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Echo Audio MIA Soundcard Review - PAGE 1

- Wednesday, October 24th, 2001 Like Share

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ca_mike Oct 29, 01
It's good to see reviews of quality sound (er, audio) cards finally appearing outside of the specialist musician sites; there are alternatives to cards biased toward gamers.

I do have several concerns about the review:
a) Who is the intended/best user of this product? For instance, people familiar with consumer audio gear may not know what a 'balanced' input is and why it should it matter.
b) What was the test setup? I gather from the review that a microphone and mic preamp were connected to the card in order to record from the guitar. More details please.
c) Driver maturity issues were glossed over - this is inexcusable! Serious audio applications deserve to run on a stable platform (NT/Win2K). Unfortunately, most audio cards have a similar limitation. FYI the only vendor I've found that seems to have good Win2K drivers is M-Audio.

IMHO when the Win2K drivers for this card get better it should be on the short list for anyone with a small/home recording studio.

I'd like to suggest that Mr. Doe also review the M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496; I've found it to be a great interface to consumer audio gear that has unbalanced outputs. Transcribing (copying) from LPs, cassette and reel-to-reel tape is my first successful application of it.

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John Doe Nov 1, 01

To answer your questions:

a) The best purpose for the Echo Audio MIA is either for small home studio use OR for intense audiophiles (probably not the super intense audiophiles though -- the ones that own $10k turn tables).

This card isn't intended for (although, I suppose could still be used for) gaming. If I recall, there are only DirectSound drivers for Win98 and on top of that, few are able to make use of the 1/4" I/O (however, the S/PDIF could be used with some good quality stereos).

b) For testing I used my standard equiptment: a Mackie 1202 VLZ Pro 12 channel mixer (which has excellent preamps) a BOSS GT-5 FX processor (soon to be replaced with the GT-6), and an Audio Technica ATM27HE dynamic mic (can you tell I come from the live performance world? ).

You are very much correct that this should have beenmentioned in the review. As this one is the first, there is still much to nail down. I really appreciate the input.

c) My feelings on this point are mixed. As much as I dislike working in Windows 98/ME, it still is the best PC OS for audio recording (I will be giving Windows XP a go pretty soon). There seems to be more issues with WDM drivers and generally higher latencies in Windows 2000 (although, as an OS, I prefer Win2k many times over).

At the end of the day though, it is _choice_ that plays a role in a successful product. In this case, choice over which OS / software you are able to use and I fully support the end user being given this freedom.

There are two points that I neglected to mention in the review:

1) Echo Audio's ASIO drivers have really low latencies, which is important to Cubase, Reaktor etc... users

2) Echo Audio is one of the very few companies that will not release driver development kits to open source developers. Since there are no "official" Linux drivers, opensource drivers would be the only option. Who knows maybe Echo Audio is planning on making their own Linux drivers. Whatever the case is though, none of thier cards can be used in *nix environments.

As for you last point, my main audio card (for personal use) is the M-Audio Delta 44 and before that I used the DMAN 2044. You just can't beat M-Audio's price/performance ratio. Their AD/DA convertors aren't the best, but they blow away most of the competition in the price range. I'll see if we can get the Audiophile 24/96 to give that a shot.

Thanks for the input and I am glad you (for the most part) enjoy the review
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larry tjoelker Dec 1, 02
In a previous response, the author mentions M-audio's Audiophile 2496 card as a possible competitor and the key issue of A-to-D converter quality. Hoontech and possibly others also compete in this niche and may use different A-to-D technology.

Analog circuitry noise is likely criticism in this price area. It can keep an audio card from delivering anywhere near the sound quality that the codec might seem to promise, Analog deficiencies might not show up in specs, but you might test for it or even audibly detect it.

I'll bet that, between component specs and well-regarded hearsay, some valuable comparisons could be made in a few short sentences. Myself, I know only enough to ask. Anybody?

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Anton A Tongue Jul 30, 04
Dear John Doe

Thanks for for a fine piece of explanatory writing.
Page two, in particular, covered the issues very succinctly.

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Jay Sawyer Jun 26, 06

After reading all of this Mia Midi information, I'd like to ask if anyone has a list of (current to 2006) motherboards and chipsets that work well with the Mia Midi? Has anyone tested a "64" AMD motherboard with the Mia Midi? If so, what chipset was used?
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