT 2010

If you're doing stuff across a lot of channels, i'd stay away from
firewire/usb entirely and go with a PCI-based approach. On Linux, that
has best been supported by the RME PCI boards and the Ice1712/1724
series. The RME's are unfortunately quite expensive, although I'm sure
you get what you pay for. IMHO, you can get some really good deals on
Ebay for used ice1712/24 series cards, especially ones that are no
longer being supported for Windows 7, by virtue of the company no
longer existing: Terratec.From owning a few of their products (used)
I'd say their "sin" was making cards oriented to musicians and
producers, sold at prosumer prices, but costing too much to
manufacture because they used very high quality components, very
nice-looking heavy fiberglass (less microphonics?) circuit boards and
quality breakout boxes and connectors.

While M-Audio's are still available, Terratec no longer exists as it
appears to have financial issues along with the recession.  The EWS88
seems to have been reborn as
http://www.musonik.com/index.php/terrasoniq-ts-88.html which is also
claimed to work in recent ALSA versions and associated kernels.

I'd say the best combination for doing this on Linux Might be the
Terratec EWS88 series (
ftp://ftp.terratec.de/Audio/EWS/88D/Manual/EWS88D_Manual_GB.pdf ).
Using an internal clock-sync cable, you can chain up to four of them,
each with eight I/O's and a digital I/o, without wasting the digital
inputs on the three slaves for clock-sync like you'd need to do with
the equivalent Multi-card chaining (
http://www.jrigg.co.uk/linuxaudio/ice1712multi.html ) with the M-Audio
Delta Series. Terratec also had a cool external sync module for
multiple cards:

I believe the chaining works in Linux as well, not just windows, as
long as the appropriate clock source is made available via ALSA. and
envy24control(1) or mudita24.googlecode.com . I'm not sure if the
irq-sharing between cards works on Linux or is just a windows feature
of the drivers.

Bottom line is that these cards were designed to be used up to four in
parallel == 40 inputs/outputs and that supposedly could all run on the
PC's from a decade ago when Envy24 was "new."  At least one person on
LAD/LAU seems to be using the EWS88MT with Linux, and given his
ambisonic proclivities, he might be using more than one card at a
time. You could probably setup a sweet ambisonic rig with a single PC
with full ATX mobo, driving 24 channels of clock-synchronized,
low-latency 24/96k sound, and leaving more than enough juice to run
ambdec , jackd, and a mixer.

A related, linux-supported Terratec card, the  EWS88D (
ftp://ftp.terratec.de/Audio/EWS/88D/Manual/EWS88D_Manual_GB.pdf )
stands out because it has two ADAT ports, one input and one output,
along with spdif I/o. So you could hook it into any of the external
ADAT 8x boxes such as http://www.aphex.com/141.htm
http://www.aphex.com/142.htm Or ADAT to 8x AES I/O:
http://www.aphex.com/144.htm Or
http://www.presonus.com/products/Detail.aspx?ProductId=12 if you want
8 presonus mic preamps before the A/D's. Or the Behringer ADA8000 ...
The EWS88D  are sometimes available on ebay:

Another supposedly  linux-compatible ice1712 with  ADAT ports:
http://www.event1.com/Support/Manuals/EZ8_MANUAL_V1_0.pdf ... Also
seen recently on ebay:
along with a potentially linux-compatible Event EZBUS digital mixer
that talks ADAT EZ8 PCI card:

Speaking of Australia, Terratec microphone inputs, and
linux-compatible Ice1712 cards, what about this:
"terratec mic8 phase 88 ews88mt mic 2/8 audio recording"
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320579369819 (Not
sure if this one is Linux compatible, even though it probably has the
same PCI card as the Linux-supported "Phase88" -- but since the cable
to the breakout box carries digital i2s signals only, any linux
specific A/D, D/A, or analog level settings normally done via ALSA ).

Even harder to find, but only recently fully supported by ALSA (not
sure when this will become available in distros):
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug02/articles/edirolda2496.asp -- yep
roland/edirol had an ice1712-based card/breakout too and it looks
quite nice.


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