Related to the current thread - \"Least Expensive Sound Card\"....
The Audiotrax Maya which someone mentioned as a $109 card is actually the Maya 44 (4-in and 4-out). The original Maya (same, but with 2-in and 2-out) can be had for less than $60 from at least three vendors. This is an incredible bargain, esp for a second computer.
Maya has only 20-bit DACs, but the 20-bit DAC in GigaStation (by EgoSys...I believe Audiotrax\'s parent) sounds terrific. I\'ve heard it said that, subjectively, 20 bits gets you 90% of the way to the sound quality increase you\'d expect in going from 16 to 24 bits.
Maya\'s significant other limitation is the lack of oncard MIDI. Audiotrax make a companion MIDI card, the 2120, which can be used only in conjunction with Audiotrax/EgoSys cards and provides 2-in and 2-out MIDI without using an extra IRQ! Again, about $60. I can speak to the 2120...I use it with GigaStation & it works just fine.
However, back to that second computer (in my case) and the need for economy. If onboard MIDI (the MIDI that\'s now joystick-port-related on most motherboards) could be used WITHOUT using the onboard sound, and without suffering the problems which might arise from trying to use a sound card AND simultaneously having the onboard sound enabled in BIOS, then you could (I could) have a dirt-cheap, excellent quality GigaStudio rig. Maybe not for \"mission-critical\" applications, but aren\'t there quite a few of us who don\'t need that level of quality all the time?
So, I\'m thinking of ordering the Maya and trying this...but, if you have already done it and been thrilled or frustrated with the effort...please let me know!