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Old 11th June 2004, 06:12 PM   #1
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Default Alternative to M-Audio Delta 410

I'm in the final stages of my computer source project, and it's come time to purchase a sound card.

The M-Audio 410 card meets my needs of 8 analog outs, but I'm wondering if there is a comparable card that I should be looking at. Cost is of course always an issue, but quality is paramount.

Thanks in advance.
-Steve
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Old 11th June 2004, 07:54 PM   #2
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If you can survive with ASIO drivers only, the new EMU 1820/1820M units are killer at the price. I have a Delta 1010 and just got an 1820M, and the Emu is noticably better in overall sound quality.

It's not cheap at $500 (the straight 1820 has lower grade converters, but is $400), but it's got a TON of features in addition to the 8 analog outs - 2 mic pre's (great for speaker measurement), up to 3 spdif outputs (independent of the analog outs, so you can have 14 channels), *great* analog input quality if you are interested in doing any recording (ie vinyl, or multichannel sacd/dvd-a that you can't rip digitally) etc.

Unfortunately, the WDM driver is stereo only, and so it won't work all that well with 'normal' multichannel apps.

On the 'ultra-cheap' side, the Chaintech card (AV710 or something like that) seems to get some good reviews at the price ($30-$40 or so) but I don't know how it stacks up directly against the 410
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Old 11th June 2004, 07:57 PM   #3
Shaun is offline Shaun  South Africa
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Default Revolution 7.1?

This is a cheaper card, and has 8 outputs and 2 line inputs + 1 mic input. 24 bit 192kHz...

Check it out.
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Old 11th June 2004, 08:13 PM   #4
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I've looked into the Revolution, and while it seems to be a great card, the 410 is much better suited I think.

I'd like to stay in the 100-200 dollar range if possible.

The card will be used for a 4 way active crossover primarily.
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Old 11th June 2004, 10:22 PM   #5
lucpes is offline lucpes  Europe
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Modding the card a bit should get you astonishing improvements: replace the +/-12V smoothing caps (470uf/16V afaik) with 2200uf/16V low esr ones (take care when you buy to make sure they fit); replace opamps with OPA2134AU and you're good to go.
The opamps are directly fed from the PCI's +/-12 (yuck - garbage)so that's why you need to change the filter caps.

PS. practice (de)soldering ic's on an old piece of junk before getting to the card itself. I used a small pin to gently lift one foot at a time and a ordinary soldering station.
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Old 14th June 2004, 02:12 PM   #6
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Sorry for interrupting the thread with off topic question.
lucpes, are you writing about modding a 7.1 revolution? I own one which I am very peased with, but if it is easy to get it better... If so, which change do you think would have the greatest impact on sound quality?

--- Mikael R
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Old 14th June 2004, 04:42 PM   #7
lucpes is offline lucpes  Europe
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Quote:
Originally posted by rosbacke
Sorry for interrupting the thread with off topic question.
lucpes, are you writing about modding a 7.1 revolution? I own one which I am very peased with, but if it is easy to get it better... If so, which change do you think would have the greatest impact on sound quality?

--- Mikael R
It's the same for the 410 or the Revo, for obvious reasons the layout is different...

I attach a pic for the Revo, shunting the front channels I/V filter output coupling caps is highly recommended (check front output offset). The mylar bypass i mentioned in the pic for the Pana FC is totally useless (read harshness) but changing the three opamps for the front channels brought the card to another level of detail. On mine I haven't changed all the opamps, just the three for the front channels (I/V & buffers); the pic is taken before the mods.

Make sure that the supply caps will fit, get smaller if not... take the cap datasheet and check that the diameter is <12mm or something like that. Any low esr cap will do, I have Rubycon ZL 3300/16V in now, downside is that the Rubycons are very long and the card eats the bottom two PCI slots.
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File Type: jpg revo.jpg (99.7 KB, 261 views)
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Old 14th June 2004, 05:09 PM   #8
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Aha, thanks for that reply. Seems like I have a small project to do.

Just to make sure I understand you. By shunting the output coupling capacitor, you mean short circuit them but making sure the offset on the output does not rise above 10mV?
The rest seems pretty straight forward. Find a large low esr capacitor for the main supply of the op-amp and replacing the op-amps.
If I have trouble finding an op-amp, what should I look for, low noise, high slew-rate good CMRR? I remember seeing the board being equipped with NE5532 which I thought was a pretty good op-amp.

--- Mikael R
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Old 14th June 2004, 05:41 PM   #9
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Hi,

Filtering the supply helps a lot indeed. Instead of removing the caps on the board I cut the power traces and put 22 ohms filter resistors in the power lines followed by 470 uF Panasonic FC caps. Did that on an M-Audio Audiophile-2496 card.

Cheers
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Old 14th June 2004, 06:54 PM   #10
Shaun is offline Shaun  South Africa
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Default lucpes...

Sorry for being part of the thread hijacking, but your tips are good news to me. I had wondered about the 5532's...

Guess I'll have to try those mods, too.

BTW, is there a big difference between the 410 and Revo circuitry, apart from the layout?

Thanks
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