An Audio Stream Input/Output (ASIO) driver can benefit anyone wanting to record music on a PC. Developed by Steinberg, the ASIO driver connects directly to the hardware, providing a high-fidelity and low-latency connection to the computer sound card. Musicians and sound engineers can process audio directly without needing external devices. Mac and Linux users do not need to use an ASIO driver, as their operating systems do not suffer from latency issues.
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The Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 2 sound card, enabled with Advanced Revolution 24-bit audio fidelity, with 192 kHz in stereo and 96 kHz in 5.1-channel surround, makes it the only card of its type for PCs. It has the most advanced sound quality of the Sound Blaster cards. Features include library search, automatic playlist volume matching and hiss removal for MP3s.
The Mia has 24-bit/96 kHz converters and 106 dB of dynamic range. Compatible with Windows 95 and later, and with Macintosh OS 8 and later, it works with most multitrack software. Features include capability to connect to other audio equipment, latency monitoring to almost zero, and the ability to play back more than one application at once.
The Motu 896mk3 audio interface supplies the user with 24-bit/192 kHz recording and playback on eight channels. It can connect to all studio equipment and audio software, on Macintosh and Windows. The 896mk3 comes equipped with effects including reverb, equaliser and two types of compression.
The M-Audio Audiophile 2496 24-bit/96 kHz sound adaptor has a simpler input/output configuration than other Delta cards. All computer systems and major software programs can use the Audiophile 2496. Included with the sound card is Ableton Live Lite software for producing music. Like all Delta cards, it contains a control panel that includes settings for clock and sample rates, buffer sizes, and signal levels for each input and output.
The SEK'D Siena's eight-channel, 24-bit/96 kHz interface has two MIDI ports for integrating analogue recording and digital sequencing. Suitable for Windows 95 and 98 users, the sound card has zero-latency monitoring and guarantees accurate sample and phase synchronisation when multiple cards are connected.
The Tascam US-428, a 24-bit/48 kHz USB sound card, has four audio channels. It comes with a custom version of Cubasis VST from Steinberg for recording and sequencing. The PC- and Macintosh-compatible sound card has controllers for EQ, aux and pan. Hardware features include buttons for mute/solo and locate, unlimited banks of eight faders, and 32 channels of MIDI input/output.
The Yamaha DSP Factory DS2416 provides eight tracks for recording and 16 for playback, with 32-bit fidelity plus 24 digital channels. For use on Windows 95 and 98 and Macintosh operating systems, the card operates using its own power source to improve performance. The DS2416 includes 12 reverb effects, 11 modulation types, two distortions, three dynamics types and 12 combination effects.
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