Here are my thoughts and recommendation having used the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 and Lynx Studio LynxONE PCI cards.

Audiophile 2496
We use the 2496 in our access/auditioning workstations.
Pros: Better than most computer motherboard audio, adequate for access or auditioning use.
Cons: Analog I/O is unbalanced RCA only, Digital I/O is S/PDIF only.
Recommendation: If cost is really a factor, step up to the M-Audio Audiophile 192.

We use the LynxONE with AES/EBU and Mytek converters in our preservation studio.
Pros: Exceptional quality PCI Card, Balanced XLR analog I/O support +4/-10 levels, AES/EBU and S/PDIF digital I/O,
Word clock I/O for synchronizing, all breakout cables included. 
Cons: Expensive, discontinued in 7/2008.
Recommendations: Lynx L22 is their current two channel audio PCI card.

While I have never used the DAL CDX-01, I hear enough good things about them from folks that I trust at ARSC. They have balanced analog I/O and can be upgraded from S/PDIF to AES/EBU digital I/O if you want to go that way in the future. I'd place them somewhere below the Lynx Studio products, but not very far.

FWIW...I've also used an Edirol UA-1EX USB interface for some "quick and dirty" transfers (not for preservation) and have been pretty impressed with its quality. It can do 96/24, but not in full duplex mode. And since these transfers are usually for CDs, 44.1/16 transfers just make more sense.  It also has optical S/PDIF input and I'd say it is definitely better than the built in audio on my laptop.

Hope this helps,

John H. Bondurant
Sound Preservation Archivist

Berea College
Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives
Berea, KY 40404
(859) 985-3389 - voice
(859) 985-3912 - fax

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 -----Original Message-----
From: Bill Fliss [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Monday, December 14, 2009 3:17 PM
Subject: Sound card recommendation

Good afternoon,

I know that conventional wisdom prefers a stand-alone A/D converter instead
of using your computer's sound card to convert an analog signal to digital,
but can anybody recommend a sound card to me that can handle a capture at
24-bit/96kHz?  This would be for a PC.


Bill Fliss