Intended mainly for musicians, the Hercules 16/12 has little in common with traditional sound card in terms of its design, its size... or its price. Musicians often need numerous inputs and outputs. They also care about compatibility with their equipment and secure operation at least as much as light weight and compactness. So what you'll find here is a larger unit with professional-type connectors instead of the standard ones. You'll also find lots of features... and a heftier price tag than that of a consumer model.
The 16/12 can be mounted in a 19" rack, the professional standard; two brackets are supplied for this purpose. The unit is handsome, if a bit austere, and well-suited for its intended use. A FireWire cable is also supplied, as well as - perhaps unexpectedly - a three-channel FireWire PCI card for your PC, if it doesn't already have one. For use with a portable, a 6-pin-to-4-pin FireWire adapter is also supplied, since few portables have the 6-pin connector.
Power is not provided by the interface, regardless of the cable used, but rather via a power adapter that plugs in behind the unit. This is not a very practical solution, but it's pretty much inevitable, since devices like this consume a considerable amount power. The FireWire cable is more than 13' (4 m) long, which can be very handy in many situations where the interface has to be far from the PC.
Installation is very simple and follows the usual process - you install the drivers before you connect the device. The manual covers the procedure well and we had no problems. Once the device has been recognized, you can install the bundled software and any of the included trial version software packages that might interest you.
|Hercules 16/12 FireWire|
|Main circuits||Altera Acex EP1K50 PLD and Analog Devices AD1871|
|Max. sampling rate||96 kHz|
|ASIO||24 bits/96 kHz|
|Rack||10 line, 2 mike / instrument / line1 S/PDIF optical stereo1 S/PDIF coaxial stereo|
|Rack||8 line1 S/PDIF optical stereo1 S/PDIF coaxial stereo|
|DVD and Cinema|
|Configuration||Up to 7.1|
|Ports||2 standard DIN|
|Processor||Minimum 800 MHz|
|Memory||128 MB (256 MB recommended)|
|OS||Windows XP SP1a|