My M-Audio Delta 192 sound card is dying. What to replace it with?

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KVRer
16 posts since 23 Jan, 2012

Post Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:23 pm

I've been using the same M-Audio Delta Audiophile 192 sound card for many years -- I think my current Win10 desktop machine is the 3rd PC I've installed it in. It's served me well, but it's getting glitchier and glitchier. Sometimes it just stops working with any program except my DAW (Tracktion 6). Sometimes it won't even work with Tracktion. Sometimes Tracktion playback suddenly slows to half speed and sounds super-distorted.

I know some people have been able to reset their Delta 192 cards by restarting the Windows audio services process. But I've tried that trick, and it never seems to work for me. I have to do a full reboot to get the card working again.

I'm about ready to replace the card. But frankly, I'm confused by the current sound card/audio interface marketplace. It seems like most of the internal sound cards I'm seeing are for home theater systems. They have surround sound outputs, which I don't care about, and it's often not clear whether their line inputs are even stereo.

The other option is an external audio interface. But most of those seem to function almost like mini-mixers, with multiple gain knobs and separate inputs for mics and instruments. That's not something I need either -- I record my music into an actual mixer, from which I send a stereo line-level signal to my sound card. And besides, I'd rather not have another piece of tech cluttering up my desk, just waiting for me to spill a drink on it.

What I really want is simple: An internal sound card with a stereo line input (or separate L and R line inputs) and a stereo headphone output, that can do a nice, reliable job of converting analog to digital at 24 bits/192kHz. If it has MIDI jacks, like the Delta 192, that would be great, but it's not required.

Is something like this even available any more? Or have internal PC sound cards for musicians gone the way of the dinosaurs?

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KVRAF
2604 posts since 24 Oct, 2000 from A Swede Living in Budapest

Post Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:51 pm

I've owned so many audio interfaces in my life and the only one I'm fully satisfied with is the RME Babyface. Got three of them. You can grab them quite cheap 2nd hand too. Excellent quality and excellent drivers.

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KVRer

Topic Starter

16 posts since 23 Jan, 2012

Post Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:31 pm

Thanks, but as I said, what I really want is an internal sound card.

I see some cards marketed primarily for gaming that might serve my purposes. But I'm not sure.

The Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy Rx is marketed for recording... but it seems like they're targeting podcasters more than musicians. And in terms of converting analog to digital, it tops out at 96kHz. Also, I see a lot of people saying that it doesn't play well with Windows 10.

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KVRAF
12699 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:57 pm

Recent simular thread: viewtopic.php?f=102&t=560676
KlaxonLabs wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:23 pm
Or have internal PC sound cards for musicians gone the way of the dinosaurs?
Not watching the market that actively anymore, but this is the trend indeed. I estimate way more than half of the potential audio interface users are on a laptop, so internal cards don't have that much selling potential.

Yours is even on a PCI (not PCIe) slot, so installing it in the next PC will be questionable. Perhaps your next PC is a laptop as well. Consider it, laptops consume only 1/5th of the energy compared to a desktop.
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KVRAF
4997 posts since 15 Dec, 2011 from Bucharest, Romania

Post Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:00 am

If price ain't an issue, RME HDSP 9632. But I'd also advice getting an external one.

KVRAF
2201 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:52 am

I would look into second hand RME 9632, saw them go from 120-180 bucks, depends on the seller and his expectations, but realistically they aren't worth more than that second hand, you can shop for brand new one too, ~350 bucks in Thomann, personally I wouldn't look into anything else than RME for PCI/-E cards.

KVRAF
27902 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:20 am

I think BertKoor's arguments make a lot of sense. I'd get a USB audio interface.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

KVRer

Topic Starter

16 posts since 23 Jan, 2012

Post Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:26 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. That RME card doesn't appear to actually convert analog to digital, so it wouldn't serve my purposes.

I can see how having a separate interface is useful for recording with a laptop. But I don't think I'm going to stop recording into a desktop PC any time soon.

So having a separate box to deal with just seems to me like an annoyance. Having to worry about setting multiple gain knobs, which I could accidentally change the settings on, is a pain. Having to make sure the interface has power, and has a solid connection to my PC, is another hassle. Having a bunch of cables cluttering up my desk, instead of out of sight behind it, is yet another negative.

But apparently I am now in a tiny minority that the market is no longer catering to. Sigh.

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KVRAF
4997 posts since 15 Dec, 2011 from Bucharest, Romania

Post Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:10 am

KlaxonLabs wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:26 pm
That RME card doesn't appear to actually convert analog to digital, so it wouldn't serve my purposes.
Not sure what you mean, that it doesn't have analog inputs? It has, unbalanced RCA. For balanced TRS there's an optional extension to buy.
rme_included.jpg
rme_optional.jpg
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KVRAF
12699 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:37 am

With power over usb there is no hassle. If it doesn't work you will notice.
My interface has a breakout box, which I put well out of sight. I see no difference with an external usb interface tbh.
We are the KVR collective. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Image
My MusicCalc is back online!!

KVRer

Topic Starter

16 posts since 23 Jan, 2012

Post Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:31 am

For balanced TRS there's an optional extension to buy.

Ah, OK. Good to know.

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