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M-Audio Audiophile 2496 MIDI Digital Recording Interface

by M-Audio
3.8 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

Available from these sellers.
  • The Audiophile 2496 PCI Audio Card from MIDIMAN provides wide range of applications for recording and playback, from stereo to home-theater
  • 24-bit 96 kHz multitrack recording
  • MIDI recording and playback
  • Digital transfers and Digital mastering
  • LP/cassette-to-CD transfers
1 used from $75.00

Product Description

Product Description

4 In-4 Out PCI Digital Recording Interface with MIDI / All-in-one HiFi soundcard for multitrack recording to home-theater


The Audiophile 2496 embodies a quantum leap in computer audio fidelity and performance unequaled by other audio cards in its price range. This critically acclaimed PCI card features premium digital audio converters, elegant board design, and ultra-stable drivers just like the rest of the Delta line, but with a simpler I/O configuration. As a member of the Delta family, the Audiophile 2496 supports all computer platforms and major software programs, ensuring seamless integration and rock-solid performance. See why the Audiophile 2496 is one of the best-selling digital audio cards in the industry.

One of the best-selling digital audio cards in the industry. Click to enlarge.

Includes Ableton Live Lite music production software, so you can make music right away. Click to enlarge.

Break-out cable with S/PDIF audio and MIDI.

36-bit Embedded DSP
All Delta cards contain a 36-bit embedded DSP enabling a software-driven patchbay/router for all analog and digital I/O--all with extremely fast throughput for low-latency software monitoring. A single unified control panel provides settings for clock and sample rates, buffer sizes, individual signal levels for every input and output, adjustable +4dBu/-10dBV pad controls and digital I/O control on up to four installed Delta cards. All controls are also easily accessible through most professional audio software applications for seamless integration and operation.

2 x 2 Analog I/O
Accepts common unbalanced audio on gold-plated RCA jacks.

24-bit/96kHz Fidelity
The 2496 features 24-bit/96kHz converters with a 100dB dynamic range.

S/PDIF Digital I/O with 2-channel PCM
Get CD-quality sound from devices with S/PDIF outputs.

SCMS copy protection control
Allows a recording device to successfully record the audio data.

AC-3 and DTS Pass-Through
The S/PDIF digital I/O supports surround-encoded audio, for sending surround sound to your home theater.

1 x 1 MIDI I/O
The 2496's break-out cable features 1 x 1 (16-channel) MIDI operation.

Zero-Latency Monitoring
Monitor your audio signals without delay.

Ableton Live Lite Included
Ableton Live Lite delivers much of the functionality of Ableton Live--the revolutionary, multi-award winning music production solution that allows you to spontaneously compose, record, remix, improvise and edit your musical ideas in a seamless audio/MIDI environment. Live brings your acoustic, electronic and virtual instruments--as well as your digital audio recordings and MIDI sequences--together in a single interface with unparalleled ease of use.

What's in the Box
Audiophile 2496 PCI adapter card, Break-out cable for S/PDIF and MIDI connections, Software CD, User's Manual

Product Details

Product Manual [550kb PDF]
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 5 x 5.1 inches ; 3.2 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Domestic Shipping: Item can be shipped within U.S.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B00006I5H5
  • Item model number: 9900-50765-00
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,707 in Musical Instruments (See Top 100 in Musical Instruments)
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: September 22, 2002

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
This is TRULY an audiophile 2-channel card. I purchased it to transfer some music on vinyl to digital format from a high-end turntable, and it has done that remarkably well. Another pleasant surprise is the quality of playback on the computer - the subwoofer really 'came to life'. Even my 128k i-tunes stuff sounds TOTALLY different even on my [high-end] computer speakers.

That being said, here's some tips:

1) Get & install latest drivers for your OS from the M-Audio website before doing ANYTHING else - then shut down & unplug PC and install the card.

2) Feel free to ignore ALL software in the package - I'm recording & playing back fine without it. Everyone should check out the free "Audacity" recording/editing package.

3) For best results, use good cables. I'm using Audioquest Mini-1 to go from card to computer speakers, and Audioquest G-Snake to go from turntable phono box to the card. These 2 cables (in 2-meter lengths) cost about the same as the card. :-(

4) Can probably co-exist with your previous sound setup - just make sure you go through the various Windows Control Panel areas and define which to use for what. Same is true for most applications - check the preferences to use the right card/audio system.

Also, I'd like to address some 'negative' comments I've seen here & elsewhere:

A) Comes with old manuals & drivers: TRUE - but website is very complete & up-to-date - they had all Windows variants covered pretty well, except maybe 64-bit Vista.

B) Takes over (removes) Windows volume controls: TRUE - and good riddance! All playback apps have volume controls, plus theres the physical knob on most speakers - who needs more of them interacting and complicating things?

C) No 1/8" (3.
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Like the name suggests, the m-audio audiophile 2496 is for true audiophiles. I have had this card for years and there still is few options that are on par with this card for the same money. The audiophile has a full dynamic range of crisp audio with little distortion. I connect my sound card via digital coaxial cable to my Harman Kardon avr 240 and the sound is amazingly clear.

The one drawback to this card is it may be difficult for some to learn to use at first. However, when quality is essential go with the Audiophile 2496.
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Easy set up on my PC, I boot both Linux (Ubuntu) and Windows XP, works great in both Linux and XP. Set up was easy and the sound is incredible. Drivers are available on the manufacturers website. Excellent for recording, I use Sonar Professional 6 and get great sounding takes. Just remember, for people complaining about the sound, garbage in; garbage out. If everything in your signal flow isn't capable of conveying the depth of this card you may not hear that much difference. Use nearfield monitors and good cable. Use a decent, at least sm57 quality mic if your recording.

In my opinion this is the best card in it's price range and beats a few higher end cards as well.
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I bought my 2496 last week from a reputable mail order vendor. Installation was cumbersome. The "Driver CD" contained no 2496 drivers at all, for Windows or Mac! The manual still refers to a Macintosh installation where you "drag extensions" to the "extentions folder in the system folder." No mention is made of OSX X! Let's see, that would make the manual about 3 years old or more. Indeed, the modification date on the pdf version of the user Manual is November, 2001, yet M-Audio continues to ship this driverless Driver CD and outdated Manual with every 2496. They don't even include a slip of paper directing the purchaser to their Web site for the missing drivers.

I went to M-Audio's web site and was able to find and easily download the OSX driver (2.04) which was updated in August, 2005. After restarting I was able to get it running, however the standard Apple output volume control is not supported by the 2496 on a Mac. Actually you have NO global output volume control. Volume output is solely via application volume controls, such as the control within iTunes, or via your mixer knobs. This makes it difficult to use as a general purpose sound card.

After about two hours, the driver lost the ability to correctly play back music from iTunes, in mid song. It developed a bad stutter, apparently no longer using the correct bit/sample rate.

Technical support took 4 days, and a phone call from my vendor, to get a respones. The suggestion was to re-download the driver and reinstall it. This worked. But I found that whatever bit/sample rate I would record with in one application would become locked in for all other playback applications.
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Verified Purchase
I have had this card for over a year. I researched thoroughly to find something that would have Linux drivers. I also wanted a hardware MIDI interface (rather than USB) to minimize latency on a rather mediocre computer (1.7ghz). It has not disappointed and I just ordered another card. I run for extended periods with zero x-runs shown QJackCtl using this otherwise somewhat underpowered computer. Over about the last year, I have had it in a computer that was initially 64 Studio Linux (where I used Ardour, Audacity (audio editors), Rosegarden (midi sequencer) and Hydrogen as well as Aeolus (organ synth) and of course used it with Jack for MIDI connection. I recently installed Puppy Linux on this same computer and jOrgan with FluidSynth on top of that. As I understand it, FluidSynth stores the sound fonts in RAM so basically the audiocard is used as a DAC, not a synthesizer. I was impressed by the sound coming out of this card. For those concerned about no XLR, remember you can get RCA to XLR connectors if you plan to have long runs of audio cable. I haven't needed that, as I am playing the sound through an digital organ amplifier and speaker system. I am ordering a second card for my multimedia computer, or perhaps to add more channels to the organ - haven't quite decided. I believe at one time there may have been issues with UbuntuStudio. I never got UbuntuStudio to work and switched to 64Studio, and now Puppy, but I think that the problem was a Pulse Audio thing, not an issue with the card per se.
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