Success. The demon has been banished from my hardware and I am finally able to reliably record at 48KHz 16bit (native resolution for a SB Audigy2 Platinum). Having two bootable Linux installs meant there were a lot of variants to work through. The final result was to boot up in my usual install (not Ubuntu Studio, amazingly) and ditch X. A blog reverse nod to Richard for putting me on to the fact that the nVidia drivers play merry havok with recording latency.
Because I suck, however, I didn’t do my research especially thoroughly, and the day before I discovered the above sweet spot, frustration had got the better of me. I’ve invested in an Echo Audiofire2. Such a sweet piece of kit!
After a couple of days of using the Echo, I’m sold. I use it with my laptop and it’s dramatically cut down the crosstalk during a recording, to say nothing of the fact that it’s brushed aluminium body is a decent match for the PowerBook. Next step is to get an XLR adaptor for the mic, so I can jack it straight in the front, and then I’m set for traveling and recording on the go with a similar quality as at home. Possibly one thing I’m missing travel-wise is probably a plug-in metronome, since I use the kit for that right now.
Regular scheduling (hah!) to resume just as soon as I finish listening to Dear Agony (Breaking Benjamin), Life Starts Now (Three Days Grace) and Burning the Days (Vertical Horizon).