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Digital out genelec 8351
Old 31st March 2019
  #1
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Digital out genelec 8351

Hi there, do you think there might be any change in the sound quality by using DIGITAL out routed directly to genele 8351 within for example a 400$ audio interface and a top notch 4.000$ audio interface?
Thanks
Old 31st March 2019
  #2
In a double blind significant-based test, no. Unless something in the chain is faulty, non-compliant cabling, etc.
Old 31st March 2019
  #3
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elambo's Avatar
Technically, maybe. Sonically, not likely.
Old 2nd April 2019
  #4
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If one has SIGNIFICANTLY more or less jitter than the other, there will be a difference. Also if one has a crappy power supply or output stage you will hear a difference.
Old 2nd April 2019
  #5
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In the IRL, there are no differences.
Old 2nd April 2019
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etchcube View Post
If one has SIGNIFICANTLY more or less jitter than the other, there will be a difference. Also if one has a crappy power supply or output stage you will hear a difference.
Assuming the $400 interface is remotely new and not >5 years old, it will almost certainly remain on-the-level with the $4,000 unit in the digital out section.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #7
I tried using the Digital AES jacks, purchased the special (blue colored) AES digital cables, etc.

The end result was I found I just prefer interfacing analog for my setup. I love the sound of my RME UFX+, and love the RME ARC USB speaker/volume controller. Which is an important point....if I recall (could be wrong) when interfacing AES (digitally) with the 8351s, you have to control the speaker volume digitally, which means using the GML virtual volume control, which I found to be a pain (with the mouse). Looks like Genelec does sell a physical controller for this, but for me I just preferred the simplicity of interfacing analog.

That reminds me, I have these expensive blue AES cables just lying around--need to sell them!
Old 3rd April 2019
  #8
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Really? You don't need to buy super expensive cables, there are also normal ones for AES... I much prefer feeding my 8260 and on location 8330 digitally, in conjunction with the Genelec hardware volume knob, this way bypassing two conversions.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louie1 View Post
I love the sound of my RME UFX+, and love the RME ARC USB speaker/volume controller.
You can assign the speaker out to the AES channels in totalmix and the ARC USB controller controls it just the same.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louie1 View Post
That reminds me, I have these expensive blue AES cables just lying around--need to sell them!
Pointless purchase. Any AES cable would do (110 ohm). What the colour has to do with anything is beyond me.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
You can assign the speaker out to the AES channels in totalmix and the ARC USB controller controls it just the same.
Not exactly. The GLM volume control controls the speaker, not the signal fed into the speaker. This way GLM has access to a full scale AES signal, which is the best base possible for the following signal processing.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louie1 View Post
I tried using the Digital AES jacks, purchased the special (blue colored) AES digital cables, etc.

The end result was I found I just prefer interfacing analog for my setup. I love the sound of my RME UFX+, and love the RME ARC USB speaker/volume controller. Which is an important point....if I recall (could be wrong) when interfacing AES (digitally) with the 8351s, you have to control the speaker volume digitally, which means using the GML virtual volume control, which I found to be a pain (with the mouse). Looks like Genelec does sell a physical controller for this, but for me I just preferred the simplicity of interfacing analog.

That reminds me, I have these expensive blue AES cables just lying around--need to sell them!
The sound quality will theoretically always be better going all digital, as there is less conversion happening this way with the 83XX series. Some may consider going digital simpler than analog as well, as there is only one cable needed from the interface. The Genelec volume control is a seamless single connection to the Genelec network adapter.

If your 110 Ohm cables are Canare, they make great mic cables as well, IME.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #12
Makes sense, thanks. Plus If I can really use the AES cables this will free up those Balanced analog cables and can always find use for them. I might try this again (it has been a while).
Old 3rd April 2019
  #13
So I missed some of the comments sounds like there are at a couple opinions on the optimum way to interface digitally after all. I’m not purchasing another volume controller and, the analog interfacing works great and sounds great.

Great comments.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulrich View Post
Really? You don't need to buy super expensive cables, there are also normal ones for AES... I much prefer feeding my 8260 and on location 8330 digitally, in conjunction with the Genelec hardware volume knob, this way bypassing two conversions.
I didn’t say super expensive, but the “normal” ones were not cheap either. I suppose they are blue because it flags them as digital.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulrich View Post
Not exactly. The GLM volume control controls the speaker, not the signal fed into the speaker. This way GLM has access to a full scale AES signal, which is the best base possible for the following signal processing.
what kind of black magic or marketing speech is this, 'access to full scale aes signal'?! the result is the same, whether you trim levels on the interface (via totalmix) or the speaker (via glm): afaik there is no loudness compensation linked to the glm volume controller...
Old 3rd April 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
what kind of black magic or marketing speech is this, 'access to full scale aes signal'?! the result is the same, whether you trim levels on the interface (via totalmix) or the speaker (via glm): afaik there is no loudness compensation linked to the glm volume controller...
No need to become rude. Please re-read my posting. It's about the processing. Please be aware of the fact AES is a fixed point signal.
Are you familiar with GLM?
Old 3rd April 2019
  #17
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i'm not being rude, i was just repeating what pentagon rightfully mentioned before:

when it comes to adjusting the playback volume of a pair of (genelec) speakers with digital inputs, it doesn't matter at all whether you'll adjust volume...
- on the control software of the interface (totalmix/rme)
- the monitor volume knob of the digital desk
- the speaker processor in (front of) the amps/speakers
- the control software of the speakers (genelec/glm)

and yes, i'm familiar with glm as i'm sitting in a control room being surrounded by 10 gennies with glm; i'm using a speaker controller for more sophisticated control though!
Old 3rd April 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
i'm not being rude, i was just repeating what pentagon rightfully mentioned before:

when it comes to adjusting the playback volume of a pair of (genelec) speakers with digital inputs, it doesn't matter at all whether you'll adjust volume...
- on the control software of the interface (totalmix/rme)
- the monitor volume knob of the digital desk
- the speaker processor in (front of) the amps/speakers
- the control software of the speakers (genelec/glm)

and yes, i'm familiar with glm as i'm sitting in a control room being surrounded by 10 gennies with glm; i'm using a speaker controller for more sophisticated control though!
What you say would be true in a floating point world. In fixed point world (AES) it's just not true. You are loosing resolution earlier than necessary.
BTW: I am especially enjoying controlling surround volume via GLM, very clean solution!
Old 3rd April 2019
  #19
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulrich View Post
What you say would be true in a floating point world. In fixed point world (AES) it's just not true. You are loosing resolution earlier than necessary.
BTW: I am especially enjoying controlling surround volume via GLM, very clean solution!
Indeed. And to alleviate any related issues, I have GLM's volume at full, then send that to a digital controller (the TC Electronics BMC-2), where volume is adjusted.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #20
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trimming levels in the digital world is indeed not as trivial as it seems to be - but again: to most any folks around here, it's of no importance where they are trimming the playback levels.

we all would be very hard pressed to hear and measure a difference in fr between systems being trimmed down a bit on two different positions in the digital signal chain! - even if there would be measurable difference, i doubt it would be much...

and then, not everyone is using genelec/glm, an outside solution may not fit in the workflow, other (existing) solutions are preferred. also, one could argue that speakers are to be chosen to have appropriate playback levels without much trimming (as any system designer does in live sound)...
Old 3rd April 2019
  #21
YMMV but I don't *think* I'm hearing any loss of resolution when dropping way below 0dB using GLM and their volume control. Sounds good to me.

As a comparison, I can very clearly hear the difference when comparing the "Analog" volume control setting versus the Digital option on the Mytek Stereo 192 DAC, for example. I much prefer the Analog setting, indicating a loss in resolution below 0dB when using the Digital setting. I've heard other chains that do a similar thing, but I don't hear it using GLM.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #22
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john caldwell's Avatar
We use the AES output of interfaces to drive AES input of the 7370 Sub, which in turns routes to the 8351 pair. Results are excellent and trouble free.

Recently I added this 6 foot AES splitter cable, so a Grace headphone amp could receive the same AES signal the the Genelec system receives.. Also working well and trouble free.

Sescom SES-AES-EBU-Y-6 Impedance Matching AES/EBU Y Splitter Cable
Old 3rd April 2019
  #23
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by john caldwell View Post
We use the AES output of interfaces to drive AES input of the 7370 Sub, which in turns routes to the 8351 pair. Results are excellent and trouble free.
Where do you control your playback volume? With the GLM software alone? If so, isn't it inconvenient to reach for the GLM app anytime you want to adjust volume?
Old 3rd April 2019
  #24
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john caldwell's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
Where do you control your playback volume? With the GLM software alone? If so, isn't it inconvenient to reach for the GLM app anytime you want to adjust volume?
No inconvenience. Yes, it's via GLM that volume is controlled. I use the physical volume knob Genelec accessory, extended that to my mobile desk, via simple 1/8" earphone extension cable (6 feet). Hitting space bar with GLM in the foreground toggles mute.

But you can use your mouse to control GLM volume if you don't use the volume knob accessory.

It's very nice honestly.

My work is 100% in the computer once audio hits the converter. I suppose my attitude could defer if I worked OTB on analog control surfaces.

John-
Old 3rd April 2019
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john caldwell View Post
I use the physical volume knob Genelec accessory
Ah yes, that does make it much easier. I've been thinking about grabbing one myself but the price is hard to justify consider what it's made of and what it does. I wonder if there are other compatible options for controlling GLM remotely. There's no iOS app -- I just checked -- but that would be nice.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
Ah yes, that does make it much easier. I've been thinking about grabbing one myself but the price is hard to justify consider what it's made of and what it does. I wonder if there are other compatible options for controlling GLM remotely. There's no iOS app -- I just checked -- but that would be nice.
The knob was about $130. The monitors cost $7000. But I'm sure you can build your own. It's just a potentiometer.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
Ah yes, that does make it much easier. I've been thinking about grabbing one myself but the price is hard to justify consider what it's made of and what it does. I wonder if there are other compatible options for controlling GLM remotely. There's no iOS app -- I just checked -- but that would be nice.
We'll see how it fairs through the years, but it's actually very heavy for its size, and reminds me of the big volume knob era of the mid 70s.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john caldwell View Post
The knob was about $130. The monitors cost $7000. But I'm sure you can build your own. It's just a potentiometer.
That was the other reason I didn't buy one: they seem easy enough to make.
Old 4th April 2019
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulrich View Post
What you say would be true in a floating point world. In fixed point world (AES) it's just not true. You are loosing resolution earlier than necessary.
BTW: I am especially enjoying controlling surround volume via GLM, very clean solution!
Hey fellas please help me out here. There is a technical answer and not just opinion that much is clear and I would like to understand. I understand the basic concept that with digital volume control, there are less bits available as the volume is turned down. Also my understanding is that the ability of the ear/brain to hear the difference in bit depth as digital volume is reduced is also reduced.

Assuming 24bit source material-->DAW or Itunes-->RME AES OUt-->Genelec 8351 all digital connections, what is a higher playback resolution, a) or b)? Why?


a) Turn GML volume all the way up (0 dB), software playback level inside Total Mix at 0db, routed to AES, Main
(volume control) toggled to AES, volume at -40db

B) Software playback level inside RME (total mix) at 0db, routed to AES, Main (volume control) toggled to AES. listening volume at -40db in GML.

So I hooked everything up and ran the above a-b listening test (because my curiosity got the best of me), and I would be hard pressed to perceive any tangible difference in sound quality. If anything, a) seemed to sound a little smoother--but I couldn't say for sure.

BTW, I doubled checked the levels with an spl meter to make sure the levels matched in the room.


I'm happy to report i changed my mind and now able to use my blue AES cables and free up a couple nice balanced XLR cables for other purposes. And it is nice to know I don't need an extra volume knob cluttering my desk.

P.S. I can't say if this setup is any better audio quality than just running analog (from purely listening)--excellent converters in both the 8351s and the RME UFX probably helps.

Thanks for the comments!

Last edited by Louie1; 4th April 2019 at 10:47 PM.. Reason: Clarification
Old 5th April 2019
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louie1 View Post
Hey fellas please help me out here. There is a technical answer and not just opinion that much is clear and I would like to understand. I understand the basic concept that with digital volume control, there are less bits available as the volume is turned down. Also my understanding is that the ability of the ear/brain to hear the difference in bit depth as digital volume is reduced is also reduced.

Assuming 24bit source material-->DAW or Itunes-->RME AES OUt-->Genelec 8351 all digital connections, what is a higher playback resolution, a) or b)? Why?


a) Turn GML volume all the way up (0 dB), software playback level inside Total Mix at 0db, routed to AES, Main
(volume control) toggled to AES, volume at -40db

B) Software playback level inside RME (total mix) at 0db, routed to AES, Main (volume control) toggled to AES. listening volume at -40db in GML.

So I hooked everything up and ran the above a-b listening test (because my curiosity got the best of me), and I would be hard pressed to perceive any tangible difference in sound quality. If anything, a) seemed to sound a little smoother--but I couldn't say for sure.

BTW, I doubled checked the levels with an spl meter to make sure the levels matched in the room.


I'm happy to report i changed my mind and now able to use my blue AES cables and free up a couple nice balanced XLR cables for other purposes. And it is nice to know I don't need an extra volume knob cluttering my desk.

P.S. I can't say if this setup is any better audio quality than just running analog (from purely listening)--excellent converters in both the 8351s and the RME UFX probably helps.

Thanks for the comments!
B is recommended. The "bottleneck" is the 24 bit fixed point AES transmission between RME and Genelec. Here it is recommended not to attenuate (= loosing resolution), but to attenuate later in the DSP speaker itself.
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