Reviewed by 2 customers
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I loved the 1616 at first - it offers a ton of features at a great price, sounds great, and is easy to use - while it still works. I've had two of these fail on me in three months. First, the 1/4" TRS outputs on the breakout box lost 20db in volume (while still displaying full output in the software mixer). After spending hours trying different configurations and reinstalling drivers, EMU sent me another one under warranty. This time, the PCMCIA card stopped working, and causes my computer to hang. Read before you buy: a quick search of the EMU Users Forums reveals that many others have similar problems (low output on the Microdock, bad PCMCIA cards) with the 1616/1616M, and have had theirs replaced multiple times. Perhaps it's a factory defect, or bad design, but the 1616 doesn't seem to hold up very well. I will say that EMU's tech support is very helpful, and they honor their warranties, but I can't work with a product that may fail at any time without any warning. I love the convenience of the card-breakout box combo, but I can't trust the 1616.
E-MU's 1616 is a must-have piece of equipment for any musician who owns a laptop. The ASIO-supported near-zero latency is awesome, especially for live performance and overdubs. The included CueMix software (an unbelievably flexible software mixer with incredible DSP effects) and the bundled software package (Sonar, Live, Cubase, E-MU's own ProteusX, Amplitube, and more) add incredible functionality and power. There are, however, a few issues. The learning curve for CueMix is a bit steep, although you can just load the "Product Default" session for your first few projects. 1616 is clearly geared towards audio at the expense of MIDI; the two sets of MIDI I/O seem only useable for recording, not playback from a software DAW. Finally, it is a bit pricey; and the 1616M is another $100. Bottom line: if you can afford it, E-MU's 1616 will revolutionize the way you record music. After you buy it, you will wonder how you lived without it.
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