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Latest in sound cards?

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1961TC4ME

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Latest in sound cards?

PostWed Mar 01, 2023 12:01 pm

Hi all,

I haven't posted anything here in the Amplification portion of the forum for quite some time but anything amplification is generally one of my more favorite topics. Now that I have v7 and the benefits of it's sound improvement, I'm sure there is a further improvement to be had by selecting a better and more modern sound card. My computer setup is still Win 7 Pro with its 32GB of memory and it's still working just fine, but at some point I realize I will eventually also have to address this area as well. The sound card which I've used since nearly day 1 (about 12 years now) is the tried and true M-Audio Delta 1010LT and I'm using it's 10 channels of audio and I want to stay with 10 or so channels of audio but not any less than 10.

I haven't looked at sound cards / a.k.a. audio interfaces in a long time and what I'm wondering is who is using what these days and what might be recommended?

Thanks in advance.

Marc
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larason2

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Re: Latest in sound cards?

PostWed Mar 01, 2023 12:50 pm

Get the Motu Ultralite MK5. Once you go MOTU, you don't go back! (PS. I just learned that MOTU stands for "Mark of the Unicorn!)
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mnailor

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Re: Latest in sound cards?

PostWed Mar 01, 2023 2:13 pm

Or the MOTU 24Ao if you want more outputs for expansion and not to spend money on mic and TRS inputs.
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magnaton

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Re: Latest in sound cards?

PostWed Mar 01, 2023 3:33 pm

Hey Mark:

Yea, amplification is a favorite subject of mine as well.
larason2 wrote:Get the Motu Ultralite MK5. Once you go MOTU, you don't go back! (PS. I just learned that MOTU stands for "Mark of the Unicorn!)

I 2nd this! I've used these for a couple of recent VPO conversion projects as they represent their latest technology offering. A simple GUI interface, easy firmware updates when necessary, and the biggest improvement is immediate start up time! The older units including the LP32, Ultralite MK3, 24Ao, etc. take a while to 'boot' and you may need to add a startup delay in the Hauptwerk preferences if you are starting both the interface and computer at the same time. Otherwise HW won't find the interface! It's an easy work around but wanted to mention it. This unit has both a coax ports for S/PDIF connectivity (2 more channels) and a digital I/O for 8 additional channels!

"MOTU = Mark of the Unicorn" Yes, in similar fashion to International Business Machines or General Electric, the company's marketing shifted to using an acronym. I knew them as "Mark of the Unicorn" for years prior.

Danny B.
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mnailor

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Re: Latest in sound cards?

PostWed Mar 01, 2023 4:31 pm

Yes, my 24Ao takes 20 seconds longer than Windows to boot. I just wait before starting HW.
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1961TC4ME

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Re: Latest in sound cards?

PostWed Mar 01, 2023 4:48 pm

Hey all,

And thanks for the quick replies! That mk5 looks to be a bit more in my price range but YIKES none of them are cheap!

I need some educating here...... My 1010 LT plugs directly into the motherboard on my computer, hence there are no physical input connections (wires, cables, etc.) as it's all done through the board socket, the outputs are physical cords that I connect the RCA lines to that go to my amps and from there to the speakers.

I see all the outputs on the back of the mk5, but how does the input part work? I see one USB connection on the back of the unit, an optical input, and S/PDIF input, and inputs numbered 3 through 8 but assume those are for inputs that are instrument or other component related and not computer. I guess I don't get how the input part works, so somebody help me out here.

Thanks,

Marc
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mnailor

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Re: Latest in sound cards?

PostWed Mar 01, 2023 5:10 pm

Plug the USB into the computer. Audio and control data all go over USB to the MOTU.
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1961TC4ME

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Re: Latest in sound cards?

PostWed Mar 01, 2023 5:25 pm

mnailor wrote:Plug the USB into the computer. Audio and control data all go over USB to the MOTU.


Ah, very cool! So a single USB connection will pass all 10 channels of audio and other data through 1 single USB connection?

One more question. I see the mk5 does have S/PDIF which on my 1010LT is a separate and unique connection in order to use the last 2 channels which are 9-10 on the 1010LT. On the mk5 there are 10 separate outputs + the S/PDIF, so is it possible to end up with 12 channels of audio?

Thanks,

Marc
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larason2

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Re: Latest in sound cards?

PostWed Mar 01, 2023 5:43 pm

Yes, the USB will pass all the channels at the same time.

Question 2 is yes as well. It will actually do up to 22 channels of output if you expand them via SPDIF or optical out. There's caveats to this though, you're limited by bandwith at some point, and won't necessarily be able to do all the channels at highest quality. If you want to do 22 channels, it's better to get a 24Ao.
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1961TC4ME

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Re: Latest in sound cards?

PostWed Mar 01, 2023 6:01 pm

larason2 wrote:Yes, the USB will pass all the channels at the same time.

Question 2 is yes as well. It will actually do up to 22 channels of output if you expand them via SPDIF or optical out. There's caveats to this though, you're limited by bandwith at some point, and won't necessarily be able to do all the channels at highest quality. If you want to do 22 channels, it's better to get a 24Ao.



Ah, well again, yes very cool indeed! I got to hand it to you guys and everyone here on the forum, if you're looking for answers it doesn't take long and that's what I've always appreciated here, everyone is more than willing to jump in and help. I recently got into yet another hobby and that is armature radio. Now the million dollar question for me is, will it be a new radio, or a new audio interface? I think I'm much more due for the latter. :mrgreen:

An mk5 may be in my future very soon. :D

Thanks all!

Marc
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mnailor

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Re: Latest in sound cards?

PostWed Mar 01, 2023 7:46 pm

For the Ultralite mk5, I only count 20 outputs at 48k or 16 outputs at 96k. 10 analog TRS, 2 SPDIF, and 8@48k or 4@96k ADAT channels. Did I miss a pair?

EDIT: Oops! Phones output.
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magnaton

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Re: Latest in sound cards?

PostWed Mar 01, 2023 10:06 pm

The chief market for these interfaces is studio recording. So the inputs are used for mics, other instruments, etc. So with HW we only care about the number of outputs. This is why the 24Ao is so popular because its just outputs, 24 of them. It has an AVB port to connect another AVB device like say another 24Ao to give you 48 channels. Plus 3 digital outputs that each can handle 8 outputs via a ADAT.

There was a similar unit called the Cymatic Audio LP-16 Live that was also outputs only, 16 channels as the name implies. Unfortunately it was a short lived product.

Oh yea, the MOTU MK5 has MIDI in & out as well so this one unit can handle both audio and MIDI.

Danny
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BarryG

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Re: Latest in sound cards?

PostThu Mar 02, 2023 10:37 am

I recently upgraded to a new PC, and to the Ultralite mk-5 from the original Ultralite. All works beautifully, including Hauptwerk MIDI via the mk-5.

I raise a question related to Marc's configuration and don't know the answer, but others likely will.

The mk-5 USB input is USB-C, much faster than previous USB standards, although its specs say it's compatible with USB-A. If Marc's PC is as old as he indicates, what USB spec does it support? And how much will not having USB-C, which is likely, matter to the mk-5's performance?

Barry
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1961TC4ME

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Re: Latest in sound cards?

PostThu Mar 02, 2023 11:08 am

BarryG wrote:I recently upgraded to a new PC, and to the Ultralite mk-5 from the original Ultralite. All works beautifully, including Hauptwerk MIDI via the mk-5.

I raise a question related to Marc's configuration and don't know the answer, but others likely will.

The mk-5 USB input is USB-C, much faster than previous USB standards, although its specs say it's compatible with USB-A. If Marc's PC is as old as he indicates, what USB spec does it support? And how much will not having USB-C, which is likely, matter to the mk-5's performance?

Barry


Hi Barry,

You bring up a good question for sure and I was wondering the same. I'm going to have to look at the USB ports on my computer, something I can do later today. As I recall I think it has USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports but not USB C. :cry:

Am I going to run into an issue here?

Thanks,

Marc
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BarryG

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Re: Latest in sound cards?

PostThu Mar 02, 2023 11:27 am

Hey Marc,

On further review.... I see that the mk-5 spec says USB-C 2.0. So the connector is a C, but you can have an adapter to work with the A connector. Since 2.0 has been around awhile, hoping maybe you're OK with an adapter.

(I was confusing adapter type with speed, ie, thinking C meant 3.0, but they are two different parts of the spec.)

I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will chime in here.

Barry
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