Event DARLA, GINA, LAYLA
Category: Products / pc hardware / pci multi i/o
Added: 04-Jan-99 | Author: admin
New price: see below for prices | S/H price: ??
Event DARLA, GINA, LAYLAAre you making audio tracks on the PC ??...Girlfriend Just left you ??...Dog just died ??...Crop failed again this year ??
Well who gives a shit with products like these are coming out in the next month or two !!!
I found out about these units when I called Key Audio Systems to check out some Ensoniq kit... and when the literature arrived & I checked the Event website, I nearly wet me knickers!.... This is the moment we've been waiting for, and only more can follow, as other majors are forced to attend this market area..... The PC is at last coming of age for digital audio... (OH yeah...they work with PCI Mac's too... drivers due in July !!)
First up, all these cards run on the 32 bit PCI bus... so faster speed than on ISA... Secondly, they all feature internal Motorola 24 bit DSP chips to do all the processing at a stunning 60 - 80 MIPS, so no sweat for the PC CPU or twatting around with DMA's... Thirdly, seperate outputs means you have the option to mix externally through a mixer & traditional FX units. For those of us who traded to H/D systems from analog multi-tracks this of course is a Godsend, and something towards which all of us have hoped the PC would aspire, without the traditionally super-inflated prices of hardware like Digidesign, Pro-tools, Soundscape etc etc
The other thing... and very important too this is... traditionally going to seperate outs with software meant having to change to work with the hardware units' specially designed or supported software... maybe this didn't have midi.....maybe it was an audio only software....Maybe you just didn't like it ........ Well not now, cos these cards will support ALL the proprietry brand softwares, whether Cakewalk Pro Audio, Cubase Audio, Soundforge, SawPlus, Logic Audio, Wavelab, Cool Edit pro etc etc......WICKED !!
Oh yeah....did I mention that all the analog outs & ins on these cards feature 20 bit high quality converters ?......Well they do !!....and Praise The Lord....they use either RCA phono's, or 1/4 inch Jack connectors !!! (Balanced on the Layla unit)....
Lets take a look at the units.
Price... £ 299...YUP...Two hundred & ninety-nine sterling !! ....about $ 350 US Dollars !
The cheapest of the range... stereo analog input, and 8 analog outputs... The picture says it all really huh ?.....The card goes in the PCI slot, and the connector block plugs into the connector.
Price... £ 499.... YUP 499 sterling !!... about $ 500 US Dollars !
The next up of the range... stereo analog input, and 8 analog outputs... The picture says it all really huh?... The card goes in the PCI slot, and the connector lead attatches to a box with the analog connectors... but with the Gina card, you also get 24 bit S/PDIF In & OUT connectors for glorious digital transfer (they're on the card)... I've experienced this unit, and if it's indicative of the whole range, then they are well-solid.... The Gina is built like the proverbial Brick shite-house... The connector cable is so sheilded, it's like wrestling a bloody anaconda when trying to route it round whatever studio obstacles!!... The box is a solid pressed steel affair, and the jacks plug in with a good re-assuring solid 'Clunk'... well made... Great sound quality... Next!
Price... £ 899... YUP 899 sterling!... about $ 1000 US Dollars !
The top dog of the range... featuring 8 analog inputs, 10 analog outs, all on 1/4 inch balanced connectors with input levels that are adjustable in software from -10dBV to +4dBu, and you can adjust individual input levels in 1/2 dB steps to take full advantage of the 20 bit processing with quiet or loud signals... Plus you get 24 bit S/PDIF I/O, Word Clock I/O, and also, midi IN, OUT & THRU which is real useful for midi & H/D softwares cos you are not going to have seperate IRQ's for your midi... Cool!
As you can see, the actual connectors unit is linked to the PCI card via a cable, and it's self powered... AND, you can link more than one together, to get up to 24 simultaeneously available inputs, and 30 outputs !!...all synced with the word-clock connectors with single sample resolution... That means TIGHT!... Oh yeah, they also added an extra 2 analog inputs on the front of the unit for those... "Quick... get this idea down now" moments !!
Well, there you have it... All the cards are musician priced...(we're always broke huh?)... The two cheapest ones, the DARLA & GINA, are available in the UK starting June... The LAYLA units to follow a month later.
Well I'm in heaven... If 8 outs on a PCI bus with software compatability across the board aint enuff for you at these starting prices, then ...well, I dunno what.
Lastly, all the units are emblasoned with a second logo reading: "By ECHO"... Well, Echo Corporation are well respected longstanding PC engineers who developed this project range....you can read more about them at the Event website... OH yeah; all these units are plug-n-pray, no jumpers!... so says the literature, although I would personally never let windows detect hardware for me, unless I needed to go out to lunch for a while!
Also, all of the cards become the PCI busmaster... this means that rather than the PC's CPU delivering the audio data to the card, the CPU says... "Look, there's some data stored over there that the software wants, go and get it, and the card then controls the bus delivery of the data"... roughly translated this means... FASTER & MORE!... and with PCI as opposed to ISA we're talkin alot more speed & throughput... Like say the difference between the B339 passing Lemington Spa, as opposed to the M4 at 5 a.m on a Sunday morning... (great for testing your new Harris Magnum Honda Fireblade, if you get my drift !!)... the whole thing runs on one IRQ for all 8 outs and 4 ins.... (set it to IRQ 5 or lowest available)... and of course no DMA's.
Event now have a software you can grab for free to test your PC's PCI - to - H/D performance to get an idea of how many trcks it'll handle... I've added the link to the reporter page, and you can grab the small utility programme from our sever (SEE BELOW)
If you're new to this game, these cards mean that with a programme like Cakewalk ,Logic or Cubase, you can send all your loops out to a mixer on seperate channels as well as full length audio, even small intermitent audio parts such as hits & FX can be routed to dedicated mixer channels meaning all your loops, vocals, noises & hits etc can be EQ'd, reverbed, delayed etc etc just right in the mix... with not a drop of strain on the PC processor... This means that samplers are even more relegated to tasks requiring midi note triggering or sample & synthesis jobs... In the past, you might have needed a 32 Mb sampler for all the loops & vocal parts etc... Not with hard-disk programmes... Midi & H/D software could always perform these functions, but to get the perfect mix without seperate out's was difficult or required several processes to get the sound perfect, and applying software FX greatly reduced track quantities & speed... with seperate outs at this price, you could even dedicate an output for the Kik drum only, as you play the sample from the software!... Lets face it...how many dance tracks do you do with 8 vocals?!
So....Logic has a cheap 8 out card out already, but you have to change to Logic... Yamaha are supposed to be releasing one this summer, at around the 500 - 600 quid mark that is all-software compatible, and these units have really put the icing on the cake.
I did a few calculations, and with the cheapest DARLA card, Cakewalk Pro Audio, and a P133, you're lookin at a system costing SUBSTANTIALLY less than some of the dedicated multi-out h/disk hardware units on the market... YES .... around the 1200 quid mark !!.... but as these units use PCI bus and dedicated internal DSP units, you can run 8 tracks on something like a DX100, or P60/75... even cheaper!... Visit the website, read the book, get the T-shirt..... L8ers !!
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