Category: Products / pc hardware / pci multi i/o
Added: 25-Oct-05 | Author: admin
New price: 244.00 Euros - 168.35 GBP | S/H price: Not listed
ESI ESP1010Review added 25th October 2006: - This ESI ESP1010 review is late, very late actualy since the actual unit arrived ages ago!!.... We have in fact already filmed & prepared a comprehensive video review of the unit back in July, including: a look at the package in detail, a full video install procedure for noobs, footage of a Rightmark Audio Analyser test & more... However, our video server is waiting for an update now since August because our Dancetech videos around that time were proving so popular we had to take drastic steps to stop the server from falling over (we got around 10,000 downloads of just the Cubase SX tutorial videos in a 10 day period alone!, and the Focusrite Liquidmix video was taking a huge hammering from tens of thousands of eager potential viewers trying to download)
So, basicaly the servers were grinding to a halt, and ironicaly, just as the ESP1010 video was done and ready to add to the site we had to close down video downloading for the larger files and transfer all the larger videos to bitorrent access... not ideal I know, but...
The good news is, we've finished negotiating a new pipe deal and before Christmas (2006 for anyone reading this in the future), we'll have a dedicated pipe for our video again and things'll get back on track... The video for this unit will be added sometime between now and Christmas 2006, and as I say it includes a full video install procedure for noobs.... meanwhile...
I thought I'd add a basic text review of the ESP1010 to go on with for the meantime, and I'll start by saying, this unit is one of the best if not THE best audio interface I've used in recent years!... Since it arrived and was tried, the E-mu 1820m is now sitting on the bench un-used.
The ESP1010 is a 24/96 device & offers 8 analog IN's (un-balanced/balanced TRS) and 8 analog OUT's (un-balanced TS) for the main In/Out's most user's will employ.
Usefuly, these I/O sockets are arranged with the 8 x 1/4" OUTS on the rear of the unit, but with sockets 1-4 of the 8 x Line IN's being located on the front-panel (as well as the 2 Mic sockets); so you get easy access to 4 Line IN's (1-4) on the front-panel.
There is also the addition of a second pair of Line OUT 7 & 8 sockets being located on the front-panel (analog outputs 7-8 on image above). These 2 sockets can also function as headphone outputs (more on that later).
The unit has in addition to the LINE-LEVEL IN/OUT's, the typical addition of 2 x mic pre-amps which sound perfectly good, and the PCI card supplies phantom power for each independantly via s/w switching in the control-panel mixer/preferences applet which installs with the card. One point to note is that the ESP1010 will supply phantom-power @ 12v only, so if you need higher voltage you can plugin a wall-wart style adapter into a rear power socket on the rack unit to get extra juice. (the power adapter to do this is not supplied, but you can get one from any electrical store such as Maplins in UK)
Other things to note is the usual addition (for these types of unit) of digital I/O on the PCI card (Input channel 9/10 & Output channel 9/10), offering RCA input/output but also an optical output which is a possible bonus for some users at this price-point.
As for MIDI In/Out, you get TWO MIDI in and out ports; MIDI port 2 I/O being located on the rear of the rack-unit and MIDI port-1 I/O being on a breakout cluster cable along with the RCA S/PDIF which attaches to the PCI card... This gives you an offering of a total of 32 channels of MIDI I/O!... another bonus!... and The unit comes bundled with lots of software to get you going!
All connections on the rack-unit are gold-plated and in use the unit is quiet and smooth, crisp and clear. Rightmark Audio Analyser test results were excellent, coming in as-good-as or better than RME digi96.. I used a really old crappy pair of patch leads for the test, so maybe these results good as they were could possibly be slightly improved on, but sufice to say, spec's are up there with excellent quality results!
The real killer for me with the ESP1010 tho, has been it's unfaltering reliability and extremely low latency combined with excellent audio characteristics all bundled up in an exremely attractive price-point!
I've been working with the unit since I got it at 1ms latency (yup, ONE millisecond!) and have never had to go higher!... and that is with never a crackle or pop or any other such problem. The ESP1010 just seems to have remarkably well written drivers, it's so efficient! - I took the unit down to the local studio a few times to record a couple of bands as a test, and each time it easily coped with recording the 8 simultaneous tracks of the backing @ 1ms latency, and then has carried on at that low rate while doing all the additional overdub work of extra guitars & vocals etc. This was all done using the ESP1010 with an old AMD 2000XP machine with a VIA chipset, so not a new wizz-bang machine, yet despite this, we could track and overdub the sessions @ 1ms latency while running around 12 compressors, numerous Eq's and other plugins as well as some master effects such as reverbs, delays and some master OUT FX such as multiband compressor and enhancers etc... Great stuff!
Another nifty touch for home muso's is the addition of TWO headphone monitoring sockets mentioned earlier!.. Nice if you work on typical MIDI & live overdub style home songwriting type projects. With the 2 supplied headphone sockets you can monitor and also use another pair of cans for a second person who might be playing an instrument while you engineer. The headphone sockets are actualy the Line OUT's 7/8 which can be switched in the software control applet to be 'Headphone' monitor sockets, in which case they take a feed from the main L/R out channels in the S/W mixer applet. As mentioned, there is an additional Line OUT 7/8 on the front rack-unit panel for this use, but on the rear of the rack-unit the OUT's 7/8 also exist in a bank with Line OUT sockets 1-8... So you can have an 8 cable loom permenantly plugged in to the 8 Line OUTs' on the rear of the rack-unit, but plug in to either or both of the additional 7/8 OUT's on the fron't for headphone use. The two copies of Line OUT 7/8 on the front also function as regular Line OUT's when NOT switched into 'headphone' mode, so it's kinda handy to get that additional pair of Line OUT's on the front panel for any quck special routing duties you might need when working in a more hardware orientated setup.
The software routing/control applet
More on the supplied software applet; it has the usual paired meters/faders for the IN/OUT's on the unit, and a master section to set sample rate etc...
On the INPUT section of the panel below the main IN 1/2 meters are the s/w switching buttons to make Input 1/2 set as either LINE or MIC, and there is a digital input gain control available for each... The rest of the INPUT panel section simply shows input meters for the inputs 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8 as well as the S/PDIF input. Although actual faders are not visible on INPUT 1/2, one simply drags on the meter to lower/raise the level on these meters. The S/PDIF IN's have a small button above labelled LOCKED. Use this to switch the unit to lock to an external S/PDIF input clock, otherwise it stays default OFF.
If you click on the greeny-blue L icons below either main Input 1/2 meter/fader, you can see it changes to a purple M designating that the channel is set to MIC mode. Once in MIC mode, you can employ either of the 12 phantom power buttons to switch on the PCI-card supplied 12V supply to the MIC socket/s... On the front-panel of the actual rack-unit there is two hardware switching buttons which one uses to switch in 48V power if one has the optional external wall-wart power supply attached.
On the OUTPUT panel side of the control applet are 5 sets of meters for LIne OUT's 1-8, each with a fader to adjust output level if required... again, Although actual faders are not visible on OUTPUTS 1-8, one simply drags on the meter to lower/raise the level on these meters, and at the bottom of each meters the relative dB level is shown.
Notice above the 7/8 OUT pair is a small button labelled 'HP' (headphones). Use this button to switch the front rack-unit Line OUT 7 & 8 into headphone mode, in which case they take their feed from the first pair of OUT's (1/2)
Additionaly you can see below OUTPUT meters 1/2 a button labelled MIX OUT. This button allows you to switch all OUTPUT channels to the main 1/2 OUT pair... For example, if using the unit with a hardware mixer, you might have some sounds being fed to ESP1010 outputs 3-8 in your sequencer, but you can make all the channels mix together and feed to Output's 1/2 for monitoring purposes. The same button is found below the S/PDIF OUT meter, and obviously this feeds the MIX to the dig' outs if required. Finaly the S/PDIF Output can be switched using the PRO/CON buttons above the S/PDIF meter.. The ESP1010 can transmit digital information in either of two formats: Pro (professional / IEC60958 Type I) and Con (consumer / IEC60958 Type II).
On the far right of the INPUTS/OUTPUTS control-panel, the MASTER panel section allows selection of (SR) sample rate (22.5k - 96k) and one can set the rate to INT (internal) or EXT (external). There is an optional AUTO setting for sample rate in which case if employed, the host software audiofile sample-rate settings controls the sample-rate.... Again, the meter on this master-panel also can be adjusted by grabbing the meter with your left-mouse and dragging up/down.... Lastly, the LINK button at the top of the master meter/fader allows you to seperate the L/R channel for independant level adjustment.
5:1 channel surround The ESP1010 allows this mode use in which case typicaly this is the output config:
MIX MODE - The applet panel can be switched to MIX mode which simply displays all IN's & OUT's as meters with adjustable faders & pan... Handy!
Also on the applet is the ESI DIRECTWIRE setup section... 'DIRECTWIRE' is ESI's own-technology internal routing protocal, and it works using graphic cables like on the rear-panel of REASON, to 'Patch' physical Inputs and Outputs to virtual Inputs & Outputs, as well as to route between different s/w DRIVER IN's & OUT's. The upshot of this is one can for example patch the L/R output of Cubase SX into the main L/R Input of Wavelab!... This works with all softwares and isnt reliant on the same protocol being available in the connecting softwares, such as when using REWIRE... So, you get a column of the physical IN/OUT sockets, and also columns for ASIO/WDM/MME driver I/O as well as GSIF (Gigasampler) Outs... It's fantasticaly simple and useful, you can patch any Input or Output between softwares and/or physical I/O's with ease... and it works!
So that's the In's and Out's in the software applet, and of course the applet also allows things like adjusting latency, saving & loading configs, and a rather nifty feature called: Clone 4-way from Out 1,2 which enables the signal output from output 1/2 to be 'cloned' to all 4 stereo OUT channels.
Well I kinda did the summing up at the beginning, but to recap... Super price (typicaly 160GBP at todays date (Oct' 2006), stable drivers offering super low latency use without problems (as an example, we couldn't get the E-mu 1820m down below 6ms latency without crackling on the same machine even with NO loading on the processor while playing a single audio file in a sequencer), versatile routing made even more comprehnsive with ESI's super DIRECTWIRE, good looks, snazzy brushed silver/steel look, reliably anchored Mic sockets fixed to the front rack-panel with rivets to take the strain of pluggin in/out all the time with a Mic lead... But most of all, not one single crash, pop or crackle in months of use on a variety of projects. ESI took over STAUDIO/HOONTECH some time agao, and you can think of the ESP1010 as the next-gen version of the old ST-Audio C-PORT system which I also own and which was a huge seller back in the day, offering one of the cheapest and most reliable multi i/o solutions for PC musicians. It looks like the ESP1010 is set to fill the C-Port's shoes more than adequately, but it's better looking, better sounding and even MORE reliable!.
As I said earlier, it's Dancetech's hands-down best choice for a value multi I/O device on the market now, bar none!... Coming in only slightly pricier than the M-Audio Delta 1010LT, for just that little extra outlay you get a proper rack unit, balanced inputs throughout if needed, superb drivers and reliability (yup, including with PC-version Logic-audio 5!!), and the addition of DIRECTWIRE which can prove to be a superbly useful applet for a variety of uses.... A resounding 10/10 for the ESP1010 from ESI, you just cannot fault it!
|Multimedia / 7.1channels surround sound device|
|ESP1010 delivers ultra high-quality sound and adds unique features to your Windows audio system. ESP1010 supports all popular audio formats such as MPEG, MP3, WAV, and multimedia formats such as DVD, Video CD, Flash and Internet Broadcasting. Digital audio is becoming more and more popular and with ESP1010, you can complete your Desk Top Music Production System easily. ESP1010 will be the center of your DTMP system providing professional studio quality sound, and easy access to the world of digital music and multimedia. |
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- 1. Analog Inputs
- 1) Connector Type : 1/4" female TRS-type, balanced or unbalanced(ch 1~8)
- 2) Peak level : 0dBFS @ +6.5dBV (-10dBV nominal)
- 3) Impedance : 10k ohms minimum
- 4) Att. & Gain Control : -60dB ~ +15dB (0.5dB step size) *ch12 only
- 2. Analog Ouputs
- 1) Connector Type : 1/4" female TS-type, unbalanced(ch 1~8)
- 2) Peak level : +6.2dBV @ 0dBFS (-10dBV nominal)
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Total stars: 30 | Total votes: 8