Review of the
Tweak's Personal Choice of Audio Interfaces
I used to think it
was just my system that was the problem. Not so long ago, using what I thought was a good state of the art 8 channel soundcard, I was having trouble. I couldn't even get 10 seconds into a song before a dreaded alert "Asio Overload" would appear in Logic. I'd have to hit start, stop, over and over through the song before Logic "kicked in" and became stable. Then as my song got near completion, running with plugins on most tracks, the clicks and pops would arrive.
get a price on the Delta 1010 at zZounds
I'd be mixing down an analog mix to sound forge out of Logic and get sometimes all the way to the climax of the song, when all the instruments and tracks were pumping hard, and there it was. The glurp, the hiccup, the massive pop that made the entire mix unusable. Being the inventive type I am I learned to record the mix in fragments and assemble them later in sound forge. Many times I thought it was just my system, so I would read up on the net about optimizing settings for soundcards and I would work for hours making minor adjustments to .ini files, slot placement, irq setting and more. But the performance of this card, which will remain unnamed to protect the guilty, never got better.
The day my Delta 1010 arrived I opened up my computer, ripped out the so called "premium soundcard" and hurled it into the closet with glee. The Delta 1010 installed on my system without a hitch. I could run my old songs without an overload, and found I could add plugins to my heart's content. And softsynths. Instances of the EXS. Waves plugins. I started using my Delta on windows 98se and soon switched to Windows XP. Knowing I was on the bleeding edge of driver development the Delta drivers fell into click and pop-dom for a while, but within a few days there was a new driver on the midiman site and performance was improved. A month passed and there was another new driver and it improved again, bringing latency down to a 256 k buffer. Yet another driver update brought it down to 128, and I was able to get some results at a 64k buffer.
What have I run on my Delta? Logic Audio windows 4.7, 4.8.1, 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 (and hundreds of versions in between that I can't talk about). I have a highly automated system with Logic Control that puts LOTS of demands on the audio interface. I use Kontakt, FM7, EXS, Battery, Pro 52, Es1, Es2, EVP88, B4, and more. I use logic Compressor on nearly every audio track; I use Waves TrueVerbs in every song along with at leas 1 instance of the Wave's Ultramaximizer and often the C4 Multiband compressor. These are not "lite" plugins. I also use the Delta 1010 with Sonar, Cubase SX, Acid 4, Sound Forge 6, Reason and Vegas Video 3. And more.
The thing about the Delta 1010 is that I don't think about limits when I am in the creation stages of the song. I just use what I want to use. Near the end of the song I may have 16-20 softsynth/sampler instances, 20 midi tracks, plugins on everything including mastering plugins on the master outs. 4-8 software busses, eq's used lavishly and automation running not only on audio tracks, but on effects sends and returns and softsynth parameters. Then I might get an overload, a click or a pop. But this is at a point where they *should* occur, with the CPU maxed to it's last gasp. This is all on a 1.4 ghz Athlon, certainly nothing special by today's hardware standards. For me the Delta 1010 simply works. The constant troubleshooting that got in the way of making music no longer happens, and that makes me one happy tweakhead. :)
Cool Features I like
As a samplist, the delta 1010 is a great choice as it works at
any sample rate, including the odd rates like 36khz, 29 khz and 39.11 khz or whatever. You can take it up to 24bit 96khz if you want.
The outputs can take balanced or unbalanced cables, impedance can be set to -10 or +4 depending on your mixer. Running +4 balanced allows you to interface with professional mixing boards with minimal noise.
You get 8 analog ins and 8 analog outs, stereo s/pdif in and out, so that 10 in and 10 out al together (hence the name is "1010") and all the ins and outs can be used simultaneously. This allows enormous flexibility. Go mixerless if you want and connect synths and preamps directly to the 1010. Or connect to a large 8 bus board. Or configure it so out 1-2 is the master out and use the other 6 outs as busses to hardware signal processors.
The Delta 1010 has a midi port which is reliable and can be used for heavy synth work.
What I don't like about the Delta 1010
The switches on the back that switch from -10 to +4 can be noisy when you press them. Perhaps too much dust has gotten into them in my studio, but they sound like a dusty pan pot when switched. Fortunately, these are just set and forget switches. You only press them when reconfiguring your rig.
The documentation in the manual is onl fair. They could have been more specific about IRQs, disabling ACPI in windows, and about troubleshooting.
The bundled Logic Delta used to work only on Windows 98se, but now works on all Windows platforms.
Download info. This is a severely stripped down version of Logic. You should not get a Delta 1010 because "it includes Logic". It's just a teaser to get your feet wet. If you want to run Logic, get Logic Gold or Platinum 5.
As you see, the negative issues are minor.
What does the Delta 1010 lack that other interfaces have?
The Delta 1010 does not have mic preamps. You
cannot plug a mic, or a guitar, or a turntable directly to it without a preamp. You can connect any line level source, from professional processors to consumer hi fi equipment.
The Delta 1010 costs more than a consumer-level soundcard. A lot more. But it gives a lot more in results compared to a consumer soundcard. Quit thinking about tweaking your system. Just get an interface that lets you do your music.
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