Focusrite Saffire Pro 14 SPDIF
Old 14th October 2013
  #1
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Focusrite Saffire Pro 14 SPDIF

Hi Guys

I've been reading these forums for a long time and have found all sorts of interesting and useful information here. My thanks to everyone.

I haven't been able to find anything to help me with my particular circumstance however.

I have a Focusrite Saffire Pro 14 interface and it has 8 ins, but only four of them are quarter inch jack, and the other four, I believe, are through the SPDIF input. I currently have a synth plugged into two of the jack ins, and am soon to get a second synth. This second synth has two stereo outputs - both of them quarter inch jacks. Unfortunately, there are only two quarter inch jack sockets available on the sound card.

My question is this: Is there any way I can get some sort of convertor or interface so I can use the SPDIF in for the two stereo ins (4 jacks) on the new synth?

I hope this makes sense, and thanks in advance.
Old 14th October 2013
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If the synth has spdif out you can use spdif in with a spdif cable of course.
Old 15th October 2013
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Thread Starter
Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, neither of the synths have SPDIF outs.

The synths are the Mopho Keyboard and the Prophet 08 Module.

Probably too many DSI synths (seeing as I have no other hardware synths at all), but I got such a good deal on the P08 I couldn't resist.
Old 15th October 2013
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Your Saffire Pro 14 has (2) digital input channels only (channels 5 and 6) connected via a the single RCA S/PDIF input jack (S/PDIF can carry (2) channels only). The other two "inputs" (ch 7/8) are loop-backs and are not external inputs at all, only from your DAW.

You can connect two analog unbalanced inputs (two mono or one stereo) to the S/PDIF inputs by using a modular analog to S/PDIF converter. There are multi-frequency analog to S/PDIF converters , and there are other low-cost converters that operate at one sampling frequency (48k) only.

If you use the S/PDIF input, the S/PDIF converter sets your system sampling rate. You can't use a different rate for the internal Focusrite converter. Be sure to use a 75 ohm digital RCA cable between the analog to S/PDIF modular converter and the S/PDIF input jack. The analog to S/PDIF converters have fixed gain, so you have to be sure that you don't overdrive the inputs. They are typically set for "prosumer" signal levels (-10 dBV or less).
Old 15th October 2013
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Thanks Lotus 7. That's really helpful - I'll pick one of those up.
Old 15th October 2013
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Is there any real need to use both stereo outputs on the new synth?

Do they offer anything different, or are they just duplicates?
Old 15th October 2013
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZombieMorg View Post
Is there any real need to use both stereo outputs on the new synth?

Do they offer anything different, or are they just duplicates?
The outputs are different. Some synths use a simple "keyboard split" with higher notes panned to one channel and lower notes to the other. Many newer synths use reverb algorithms that create a virtual space for the synth sounds, so need real stereo support. If the synth has a mono mode, and if you are OK with panning the synth sound to one spatial location, or can use a DAW effect to spread out the sound, then you may be happy using a mono initial recording.

If you have a synth with good stereo output, it's usually best to take advantage of it and record to (2) tracks.
For instance the Dave Smith Mopho that the O.P. mentioned has true stereo auto panning effects available. To best use that effect, you must record in stereo.
Old 15th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotus 7 View Post
The outputs are different. Some synths use a simple "keyboard split" with higher notes panned to one channel and lower notes to the other. Many newer synths use reverb algorithms that create a virtual space for the synth sounds, so need real stereo support. If the synth has a mono mode, and if you are OK with panning the synth sound to one spatial location, or can use a DAW effect to spread out the sound, then you may be happy using a mono initial recording.

If you have a synth with good stereo output, it's usually best to take advantage of it and record to (2) tracks.
For instance the Dave Smith Mopho that the O.P. mentioned has true stereo auto panning effects available. To best use that effect, you must record in stereo.
I think the OP is saying that his new synth has two separate sets of stereo outputs i.e. two left and two right channels for a total of four outputs.

I can't see there being much use to this, unless they output from different sections of the synth's signal path?

I've just had a look at a picture of the Prophet 08 (I'm presuming that's the synth that the OP was referring to) and it looks like the outputs are just duplicates of each other, so two inputs on the Saffire would be enough.
Old 15th October 2013
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Ahh, but Dave Smith thinks differently.

The Prophet 08 actually has (2) sets of different stereo outputs called "Layer A" and "Layer B", and each layer can be programmed for different sounds. Normally, both "layers" are mixed to the "Main" output jacks. It's essentially like having (2) different synths triggered at the same time.

I suppose that if you're using that capability, it would be nice to have all (4) separately going to your DAW at once (for instance, if you wanted to used different effects or panning on each "layer") Since the O.P. only has (2) more inputs available, he would have to sample each stereo pair separately. (Or just use the "main" outputs alone.)

From the Prophet 08 Manual:

Main Output – The Prophet '08's unbalanced, stereo outputs.

Output B – Each of the Prophet '08's 256 programs contains two layers, A and
B. Each layer can be a completely different sound and the layers can be
combined as splits and stacks. If you just use the Main Output, layers A and B
are both output there. If you plug two additional cables into Output B, however,
the sound of B layer will be removed from the Main Output and sent to Output
B. This enables you to process the two layers separately.

J.S. Bach would have loved to have one of those!
Old 16th October 2013
  #10
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Thread Starter
Lotus 7 is exactly right - that was my thought process. I wanted to be able to process each layer separately. For example, I might have a pad or string sound on the upper layer and a bass sound on the lower layer. Both those layers would probably require different processing.

To start with I will probably just use one stereo output and record as audio until I get the converter. I think I need to find a converter that supports 96khz as that's the most my sound card will handle as far as I know. I was doing some searching last night but haven't found anything suitable so far.

My options are limited as I live in Thailand and there isn't exactly a thriving audio scene here. There are only a handful of shops that cater for this sort of thing and amazon often won't deliver to Thailand.

Thanks everyone for their help and suggestions. This is a great forum.
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