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Windows 8 and me - A story of betrayal, and a question about driver support for pro audio cards


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Well, kind of. So I have a bit of a complicated audio setup. Or I did anyway. I have a hardware mixer that I've used for years. Under XP, I used to use just that paired with my E-Mu 1212m, a double-PCIe card that I've been using since 2004 or '05. Worked great. Somehow, I could also get it to record its own output by looping it back through the mixer - completely forgot how to replicate this. Anyway, since I got a new computer with win7 on it, that no longer worked, so I got a 2nd, external card 2 years ago, an Echo Audiofire 4. I integrated that into my audio setup so that the routing path was e-mu->mixer->audiofire>back to pc via firewire. This worked great because it meant I could control my volume via the hardware mixer on my desk and worry about software volume to the tiniest extent. I could also record my shows, pipe pc audio through skype, livestream, or whatever I wanted.

More recently, 3 days ago, I upgraded to Windows 8. Somehow, the Echo Firewire card that I used, started crapping out. The audio would stop getting piped from the e-mu card randomly, and I discovered it was because the Audiofire would disappear from the device list [!] and then reappear. This makes doing my radio shows impossible on my current setup. Right now, I guess I'll have to settle for the ghetto solution which is to use Virtual Audio Cables, and my e-mu card. I tried all day to figure out how to get the audio to loop back to the PC from the mixer, but windows itself doesn't recognize any signal. Hoping the VAC thing actually works. So anyway, now I have a useless firewire card and a useless mixer, pretty much. Echo doesn't have proper win8 drivers either, though technically the windows 7 drivers SHOULD work. I'm a little shocked that the E-Mu still works in a 64 bit environment at all, since the last stable driver release for that was designed for 32 bit XP. Also, browsing the E-Mu/Creative forums today was one of the more depressing things I've seen. "Windows 7 drivers please?" "Is E-Mu dead?" The answer to that last one is "Yes."

I decided to go to you guys for help, since honestly, I don't know if ANYTHING works in win8, and I can't exactly rent equipment to try out, plus, I know absolutely nothing about cutting edge audio hardware. My question is: Does any pro-audio company even give a shit about the future, or even modern PCs? E-Mu is dead, and even though I LOVED this card, I bought it almost a decade ago for my XP machine. A friend of mine pointed out "Why are you fighting to get this ancient card working?" and I guess that makes sense. I decided I don't want to downgrade back to 7, I'd rather look to the future instead of holding on to old equipment that wasn't designed to work on modern PCs.

So anyway, I have a few mysteries that I need cleared up:

-I'm not sure whether Win8 changed how firewire acts, or if the Echo card just simply isn't compatible with something changed in 8.

-How the fuck is my 1212m even still alive at this point?

-Is there an internal PCIe card similar to the 1212M that 1) isn't made by a dead company and 2) made by a company that gives a fuck about updating their drivers? If so, which audio cards do you recommend? Something ideal for doing live radio and/or audio recording, with stereo in/out for use with a mixer? I should mention I also want to avoid firewire, just in case it is actually a problem with Firewire in Win8. Also, it goes without saying, good ASIO drivers. I still compose music, you know :)

Thanks in advance for any help.

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I decided I don't want to downgrade back to 7, I'd rather look to the future instead of holding on to old equipment that wasn't designed to work on modern PCs.

I found this sentence pretty puzzling considering how much you borked your setup as described above. Why did you upgrade to 8 in the first place? Certainly you did some poking around to check on the operating system and found it to have a wildly mixed response and plenty of similar tales to programs and utilities breaking down like that (it's the same reason I'm not dying to upgrade to 8 yet - why mess with a working system?)

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You are reaping the rewards of being an early adopter.

1st: It sounds like your firewire hub is dropping off to power-save mode or some shit. Why don't you see about that, maybe you can fix it by turning that off.

Old vs New: A lot of hardware manufacturers have had to convert their company goals to accomodate the new digital age--some have done this better than others. It's a lot of work and not everyone is up to task.

I have a totally useless TASCAM US-428 sitting in my closet.

I also have a totally functional M-Audio Audiophile 2496 PCI card--there will be a day soon when this will be useless to me, but as it is, I use it all the time.

Internal Audio Card Recommendations: If I were putting together a new build, I would be paying a lot of attention to RME. Solid support, solid company, forward thinking, excellent DSP/Conversions, worth every penny.

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I've got a PCI M-Audio Delta 1010LT card that has treated me really well under Win7 x64. Mine's been through a lot, even sat underneath an overheating fanless video card (and bent a bit from the heat), but it's been stable and clean this entire time. Highly recommended if a PCI (non-E) card works for you.

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