Author Topic: RME HDSPe AIO  (Read 3483 times)


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« on: April 11, 2020, 11:09:26 am »
Friends of the Power community, hello to all and happy Easter 2020 to all, even if in this good period unfortunately there is really little but patience, strength and courage.

As you can see from the title of the new discussion, I'm here to tell you about my new and last purchase for my nice Power system.
As you know, the very good Sound Blaster AE-9 that I got at the beginning, when I assembled what has become my Power computer, is not currently supported and so I can't use it. The fact is that I also wanted the dedicated sound card because I'm a fan of music, sound of my own and I love high quality and audio in particular, also I'm one who buys music whenever possible, in high definition formats that is Bluray audio and Super Audio CD, as well as some audio DVD if you can still find it.
So after some research I got interested in the RME AHSPe AIO which was the only one of the sound cards supported by Linux, to be in my opinion up to what I wanted and not to regret the AE-9. At first I wasn't sure if it worked completely and wiki didn't give me all the information I needed and so I probed the ground until I managed to find a forum where a guy had bought and tested this sound card for a long time. So I signed up and got everything explained and finally ordered it and luckily it arrived on time. I'll put a picture of the card just so you can get a general idea of what it looks like. So compared to the AE-9, which currently represents I think the reference point for quality sound cards on computers, this one has no separate power supply. So it's powered from the motherboard and probably in an absolute sense it's better to have separate power supply for minor disturbances, caused by other components like the graphics card and that can be detected. Another thing that jumps out at you is that the RME has two connectors to which dedicated cable assemblies are connected for the various input and output connections. This allows the RME to have more inputs and outputs than the AE-9, including the balanced ones that are not available to everyone and that the AE-9 does not have, but on the other hand these adapters are a bit cumbersome and can have some more dispersion than the direct ones connected to the card. An added value of the RME compared to the AE-9 in my opinion is for sure the made in Germany, from my friend MPC yes, this card is made in Europe and now I have the pleasure to say that my Power computer is mostly made in the West which today, especially in the world of consumer electronics is almost impossible! Reading a review of this RME, as a merit, they also wrote the made in Germany, so we agree that it's really an added value of this sound card and that RME is a beautiful reality just like Raptor, not a giant that eats only profits but a small company of people who do their job for passion first and this is fantastic. The components it is made of, you can immediately see that it is of high quality, there are 2 BB DACs, 1 Analog Device DAC, excellent analog section, in short you can see the quality of the board in the round. Of course the AE-9 boasts some of the most 'emblazoned components such as the ESS Sabre 9038 DAC, which is able to go up to a sampling rate of 384 KHZ with 32-bit digital signal processing while the RME comes to a very good 24-bit/192 KHZ. On the AE-9 you can change the operational amplifiers, making the board even more performing, but in general we can say that for Linux and Power so, in my opinion, better than the RME is difficult to find at the moment. Speaking about listening impressions so far, 
I can say that the difference with the integrated audio of the Blackbird is obviously heard, although I must say that the integrated audio of our beautiful motherboard always behaves well, but certainly for obvious reasons the dedicated card, especially if it is of quality as it is, it makes its superiority felt and it is also fair seeing how much it costs. The audio becomes more present, rich in detail, more dynamic and full-bodied, moreover, various possibilities open up in the professional audio field, with a whole series of operations that cannot be done with the integrated audio. Another differnza then that there is with Creative is precisely the approach that RME has with this sound card and with its products of this type, in fact this AIO, as well as the sound card previous to her, gives the possibility to expand the outputs and entrances in a very professional and qualitative way. In fact, there is the possibility of connecting 2 further boards with 4 other inputs and 4 outputs, dedicated, independent and with their own analog and DAC section. If on the one hand the costs are obviously higher, on the other you understand very well the type of product, a product born for professional studios and for making and listening to high quality audio, therefore a decidedly more professional and dedicated approach to a more professional market than Creative. The AIO card has a fairly important cost, its cost is 579 Euros (I speak in Euros of course but you can do the quick conversion into dollars) and if you want an I / O expansion card it takes another 200 Euros. I think next month I will buy the expansion with 4 additional outputs, so that I can connect some other pair of speakers and make a more enveloping audio. As regards the installation and configuration, just mounted, the card is immediately recognized by Linux, unlike obviously the AE-9 which has no support and therefore is not even detected and when it does it cannot be started due to lack of drivers. We therefore have immediate recognition because I have read that for some time now there are ALSA drivers installed by default in the Kernel and therefore these cards are fully supported. Having said that, however, to make it work, you need to install the ALSA-TOOS-GUI package which is now at version and which is found without problems on the net. Once that is installed, a series of executables appear with mixer as an icon and when you open ALSAMIXER from the terminal, it allows you to act on the various channels, which before installing this package does not make you do. Except that really only HDSEMixer is working, which opens regularly and allows you to make various adjustments in detail. The remaining executables don't work I don't know why and the executable that has the hammer as its icon, what is called HDSPconf, does not open, I don't know why maybe there are some bugs that have not been resolved yet and therefore it doesn't work . In any case, this does not affect the functionality of the card at all, which is fine and can be managed both by the ALSAMixer and by HDSPeMixer. I'll post the photo of what this mixer looks like. Ultimately I can say I am very satisfied with my Power System, I lacked the completion of the ideal system and now with this card there is and I am very happy with it. I know that today only some of us are dedicated to audio on the computer because integrated audio is now working well and for many it is going so well that the sound card market has contracted a lot in recent years. I also know that in this Power community, maybe I'm the only one who has purchased the dedicated sound card and who loves this section, but I know that it can be useful to everyone in general to have further information on this section and in fact Raptor he asked to report all the impressions and all the information I had once I installed and tested the card.