"Great design and pristine sound quality"
Ok here is the deal folks, this card sounds amazing. You know that a card sounds good when you hear things on familiar recordings that you haven't heard before. I am extremely satisfied by the output of the card, its pristine quality.
This is a very basic card that gets the job done. Although it doesn't have 3000 useless features like many other cards on the market, what it is meant to do, it does well. I strongly recommend this card to anybody who is looking for a basic semi-pro sound card and who also wants to use it as a main sound card in their computer. Moreover, unlike some of the other musician oriented cards, Audiophile 2496 handles game audio, and even outputs 5.1 AC-3 spdif signal for decoding in your home theater receiver. So you can easily use this card for the surround expereince in movies.
Very sturdy card. Love the gold-plated connectors.
Haven't dealt with M-Audio customer service, but I hear they are OK.
This is the category where this product shines. It screams value all over it. For a $100 you get an awesome card thats up there with the bigger Delta cards.
The Wow Factor:
The sheer simplicity and elegance of the card design is enough to justify buying it. There is no filler software. Just what is needed.
I expect this card to last for many years. I use this card in a pro tools LE system. So this card handles all of the system audio and non pro tools audio applications, while the pro tools hardware is used to run the PT sequencing software.