Customer Reviews: M-Audio Audiophile 2496 MIDI Digital Recording Interface
Amazon Vehicles 4-month subscription Amazon Fashion nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Electronics Holiday Gift Guide Starting at $39.99 New Professional Skin Care Cozy Knits STEM Get $40 cash back on House Cleaning LoveandFriendship LoveandFriendship LoveandFriendship  All-New Echo Dot Introducing new colors All-New Kindle for Kids Edition AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Shop Cycling on Amazon

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on December 25, 2008
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" (3.5mm) jacks: TRUE - that connection is for "toys" - this card has gold-plated stereo RCA connectors - plus MIDI & S/PDIF connectors!

D) No surround/gaming modes: TRUE, but can co-exist with another consumer sound card or (as I'm doing) on-board audio (see my tip 4 above).

Bottom line - if 2-channel stereo is your 1st priority - check the website for the drivers you need and, if they have you covered, BUY THIS CARD!! :-)
0Comment| 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 10, 2006
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.
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 22, 2009
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.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 4, 2005
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. For instance, if I recorded in 24/96 in Amadeus II it would later try to play back Garage Band or iTunes at 24/96 despite many attempts to reset it's control panel to 16/44.1. The only work around was to relaunch Amadeus, start a new recording at 16/44.1, quit, then relaunch Garage Band or iTunes.

On my Mac I found I also had to unplug an audio output cable from the mini-phone jack on the back of my computer to prevent a nasty electrical static that started whenever I activated the 2496.

When it works, the sound it great! A vast improvement over the built in sound. But it gets a 3 because of poor driver reliability, out of date manual, and Driver CD that contains no 2496 drivers.

It's going back to the store.
11 comment| 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 2, 2013
While I have been recording music using computers for about 15 years I have never given much thought to such issues as latency. That is until I discovered recently a world of extremely incredible pieces of music instrument and effects software called vst's. Until then I was recording mostly guitar bass and drums with virtually no synths of any kind. Alas I discovered what latency was all about when even under the best scenarios my old SB Audigy was way late on providing a sound when triggered through a midi device. Even with asio drivers it was still discernible that there was a delay. So after a little research I thought I'd try this card out. The Audiophile 24/96 is the simplest internal sound card M-Audio produces. On the outside it looks similar to other sound cards although it uses RCA type jacks for the 2 analog and 2 digital channels in/out instead of the tiny 3.5 mm type. It also has a midi in/out connection like most other sound cards have. But that's where the similarities between this and typical sound cards end. Instead of a lot of time delay creating fluff like FM synthesis and wavetable technology, there is simply a mixer. Through a control panel window on your screen you can control and connect signals going in and out with ease. You can even control latency directly. You can save your setting s as a file for later recall. Best of all is the latency...or lack there of. I have a real budget machine that uses a quad core AMD processor and only 2 gigs of RAM and the latency is almost non existent. Using a KeyStudio 49 and a really good piano model vst I can play piano and record it in time with a playback track without any annoying delay. Quite simply this card has opened up a whole new world of music possibility. If you're a home recording musician like me who is budget conscious and tired of trying to use the old standard sound card for input/output then this is the card you want to have.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 22, 2010
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.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 12, 2007
If you are looking to upgrade your soundcard for recording purposes or just for the pure love of your music collection, the 2496 is the product you're looking for. I immediately noticed the enhanced sound compared to the card that came with my computer, and as a home-recording amateur, much appreciated the lines input/outputs for my stereo and midi controller. Installation was a breeze on a system with Windows XP and understanding of the software for the card was simple to grasp after a little fiddling with the levels and a quick glance at the manual.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 27, 2013
I bought this to pipe PandoraOne from a low-grade dell desktop PC to my high-end* stereo (2-channel) setup. Along with the higher bitrate of pandoraOne over basic pandora, the difference of the 2496 over the onboard sound card was remarkable. In comparison, if I have a Pandora-playing song in my CD changer, I can spin it up to match and toggle between the two. Aside from the higher level coming from the CD player which is easy to adjust, the difference is very subtle; the kind that you only notice when toggling between the two. I am very picky about the quality of the sound and this totally satisfies my ears. I recommend this as an accompaniment to PandoraOne. Worth a hundred bucks for sure. The software was a bit antiquated, but it was easy to find and download what I needed. I can't tell you what it's like on appleOS, but if you're an apple user you probably wouldn't notice the difference the card can make anyway. ;)

*Worthy of testing the card: Adcom into Carver into MonitorAudio sats and Canton sub. The comparison CD player is a SonyES.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 4, 2012
...that's still great.

Digitizing your LP collection is a bit of the rave these days. It's relatively easy and in the process, with the right software, you can clean up that 30 year old album to make it sound almost new again. Or you can just let it ride and keep all the clicks and pops of the original recording if all you want are basic .wav files of your records. I'm writing this review with the neophyte in mind. All you "pros" out there already know this stuff. And I am by no means a "pro" if you see a glaring mistake be so kind as to submit your comments as to the error of my ways.

The "must have" interface between your analog turntable preamp output and the digital realm of your computer is this card. M-Audio has been making some of the best audio interfaces for quite awhile. The AP2496 has all the inputs and outputs needed to receive your analog signal and digitize it with a quality Analog-to-Digital converter. You have a stereo pair of RCA analog inputs (from your turntable preamp); a stereo pair of RCA analog outputs (to feed an external receiver or integrated amp) so you can monitor/listen to what you're working on; one each digital S/PDIF input and output (to connect an external CD recorder or other digital record/playback device); and one each MIDI input and output (which are, for the most part, used by musician-types so you really needn't worry about them). The S/PDIF and MIDI connections are on the "breakout" cable. The S/PDIF (Sony/Phillips Digital Interface) connections are the black RCA-type connectors.

**A caveat: Go to the M-Audio website and use the latest installation procedures for this card. DO NOT use the procedures in the owners manual since it covers Win95, Win98 and WinNT (gives you an idea how long this card's been around). Mac users should also go to the website. Going to the website will also get you the latest drivers and software.

**Another caveat: The AP2496 requires an open PCI socket (the big long one); it will NOT work with PCI Express sockets populating the newer computers. Make sure you have at least one PCI slot to install this card.

Once the card is installed then make sure it is selected as the default sound card. I am still using XP so it means going to the Control Panel "sound" section and selecting the AP2496 as the recording and playback card; I select it for everything where it's listed as a choice.

For the basic audiophile "hobbiest" interested in digitizing their LP collection, the standard included M-Audio mixing board/patch panel will be all you need. Depending on packaging/marketing you may get trial or basic versions of alternative sound boards as included software.

That being said, the included M-Audio Control Panel is a bit counter-intuitive; to me it's just flat confusing ...especially the Patchbay/Router panel. I think it's the terminology of the selections that ups the confusion factor. READ the manual. It helps in figuring out what to select. What's great about the Patchbay/Router panel is once you get the settings figured out for recording and playback use the "save" feature and give them names *you* can understand ....same deal with the Monitor/Mixer panel. After the learning curve rises you'll find you can get what you want from the Patchbay/Router panel fairly easily.

With the AP2496 installed and all your sound features routed to the card, you will need an external amplifier (like an old receiver or integrated amp) and a set of speakers or headphones to be able to listen to audio of any kind. There is no built-in audio amplifier on the AP2496 card. Connect the analog outputs of the card to an "Aux" or "Tape" input on the receiver/integrated amp.

With the AP2496 you'll be able to make great sounding transfers of your vinyl collection. The converters (Analog/Digital; Digtal/Analog or A/D D/A for short) are some of the better ones on the market but they are only as good as the supporting circuitry; the card is very quiet (no extraneous hum or noises introduced) and this is indicative of high end support circuitry. The price on these cards is reasonable for the quality of sound you get out of them. I have been using M-Audio cards for a number of years. Are there better audio interface cards out there? Yes, but you'll be paying quite a lot more for them for improvements you probably won't even hear.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 9, 2006
Exceptionally quiet and accurate. The best imaging of any sound card in my experience. I'm talking about a clearly audible difference here.

If you're looking for an audiophile level card, this is a very good value.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Questions? Get fast answers from reviewers

Please make sure that you've entered a valid question. You can edit your question or post anyway.
Please enter a question.
See all 2 answered questions

Need customer service? Click here