Quick question, I recently acquired a couple of Roland DS-90 monitors, up until now I used standard analog cables to connect to my apogee ensemble. I decided I wanted to utilize the optical option in my Rolands out from the ensemble. In the back of the ensemble there is a single output and input into the ensemble itself, is there is a splitter that will allow me to connect out of my ensemble into the speakers? and are there different types of optical cables ?
To drive your DS-90s from the Ensemble optical output you need to set the Ensemble [optical out] for S/PDIF (2-channel mode) and then connect a single optical fiber to the right speaker. Then connect the "THRU" digital output (RCA coax jack) to the coaxial digital input on the left speaker. Optical splitters are not used with ADAT or S/PDIF optical outputs.
I've never tried digital speakers on my Ensemble, but have used its optical output to drive a HHB CDR-800 and that works fine.
It may be interesting to compare your results using the Roland's built-in converters to the very good DACs in the Apogee. Have no idea about the quality of the Roland converters, but the Apogee's are quite good IMHO and I'd be surprised if you notice any improvement over the Apogee analog outputs connected with quality balanced cables..
I have an old pair as well. I think they sound good when using digital vs analog. The analog path they cut corners on. Even using High end converters sounds bad, then you plug in spidf and they perk right up to very usable monitors . But the spidif out just passes line level . How do I attenuate these ... Maybe buy a cheap vs 880? My sound devices just sends line level on spdif. The vs8f had a cool vocoder . Might be a cool external fx unit.