Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe PC soundcard Letters

Letters in response appeared in November 2000

The long-overdue review

Editor: Thanks for starting a series of reviews of PC soundcards. It's long overdue, as PCs are used by many of us to create and burn CDs. Most of the Soundblaster stuff is focused on games, not sound quality; kinda like comparing hi-fi to home theater.—Vade Forrester, San Antonio, TX,

A minor quibble

Editor: Just a minor quibble: in JA's September review, he made it sound like the Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe PC soundcard is the first that is capable of 24/96 resolution. I think he should feel obliged to correct this (slight) misrepresentation to his admiring readers.

And if what he meant to represent was that it was the first such card worthy of recommendation due to its fidelity, I do not think that that particular point came across in the review. It would have been nice to see competing components, and how the DAL fared against them.—Peter Prisekin, aka "Dusty Chalk,"

There are others

Editor: I was disappointed to find no mention of comparable cards, of which there are many, in John Atkinson's review of the Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe. The cover photo also gave the unfortunate impression that the DAL card is unique; it is not. Please see Electronic Musician, EQ, and Mix (among others) for numerous ads and reviews of 24/96 computer audio interfaces. There are also several multichannel interfaces that offer eight or more channels of 24/96 audio I/O for around $1000.—David Espinosa, Palo Alto, CA,

Use the right drives

Editor: In his review in September of the Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe PC soundcard, JA experienced his hard drives dropping files. What you need is not specifically high-rpm drives, as he mentioned, but AV-compliant hard drives, which don't perform thermal recalibration when being accessed.—Michael Mai,

The following letters were received but not published

Stunning Performance

Editor: Referring to JA's findings in the September issue of Stereophile, I can confirm the stunning performance of the CardDeluxe.

After three years of driver problems, malfunctioning software and lack of support by Digidesign for their Audiomedia III, Card DeLuxe is heaven. CardDeLuxe installed and under Windows NT4.0 within five minutes and four months later is still working flawlessly.

Hooked up to my PS Audio Ultralink I (single-ended RG-214 dual-shield, 10 meters) quality at 44.1k/16-bit is as good as from my CD transport (Proceed PDT3).

Cleanup of Eva Cassidy: Songbird BBC (a Radio 2 broadcast), Waves/Sound Forge 24-bit processing/written to Teac CD-R58S at 2x, certainly resulted in an audiophile version of Keith Howlett's original production. I just played back both the hard drive and CD-R versions through my new Mark Levinson No.360S and was moved to tears again by Eva.

At $461 (at BSW, New York) CardDeLuxe means serious business, even at 44.1k/16-bit. (Owing to a lack of suitable material I haven't tried 96K/24-bit yet.)

My system comprises the following components:
PC: Do-it-yourself PII 333MHz, 128MB RAM, Asus P2B-LS (onboard 7890 SCSI), Quantum Atlas 10K 36.7-gig SCSI HDD, Teac CD-R58S 24x/8x CDR, video: Matrox Millennium II, audio: Card DeLuxe.
Analog Audio: Denon DP67/Van den Hul MM-1, JK Acoustics Passive 10 phono preamp.
Digital Audio: Proceed PDT3, Sony ES57 DAT, Mark Levinson No.360S, PS Audio Ultralink (Mk.I, single-ended).
Amplification: Mark Levinson No.380S line preamplifier, Mark Levinson No.333 power ampplifier
Loudspeakers: AudioStatic ES 300 RS.
Digital interconnects: MDC-1 (AES/EBU balanced), DIY from AudioQuest silver (S/PDIF), RG-214 dual-shield (S/PDIF).
Analog interconnects: Madrigal CZ-gel (balanced), MIT 350 Twin, JK silver-teflon (single-ended) MIT 770 CVT (loudspeaker).—Dr. Jan Woning, Middleton, Norfolk, UK.