Category: Products / pc hardware / pci stereo i/o
Added: 25-Oct-05 | Author: admin
New price: to be added | S/H price: Not listed
ESI Juli@Please note: The higher quality download video is available further down this page.
ESI Juli@ according to ESI-PRO (formally Egosys) is a: "High quality 24bit 192kHz stereo Audio/MIDI interface with swappable I/O socket"
The card has gold-plated connectors and can be configured to use either -10 RCA phono i/o connectors, or 1/4" balanced +4 connectors... with a twist!... Here's the ESI text:
High quality 24bit 192kHz stereo Audio/MIDI interface with swappable I/O socket Juli@, a PCI based 2-in 2 out audio & MIDI interface. Juli@ provides 24-bit/192kHz recording quality with S/PDIF digital I/O and 16 channels of MIDI. Juli@ is equipped with RCA (unbalanced) and TRS (balanced) connectors at both ends of its unique swappable I/O socket. User can select his prefered configuration simply by turning around the analog part of the PCB. The digital and analog parts are totally separate as they are placed on two different PCBs, providing excellent audio quality. This makes Juli@ a new reference for audio quality in this price range of audio interfaces. Juli@ is compatible with +3.3Vand +5V PCI slots, providing broader compatibility in the future, even support for G5 Macintosh systems. Juli@ comes with a driver based on ESI’s EWDM driver technology for enhanced stability, best functionality and excellent performance. And now it's fully compatible with Mac OS 10.2 or better.
- DirectWIRE 3.0 support
- high quality 24-bit 192kHz ADC: 114dB dynamic range
- high quality 24-bit 192kHz DAC: 112dB dynamic range
- 2 analog inputs and 2 analog outputs with unique swappable I/O socket design: users can choose between unbalanced RCA I/O (-10dBV) and Balanced TRS I/O (+4dBu)
- Built in digital optical output - 5.1 Dolby digital support
- Digital coaxial I/O (with support for up to 192kHz) - 5.1 Dolby digital support
- MIDI I/O with 1 input and 1 output
- Complete internal digital mixer – enables to monitor digital I/O as well
- PCI compatibility – designed to suit for +3.3V and/or +5V PCI slots
- supports MME/WDM, DirectSound, ASIO 2.0, GSIF 2.0
- EWDM driver support for Windows 98SE/ME/2000 and XP
- MAC OS 10.2 or better.
Ultimate Audio Tools
- Tracktion by Mackie : Professional recording and MIDI production
- Tassman ESI by AAS : Modular software synthesizer
- LFX 1310 multi FX : VST multi effector
- ESI Bovbjerg Piano : grand piano sound module
- ESI Atti-tube VST : High quality Guitar/Bass AMP Simulator
- ESI FX pack : 7 effect processors
Bundled Third-Party Plug-Ins
- Kjaerhus Audio - the classic series (7 complete VST plug ins)
- AudioNerdz - Delay Lama
- MDA-VST - Piano, ePiano
- Sinus - Freeverb Too
- Silverspike - RoomMachine 844
- Abyss - Cushion, Exciter, Filter
- PSP audioware - PSP Piano Verb
- CSI - FFT, C Tuner, C Super Stereo
- Steinberg - Leveler, Tools One, Externalizer
- Stereo Expander
- Voxengo - Stereo Touch
- Smartelectronix - Supaphaser
The disks accompanying the review unit had a few variations on the freebie plugins, but basicaly you get a bunch of free stuff most of which is as listed above... Plus you get the 'Traction' sequencer s/w to get you off the ground if you have no other s/w which is. I'm not sure with Traction & the Tassman etc what the situation is regarding licence. ESI are going to give us this info which we'll add to the page as soon as we get some news about that.
On checking the ESI website i discovered that the drive for Juli@ is now up to V2.01, however, the older v1.17 driver supplied on the included CD installed flawlessly on both machines i tried it on & played back audio & VSTi activity with absolutely no crackles pops or other nastyness at very low latency!
The card supports plenty of sample rates btw, and the addition of the 88.200k sample rate will be a bonus to the growing band of '88.200k users' - The theory is that as you'll be dithering down to 44.100k/16bit, you should use sampling rates that are divisible by the end result: So 88.200/32bit requires a lot less math to get to 44.100/16bit than, say, 48.00k/32bit.
So... on to the video. The video shows the JULI@ package, the card splitting system in action etc, and for noobs there's a complete walkthru of the JULI@ install... We try the card in 2 different machines. An AMD64 3000 with an SIS chipset, and an older AMD2000XP machine with a VIA KT333 chipset... The JULI@ installed first time without any hitches on both machines, and in our initial tests, playback of audio in Logic (pc version 5) & Wavelab on the AMD2000 & VEGAS on the AMD64 all resulted in clean clear crackle & pop free audio playback. MIDI input was then setup on the AMD2000 with Logic and again, playback of Absynth & Kontakt VSTi's within Logic was flawless and artefact-free with a low latency of about 3ms.
Also worthy of note is that on the older AMD2000 installed the JULI@ fine despite the fact it had other drivers on the system from other previously installed cards, and was by no means anywhere near what one would call a 'clean' system.
That old AMD2000 has so much stuff added to it!... so I was impressed with the way the JULI@ just installed and worked with it straight out of the box!...
As for the AMD64... it's currently using it's built-in motherboard graphics!... Built-in motherboard graphics adapters CAN be a problem, and most people including myself would urge any newcomer to utilise a dedicated AGP graphics card & NOT use built-in graphic's adapters... Yet despite that, the JULI@ played back from Sony VEGAS on the AMD64 with no pops or problems at all... That bodes well for overall stability once a sequencer s/w is added & tested!
As mentioned in the video, I will be adding Cubase to the AMD64 3000 and checking things with the JULI@... I'm very keen to see how the JULI@ performs with AMD64 because it's a super-cheap 'upgrade' machine built on a super-cheap mini ATX motherboard offering a lightning-fast AMD64 with a gb of Kingston ram and a whopping great 250gb drive, all costing just a measly 250GBP!... Results with VEGAS on the AMD64 were 100% fine, so if the JULI@ lives ok with the SIS chipset and peforms as well using Cubase and a proper music sequencer workload then the whole system with the JULI@'s low price will be an absolute bargain power-system!... Anyways, stay tuned for that, I'll put SX onto the AMD64 and add the results to this page in a few days.
RESULTS?.... Well, I found the card's sound to be nice & clean and VERY quiet!... You could blast the volume right up with some headphones on and doodle away with a plugin synth etc, and noise was totaly un-noticeable... The card has to my ears a subtley defined 'presence' in the midrange but with a very flat eq across the whole range which was noticeable the moment playback began.
It's hard to describe that 'cleaness', but interestingly Martin Walker in his SOS review noted that in comparisons he was able to identify his Emu 1820M in listening tests as being slightly 'warmer'... That kinda tallies with what I found, however i dont neccessarily think that the Emu is any 'better' for it's slightly 'warmer' overall tone (if one could call it 'warmer')... The JULI@ to my ears especialy at lower monitoring levels seems to be actualy preferable because the sound has this slightly cleaner 'presence' to it, making the overall sound seem slightly more 'listenable' & detailed at lower volumes.
To my ears JULI@ gives a very clean, listenable, accurate & beautifuly detailed midrange at lower levels but with no lack of upper or lower detail & overall balance was excellent across the whole mix... I actualy really liked the JULI@, and besides, as a PC version LOGIC user the Emu 1820m for me is no good due to bugs it has with Logic in PC format... So even if I COULD use the 1820m, tbh I'd kinda preferred the JULI@'s sound because when I'm working an 8 hour day the subjective 'warmth' of the playback is not an issue for me... What IS an issue is an ability to hear what's happening in a detailed accurate way at lower listening levels without having to raise levels and drive the speaker system harder.
In the video I compare the 'presence' sound of the JULI@ to that of an akai sampler... By that I mean that back in the day, akai samplers had this very clean detailed crisp 'presence' to the sound, and the JULI@ I find to be similar.
By that I dont mean it has an eq curve of an akai sampler, but overally I REALLY liked the sound from the JULI@ alot.... No muddy-ness at all, totaly silent, and compared to many 'budget' cards I'd say the sound is VERY tight and 'defined'.... Perhaps the best thing I could say to describe the card compared to some other budget units in a similar price range, is that when it played back audio, that little bit of extra 'definition' across the mix made it sound like i was using an 'upgraded' set of speakers with slightly better detail... All I can say is, beginners and the experienced will have NO problems mixing professional work with this card!
i'm going to try and get a short addendum video added showing the ESI 'Directwire' in action. Directwire is ESI's own 'drag & patch' driver interface system which uses virtual cables to connect the in's & outs from applications &/or the physical card using different drivers which can all run independently & simultaneously. So you can for example route one application using the WDM output driver to feed it's signal into another application using ASIO driver... and of course this works with Gigasampler drivers too if you happen to use GSampler.
Also I got a reply back regarding the included Tracktion s/w: It is the full version (with the included serial number) v1 - it is possible for users to upgrade to v2 if wanted... Cool!
Summing up?.... Well checkout the video. The ESI JULI@ is definately in my book now a frontrunner in the sub £100 GBP soundcard bracket, and tbh, I'd be just as happy using the JULI@ over the Emu 1820m wether or not the 1820m worked ok with Logic because I actualy prefer the JULI@'s more clean sound to the Emu... As I said, especialy monitoring at lower levels (which long term projects tend to be all about), you dont want to be blasting your ears off all day with higher sound levels, and to my ears at conservative & reasonable monitoring levels the JULI@'s sound offers super-clean very tight & defined audio which makes working in comfort a breeze.
So, a great little audio card!... Eminently useful to the home-studio buff running a stereo i/o sequencer suite as well as totaly compatible for any pro multimedia/studio suite requiring +4 levels & audio all the way up to 192k... and in both cases you'll get a super flat defined sound which is easy to work with and will show all the detail you could possibly want to make mix decision in confidence!... a real winner all round!
Google 'Quick-fix' version
This is the higher quality DIVX version in a zip file - 68.8mb
640 x 512 - can also be viewed 'full-screen' - Running Time: 25 minutes
ADDENDUM - 25/10/05 (Already an addendum?!!) - Yup, I just tried it on the AMD2000XP machine using the DIRECTWIRE applet to route audio from CUBASE SX into WAVELAB - I assigned the Wavelab soundcard in/out driver to the MME WDM JULI@ 1234 driver, and sure enuff, hit play on SX and the signal monitors and records in Wavelab a treat!... Awesome stuff!... I'll get a short video together on the ESI DIRECTWIRE soon, just a short 5 minute add-on cos it's a very cool extra bonus point with this card... ESI developed DIRECTWIRE see, so it's like having REWIRE (without the sync) between different applications for streaming audio direct!
And BTW - Stay tuned - ESI ESP-1010 pci-card & i/o rack system video review coming soon!
Full on review of ESI's Juli@ soundcard - a great value card at around 80GBP and with excellent low ...
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Total stars: 55 | Total votes: 15