PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs?

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Beatmachinery
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2017/11/08 02:20:06 (permalink)

PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs?

Hello! Im planning to build a Mini computer for gigs and play with ableton live. That been said , I want to have a PCIe card as an interface because of the low latency , stability and space. The problem is that obviously they are not really affordable and they are complicated to expand. I want 16 outputs but I dont know if there is one (RME , Lynx , ESI) with 16 pre built outputs , without taking into consideration ADATA , SPDIF , DANTE , etc...
Is there any with this characteristic? Maybe the HDSPe AES? It says it gives you 16 outputs but I dont really understand the protocol.
What about Lynx?
Thanks!
#1

19 Replies Related Threads

    SigiZ58
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/08 13:57:33 (permalink)
    Hi,
    I guess you mean 16 anlog outputs ?
    Because this really makes the big difference. If you want a built in soundcard with a 16-output cable tree this might not be the best solution relating stability.
     
    The AES is a (expensive) digital solution, this means you have 8 pairs of digital outputs.
     
    So at first, please specify if you need analog (to go direct in a "normal" mixer, or digital outputs.
     
     What you could do f.i. in that case is to buy a used RME HDSP 9652 and to get 2 AEB8-O. This would provide you with 16 analog outs (limited to 48kHz, what should not really be a problem) and ultra low latency. 
     
    https://www.rme-audio.de/products/hdsp_9652.php
    (around 150-200 used)
     
    2x
    https://www.rme-audio.de/old/aeb/aeb48o.htm
    (around 100 each used)
     
    alternative you can take 2x ADAT based 8-Channel DACs.....
     
    If you need really PCIe, than you could alternatively take the RayDat with the same expansion boards - but this is more expensive.
     
    This solution will fit complete in the PC Case, no outer components except the cables to the mixer.....
    #2
    Beatmachinery
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/08 14:44:36 (permalink)
    Thanks for your answers!
    Some questions here : 
     
    The HDSP 9652 is PCI and No PCIe , so regarding most modern Motherboards , this card doesnt go with the connection most of them have , Im I right?
     
    What Could I do then? Is there any way to bridge the PCI to the PCIe connection?
     
    And secondly : I see this cards have only 4 physical outputs even in the 8 output model. So this means that they are stereo outputs that then they can be turned into 8 mono outputs? 
     
    Will these expansion cards take another PCI or PCIe connection on the motherboard?
     
    And Finally : If I expand with the internal Output cards , will I get less latency that If I get the ADAT 8-channel DACs like a Behringer Ada-8000? The  RLT will be the same or longer?
     
    Thanks Again!
    #3
    SigiZ58
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/08 17:06:21 (permalink)
    The HDSP 9652 is PCI and No PCIe , so regarding most modern Motherboards , this card doesnt go with the connection most of them have , Im I right?
     
    Yes, my personal opinion is I would try to get a mainboard with at least one pci slot.
     
     What Could I do then? Is there any way to bridge the PCI to the PCIe connection?
    It seems this will work. In the RME Forum several users describe exact this solution.
    It depends on the space you have in your PC Case.
    But you can take the raydat also this is the follower product with 4 adats and pcie. but more expensive and rare to get used.
     
    And secondly : I see this cards have only 4 physical outputs even in the 8 output model. So this means that they are stereo outputs that then they can be turned into 8 mono outputs?
    This is correct. You can easy take an insert cable to split the stereo outs.
     
    Will these expansion cards take another PCI or PCIe connection on the motherboard?
    Not in an electric way. Only one slot space
     
    And Finally : If I expand with the internal Output cards , will I get less latency that If I get the ADAT 8-channel DACs like a Behringer Ada-8000? The  RLT will be the same or longer?
    Honestly, I don't know. But I guess not much, as it is a hardware solution. From my experience most latency comes from software, drivers etc. When you choose this way, you are more flexible, but need f.i. these ADA8200 from behringer. A Hammerfall 9652 can feed up to 3 Devices (3 ADAT IOs)
     
    But: An alternative in this case (if you decide to use external DACs) is the RME USB Digiface. This goes via USB and can feed up to 4 devices. It is a modern solution and I doubt it has remarkable more latency then the PCI/PCIe solution. RME is ASIO in Hardware :-)
     
    Much fun
     
     
     
     
     
    #4
    Jim Roseberry
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/08 18:06:26 (permalink)
    At this point, I wouldn't invest in an older PCI audio interface.
    Any current motherboard that has a PCI slot; it's a "bridged" PCI slot.
    RME PCI audio interfaces have typically worked fine in bridged PCI slots... but there's no guarantee that'll continue (with new bridge chips).
     
    A PCIe lightpipe audio interface like the RayDAT would work.
    You could put a pair of ADA-8200 (8-channel converters) in a rack... up to 5-meters away (max length of lightpipe cables).
     
    Round-trip latency won't be lower using the onboard D/A.
    BTW, The quality of the optional onboard D/A is (relatively speaking) lower quality than most.
     
    Another option (which would be simpler) is to go with a MOTU 16a.
    That would provide 16-channels of D/A (balanced outputs) in a single box.
    You can connect the 16a via USB or Thunderbolt.
    If you go Thunderbolt, make sure the motherboard specifically has a Thunderbolt-3 controller.
    When connected via USB, the round-trip latency of the MOTU AVB series is pretty low (sub 5ms)... so you might consider connecting via USB for convenience.
     
     

    Best Regards,

    Jim Roseberry
    jim@studiocat.com
    www.studiocat.com
    #5
    Beatmachinery
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/09 01:35:42 (permalink)
    Then I think that my best solution will be the ryaDAT and a pair of Behringer ADAT Converters. MADI and AES seem to be way more expensive and complicated. 
     
    Also... I have made a research and as some of you already mentioned , a PCI card may not be the best invest if the PCI protocol will disappear in a future.
     
    Moreover , PCIe cards have better performance than PCI cards.
     
    I will work with Ableton live , an E Drumset , a bunch of MIDI controllers and a Mini pc with core i7 8700k. Hope that helps to get the less possible latency and stability , cause I will work only with MIDI Hardware.
    #6
    SigiZ58
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/09 09:12:59 (permalink)
    Hey,
    fine you have found a solution.
    Honestly, I bought 2 used 9652 shortly for 100,- each, and I was impressed from the Performance these cards bring. Also hardware that is flashed to new version. I had to install them in my "old" Pcs, as I have the problem in my actual PC that this has no PCIe slots. Nowadays, when I would buy new hardware, I would look to get a mainboard that has at least one legacy PCI slot. I regret I did not care for this detail 2 years ago. Only to be able to use this RME hardware :-)  
     
    The PCIe Performance relating audio and latency is complete overestimated rompared to PCI. My RME PCI competely outperformes a soundblaster PCIe for Instance. This is because - as I wrote at first - latency is introduced mainly through the software drivers.
     
    So, your choice is fine, but a sentence like:
    PCIe cards have better performance than PCI cards
     
    is a bit misleading, as I outlined above (PCIe Soundblaster much worse then PCI RME)
    The PCIe bus has a greater bandwith, that is true. PCI is limited depending on the architecture (32 Bit f.i.) to 66Mhz -> an effective Bandwith from 32 Bit x 66Mhz = 266MByte/second max.
     
    An ADAT channel uses 24 Bit (lets round up to 32 Bit) with 48kHz (rounded up to 50khz) uses 200kb/s (4x50) -> this means 2 MByte/second Bandwith allows 10 ADAT Channels to be transported. So the HDSP 9652 (52 channels or 10MB/s) not even uses a fraction from the bandwith the old PCI Bus provides....... Theoretical you could transport around 1000  48kHz-ADAT Channels with PCI, or around 500 channels in 96kHz....... I hope I have no miscalculation here :-)
     
    The only reason that really speaks for PCIe is simply it is a modern protocol and modern mainboards have no pci slots (what a pity, at least relating audio), but latency (or audio-performance) for sure is not the issue :-)   So as I said - the next mainboard I buy will for sure have at least one PCI slot.
    #7
    JonD
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/09 18:29:26 (permalink)
    SigiZ58
    ...  So as I said - the next mainboard I buy will for sure have at least one PCI slot.



    Apparently you missed the part where Jim Roseberry explained that modern PCI slots are bridged.  Bottom line, unlike older PCI slots, the newer ones share resources and you will undoubtedly experience problems when trying to use one for a high bandwidth device like an audio interface/sound card.
     
    In case you didn't know, Jim builds custom DAW workstations for a living, and really does know of what he speaks.
     
    Of course, you can stick to buying older motherboards with the older (unbridged) PCI slots and continue to enjoy the great performance those cards provide, but you are trading much greater power/speed for the convenience of using the older cards.  Also, at some point, current drivers will no longer be available for some of those boards (Unless you decide to stick to Windows 8.1).

    SONAR Platinum, Win 8.1 Pro, i7 2600K@4.2Ghz, Asus P8Z68 Deluxe, 16GB Crucial DDR3, GeForce GT 730, Samsung 32" and Dell 24" Monitors, Steinberg MR816X, Focusrite VRM Box, Kawai MP11 Piano, Event ALP Monitors, Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro, Too Many Plugins, My lucky hat.
    #8
    SigiZ58
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/09 19:02:19 (permalink)
    JonD
    SigiZ58
    ...  So as I said - the next mainboard I buy will for sure have at least one PCI slot.



    Apparently you missed the part where Jim Roseberry explained that modern PCI slots are bridged.  Bottom line, unlike older PCI slots, the newer ones share resources and you will undoubtedly experience problems when trying to use one for a high bandwidth device like an audio interface/sound card.
     
    In case you didn't know, Jim builds custom DAW workstations for a living, and really does know of what he speaks.
     
    Of course, you can stick to buying older motherboards with the older (unbridged) PCI slots and continue to enjoy the great performance those cards provide, but you are trading much greater power/speed for the convenience of using the older cards.  Also, at some point, current drivers will no longer be available for some of those boards (Unless you decide to stick to Windows 8.1).



    Hi Jon,
    thanks for jumping in. it is not my Intention to doubt in someone elses knowhow, for sure not.
    Indeed, you are right, I overlooked the sentence with "bridged".
     
    But in one point I disagree. Audio devices (except maybe some modern madi Systems) are NOT high bandwith devices but more on the low side. This should my Explanation make clear. Without wanting to be rude, but each of my Systems is handbuild by myself and I do this since 1990. Even today I never buy a System ready. This has to do with that I learned this (started as Radio & tv electronics) in a wide manner (later specialised to IT -Electronics)
    I did not build & sell Daw Systems. But I think I know where I am talking about, because I have many years Background. But my Hobby are Tube Amps :-) My Job inowadays is more IT Professional on a higher Level, often I miss this Basic doings.
     
    You are right with the Drivers for some older Cards, but the Cards I was talking about are still in production and will get drivers for the next ten years for sure. Of course you have to know, that this means, they must have the HDSP in their Name (HDSP 9652 or HDSP 9632, not the digi 9652, they are really EOL).
     
    My idea to talk here a bit more was to show, that it is possible to get really good Cards for small Money, if your PC has a PCI Slot. But I will inform me what makes bridged PCI Slots critical. Until now I heard only from bridged PCIe Cards, what means they are PCI in internal architecture but have a PCIe Interface...
     Edit- I just read about this (bridged PCI) some articles. I see now, what is meant. This could really affect latency behaviour here.
    So finally you would have to check out, and to buy a Mainboard with PCI will not guarantee good Teamwork with PCI Cards.
    In any case, in the RME Forum there are many articles describing that this solution can work well. Of course you never know what and how the People are testing....... Why can it not give simple Solutions :-)
     
     
    So thank you all for the interesting discussion.
     
    Best
     
    Sigi
    PS sorry for my english, it is not really good
    #9
    JonD
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/09 20:50:21 (permalink)
    SigiZ58...
    You are right with the Drivers for some older Cards, but the Cards I was talking about are still in production and will get drivers for the next ten years for sure. Of course you have to know, that this means, they must have the HDSP in their Name (HDSP 9652 or HDSP 9632, not the digi 9652, they are really EOL)....



    Hi Sigi,
    Yes, RME is famous for providing drivers for long-discontinued products.  I was actually talking about drivers for your motherboard, if you should decide to stick with an older motherboard (for the older PCI slot).  Windows does a pretty good job of providing generic drivers for onboard components, but load Win 10 on a 8 year old motherboard (with no Win10 drivers available) and there's no telling if all of the onboard devices will have drivers loaded.

    SONAR Platinum, Win 8.1 Pro, i7 2600K@4.2Ghz, Asus P8Z68 Deluxe, 16GB Crucial DDR3, GeForce GT 730, Samsung 32" and Dell 24" Monitors, Steinberg MR816X, Focusrite VRM Box, Kawai MP11 Piano, Event ALP Monitors, Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro, Too Many Plugins, My lucky hat.
    #10
    Beatmachinery
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/10 05:24:16 (permalink)
    I´ve been doing research and I´ve found that nowadays PCI Slots in modern Motherboards are bridged and could represent a problem regarding stability and performance of the soundcard and system.

    Having said that and reading all your post (which I really appreciate and I´ve learned a lot) I think I may go for the RyDAT card with two ADAT systems and mount them on a custom build rack.

    I´ve also read about a brand called MARIAN , and they make a card called SERAPH. I´ve read that their performance is extremely good and they offer a version with 8 analog outputs. Anybody knows the brand? Any experience? 

    So returning to the Mini PC idea , I could mount the PC with the ADATs too. Check this PC Mini ITX case: 
     

     
    My only concern is about the cooling and the noise comming from the CPU fan. Could this affect the Soundcard? Do you think this idea could be a succesfull one?
    post edited by Beatmachinery - 2017/11/10 05:45:26
    #11
    Jim Roseberry
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/10 15:04:41 (permalink)
    That case is nice and small (portability)... but that's about it on the positive size.
    • The CPU cooling would be terrible (undersized and loud).
    • PS would be weak, possibly loud, and may be proprietary.
    • Your PCIe audio interface would have to use a riser-card and mount horizontally. That's also a potential spot for trouble.

    Best Regards,

    Jim Roseberry
    jim@studiocat.com
    www.studiocat.com
    #12
    Beatmachinery
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/11 01:05:54 (permalink)
    Ps would be weak? what do you mean?
    #13
    SigiZ58
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/11 09:34:37 (permalink)
    PS= Power Supply
     
    I agree complete with Jim. such a min itx is fine if you do not Need power and a small cpu is enough, such as home media streaming applications. and even there you have to carefully choose the components to be convenient with your application.
     
     
    #14
    abacab
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/12 23:47:50 (permalink)
    If you are going to go with a rack for the ADAT and plan to rack the PC, why not go with a full size server rack case that can accommodate a standard ATX board, your PCIe expansions, and a decent power supply and cooling?
     

    Cakewalk: Sonar Platinum x64 2017-10; X3e; Dimension Pro; Rapture, Z3TA+2  Other: Akai VIP; AIR AIEP 3; BIAB; Ignite; Iris 2; SampleTank 3; SONiVOX; SynthMaster; Syntronik; VocalizerPro; Tracktion Waveform OS: Win10 Pro x64 1703 System: Homebuilt Asus; i3 3.4Ghz; 8GB DDR3; Intel HD Graphics; Dual Monitors; Samsung EVO 850 SSD, 250GB; WD 1.0TB 7200rpm; PCIe FireWire  Audio: M-Audio FW-410;  Controllers: A-300PRO; Alesis VX49; CME Xkey  Hardware: Roland JV880; JV1080; XP-30; Alesis QS-6; Casio CZ-1000; Mackie 1202
    #15
    timidi
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/13 02:05:10 (permalink)
    i'm don't think the 9652 is compatible with a 64 bit os.

    ASUS P8P67, i7-2600K, CORSAIR 16GB, HIS 5450, 3 Samsung SSD 850, Win7 64, RME AIO.
     
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    #16
    SigiZ58
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/13 10:45:24 (permalink)
    timidi
    i'm don't think the 9652 is compatible with a 64 bit os.


    The HDSP 9652  is, it is still sold by RME, the last driver (64 Bit) is from 9/2017
     
    The Digi9636/52 Hammerfall is not compatible to 64 Bit- I guess you mean this one.
     
     
    #17
    SigiZ58
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/13 10:49:53 (permalink)
    abacab
    If you are going to go with a rack for the ADAT and plan to rack the PC, why not go with a full size server rack case that can accommodate a standard ATX board, your PCIe expansions, and a decent power supply and cooling?
     




    This thought I had also.... it would protect the toslink connctions between card and Output-Devices also. 
    But it is not really compact anymore..... 
    #18
    timidi
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/13 13:29:11 (permalink)
    SigiZ58
    timidi
    i'm don't think the 9652 is compatible with a 64 bit os.


    The HDSP 9652  is, it is still sold by RME, the last driver (64 Bit) is from 9/2017
     
    The Digi9636/52 Hammerfall is not compatible to 64 Bit- I guess you mean this one.
     
     



    Yes, you are correct.

    ASUS P8P67, i7-2600K, CORSAIR 16GB, HIS 5450, 3 Samsung SSD 850, Win7 64, RME AIO.
     
    https://timbowman.bandcamp.com/releases
     
    #19
    patm300e
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    Re: PCIe Soundcard with 16 built in Outputs? 2017/11/13 14:06:13 (permalink)
    How about 18 X 18?  This is what I use:
    http://www.music-group.com/Categories/Behringer/Mixers/Digital-Mixers/XR18/p/P0BI8
    It is a digital mixer with incredible routing capabilities and also does 18 in x 18 out.  All on a single USB.
     
    Just a thought.  Then getting Sonar to work would be the limiting factor.  Look at my profile.  I am currently using an i3 desktop (an OLD one).  Since I do not do a lot of MIDI, it is fine...If you do a lot of MIDI, you may need more CPU...YMMV.
     

    SPLAT on a Home built i3 16 GB RAM 64-bit Windows 10 Home Premium 120GB SSD (OS) 2TB Data Drive.  Behringer XR-18 USB 2.0 Interface. FaderPort control.
    #20
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