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PCIe adaptor for PCI soundcard, any thoughts?

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>HyperlogiK<

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Nov 10, 2004
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Hi all, I have a number of reasonable quality soundcards in various formats, but I'm especially fond of my PCI EMU Audio Production Studio as an extra set of reasonably well-specced I/Os to complement my Steinberg UR22C. Thanks to the Kx Project, it still has driver support that works fine under Windows 10, but I just upgraded from a Z79 Haswell setup to a board with no PCI slots. I've noticed a few fairly low price PCI to PCIe adapters online and have plenty of extension cables which would allow for a clean fit, but I've heard from a couple of computer audio acquaintances that PCIe is noisier electronically and has a less stable clock than PCI and that native PCIe cards incorporate circuitry to mitigate these issues.

I'm torn between the fact that these sound plausible and the plethora of audiophile nonsense relating to exotic 'low jitter' cables. I was also somewhat hesitant because I suspect that any boards as recent as the Z97 series are probably using PCI bridge chips anyway.

Has anyone direct experience of the above and if so, did it make a significant difference?

N.B. This is for amateur home music geekery and thus a small impact wouldn't be worth new hardware, but if such a setup would introduce a lot of noise, I would prefer to go another route (even if that is waiting for age-related deterioration of hearing).
 
Thanks, after railing about the unscientific hokum of many audiophiles, a practical test should probably have occurred to me, and even if it doesn't work, it might facilitate my resurrection of some obscure IO card in future.

Many thanks.
 
Hi all, I have a number of reasonable quality soundcards in various formats, but I'm especially fond of my PCI EMU Audio Production Studio as an extra set of reasonably well-specced I/Os to complement my Steinberg UR22C. Thanks to the Kx Project, it still has driver support that works fine under Windows 10, but I just upgraded from a Z79 Haswell setup to a board with no PCI slots. I've noticed a few fairly low price PCI to PCIe adapters online and have plenty of extension cables which would allow for a clean fit, but I've heard from a couple of computer audio acquaintances that PCIe is noisier electronically and has a less stable clock than PCI and that native PCIe cards incorporate circuitry to mitigate these issues.

I'm torn between the fact that these sound plausible and the plethora of audiophile nonsense relating to exotic 'low jitter' cables. I was also somewhat hesitant because I suspect that any boards as recent as the Z97 series are probably using PCI bridge chips anyway.

Has anyone direct experience of the above and if so, did it make a significant difference?

N.B. This is for amateur home music geekery and thus a small impact wouldn't be worth new hardware, but if such a setup would introduce a lot of noise, I would prefer to go another route (even if that is waiting for age-related deterioration of hearing).

Do you need PCI to PCIe or the other way around? If the motherboard has the PCIe then you want PCIe to PCI. Be careful to get the right adapter when you order.
 
Yes, thanks both of you and apologies for the ambiguity, I posted whilst still in bed and only half awake, which is rarely a recipe for clear communication. I want to plug a PCI card into a PCIe socket. I know most of the adapters are geared toward low profile ethernet, video and storage controllers with the intention that you screw the combo inline, but my case has sufficient space between the mobo and the side that I'm pretty sure I can use a riser cable fed downward without putting excess pressure either on the card or the socket.

EarthDog, I just followed your suggestion, but delivery times are still a little erratic here because of the pandemic. I do promise to share results when it turns up though. I do have a calibrated mic somewhere so I might even attempt a more objective test. Personally I only really care that the quality isn't too poor to impact the odd bit of hobbyist music creation, but I can quite imagine that there are still a few serious musicians who sank $1000+ into some ginormous 'studio quality' interface which they want to keep going for a few more years.
 
Haven't taken any formal measurments yet, have been too busy. But based on initial impressions the E-MU card works just fine with an adapter. I tried a very unscientific blind test with my girlfriend as the subject using it in both my retro x58/i980 system (which has PCI ports) and my current Haswell-E machine. Given that some of the later E-MU cards were available both as PCI and PCIe versions, it is possible that there are either hardware or driver level mitigations for noise and jitter on the PCIe bus. I will take some measurements via scope or calibrated mic when I have the time, but my initial impression is that (at least for anything short of serious pro studio use), a PCI/PCIe adapter is just fine.

It's possible that different bridge chips and different audio interfaces might yield different results, but I might try digging out a few old Yamaha, Terratec and Echo Layla components for similar (and more objective) testing. In fact I think there might be some scope for repurposing old music/audiophile cards and chucking them into compact ITX systems to use the things as DIY room correction and speaker management boxes.

Thanks to both of you for all of your help with this.
 
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