Replacement for 1616m PCI MicroDock?

For all E-MU DAS Devices, including the 0404 PCI/PCIe, 1212M, PCI/PCIe 1616(M) CardBus/PCI/PCIe, 1820(M) and also Patchmix & E-MU PFX

Moderators: jc, Moderator

Sorrel
Forum Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:55 am

Replacement for 1616m PCI MicroDock?

Post by Sorrel » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:10 am

Despite the "resurrection" of E-Mu Support last year, I see no sign of actual life nor interest in customer retention, so I trust it won't be a violation of TOS to ask what would be a comparable replacement for my crippled 1616m PCI MicroDock? There are a number of candidates, but it seems none of them provide the sound quality and hardware/software versatility of the E-Mu product at a practical price.

My needs:
I use the one computer for a wide range of tasks, including listening to audio, audio recording, recording off my radio receiver (e.g. time-shifting), Photoshop, word processing, the works. The audio recording is mainly professional voiceover (using an excellent condenser mic) and Skype conversations (e.g., interviews and client input, using a headset (run through a battery box)). I also listen to and record/capture webinars and other audio streams, and I will soon be recording electric guitar and a MIDI keyboard, for songwriting. (My keyboard happens to be a USB MIDI interface, but who knows what other MIDI needs I might have), telephone interfacing (Source Connect or a phone patch), tape and vinyl A/D transcriptions (for my own archives), and radio commercial production. Not all at once, but as you see, a simple 2 in/2 out MBox would become clumsy (and has nothing resembling Patchmix).

Installing a second dedicated computer just for audio is not a viable option, because of the size of my workspace, the need for silence (my computer now is already located outside the room), long-established work habits, the way I mix and match tasks, and other reasons. (Incidentally, a dedicated computer would not solve the 1616 performance problem; I've tried it on a clean Win 7 install with no unrelated software present ... after a boot or two, not even a squeak heard by non-ASIO products.)

Oh, and I also use Patchmix effects to tailor my computer speaker output so that I can listen to the radio and computer audio at a consistent volume and good EQ, for example while listening to a multiple-participant webinar.

My 1616 history: I've been putting up with my crippled MicroDock for over a year. It always worked fine with XP Pro, then for 10 months worked equally well under Windows 7 Ultimate on the same computer. (I didn't even have to know what "ASIO" was.) Then one November day, any software that doesn't support ASIO (e.g., Skype, Audacity) was no longer heard Patchmix.

UPDATE JUNE 29, 2015:

I gave up updating the following list after the dates indicated. I did choose one of the products on my short list, but it may have turned out that such a high-end product was unnecessary. THERE'S A WAY TO RETAIN THE 1616'S DSP CAPABILITIES UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS! See my post on a much later page.




My short list (amended Apr 29, 2015):
  • OMG! I've completely forgotten about MOTU, Steinberg and maybe one or two others. Eg, MOTU UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid. Further edits likely, I hope.
  • Steinberg UR44 $300 Looks like the 1616, but has limited simultaneous outputs.
  • Steinberg UR824 $800 A huge jump in price for more operational headroom than I may ever need, but ...[/s] It's off the list, mainly because the software panel has no input strip for the computer's audio (aka Wave in E-Muspeak), hence cannot be processed. Also, recording skype requires jumping through a few hoops.
  • MOTU UltraLite-MK3 Hybrid FireWire/USB2 Audio Interface $549 On paper, seems an almost an exact replacement for 1616, but reviews at Amazon are mixed, and I've seen a lot of reports that MOTU's Windows drivers are not as stable as their Mac drivers. Driver troubles, I don't need. Also, its 2010 technology is by now equally old. But the Steinberg fell short (no computer audio in its FX control strips), so this is a candidate.
  • MOTU UltraLite-AVB Audio Interface $649 Very flexible routing of the signals, enough to be a bit confusing, but then, so was PatchMix. And the "grid" approach is ultimately easier to sort out. But this product was released only just in Feb 2015, and (as of Apr 29, 2015) is suffering from at least two known serious issues: Crashing that requires a computer reboot, and buggy (unworking) saving of configurations. There are some other relatively minor issues (Gate FX was giving me only distortion, but I've only begun to explore the FX, so that might have been temporary), and a number of additions/improvments I'd like -- especially a bunch of application-specific presets would be nice (e.g., Skype calls), and I hope they will eventually add the graphic analytic tools that the Mk3 includes (MOTU says it would at least be technically possible). But it works with Skype and TotalRecorder, which is more than I can say for PatchMix.
  • Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 $350 Seems to be a standard choice, but NO DSP. How does it compare to 1616m? Software? No DSP? I'm going to give the the MOTU AVB every chance, but if I were starting from scratch on this project, I'd go with Focusrite, if only because it's highly popular, I've never heard a complaint, and it's favored by a leading voice-recording tech consultant. Focusrite doesn't include DSP FX, but if listenability is the only reason for them, maybe there's a standalone multi-FX hardware to put between the Monitors output and the monitor amp. Haven't yet run across such a device for reasonable cost, though. UPDATE: In fact, there is, and it's called a 1616m MicroDock with Patchmix. See my June 29, 2015 post in this thread.
  • Focusrite Saffire PRO 24 Close, but few inputs? And does it have DSP FX?
  • Focusrite Saffire PRO 26 Preferable to the Pro 24, because this has more I/O. A 2009 review states "can't be used with Pro Tools" but Focusrite's site says it is, using included add-ins (great, more "add-ins"). BUT -- and this IS current: "NO DSP EFFECTS". For DSP Effects, see next item.
  • Focusrite Saffire PRO 26 DSP Works with FW 400 (1394a is what my computer has), supports PT, has DSP effects, I/O comparable to the MicroDock -- seemingly everything, but ..... IS APPARENTLY DISCONTINUED. RETAILERS REPORT "NO LONGER IN STOCK." (SIGH...)
  • Behringer U-PHORIA UMC1820 NOT ON THE MARKET YET
  • Behringer FCA1616 How does this differ functionally from the UMC1820? No DSP? No real-time FX?
  • Behringer XR18 X Air It was back on my shortlist for a while. But (written Apr 29 3015) it's not fully finished -- doesn't even have a User's Manual or specs available -- and some of its features are yet to be released. Also, it has a fan, which Behringer says is audible (probably not appropriate for an vocal booth). But very expensive and more I/O than even I need. (Smaller versions of this are not computer Audio Interfaces.)
  • Mackie Onyx 820i $450 (But I'm not thrilled with the form factor, and don't need a field console. Realtime FX=EQ only.)
    Maybe ... Universal Audio Apollo Twin (DUO?) (But Mac-only? Patchmix-like software, but expensive and limited I/O?)
  • TASCAM US-16x08 (Or would Pro Tools and Neumann snicker at this?)
  • Apogee (etc.) -- way out of my price universe
My wishlist specs and notes are as follows, in case they're of help to others. (But please verify anything here for yourself. I'm not an expert and there might be typos or misunderstandings.)

========================================================
DESIRED SPECS (at least):
========================================================

MANDATORIES
  • 24-bit/48kHz (although I usually record voice at 44.1 due to client preference)
    2 Neumann-worthy XLR mic inputs (48v)
    2 guitar inputs (can double as mic inputs)
    2 line inputs
    SPDIF I/O
    Compatible with EVERYTHING on a PC without changing system audio settings: Audacity (WAVE), Skype (WAVE), Pro Tools (ASIO), TotalRecorder, GoToMeeting, etc.
    Real-time (DSP?) effects (compression, EQ, reverb, at least) without having to involve a DAW (in other words, I want Patchmix-like FX)
DESIRABLES: (Currently no need, but would like them for possible future use):
  • Phono pre-amp (although an external phono preamp will do, if not too pricey)
    Optical I/O
    At least 96kHz
    Midi I/O (yes, I know the MIDI trend is to USB, but who knows what retro equipment I might want to use?)
    Non-Firewire (I have FW, but am concerned about future computer), Non Thunderbolt (current computer doesn't have it)
=======================================
PRODUCT NOTES (amended Apr 15, 2015) :
=======================================

(ALSO SEE UPDATED COMMENTS ABOVE)

MOTU UltraLite-MK3 Hybrid FireWire/USB
Pro:
  • Spec-wise, equal or better than 1616
  • DSP FX, and they can be routed to DAW
  • Versatile connection
  • Excellent relationship with my retailer
  • Graphical audio analysis tools included
  • Comparable qty of I/O
Con:
  • Reviews at Amazon are mixed, mainly problems with setup and Windows stability. Have seen reports that MOTU's Windows drivers are not as stable as their Mac drivers.
  • Pre-amp quality?
  • Only two mics in
  • a 2010 product
  • Pricey, considering
MOTU UltraLite AVB
Pro:
  • Spec-wise, equal or better than 1616
  • DSP FX, and they can be routed to DAW
  • Versatile connection, based on a grid
  • Excellent relationship with my retailer
  • Saving of setups is infinite, assuming they get the feature working at all
  • Comparable qty of I/O
  • Separate jacks for Hi-Z (guitar) inputs
  • EQ is 4-channel
Con:
  • Reviews at Amazon are mixed, mainly problems with setup and Windows stability. Have seen reports that MOTU's Windows drivers are not as stable as their Mac drivers. I don't know about Mac, but see below.
  • Buggy (as of Apr 29, 2015): crashes requiring a computer reboot. Process for saving setups is broken. (MOTU says they should have these fixed soon. When it works, setup-saving will be infinite and probably as quick as in Patchmix.)
  • Considering the routing flexibility, a wide variety of specific setups would be nice
  • Routing/Mixing interface is browser-based. This is both a plus and a minus. The minus is that it's only as stable as your browser, switching between views is a little slow, and it takes a lot of monitor real estate even when unused lines are hidden. The plus is that any browser-capable wi-fi device or computer can run it, and it's easily resizable (unlike Patchmix).
  • Only two mics in, and they are not combo jacks. If your mic has a 1/4" TR connector (looks like a guitar cord), you'll need an adapter. I've used a simple jack-to-plug cable but MOTU says they expect people to use a Direct (DI) Box.
  • No guitar FX. No De-esser as such.
  • No graphical audio analysis tools (MOTU says technically they could add them ... but no promises)
  • Pricey


Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 $350
Pro:
  • Time-tested
  • Basic functionality
  • value priced
Con:
  • No DSP
  • More mic inputs than I need
  • A pair fewer line inputs than I'd like
  • A pair fewer line (monitor) outputs than I'd like
  • No optical I/O (I have no optical component currently, but...)
Focusrite Saffire PRO 24 or 26 $300/350
Pro:
  • 2 mic inputs, 6 line out (Pro 24)
  • Firewire (which is not a plus, but at least my computers have it.)
    * "All Focusrite FireWire interfaces compatible with Thunderbolt using a simple FireWire to Thunderbolt adapter."
  • MIDI I/O, SPDIF I/O, Optical in (but not out?)
  • Long history, respected mfr
  • PatchMix-like effects (not requiring DAW involvement)? .... "built-in DSP mixer ... route inputs and outputs however you see fit. loop-back function".
  • "Compression, reverb, gating, and EQ plug-ins work inside VST- and AU-compatible DAWs."
Con:
  • A 2009 review says, "can't be used with Pro Tools." Why not, and is that still the case? (Deal killer)
  • Firewire (future compatibility?)
  • Only 2 (1 pr) line in
  • Pricey for its age and future prospects
  • Apparently I can route I/O using DSP (not using a DAW), but can I similarly use FX, as with PatchMix?
Behringer U-PHORIA UMC1820 (HD?) $200
Pro:
  • Behringer product, Midas pre-amps
  • 4 pr playback out + 1 pr Main out (although specs say "4 inputs and 4 outputs)
  • 8 mic/instrument XLR/TRS inputs (only 4 are 48V? But 4 is sufficient)
  • MIDI I/O
  • Low cost
  • Simultaneous use of all signals
  • Most line inputs are in rear
  • ADAT SPDIF + 1 pr SPDIF
Con:
  • Not on the market yet (Sweetwater will take an order, but doesn't know delivery date)
  • No DSP?
  • No Windows and/or ASIO driver? ???????? (What does "class compliant" mean?)
  • The only Line inputs are the 4 mic/instrument inputs (2 mics leave net 1 pr Line inputs)
  • No Patchmix-like EFX software? (Looks like this is the only deal-killer?)
  • Free audio recording, editing and podcasting software,
  • Plus 150 instrument / effect plug-ins (free? Comparable to Patchmix FX?)
  • Why so low-priced? Not that I'm complaining, but am I overlooking something?
Behringer FCA1616 $250
Pro:
  • Behringer product, 4 Midas pre-amps
  • Gobs of mic/instr and Line In (4 Midas preamps)
  • MIDI I/O
  • Option of using Firewire or USB
  • Low cost
  • Simultaneous use of all signals
  • Most line inputs are in rear
  • Coaxial and optical S/PDIF I/O ports
  • Includes Tracktion 4 plus 150 free plug-ins (which means, what?)
Con:
  • No Windows and/or ASIO driver? ???????? (A retailer says all in this category support ASIO, but might not mention it in specs. So?
  • (What does "class compliant" mean? Is it relevant)
  • The only Line inputs are the 4 mic/instrument inputs (2 mics leave net 1 pr Line inputs)
  • Does the free software include Patchmix-like EFX?
  • No onboard DSP mixing?
  • Is this significantly different from the U-Phoria? Is the FCA1616 on its way out?
  • Headphone volume simultaneously controls line-out volume (or so I'm told)
  • Behringer rep (very kindly and timely response, BTW) says it's probably not all that I'm seeking
Behringer XR18 X Air $700
Pro:
  • Good pedigree, well reviewed
  • Is an A/D Interface
  • Has processing comparable to MicroDock?
  • Has software comparable to MicroDock?
  • Is available now.
Con:
  • Not yet finished (April 2015). Doesn't even have a User's Manual yet!
  • Has a fan
  • I/O overkill!
  • Very expensive
  • Has DSP effects, but the FX don't go into the DAW (then again, I'm not sure Patchmix FX do, either?)
Mackie Onyx 820i $450
Pro:
  • 3 mic/line inputs + 2 line inputs
  • Send and Return
  • Main out + Studio out
  • Tape I/O
  • Talkback controls (although not needed here)
  • Robust routing capabilities?
  • Routing via cables, not confusing software?
Con:
  • Firewire connection (a future limitation?)
  • No Patchmix-like software (inputs panel has EQs but no compression)
  • Need a bunch of cables?
  • Pricey
  • Console form factor, requires desk space and access from above (or a rack mount?)
TASCAM US-16x08 $300
Pro:
  • Lots of I/O, including MIDI
  • DSP
  • 4-band DSP equalizer and compression on each input channel (does this mean each channel can be separately processed, a la Patchmix?)

Con:
  • Since days of reel-to-reel tape, I've considered TASCAM as "semi-pro" not truly professional grade stuff. That may have changed, or may be irrelevant, and it's also TEAC, which was a professional name back when. But I've never heard TASCAM mentioned as a professional voice recording option worthy of a high-end condenser mic. More importantly, some reviews are less than glowing with regard to quality and dependability.

========================================================
I've ruled these out
========================================================

Steinberg UR44
Pro:
  • Good build, good preamps
  • DSP FX, with can be routed to DAW. I think. Note this user review, which I don't fully understand, but it sounds like PatchMix FX -- I would never have expected to adjust or remove a PatchMix effect once it's been recorded: "I've been unable to get the plugins to be recognized in my DAWs. I think it's that the hosts don't recognize VST3 plugins. I'm not even sure they work because I don't have a host that supports VST3. But if you do it should work. The DSP FX work fine however and I can monitor or record with any of the effects applied through the included dspMixFx software. I just can't use the effects as a plugin in my host. So no editing of effects or automation after recording. Again this is something that as far as I know is host side, and could be fixed if the hosts supported VST3."
  • iPad compatible with camera adapter (only iPad? I'm not planning to get one, but have an old notebook and a cheapie tablet that supposedly has "iPad mode")
  • "compatible with all major audio editing, mastering, and music production software supporting ASIO, Core Audio, or WDM standard"
  • Has MIDI
Con:
  • See UR824 below?
  • No SPDIF
  • Not all line-out pairs can be used simultaneously?
  • Main Out is same signal as Line Out 1/2. Does main volume knob affect 1/2?
  • Integrates well with Cubase (stands to reason), but how about with Pro Tools?
  • DSP FX, with can be routed to DAW for recording or to just the interface. FX can be replicated in DAW by using free included FX add-in.
    But an Amazon user states: "the dsp is so so for what it is. not top shelf. it only lets you out put to 2 redundant mixes and one alt mix." Not sure what that means?
  • Pre-amp quality?
  • No digital ins and outs for expansion, so is limited the box's analog I/O and even though 6 output jacks, there are only 2 sets of stereo outs for the integrated mixer. (The Main Out parrots Line 1/2.) My take from this: What other spec compromises lurk? Does this mean only 2 stereo channels into a DAW, compared with Patchmix being able to send dozens?
  • Must be USB 2, not USB 3 (not important to me)
    Not bus-powered. Not a problem for me, as I don't need portability, and even my lowly mBox requires a powered USB hub to run.
Steinberg UR824
Pro:
  • Good build, good preamps
  • Highly expandable, not that I will ever need so much
  • DSP FX, as above, with can be routed to DAW for recording or to just the interface. FX can be replicated in DAW by using free included FX add-in.
  • iPad compatible with camera adapter (only iPad? I'm not planning to get one, but have an old notebook and a cheapie tablet that supposedly has "iPad mode")
  • "compatible with all major audio editing, mastering, and music production software supporting ASIO, Core Audio, or WDM standard"
Con:
  • No Computer audio on the control board, so computer's own audio cannot be processed (deal killer)
  • Recording Skype in TotalRecorder is awkward, not perfect
  • Once (only once) their control board software froze (did not require a reboot, just reloading).
  • Only 20 scenes savable (a minor point, but the MicroDock could save an infinite number of set up configurations, as separate files.)
  • No SPDIF -- I currently have no need for it, but will I?
  • No MIDI - If I get a MIDI to USB adapter, will DAWs accept input from the UR824 and MIDI device simultaneously? Or is it like connecting two different unrelated audio interfaces -- you can use one or the other, not both? Is there any advantage to routing MIDI through the interface?
  • Integrates well with Cubase (stands to reason), but how about with Pro Tools?
  • Half the user's manual deals with integrated screens within Cubase. If Cubase adds capabilities I'm missing without it, they're lost on me.
  • Not bus-powered. (see thoughts above, but this isn't a problem for me.)
Universal Audio Apollo Twin DUO
Pro:
  • Very well reviewed, Excellent Pedigree (including reportedly some E-Mu personnel)
  • Includes software/processing comparable to MicroDock/Patchmix ?
Con:
  • Mac or Thunderbird only (I have neither.)
  • Relatively Limited I/O
  • Too expensive
Behringer U-Phoria UMC204
Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD
Pro:
  • Behringer product
  • 2 pr playback out + 1 pr Main out
  • 1 pr Inserts
  • MIDI I/O
Con:
  • The only Line inputs are the mic/instrument inputs (2 mics leave net zero Line inputs)
  • HD version not released yet
  • No realtime DSP Fx
Behringer U-PHORIA UMC404
Behringer U-PHORIA UMC404HD $150
Pro:
  • Behringer product, Midas pre-amp
  • 2 pr playback out + 1 pr Main out (although specs say "4 inputs and 4 outputs)
  • 4 mic/instrument XLR/TRS inputs
  • MIDI I/O
  • Low cost
Con:
  • The only Line inputs are the 4 mic/instrument inputs (2 mics leave net 1 pr Line inputs)
  • No DSP realtime FX
  • Behringer rep (very kindly and timely response, BTW) says it's probably not all that I'm seeking. Due in June.
Behringer XR12 X Air $700
Pro:
  • Excellent sound quality (say reviewers)
  • Full range of I/O options
Con:
  • Vaporware? (not available, keeps being postponed)
  • Is NOT an A/D mic/computer interface, says Behringer. It's a recorder intended for stage use.
  • For an interface, you need the XR18 X Air, which has a good range of software and EFX, but is $700 and the I/O is extreme overkill compared to the 1616M.
Avid/MBox
  • Limited I/O for the price, limited software & EFX. AVID support. Nuff said.
PreSonus AudioBox 44VSL
Pro:
  • 4 Mic inputs (doubling 2 + 2 as Instrument and Line inputs)
  • 1 pr Main out + 2 pr Line out
  • MIDI input
  • 24/96
Con:
  • Only two line inputs (doubled as mic inputs)
  • Phone output is in rear (minor issue)
  • Software? (A review says it's confusing to setup. What does it consist of?)
  • Compatibility?
  • Temperamental USB port requirement, doesn't like USB 3, latency issues?
Akai Professional EIE $200
  • only 44.1/16 resolution
  • NO
[/color]
Last edited by Sorrel on Tue Jun 30, 2015 2:58 am, edited 22 times in total.

User avatar
jmail
Master of the Universe
Master of the Universe
Posts: 10586
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 10:34 am
Location: Who?

Re: Replacement for 1616m PCI MicroDock?

Post by jmail » Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:56 am

I include the Sweetwater store link here, 'cause they seem to have a slightly better price than anyone else at the moment, but only by like 5 US bux, so proceed with a little further investigation, and you might be able to find better:
Tascam US-1200 - almost fits your specs exactly... but not quite.

I tend to shy away from firewire anymore, and just like PCI, it is becoming "extinct". However, let me ask you this: Have you made any hardware "updates" to your computer recently, just before it quit working with Windows audio, such as added more RAM? Do you have over 3 gig of RAM in it now? If so, see Q/A 43 in the site's Combined E-MU FAQs Section. There's a few notes in there concerning the "modern" computer and the "legacy" PCI hardware and their associated "drivers" and "software" issues. May not seem to make much sense, when you get right down to it, but "power-savings" stuff in the BIOS / UEFI "kill" all things "legacy"...

And while it may not be as important as it was in the early days of Vista, be sure and read Q/A 38 about changing sample rates in the "modern" OS. It's important that you have the "Default Device..." correctly chosen in the Windows' Sound applet in Control Panel, and in all the software, -AND- that you have a matching sample rate (ie: 44.1kHz or 48kHz or whatever) -AND- matching sample rate (except in PatchMix, which always "feeds" 24-bit) in Windows and the software, such as 16-bit if listening to CD music or videos, or 24-bit if you're doing mixing or whatever...

Be sure also to run the IRQ table and make sure that you're not butting heads on an IRQ line with something of importance. "Run" msinfo32 and see what it says. Also, it's not beyond the realms of things, for the 1616 MicroDock to have the same and / or similar issues as the 1820 AudioDock did with the caps. Just that it doesn't happen as often, nor as severely, but look over Q/A 49 in the same FAQs for at least one that did. If you want to continue to use the 1010 card as your "dongle" for the EMU FX (especially since it holds the DSP chip), you'd probably want to either get the MicroDock functioning correctly, or see if you can find either a PCI or PCIe version of a 1212M card to use instead... Or go USB2 audio.

Sorrel
Forum Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:55 am

Re: Replacement for 1616m PCI MicroDock?

Post by Sorrel » Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:10 am

Thanks. It's going to be a while before I can run through all that (or even digest it), so for the moment I'm posting just to thank you for your prompt response. The 1616 stopped working right in Nov 2013. I had been running Win 7 since Jan 2013 and had successfully used Skype over the summer (For awhile I thought maybe my own memory had failed, but I can confirm Skype and Audacity worked because I have a recorded Skype call from that summer and Audacity sessions from Sept/Oct.) Sometime, probably in late Oct, I updated Audacity, which was the only "upgrade" I can recall or noted at the time. I was running 8 gig memory (4 sticks) until spring 2014, when I upgraded to 16G. I put the 8 gig sticks into a virtually identical computer (having learned the hard way that having backup parts is not the same as having a backup computer). On clean installs of Windows 7 on both boxes (two separate authorized versions, of course), and installing only the bare essential Windows updates and software, one of them (probably the 8 gig one) worked okay for one session. Then on reboot, nada, except for extremely low-volume scratchy audio. And a reboot or two later, nothing. (I wish I had copious lab notes on all this, but that soon becomes mentally impossible.) So I fully updated Windows on both computers, installed my other software and went on with life.

Before getting the 1616 in 2011 or so, I had the 1212 interface, and am (IIRC) using that with the 1616m PCI (minus of course its daughter card that has the ports). Because the computer is on the other side of a soundproof door, the Ethernet cable is a bit on the long side. Offhand I don't recall if it's the authorized one that came with it, but probably 10 feet. Maybe 15 ft, not sure. In any case I've never had any problem with either until that November. So I doubt it's a matter of cable length, and if it's due to failed capacitors, why would ASIO and speaker sound, etc. still be working okay?

I generally have everything standardized at 24-bit/44.1, if only because that the minimum acceptable for my needs, and Pro Tools has a tantrum if I change it without exiting and relaunching PT. That's sufficient fidelity for most professional voiceover ("broadcast quality").

Incidentally, I tried using a contributionware utility called ASIO Bridge, and it "solved" the problem. But its operation (or performance) seemed inconsistent, the interface confusing, documentation scanty, was not recognized by all non-ASIO software (e.g., TotalRecorder), and I was constantly having to change the Windows Sound recording/playback driver from task to task. I finally uninstalled it.

A Pro Tools tech rep recently reinstalled the later PCI driver (the most recent PCI driver), over the beta driver (which is my usual driver), and for that one session, I got full-volume non-ASIO sound in Skype, etc., but it was so stuttery as to be unintelligible. I unintsalled the "wrong" driver and again running the beta.

That's all I know so far. Time for me to read further and start learning.

HOWEVER -- Nothing lasts forever, and I've grown tired of explaining to audio pros why I can't use my system. I also have a renewed need to make 2-channel client interviews with Skype, etc., so whatever 1616 solution there might be, my original inquiry as to a suitable replacement still stands. I need to focus on work and have a reliable, efficient workstation ASAP. If later I get the MicroDock working again, I can use it on that other computer or as backup.

Sorrel
Forum Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:55 am

Re: Replacement for 1616m PCI MicroDock?

Post by Sorrel » Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:30 am

However however -- it occurs to me that I may be a bit optimistic in expecting the E-Mu community to be conversant with comparable replacements from other manufacturers. After all, many of the people here don't need to know other products if their E-Mu product is working well. (Or if they're focused on fixing it.) Thing is, people who are familiar with other products don't know the tidy, powerful unit that I'm trying so desperately to retain. Some have even recommended I get a simple mBox. (sigh) So please pardon if I appear to presume too much.

User avatar
jmail
Master of the Universe
Master of the Universe
Posts: 10586
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 10:34 am
Location: Who?

Re: Replacement for 1616m PCI MicroDock?

Post by jmail » Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:50 pm

I would "search" on all the shopping sites for audio interfaces (www.musiciansfriend.com www.guitarcenter.com www.sweetwater.com www.zzounds.com www.music123.com www.samash.com etc.), and find the audio cards that are close to what you want/need, and read the user reviews (with a grain of salt) , and see if you can get an idea of which way to go with a new interface. The Focusrite ones are good, though be sure and read about issues that some have. They have a big selection. Likewise with the M-Audio line. Some of the interfaces are still the same interface they were years ago, some still have drivers very similar to the E-MU DAS Device Line, in that they do not work well in the computers with more RAM. Most of those "legacy" devices are gone, but not all. I pointed you to the Tascam US-1200 in the post above, since it's very close to what you mention, and is relatively new. Any text in a post (usually) that is colored light blue (lighter than your "HOWEVER --" above) and underlined, is usually a link, so just click on those links and "surf" to the other pages for further reading, or right-click and "open in new tab". Those Q/A thingies point to where someone a couple years ago wrote in asking similar questions, and we've discussed "solutions". Sometimes, that "solution" involved leaving the E-MU behind.

Your idea of having a primary computer with a newer, fully functional audio interface, and a "backup" computer with a properly set-up E-MU 1616M is good. The E-MU will work in most computers with over 3.4 gig of RAM, it's just that you have to disable certain settings in the BIOS of the computer to where the cpu and ram are "always on", and make certain that Windows itself is set-up the same way. Then, and usually only then, will the Windows audio not stutter and hiccup on you. In addition, even with the newer hardware in the newer computers and OSes, the settings for the hardware and the software have to really match-up correctly, which really hasn't changed much since 1998 when I first started in with a Guillemot ISIS audio interface and Windows 95. You can still "crash" the audio stream all too easily, especially with "legacy" audio hardware that doesn't know what anything above say DX9 is in Windows... I'd say the main issue with your 1616M is just that, in that if you disable the C1E, EIST & HPET in the BIOS (if your computer happens to have those, or similar), then the computer will quit "throttling the speed", and/or "parking the cores", and the E-MU then works much better. The 1616 was made before MS decided it'd be nice to have a device "wake-up" the computer BEFORE is tried to use it, instead of AS it was trying to, and having Windows do it itself. Which, as you've discovered (as did a bunch of us), that it doesn't "work", at all... Ask more questions...

User avatar
TwoRox
Forum Genius
Forum Genius
Posts: 4364
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 9:13 am
Skype Handle: david.sundancer
Location: 3rd Sun from the TwoRocks
Contact:

Re: Replacement for 1616m PCI MicroDock?

Post by TwoRox » Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:33 pm

Sorrel, if you can hold off on the shopping for a new audio interface for mayhaps another week or two, I'm going to give some WDM apps like Skype and Audacity a spin on my new DAW with my 1616m.

As we have very similar DAWs, if I can get those to work for me, that might indicate that it's possible to get your 1616m working with wave apps, as well. Then you can enjoy the 1616m converters' (and preamps' etc) "goodness" for a few years longer... 8)

I'll be away from my DAW over the Easter weekend, but the weekend after that it looks like I might have time to do some serious WDM testing...

Stay tuned! :)

Sorrel
Forum Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:55 am

Re: Replacement for 1616m PCI MicroDock?

Post by Sorrel » Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:07 pm

Thanks! I'll keep poking around as well. But on re-reading your message, I'm concerned that "wave DAW" compatibility is not the only issue I face. If it turns out that other programs besides DAWs will hear Patchmix, that would be the charm.

Am only just beginning to understand the terminology of what I'm looking at/for. For example, the concept of no-lag "direct monitoring" I understand, and because I'm recording my own voice, that's essential. But the workings of "real time effects" has been refusing to stay put in my mind. I've finally resorted to telling people, "I want to hear basic effects, without having to involve a DAW."

Another thought occurred to me today: If E-Mu engineers have indeed migrated to Universal Audio, maybe the thing to do is to contact UA and ask them what's filling that space. Except that I suppose if the answer is from UA, it would cost $2,000. The Apollo Twin DUO does sound sweet, but it seems basically a classy mBox with PatchMix FX thrown in.

At this point, I've upped my budget to $999, because all this research, trials and shopping is costing me time and even prospective clients. I need to record interviews on SKYPE with no hassle or distractions, and then get an audio-processed VO audition out in a matter of minutes.

User avatar
TwoRox
Forum Genius
Forum Genius
Posts: 4364
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 9:13 am
Skype Handle: david.sundancer
Location: 3rd Sun from the TwoRocks
Contact:

Re: Replacement for 1616m PCI MicroDock?

Post by TwoRox » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:52 pm

Sorrel wrote:If it turns out that other programs besides DAWs will hear Patchmix, that would be the charm.

I'll do some playing around with simple things like Windows's own audio recorder (if it still exists in Windows 7 - no idea....) to see what happens, also Audacity, because that's a really quick check.

I'll hook up my very nice Rode NT2-A to my microdock, do some fiddling with PatchMix (I'm still such a noob in that regard!) and see where I can "direct" the output, once I see something on the input meters... :)
Another thought occurred to me today: If E-Mu engineers have indeed migrated to Universal Audio, maybe the thing to do is to contact UA and ask them what's filling that space.
Oh, I was unaware of that! I know that the chief hardware engineer for the E-MU audio interfaces worked at Apogee before joining E-MU (so certainly not a company to "scoff at", either), but migration to UA is news to me. Good to know (if it's true)!
Except that I suppose if the answer is from UA, it would cost $2,000. The Apollo Twin DUO does sound sweet, but it seems basically a classy mBox with PatchMix FX thrown in.
I had done some "window shopping" myself when I was not so certain of the future of my 1212m / 1616m PCI setup, and the one I have my eye on in the $2000 ball park is RME's Fireface UFX. That thing kicks the "collective a$$es" of all other companies in that market segment in that price range at the moment -- at least in my book.

I'm happy to share more as to why that interface is so great, but for now I'm in the middle of prepping my (fun) Easter weekend... 8)
I need to record interviews on SKYPE with no hassle or distractions, and then get an audio-processed VO audition out in a matter of minutes.
Yeah, I want to be able to use the same mic (my NT2-A) for everything, without any "rewiring", or some other complicated stuff, like hooking up an el-cheapo headset to the onboard audio, just to be able to do Skype calls (and at much lower quality, at that).

Okay, gotta go!

Have yourselves a wonderful Easter Weekend, and I'll report back here around Wednesday next week!

Cheerio! :D

Sorrel
Forum Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:55 am

Re: Replacement for 1616m PCI MicroDock?

Post by Sorrel » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:49 am

Okay, have a good weekend. For when you're back, and meanwhile maybe of interest to others,
  • hooking up an el-cheapo headset to the onboard audio
A few years ago, I wanted to hook up a cheap but effective headset mic (e.g. Radio Shack's $35 VoiceStar), to the MicroDock mic input. It was unsuccessful, until a design engineer deep in the bowels of Plantronic clued me in to the fact that telephone and computer headset mics are electrets. They require some power from the connection (like phantom power, I suppose, but different?). A computer mic input or a phone input will supply it, but the MicroDock or an ordinary tape recorder will not. Solution: A "battery box" such as the APS-100 Auxiliary Power Supply by Andrea, about $16. (I see it for sale at online venders, and at http://shop.andreaelectronics.com/aps-1 ... er-supply/.)

I removed the mic from the headset (and slathered its tiny little circuit board with "liquid electric tape", added a second cable to my studio headphones (replacing their heavy, cumbersome coiled cable while I was at it), and velcroed the mic to the headset. Have used this convenient, totally professional setup with Skype for years, no special settings required, running the audio into Total Recorder (its "software" mode) which puts me on one channel, the caller on the other. Bingo, client input interviews work like a charm. Or did. Now, nada.

I've resorted to using a cheapo USB headset for Skype calls, but whichever combination of speaker and mic drivers and input settings, etc. I choose, there's always something missing the recording. Maybe if I were to put the USB's earpiece on one hear, the studio can on the other ear, and .... no that's where I draw the line! :? I used to know nothing about this stuff. Now I know just enough for it (and me) to be annoying, and it's a perpetual nightmare.

I guess that's why we all need holidays.

PS: A tip -- if you try the mic adaptation, you'll need to be reasonably handy and gentle with each step, and don't use epoxy to secure the little circuit board ... its heat while curing will fry the electronics. (I filled the cavity with silicone glue.) And, considering the cost of your time, the headset, battery box, batteries, two headphone extension cables, 3.5/2.5 mm and 1/4" adapters, splitters (etc), velcro and such, you might be better off getting an actual standalone boom mic. But what's the fun in that?

Sorrel
Forum Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:55 am

Total Recorder

Post by Sorrel » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:10 am

By the way, I've often mentioned Total Recorder. It's one of the programs that can't hear system audio except if I set its input to "software". Published by High Criteria (http://TotalRecorder.com). Their Support says that it should work fine with Patchmix if I follow E-Mu's instructions for setting up 1616 with Skype. Until the Great Failure, for years it worked great.

Over the years I've found it a fantastic utility. Not expensive, and it does a number of things that would be mucho clunky with a DAW program, and silly to try with things like Windows Recorder.

I'll leave it to their website to tout all its capabilities, but these are the ones key to me:
  • Record Skype calls (including SkypeOut calls to landlines). I can even put myself on one channel, the caller on the other. (This works for telephony only.)
  • Capture Webinar A/V. I upgraded to their video pro version in order to do this. Still a low cost.
  • Record any computer audio. Open the program, click the record button, and you're recording.
  • Basic processing of the file or selection: Normalize, fade in/out. Handy for cleaning things up.
  • Chop up files, process based on silences, etc., handy for transcribing vinyl.
  • Convert to mp3, mp4, etc. It supports a wide range of audio and video formats.
And, something I wish Microsoft would have done decades ago, it lets you copy its error messages to Clipboard. Not that I ever get one unless I try, but for example, I just tried switching from its Kernel-mode filter driver to its Kernel-mode virtual driver, and got this (probably not significant, but sounds familiar): "Unexpected multimedia error 4 in the "waveInOpen" function (The specified device is already in use. Wait until it is free, and then try again.), 141:08:38.984 after system load"

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests