ESI MAYA44 XTe review
Hope everything is great.
ESI sent me the updated version of their classic Maya44, The new version goes by the name MAYA44 XTe and is a PCIe audio interface.
Before I go on I want to thank ESI for letting me do this review.
ESI products are manufactured and distributed worldwide by ESI Audiotechnik GmbH, located in Leonberg, Germany. The company has been setup in 2006 as the new worldwide ESI headquarter in partnership with RIDI multimedia GmbH (the ESI distributor in Germany). Our products are developed and produced at various locations around the globe including several locations in Germany.
ESI has been making professional audio products for over a decade now. Today, ESI is one of the leading vendors for professional and semi-professional audio equipment worldwide. Our ESI branded and various OEM products developed by us are well known and used daily by hundreds of thousands of customers everywhere in the world and produced and brought to market by ESI Audiotechnik GmbH. Source
- 24-bit / 96 kHz 102dB(a) A/D converter and 24-bit / 96 kHz 108dB(a) D/A converter
- 4 simultaneous input and 4 simultaneous output channels
- microphone preamp with +48V phantom power
- Hi-Z instrument input to directly input guitar signals
- simultaneous full-duplex recording and playback
- S/PDIF optical output, S/PDIF optical input
- headphone output
- PCIe x1 interface card, works in x1 and any other PCIe slot
- full DirectWIRE support
- low-latency EWDM driver: MME, WDM, DirectSound and ASIO 2.0 support,
- compatible with Microsoft Windows XP, Vista 32-bit, Vista 64-bit, 7 32-bit, 7 64-bit and
Mac OS X
- bundled with Cubase LE 5 from Steinberg
The first impresson of the MAYA44 XTe was good, the only thing I would have loved was some sort of cable bundle, since there might be costumers who start from scratch and since the MAYA44 XTe handles all connections from the back of your PC it can be a pain to crawl behind the pc when you need to connect something.
Installing the MAYA44 XTe in your PC is a basic procedure and can be done by anyone as long as you are careful, The driver does not come with a self installer but if you follow the manual or watch this movie its not a problem.
Included Software bundle
Cubase LE6 from Steinberg, LFX 1310 multi FX effect plugin from Luxonix, Tassman ESI from AAS, the ESI Bovbjerg Piano, the ESI Atti-Tube bass guitar amp simulator, the ESI FX pack with 7 different effect processors, the Studio Devil BVC guitar amplifier from Gallo Engineering and a few other third party plugins.
The MAYA44 XTe
From the main section of the MAYA44XTe control mixer we can tell that ESI understands the needs for connectivity, Input 1/2 can act as Line in, MIC in with +48v phantom power or be set to the digital input. Line 3/4 can act as a line in or if set to guitar it activates the HI-Z instrument input. The outputs 1/2 and 3/4 can act as both headphones and line out headphones, you can chose to have both outputs play the same channel or act as separate channels if you should need to.
Under Config we can set the latency from 48 Samples to 1024, a max buffer of 1024 is maybe a low max setting I would have prefered a 2048 max buffer as this is a setting I prefere to use during large projects. PreSonus Studio One v2 reported a extreme low latency of 1.09ms on both in and out at 48 samples.
DirectWIRE digital virtual wiring technology, developed by ESI, routes audio streams
internally within applications using standard audio drivers such as WDM, ASIO and MME, even
when they are running at the same time. Source
The first test I did is to se how well the MAYA44 XTe handles a advanced project in PreSonus Studio One v2. The demo song Da Guv’nah by Phat Hat is included with PreSonus Studio One and is a perfect song to test playback stability on the MAYA44 XTe as it has 20+ audio and instrument tracks loaded with FX plugins. During this test I stop and start the song and jump between sections to se if I can find any unwanted behavior’s.
The MAYA44 XTe handles the Demo very well the only thing I noticed was a small cluster after I stop playback, this is a common issue when using a mid to hi end Graphic card.
I decided to se what happens if I swap to a DAW recommended PNY NVS 300, And as I thought the cluster sound was gone.
The next step was to test the inputs, and the over all sound quality of the MAYA44 XTe is impressive. the built in +48v phantom power works very well but the thing that stands out the most is the HI-Z input! I had a couple of friends come over with their guitars to test it out the MAYA44 XTe HI-Z input with IK multimedia Amplitube 3, the results was great and No matter if it was my Ibanez with Dimarzio Tone Zone / Air Norton , Gibson Les Paul or ESP with Active pickups the MAYA44 XTe HI-Z handled it flawlessly.
The MAYA44 Xte driver is stable, but you have to close all software when changing Latency settings and that can be a real PITA.
The MAYA44 XTe is a god entry / semi PRO PCIe Interface, I like the way each input can handle different sources with the onboard +48v phantom power and HI-Z.
When buying a interface you have to look at your needs, if all you do is record one tracks this card will work great, but you might have to get a external mixer to make life easier for you if you want to be able to easily connect your gear to it, another thing some might se as a downside is that volume control for Headphones and Speakrs are done from the control Software. There is one category of musicians that I belive will love the Maya44 XTe to and that is the once into Instrumental guitar kind of music like Steve Vai / Joe Satriani.
The MAYA44 XTe runs stable at low latency and has a great sounding HI-Z input, so you will get a great guitar tone. The downside with the MAYA44 XTe as with all PCI/PCIe soundcards / interfaces is that it can get interference from other hardware specially higher end Gaming graphic cards. The MAYA44 XTe can be found at Amazon for £110.53 / $139.00, This is a decent price when you look at the bundled software and connectivity.
- Low latency
- stable drivers
- Flexible connections
- Great sounding HI-Z input
- Onboard +48v phantom power
- Nice price
- No cables included
- Can be sensitive to high end graphic cards.
I would once again like to thank ESI for letting me do this review.
and to my readers…