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Eternal question - AES EBU interface for a laptop (MacBook Pro)
Old 19th December 2008
  #1
Talking Eternal question - AES EBU interface for a laptop (MacBook Pro)

Difficult to understand why among those thousands products there is no simple AES-EBU interface directly connectable to laptop (8 in, 8 out). If there are digital interfaces, they have many other features (other formats, analog connections and what not). I used to use an older Magma PCI expansion chassi (PCMCIA connection) with Lynx AES-16, but it will not work with MacBook Pro even when using Express 34 Card adapter (as I just learned from Magma). Magma pricing for these boxes is a bit insane (almost $1000).

There is an alternative: ExpressCard 34 to PCI Expansion Box - PC & Macintosh for very reasonable price .... I wonder whether someone has ever used it ... Looks tempting but this company sounds VERY untrustable. During the last 3 weeks I sent them 3 emails (including reminders) enquiring about these boxes, not a single reply (!!). The telephones they mention on their website are just answering machines (all their "all around the world" offices). It seems very strange and is not how a serious company should behave ...

There is Weiss AFI1 box, but for $2000 and with all the other options it is quite overkill ... I am not aware of anything else ... If the Virtuavia box works, it would be ideal, but I am not sure whether I can trust it. If I order it, it does not work and the company is not responding, what to do ...

Do you have any other suggestions ? I just need up to 8 AES EBU in and 2 AES EBU out (or 8 - does not matter) connectable to MacBook Pro, nothing else ... (no ADAT, SPDIF, analogue, preamps, SRC etc.). I have my own ADCs and preamps which I want to use ...
Old 19th December 2008
  #2
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Been there. Ended up with an AES->ADAT converter, RME ADI-4 DD. And then an ADAT sound card, I have used RME Digiface and have been happy. Both are halfrack width.

//Gunnar
Old 19th December 2008
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghellquist View Post
Been there. Ended up with an AES->ADAT converter, RME ADI-4 DD. And then an ADAT sound card, I have used RME Digiface and have been happy. Both are halfrack width.

//Gunnar
Hmm, but then (these two boxes + the card ) it comes to a similar price like the Weiss box ...
Old 19th December 2008
  #4
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Larry Elliott's Avatar
I too have been looking - to no avail. Think the Weiss box is the best option so far.

Larry
Old 19th December 2008
  #6
Nice AES EBU interface for $4000 )

Out all of the mentioned, Magma PCI expansion still sounds the cheapest ... (if we forget about Virtuavia )
Old 20th December 2008
  #7
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Struggled with the same problem... I found a used Lynx Aurora 8 with LT-FW card installed for $1,400. I only use the Lynx (clocked to Lavry Blue converters) to convert AES/EBU into firewire. Has been a rock solid solution!
Old 20th December 2008
  #8
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Adebar's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
Difficult to understand why among those thousands products there is no simple AES-EBU interface directly connectable to laptop (8 in, 8 out). If there are digital interfaces, they have many other features (other formats, analog conn
This is really difficult to understand.

The Sonic Model 303 does exactly offer this but with additional features up to a better connection than a simple Core Audio interface. You get that only by extra price. It is said that there are advantages with the intrinsic connection to soundblade. But what about a simple Core Audio FW-AES interface?

The TC and all the others offer too much features.

I wonder if it is really so difficult to offer a simple FireWire - AES/EBU interface for less than, say, 1000 €. Do the marketing people oversee that or is there really no market for that? I think there is a real market for that.
Old 26th December 2008
  #9
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DANTE

If you google it now it's still in the total tech-geekness stage, bit it amounts to this - within a year or two we'll all just be putting an RJ-45 connector in our L-Slots (that sounds dirty, I know) and hooking straight up to our machines' ethernet jacks, be they desktop or laptop. I'm pretty sure this is why everybody is hemming and hawing about putting too much effort into MADI or AES50.
Old 4th January 2009
  #10
Finally I am thinking of replacing Magma/Lynx with this Weiss AES/EBU interface AFI1 for mobile recordings with MacBook Pro.

Still pondering: can firewire be considered as really stable and reliable connection for professional use ? Or is there a danger of some drops, failures etc. when recording few channels ? That can be suicidical for location recordings ...
Old 4th January 2009
  #11
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John Moran's Avatar
 

mytek 8x192 with firewire card

8ch. ad/da + 8ch. aes i/o <-> FW<-> mac/pc

you also pick up headphone output and selected stereo pair output on xlr with monitor pot on the mytek. you will find this very useful for location work monitoring.

you can find clean examples of the 8x192 on the slutz classified page for good prices and add the FW card for much less than the weiss and end up with more capabilities.

i did this (got my 8x192 from fred forrsell in immaculate condition), added the FW card from michal at mytek and it has been fine with my sonica laptop/sequoia.

www.mytek.com

Last edited by John Moran; 4th January 2009 at 04:06 PM.. Reason: can't type worth a damn
Old 4th January 2009
  #12
Thanks, but as for convertors, I have quite top end convertors already (Forssell MADC), so I need just AES EBU interface ... My question just is whether firewire is OK in general.

So your experience with the above combo says there is no problem with everything connected via FW connection ? No drops, unreliability etc. ?
Old 4th January 2009
  #13
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DrDeltaM's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
Thanks, but as for convertors, I have quite top end convertors already (Forssell MADC), so I need just AES EBU interface ... My question just is whether firewire is OK in general.

So your experience with the above combo says there is no problem with everything connected via FW connection ? No drops, unreliability etc. ?
Firewire was designed for such realtime audio/video data transfer
Old 4th January 2009
  #14
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John Moran's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
Thanks, but as for convertors, I have quite top end convertors already (Forssell MADC), so I need just AES EBU interface ... My question just is whether firewire is OK in general.
i realize that. the aspects you pick up are FW, the aes i/o and the headphone/stereo xlr outputs come as a bonus. fred was using these boxes for dsd recording, the analog front end isn't awful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
So your experience with the above combo says there is no problem with everything connected via FW connection ? No drops, unreliability etc. ?
so far, so good with simple 8 ch track record counts. i was a bit skeptical about the tc DICE driver because tc had early problems with it but it seems to be sorted out now and has been tested as stable here on the sonica laptop/sequoia 7 and on an ancient G4DP-450 mac with it's antique FW interface/Digital Performer 5. fwiw, neither of those were the TI fw chipset so it seems fairly compliant with other FW interfaces. michal has been very good with support and the units are manufactured in poland so you should be able to get good support in your neighborhood too. it's worth the look if nothing else.

the sonica laptop (which is basically an ASUS C-90, great machine) is running XP stripped for audio and the mac is 10.4.11

Last edited by John Moran; 4th January 2009 at 04:36 PM.. Reason: added OS info
Old 4th January 2009
  #15
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I do 16 tracks via firewire into Macbook. Never a problem. If you want redundant recording just split into a HD24.
Old 4th January 2009
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedupsteve View Post
If you want redundant recording just split into a HD24.
What do you mean ?
Old 4th January 2009
  #17
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Assuming good drivers (like any interface) and a well-built machine without a lot of extra junk, firewire is as stable as anything. I use it daily here with my Digi interfaces and it is bulletproof.

Now, that being said, my MBP has the TI chipset and is used for sound only and has absolutely no software "of ethically-questionable orgin." heh

If your laptop doesn't have the TI firewire chipset and has the Agere instead, get an expansion card that has the TI chipset and use that for the interface. The second FW port on the laptop can be used for the disc (I use Rocstor discs here as they have no fans and a standard IEC power cord- no wall warts).

--Ben
Old 4th January 2009
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
Now, that being said, my MBP has the TI chipset and is used for sound only and has absolutely no software "of ethically-questionable orgin." heh

If your laptop doesn't have the TI firewire chipset and has the Agere instead, get an expansion card that has the TI chipset and use that for the interface. The second FW port on the laptop can be used for the disc (I use Rocstor discs here as they have no fans and a standard IEC power cord- no wall warts).

--Ben
How can I find out ? ("about this Mac" says nothing specific). I have quite new one - the previous generation of MBP (not the latest "zebra" one) 2,5 GHz Intel Core Duo

BTW do you use Sequoia for MBP recordings ? (i.e. Windows)
Old 4th January 2009
  #19
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Doc Mixwell's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Elliott View Post
I too have been looking - to no avail. Think the Weiss box is the best option so far.
Larry
+1 Yes, if you look at what that thing is capable of, its quite an amazing choice.
Old 4th January 2009
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell View Post
+1 Yes, if you look at what that thing is capable of, its quite an amazing choice.
I think this box cannot do basically much, just passing the digital data from AES/EBU to firewire ... nothing more ... It has no meters (not even software meters). I fear, it is a bit overpriced for what it can do ... Unfortunately (and very surprisingly) no other manufacturer has come yet with this simple solution, where 1/2 or 1/3 of price would be just adequate I think ... So there is not much choice ...
Old 4th January 2009
  #21
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Doc Mixwell's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
I think this box cannot do basically much, just passing the digital data from AES/EBU to firewire ... nothing more ... It has no meters (not even software meters). I fear, it is a bit overpriced for what it can do ... Unfortunately (and very surprisingly) no other manufacturer has come yet with this simple solution, where 1/2 or 1/3 of price would be just adequate I think ... So there is not much choice ...
Well, in doing my own research, I've found that its AES and ADAT capability far exceeds what other companies are offering in this format. As far as the metering, well, don't you have AD metering on your converters? The AES/ADAT channel count, was the only thing I was referring to.....

Whether or not its right for you, is another story entirely.
Old 4th January 2009
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell View Post
Well, in doing my own research, I've found that its AES and ADAT capability far exceeds what other companies are offering in this format. As far as the metering, well, don't you have AD metering on your converters? The AES/ADAT channel count, was the only thing I was referring to.....

Whether or not its right for you, is another story entirely.
It is something for me, for sure, apart from ADAT which I have absolutely no use of .. As for metering - I mean a kind of indication that a signal passes through the channels ... (like Lynx or RME mixers). If you hear nothing, by that you can know in which stage of signal path to look for a problem. But as I already undirectly heard from Mr. Weiss, this can be addressed in some of the next SW updates ...
Old 4th January 2009
  #23
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Doc Mixwell's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
It is something for me, for sure, apart from ADAT which I have absolutely no use of .. As for metering - I mean a kind of indication that a signal passes through the channels ... (like Lynx or RME mixers). If you hear nothing, by that you can know in which stage of signal path to look for a problem. But as I already undirectly heard from Mr. Weiss, this can be addressed in some of the next SW updates ...
Yea, I thought the lack of "input/output" control, seemed to be an issue. I still think this box is awesome though.
Old 4th January 2009
  #24
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d_fu's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
It is something for me, for sure, apart from ADAT which I have absolutely no use of
Hi Ivo, what's wrong with ADAT?


Daniel
Old 5th January 2009
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by d_fu View Post
Hi Ivo, what's wrong with ADAT?


Daniel
Nothing, but I have nothing to connect it to ) All my convertors have just AES EBU I/O
Old 5th January 2009
  #26
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d_fu's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
Nothing, but I have nothing to connect it to ) All my convertors have just AES EBU I/O
I see - good... I thought you were going to tell us that AES sounds better...
There are inexpensive format converters from AES to ADAT - which is an easier format to find laptop interfaces with...


D.
Old 5th January 2009
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by d_fu View Post
I see - good... I thought you were going to tell us that AES sounds better...
There are inexpensive format converters from AES to ADAT - which is an easier format to find laptop interfaces with...


D.
Inexpensive ? I heard they are very expensive ... (if we talk about SMUX = ADAT in 96 kHz). If they are inexpensive, it can still help to increase the number of I/Os for this Weiss device
Old 5th January 2009
  #28
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Larry Elliott's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by d_fu View Post
There are inexpensive format converters from AES to ADAT - which is an easier format to find laptop interfaces with...
D.
Daniel

Can you please give some examples?

Many thanks

Larry
Old 5th January 2009
  #29
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d_fu's Avatar
 

Guess it depends on your definition of inexpensive - compared with some of the converters you (Ivo) are known to be using, I guess they are...
See this SOS thread for some suggestions.
Old 5th January 2009
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
What do you mean ?
I just meant that if one is afraid of a problem with firewire recording then they could make a backup by splitting the analog signal off into a Alesis HD24 recorder. I've seen this done often.
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