My last sound card related entry in this journal ended on a hopeful note. That was a lie sent to me by God to destroy my mind and soul. In the end it turned out that 12ms was the latency I could use without it clicking, which was about what I was getting on my Darla24 with WDM drivers. So then I decided to try the SPDIF from my Boss GT-6 to the Mia, hoping that digital audio would provide more awesome clarity and thereby justify keeping the Mia. Sure, about the same latency, same driver issues, but hey, SPDIF. I hooked it all up and not only was the sound quality not really significantly better in my opinion, but there were tiny little clicks recorded with the audio.
I had had just about enough clicking. I tried to isolate the problem, failed, decided to be done with all of this bullshit and return it. On Saturday I returned the card and found out I could only get store credit, which is something I had suspected. So I ask them to recommend me another card to try out and they suggest the Audiophile 2496. It was $50 cheaper, so I took a chance on it.
I brought it home, installed it. First of all, I noticed no real significant sound quality difference other than that the inputs seem much louder than the Darla's. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or what.
The ASIO drivers that come with it actually work, which is kind of cool. The on card MIDI port is emulated, which is something Cubase SX tells me is bad and wrong.
When Cubase loses sync on the Darla24, there's usually an audio dropout (click and silence) while it gets its bearings. On the Audiophile there's a harsh, very loud buzzing noise during this drop-out period. That is stupid and annoying.
So my hopefully final decision is to return the Audiophile and be happy with what I have until the next generation of cards that promise things like stability and general awesomeness come out.
In the end, I don't know how much of this is my fault and how much is the card's fault. My system is a pretty standard setup with not too much strangeness, but other people claim to be running happily with these cards. I also may be demanding a bit more than the average user, but there doesn't seem to be any higher-end option that isn't just the same thing but with more outputs and breakout boxes tacked on.
But whatever. I'm done with all this crap and am now trying to figure out what else to blow my $300 music store credit on.