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Attention Edirol DA-2496 users !! Monitoring question.

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Hawkeye, Apr 28, 2005.

  1. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Active Member

    Sep 26, 2003
    Aurora, ON, Canada
    I'm thinking of buying a used Edirol DA-2496 PCI sound card.

    The newer Edirol Firewire and USB interfaces (UA-1000 and 101, FA-101) have both a software monitoring and 'zero latency' hardware monitoring mix knob. I don't see any such thing on the DA-2496 break-out box.

    I may be missing something, but is this unit software monitoring only or hardware monitoring only? Or is there something in the virtual patchbay software that does this?

    Also, what are your general impressions of the unit. I want to upgrade from a low end Edirol USB 2-in 2-out card.

  2. moonz

    moonz Guest

    The DA 2496 is an older Edirol PCI-based rackmount design...I've owned mine for at least 3 years or more.

    The mixing knob you speak of is a recent idea of Edirol's not thought of when the DA2496 was first introduced, but that does not mean the DA 2496 is not capable of direct monitoring...it just means you don't have a physical knob to make the setting.

    It works like most other soundcards do...direct monitoring is controlled in software.

    The DA 2496 has a fairly complex software control panel, with a feature called the "monitor mixer", and a patchbay/router feature that allows a wide variety of monitoring options.

    The DA2496 is actually a Delta 1010, with several dedicated inputs...where the Delta 1010 inputs are all non-specific TRS, the DA2496 inputs are designed for specific purposes...a couple of XLRs with mic preamps and phantom power...a couple of phone plug inputs with Hi-Z setting for running guitars in direct, etc.

    The Delta 1010 is really set up for use with a mixer...the DA 2496 tries to do away with the necessity.

    The specs are identicle to the Delta 1010, since it uses the same AD/DA codec chip, an AKM 4524....in fact the software control panel even carries a Midiman copyright.

    The specs are quite good...comparable to some of the best soundcards...capable of some very clean recordings.

    The drivers haven't been revised since Windows XP first appeared, but they work quite well with anything and everything, so I guess Roland figures there is no need...latency displays as 2ms at 44.1khz, with DMA buffer size set to 128 samples in the software control panel. 256 samples is the DMA buffer setting I normally use, and this yields about 3ms latency at 48khz.

    The Edirol UA-1000 USB 2.0 has a few improvements (more flexible input configuration...40bit internal processing, as opposed to DA's 36bit..), but being that it is a USB device it has largely been avoided.
  3. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Active Member

    Sep 26, 2003
    Aurora, ON, Canada

    Thanks for the detailed and incredibly useful response. Aha! in the soft mixer, I should have known!

    With latencies that low it almost seems to me like you don't need to bother with direct monitoring unless your're loading up the CPU with a bunch of soft synths and effects (which I don't currently use anyway, just MIDI synths and mics)

    I've been intrigued with the latest firewire and USB 2.0 interfaces but I'm thinking now of an interim, lower-cost upgrade, and the DA-2496 might fit that need.

    My crystal ball tells me that in a year or two we'll probably see some very cool combination interface / control surface / mixer / MIDI interface components like the Tascam FW-1884 and Yamaha 01X coming to the market.
  4. moonz

    moonz Guest

    That is absolutely right...the "direct monitoring" feature is not even needed...I never use it.

    It would be great to see a whole new round of computer-based recording equipment showing up on the scene, but I'm afraid I'm not so confident that is going to happen.

    Seems to me that the offerings are shrinking, and what is being offered is many times lacking in features offered in the earlier stuff.

    Certainly the specs on many products have seen a downward trend...why offer a unit using overkill converters capable of 117db signal-to-noise ratio when anything over 100db still sounds damn good?...use the cheaper but still good-sounding converters and pocket the saved manufacturing cost.

    Several companies have bit the dust...Ardvark was a real loss...and if you dig down below the surface you'll notice that more and more brands are being gobbled up by just a very few giant corporations.

    This of course is happening in the composition software as well.

    I guess the big-boys taking over could actually turn out to be a good thing, like Roland with Sonar, and Yamaha with Steinberg.

    Only time will tell.

  5. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Active Member

    Sep 26, 2003
    Aurora, ON, Canada
    Being an audiophile snob, I'll go for audio performance over features any day. If these big corporate take-overs result in more stable products with better drivers and iincreased quality then I'm all for it.

    You just might be right though, the tendency is to "dumb-down" products and make them less expensive to increase the potential number of buyers as opposed to going for all-out performance.

    "When the whales fight, the shrimp should look for cover".

    I appreciate your advice.

    I actually just won an auction for a DA-2496, now I'm anxious to get it and try it.

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