On the front panel, this soundcard has two XLR and two 1/4" inputs for channels 1 and 2, plus six 1/4" (mono) jack line inputs.
One mini-jack stereo headphone output.
On the rear it features eight 1/4" jack outputs + S/PDIF input/output and MIDI input/output.
The XLR inputs have switchable phantom power. One for both of them.
However, the preamp is not the best. I have to crank it all the way up and can hear some noise.
I've been using it for two years.
The multiple inputs on the front are very practical. I have an expander, a synth a POD for guitar, and a mic connected permanently so I don't need to fiddle with anything.
I don't use the audio outputs, they are not necessary within my home studio context. But they could be interesting if I ever decide to use it live. I don't use the PCI card's inputs either.
What I like least about it is how hard it is to get it running under windows, even with the latest drivers, it's awful. I once had a setup that worked fine, with less than 10ms of latency, but after my HDD crashed, I had to reinstall everything and there's no way I can get it to run correctly. As soon as you load it a bit, you're f***ed. Besides, it can't be used without a sequencer, under windows, it always crashes.
I think it's a good value for money, but you need a big, powerful PC, which is somewhat contradictory, given the moderate price of the soundcard.
I plan to change my setup to really profit from this card an have a PC dedicated exclusively to audio. I currently have a 1.7 Ghz P4 with 768 Mb ram + a 60 Gb HDD exclusively for audio. It was a decent system back then, but now it's somewhat limited.
I don't regret having bought it, but I think that you need to test it thoroughly (with multiple tracks and effect plug-ins) before you buy it, to see if it's compatible with your PC. The problem is knowing which PC to buy?!
The card works fine at 24bits/48khz, but not so above that.
I've had it for eight years. It was my first soundcard. Ever since it became the center of my home studio. Contrary to what I've read, it is pretty stable with the latest drivers, the ones that came out right before it became ST audio. However, it doesn't work on XP SP3 and I don't know if it works with vista and 7, since I stayed on XP SP2, considering how stable it is and how good it works. I've never had any issues with it. It has endured eight house moves and all sorts of configurations and uses.
The preamps are crap. That's true. 24bits/48khz is outdated. That's true. It's in PCI format. That's true. But I use 24 tracks under cubase SX with sometimes three or four effects per track, several VST synths and it never crashes. You can get it secondhand for about 200 euros. Considering it provides a quality comparable to that of '90s pro studios, it was definitely worth the 20 years of wait!
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C-Real's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)