Set Volume button with Audiophile 2496

Use this forum to post comments or suggestions about the current beta

Moderator: Derek

Postby deadpoirotsketch » Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:04 pm

I don't really understand what you are saying here. I checked the meaning of paradigm at in case I had misunderstood but I still don't know what you mean by "namesake". Please excuse me if I haven't caught your drift.

Are you basically saying "you get what you pay for"?

The audiophile is a cut-down from the Delta series, and like most things is probably made to maximise profit - hence no analog line volume control as this would have probably added to development costs. It probably was produced to a specific pricepoint rather than a highpoint of technical perfection.

I still find this soundcard usable and it does what I bought it for at a level of performance with which I am content. If I had had more money I would have bought a superior card, but I am happy the Audiophile 2496 existed at its price point because otherwise I might have had to use an alternative soundcard with which I might have been disappointed.

The Audiophile is quite old now and it is probably not the best budget soundcard for recording vinyl any more (assuming it ever was) - hence its falling price.

I would be interested in hearing about superior alternatives - I am open to the idea they exist! (Becoming emotionally attached to a circuitboard is a bit sad (grin)) Whether I will go out and buy a better soundcard will depend on whether they do enough of a better job to warrant the new investment. I have to weigh up whether the money might be spent better in upgrading my record deck, cartridge/stylus or computer. For the moment, for what I can afford (Project III deck, Prestige Black cartridge, Clean Plus! pre-amp) I am happy with the balance. Anyway I would rather other people spend their money as early-adopters of new kit and find out and report what is wrong with it, seeing as I now live on a pension and have finally given up trying to be hip. New technology carries a considerable pricepoint premium.

Having just spent a week of evenings digitising Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains The Same" only to find I could have bought the CD for £5.99 in HMV sale, I sometimes wonder why I bother digitising anything - and the reason is because I enjoy doing it as much as to save money. And I can't always replace a particular piece of vinyl.

If I was rich and had a big house I would probably keep my vinyl and enjoy it, but I am slowly being crowded out of my flat and something has to go! Much of my vinyl is now digitised to hard disk and DVDR which is a much more efficient use of space and doesn't have the sulphorous smell of aging cardboard.

Without the Audiophile card at its original price point I might have just had to sell the vinyl and permanently lose something that gave me a lot of pleasure in younger days (i.e. the music not the medium). So I guess I'm a happy customer.

It really would be interesting to have people post information about alternative soundcards with opinions, experiences and links to reviews.
I would particularly like to hear about the "balance of quality" of people's set-ups - which decks and cartridges and phono-preamps are appropriate for which soundcards and so forth. What other software than Wave Corrector do people use to compliment it, and so on.
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 7:59 pm
Location: UK

Postby Glenn » Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:46 pm

Yes, I see what you're saying. It made much more sense to me last night, but the wee hours (and a few beers) have a way of making sense out of anything to me. I generally keep a dictionary at my side but often fall into the trap of using general nomenclature in an inappropriate way. Just lazy, I guess. A better choice would have been the synonyms 'paragon', or 'epitome'. The namesake refers to the term 'audiophile'. While it has always been in general somewhat of an altruism to say that 'you get what you pay for', 'less is more' in audio terms seems to preclude any cost/effect relationship, given the prices paid for state of the art equipment. Indeed, on a comparative scale, the M Audio is not a cheap pc card by any stretch. When it comes to high fidelity equipment, the price seems to reach a point based on perceived fidelity rather than cost of manufacturing. A hot item will sell for more because of it's desirability; it has nothing to do with how much it cost to produce.

I recall a fine example of this from the late '70s when Transcription Audio introduced the Oracle turntable. Up until that point, Linn Sondek had that market all to itself with what was really an average deck with a heavy platter. It sounded better than anything else, and anyone who wanted in had to pony up the dough. Then along came the Oracle with it's then radical concept of 'groove isolation', a system whereby parasitic resonant modulations in the record itself were reduced allowing only the recorded groove modulations to be amplified. The result was a sound that was remarkably more detailed and dynamic, and which has since become the benchmark for all turntable designs. The point is, the Oracle entered the market at half the price of the Linn (in Canada) and within a year they were selling for the same amount, thanks to a boost in demand for the Oracle and a sizable discount on the Linn.

If you want to find out more about the concept of less-is-more, I suggest the following link: Nelson pass is one of the world's foremost audio engineers with an impressive portfolio of global patents that have found their way into mainstream audio. Interested in a single transistor power amp? How about a full range loudpeaker with a single 3 inch driver?

One further note: The high gain input stage on my preamp (an older Pass design) consists of 11 parallel transistors in a common base configuration that provides the impedance matching transfer function of a transformer without reactance, and without the noise and distortion that a conventional gain stage would produce. So simple yet so effective; less is more. Alas, it is not cheap!
Posts: 212
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 3:07 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

less is more

Postby deadpoirotsketch » Sun Sep 11, 2005 8:05 pm

Well I'm a sucker for "less is more" to a certain extent - hence I actively prefered to buy a manual record deck rather than an automatic one. While I went by reviews and price as well it seemed to me better that money be spent on fewer better quality components than lots of "extras" that don't enhance the fundamental task. Having said that I'm sure there are automatic record decks of much better quality than my manual deck out there. I'd rather have fewer buttons and better core functionality in the main for practically everything.

I also like koans - though I don't pretend to fully understand the concepts involved, and the line, elegance and expert simplicity of "typical" Chinese and Japanese art generally more pleasing to me than the fussiness of "typical" Western art. I personally think the apparent "less is more" in that context is the result of a deeper understanding of the essential. I guess there is room for both complication and simplicity in art.

What I find harder to understand is why there might be needless over-complication in technology. If in the audio arena you can produce the same or better results with simplicity then what is the incentive to market the more complicated solution? You would expect manufacturers to seize on simplicity as a means of reducing costs.

I can follow that sourcing the best quality components costs more per component, and construction expertise and quality also costs money, but is it really so uneconomic that more complexity and lesser quality is better? The costs would surely come down if manufacture was on a larger scale - and it might be better for the environment too if simplicity was a primary driver in design.

I suppose there is the parallel concept of "bloatware" in software. I hardly touch on most features of my Office software for example. And don't talk to me about remote controls! Plus I am of a genration that can't understand the need for people to text each other with inane filleted verbiage - you can see I prefer to do it at greater length (grin). Nor do I want a mobile phone stuck to my ear - there are times when I want to be alone. Typical conversation: "Where are you?" "I'm crossing the road" "Where are you now?" "I've been run over because I wasn't looking where I was going while I was texting". We have more technology than is good for us!

Coming back to the point - could we build simpler technology like your preamp ourselves from a kit?! Or is there some arcane and tacit knowledge of precision and technique that makes the "simple" solution look more simple to achieve than it actually is? In other words, is the simplicity in some way an illusion because to create a "less is more" product requires a master-level understanding and skillset to conceive and actualise? Maybe it is the design skill and technical understanding that makes such products so expensive - and we are not so much paying for the simple end-product but the refined skills and knowledge that enabled it to be produced.....

But once the concept is actualised, why can't it be mass-produced? Is it only marketing and maximising profit that keeps prices high?
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 7:59 pm
Location: UK

Postby citguy » Sun Sep 11, 2005 9:56 pm

I have found one potential problem with the Audiophile 2496 settings. When I listen to set the hum and hiss filtering I use headphones and turn the volume up unsually high to accomodate my "musicians ears". If both the "HW/in 1/2" and the "Wave out 1/2" are unmuted and the sliders are at full volume it is possible to get really severe feedback. I created two settings. The first has everything muted except "master vol" and "H/W in 1/2" and is 'saved' as "record". The second has everything muted except "master vol" and "wave out 1/2" and is 'saved as "playback". When recording, I 'load' "record" and when playing back with WC or any other program I 'load' "playback". I suppose I could just as easily mute the inputs I don't need for each operation but at my age I can't even remember what I wrote on the lines above.
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2005 4:32 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon USA


Postby deadpoirotsketch » Mon Sep 12, 2005 1:35 am

I haven't come across that particular problem with feedback myself Stan. That is probably because I cheat and monitor what emerges from the "monitor mixer" from another sound card which has a nice convenient headphone socket on the top of my PC tower, and I leave the Audiophile Wave Out muted unless I want to feed my amp and speakers.

The following is a bit off the beaten path but may prove useful to one or two other people.

Doing what I describe above requires "teeing" the output from the "monitor mixer" device into both my recording application (e.g.Wave Corrector) and into the second soundcard for audio out (so I don't need to use the audiophile Wave Out for Audio Out while recording). It sounds like the sort of thing you ought to be able to do but until recently Windows wouldn't let you have more than one output stream at a time, or pass the audio output of one program directly back into the input of another.

Some recent XP applications support use of a Windows "Microsoft Sound Mapper" device which lets you split audio streams (e.g. Sound Forge v8) but usually you require a third party piece of software like Virtual Audio Cable to do it. I'm not an expert on the mapper or VAC, but I gather musicians would use such software to route audio streams in and out of multitasking music applications.

Here's a secret. The trial download of Virtual Audio Cable contains a free program called "Audio Repeater" which lets you split an audio stream into two - just what you need to do what I describe above if your software doesn't support Microsoft Sound Mapper. So far as I can tell Wave Corrector doesn't allow you to tee an audio stream out to two different devices at the same time so you would normally have to fiddle about changing devices to feed only one soundcard at a time.

If you split the out from "monitor mixer" with Audio Repeater you can have two soundcards both selected and active for output at the same time. Then you only have to raise or lower the appropriate volume fader to switch between, as in my example, headphones on one card and speaker output on the Audiophile. (Perhaps I should add my PC sound system amp is not easily within reach and doesn't have a headphone socket, so this is a really convenient arrangement for me when monitoring a recording session late at night).

This may all sound a bit esoteric, but it works for me. I had thought about using the idea to have one soundcard driving an amp and speakers in one room and the other to drive an amp and speakers in another room with independent souncard settings. But as I only have a small flat that is all a bit over the top for me.(Grin).

The link for VAC and the free "Audio Repeater" program is

Slightly edited here is the program description:
Audio Repeater is a simple application that transfers <i.e. duplicates> the real-time audio stream from any Wave In port to any Wave Out port.
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 7:59 pm
Location: UK

Postby Glenn » Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:10 pm

Your approach sounds complicated, but I'm sure it works. Here's my 2 cents worth: I have the 2496 set up strictly for recording from the LP, with both master volume and h/w-in 1/2 un-muted and full up; all other inputs are muted. The analog output is then routed to an sblive through it's analog line-in. I use the Audiotools wave recorder which enables the user to select different cards for record and playback, so the maudio is set to record and the sblive is set to playback. When I want to record, I simply unmute the line-in on the sblive and monitor the recording through headphones. That's all there is to it. All other applications use the sblive card. There are no conflicts that I'm aware of with this approach.
Posts: 212
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 3:07 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

Postby deadpoirotsketch » Mon Sep 12, 2005 10:42 pm

I think I probably made the use of audio Repeater sound more complicated than it really is.

Your procedure sounds fine to me. I seem to remember buying a licence for Audiotools some long time ago but I haven't used it for ages. The only disadvantage I can discern is that you have digital to analog conversion from the analog out on the audiophile and then an analog to digital conversion as the signal goes back into the sblive. If you are just monitoring then you wouldn't be worried by this possible degradation of your audio stream because of the extra processing, but I wonder have you tried connecting the S/PDIF out of the audiophile to the S/PDIF of the SBLive - you might avoid any conversions then. You might need to set one card to be the master clock for the digital signal (be aware I might be talking gibberish here, but once when I recorded digital out from an external device I had to change the master clock in the Audiphile control panel because I was getting ultra slow playback. Once I had changed the clock setting everything worked swimmingly). I think you should be able to use an ordinary phono to phono cable - it wouldn't be worth buying a special digital cable for just monitoring.

The only likely advantage (if any) of using Audio Repeater is that it is free, plus the audio stream is rerouted internally and never leaves the digital domain.

Other advantages... well..... suppose you were listening to a real audio concert or (ahem) playing some music file your application stops you copying. Theoretically you could get a digital copy without degradation in any format of your choice by teeing the audio stream into a suitable Sound Editor with Audio Repeater ... (alternatively you could buy Total Recorder Pro or VAC to do the Audio Repeater job). I've not tried this usage as I only have dial-up, so get too low quality from Internet Radio to want to save it, and I refuse to use Microsoft wma for anything because I don't think it is good to concentrate too much market domination in one supplier. (But that's my problem).
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 7:59 pm
Location: UK


Return to Beta Comments

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest