Pros: Impeccable drivers. Excellent sound quality for the price.
Cons: Price. Inability to use multiple Delta 44s at the same time.
I have been trying to make low-end digital audio workstations work for years, and finally found the solution with the Delta series.
I've tried using Creative cards, onboard ESS sound chips, a Steinberg Project card, and an Edirol USB interface. None come even close to the ease of use or sound quality of the Delta card.
The Delta 44 is a 4-in, 4-out digital audio workstation card. While modern versions of Windows will playback normal Windows sounds including DirectX audio on it, it's primarily targeted at home and project studio PCs and Macs. The kit consists of the card itself, a breakout box with 8 1/4" connectors on it, and a cable connecting the two. Software and manuals are also provided.
The driver disc contains drivers for PCs and Mac, with versions for most iterations of Windows, including 98/ME and NT/2000/XP. The driver install is painless and without problems. By following the instructions for system setup in the manual, I was able to set up my system for the most part, with the exception of the ATA IDE drivers.
The ATA IDE drivers for my Intel 815 chipset were not installed by Windows 2000, so I had to download these from Intel directly to achieve smooth playback. This critical bit of information isn't mentioned in the Delta 44 manual, nor are drivers included on the install disc. It was a hassle to locate the drivers and install them, but once they were, the system performed flawlessly.
From Steinberg's Cubase SX, the interface came up with no trouble, and I was able to record 4 channels in parallel with no trouble. Adding additional tracks was effortless as well.
I like this card so much, I'd like to add another one to my system, and expand to 8 ins and outs. But I can't, because the Delta 44 is the only multichannel card M-Audio makes that will not synchronize with another unit. The Delta 66, with its SPDIF in/outs, can do this.
I can't praise this card highly enough. For anyone who has messed with cheap consumer-based cards this setup is a godsend and completely worth the less-than-premium price ($299 list, $229 street, $180 Ebay). If I could add another to my system, I would.