Opinions are like assholes...
The card I keep coming back to is the Lynx Studio AES16, which is $625 from Mercenary. Is there any reason I should not be looking at this card? Is there another solution with at least 8 AES I/O that is worth a shit? I like the fact that it has 16 I/O, and you can add a lightpipe daughter card if you're feeling sparky. I also like the fact that there are two separate headers, so I can use one header for 8 channels of XLR AES, and the other header for a DB25 cable if I get an Aurora 8 or Rosetta 800 or something.
I'm open to ideas, though. My budget for this operation is no more than $1.3K, as that's the current total of my cash on hand, plus the perceived value of the 896. (Note that if you're interested in purchasing the 896, I'm accepting offers. However, I can't actually let it go until I get my Germanium.)
UPDATE: In searching, it seems the only other PCI card with 16 AES I/O is the Hammerfall DSP AES-32. This costs $125 more than the Lynx, and doesn't come with breakout cables. (The Lynx card is $675 with one set of cables.) So total cost is at least $850, which makes it $175 more than the Lynx. Now, I had a Hammerfall 9652 for years, and thought it was an excellent card. So, my question is thus: is the fact that I know and am comfortable with the RME brand, plus the MIDI I/O built in, worth the extra $175?