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Topic: Discussion on GSIF Audio Cards

  1. #1

    Discussion on GSIF Audio Cards

    I use GigaSampler only to play piano-- for this application I have assumed I don\'t really need an audio card with multi IN\'s and OUT\'s. I have been using a Sound Blaster Live card with it\'s S/PDIF output routed to a Midiman 24 bit Flying Calf D/A converter;in GigaSampler Configuration, I have Dither disabled. A Pentium III-500mhz CPU, running with 256 meg RAM (no virtual memory) has worked fine but now I want to improve the quality of the audio signal and replace the SB Live card. I have been researching the current GSIF compatible cards and have come up with the following conclusions; I would appreciate any feedback concerning which card would best suit my situation.

    Sounscape \"Mixtreme\" is 24 bit, but not 96khz (MSRP $699 with S/PDIF). The card does not come with Reverb, but has a DSP chip built in the card that can run either the Wave Mechanics Reverb (MSRP $349) or TC Works Reverb (MSRP $599)without taxing the computer\'s CPU. This is a bit more than I want to spend, but it probably sounds very good.

    Aardvark \"Direct Pro 24/96\" looks promising (about $600), although the GSIF drivers are not available yet. It has Reverb, 3 band EQ & Compression that run on the card, again not taxing the main CPU. I have read that the effects do not work in 96khz mode and the D/A/D converters are a little noisey-- I think they are not on the breakout box, but externally shielded on the card.

    EgoSys \"Waveterminal 2496\" (about $300) looks good in terms of Spec\'s and price but I haven\'t heard any pros/cons from any card owners. No reverb, so I\'ll have to see how good (and efficient) the future GigaStudio product is when it is available April 2. It does have S/PDIF IN\'s & OUT\'s, but the 4 analoge connections are on the card itself and I would suspect are noisey. I would like to hear from anyone who has bought this card.

    The Frontier \"Dakota\" (about $639) is 24 bit but not 96khz. The Spec sheet says it has S/PDIF IN\'s & OUT\'s, but I did not see any RCA type connectors for this on the back of the card. No onboard Reverb on this unit either.

    The only Echo product currently supporting 24 bit is the Darla24 (MSRP $379). I am not considering it because it does not have S/PDIF connections. The Gina24 may be a consideration whenever it is released (MSRP less than $500) because it will have S/PDIF I/O.

    I have not decided which card to buy, so if you have any comments, pass them on. Remember, I only send a stereo pair of outputs but I want the best audio quality to go into my amplification systems.

  2. #2

    Re: Discussion on GSIF Audio Cards

    Great thread.
    I have been wrestling with this too.
    There seem oto be no card that has the specs& features right in oder to let GStudio fully shine. Is Nemesysmusic talking to card vendors. Which iones are listening. What\'s in the pipeline? etc etc...

  3. #3

    Re: Discussion on GSIF Audio Cards

    On the Aardvark Direct Pro 24/96...

    Until the GSIF is released, I can\'t assess performance with GS. With Samplitude 24/96, the card performs extremely well. Very clean and quiet.

    I did have a problem using the card in a Compaq 3550 computer - a lot of strange noises. In a computer using a Promise Fasttrack motherboard and PIII 450, I encountered no problems at all. The card coexists with an SBLive with no problem.


  4. #4

    Re: Discussion on GSIF Audio Cards

    Here\'s a question that I think applies here (I\'ve sort of asked it before but I\'m still not clear on it): Does it really make a difference having 96Khz capability when all the individual samples are in 16-bit 41.4khz? (I don\'t know of any piano library recorded in higher specs -- or are you planning to record your own?) I blv that 24-bit capability is better than 16 because when you\'re playing polyphonically, the sum of the amplitudes of the samples can be greater than 16-bit audio. But what about the sampling rate? (is it not the case that this will only apply for samples you\'ve actually recorded in 96khz?)

  5. #5

    Re: Discussion on GSIF Audio Cards

    Hi All
    In responding to the sound card issue , I have been mulling over these same issues .And also have a soundblaster live card .I was looking at the arvark pro 24/96 also , I called ardvark and they told me the converters were not on the card[that they were in the break out box] and they told me it has gsif drivers already avalible and ready to run with giga sampler . and now Im hereing on this form that the drivers are not avalible and the converters may not be in the break out box . Well now Im uncertain about the card . I was very impressed from what I was told by the Ardvark rep . The only thing that I was not impressed about was the Listed signal to noise on there spec sheet seemed to be a little low for 24 bit converters [ I can remember exacly but it was around the 100 range [ the theoretical limit for 24 bit is 144 db , but then you have to facture in preamp gain stages , but even though 100 seems kind low . Decent 24 bit sound cards that Ive seen [but they dont have gsif drivers ] are in the 120 db range .A person listed above said he did not want to get a darla [Im not sure if there converters are on the card or break out box ] because it didn\'t have a spidif , well you could use the spidif on your sblive card and have the darla on the computer also , or you could buy the get your digital i/o from a dedicated digital card [Ive seen the cheap in the $35 price range at pricewatch.com] and just have the digial only card and the darla running in the same computer . see ya

  6. #6

    Re: Discussion on GSIF Audio Cards

    This is the good feedback! Arch, you are absolutely correct in your comments. 24bit/96Khz card expectations difintely exceed today\'s piano samples. However in the short future this could change. There is already talk that a single audio music CD will soon come with 1 version @16/44 and another @ 24/96; the 24/96 may become the standard since this \"CD\" media is really intended to be a DVD disk. As DVD takes over, so may change current sampling techniques.

    To Kenn159: The info about the GSIF drivers not being available, and, the converters not being on the breakout box of the Aardvark Direct Pro 24/96 came from Ben Mullins in an E-Mail reply dated 2/8/00 \"The Giga drivers should be available within the month. The converters are on the PCI card, and special shielding is used to block computer noise\". The issue of the converter\'s location is not a life and death thing; if the shielding is done correctly, you can achieve excellent results. By the way, Peter Drake, a dealer who sells many brands of audio cards had some very fine comments about Aardvark in a post he made at http://ww.pixelite.com/windaw/hardware/message/8412.html (see). In summary, he said the shielding is HEAVY and they write good software because the same individual has been doing theirs for quite a while. Being a computer programmer by profession, I can confirm that if you constantly have changes in personnel doing the driver coding, you\'re not going to have an efficient reliable product over it\'s life cycle.

    In my case, I really don\'t want to combine cards, using one for audio data processing and another just doing S/PDIF I/O. The simplier you can keep things, the more efficient and reliable you can keep things.

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