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Is there a big difference between digital (SPDIF) distributors / amplifiers?
Old 3 days ago
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Is there a big difference between digital (SPDIF) distributors / amplifiers?

Hello,

I'm looking at purchasing a digital distributor to duplicate a single SPDIF signal multiple times.

I found two distributors, one goes for $59.00:

VDA1 | Inday

...while the other goes for $660.00:

Sonifex RB-DDA6S S/PDIF Digital Distribution Amplifier

Other than the more expensive distributor having two more outputs (which I won't need) and the ability to switch between US and UK voltages, I'm not sure why there's an 11 times price difference between the two distributors.

Is there something important I'm missing or are both distributors pretty much the same thing?

I was thinking that maybe during the duplication process, one signal might be cleaner than the other, but both companies are claiming that the duplicate signals exactly match the input signal (so I assume there can't be any added noise / artifacts - though who knows if that's really the case).

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Nelson
Old 3 days ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
cavern's Avatar
 

Get the $60 one.
No difference whatsoever except that the $600 one is a rip off in a pretty box with a built in power supply.
Old 3 days ago
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by cavern View Post
Get the $60 one.
No difference whatsoever except that the $600 one is a rip off in a pretty box with a built in power supply.
Hello Cavern,

I sort of thought that might be the case, but was unsure.

Thank you,
Nelson
Old 2 days ago
  #4
A few years ago I was looking for a coaxial s/pdif distribution system, but I also needed the ability to have any input be the one sending the s/pdif digital signal to any output(s). I use Steinbergs VST System Link among several DAW PC's, to send digital audio, transport commands, clock info a and midi.

What I ended up buying was a used Shinybow SB-5588 matrix switcher, which is also a distribution amplifier, I think for around $100. This is actually a device made for the video market, but also has analog audio and digital audio I/O. I only use the Shinybow for it's digital audio s/pdif.



Being true matrix switcher, I can switch any one of my DAW's as the acting master, sending s/pdif digital audio, to any or all of it's outputs, to all other DAW's simultaneously. Or any input can send to any output individually at the same time.
Old 2 days ago
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Fogal View Post
A few years ago I was looking for a coaxial s/pdif distribution system, but I also needed the ability to have any input be the one sending the s/pdif digital signal to any output(s). I use Steinbergs VST System Link among several DAW PC's, to send digital audio, transport commands, clock info a and midi.

What I ended up buying was a used Shinybow SB-5588 matrix switcher, which is also a distribution amplifier, I think for around $100. This is actually a device made for the video market, but also has analog audio and digital audio I/O. I only use the Shinybow for it's digital audio s/pdif.



Being true matrix switcher, I can switch any one of my DAW's as the acting master, sending s/pdif digital audio, to any or all of it's outputs, to all other DAW's simultaneously. Or any input can send to any output individually at the same time.
Hello Steve,

Thanks for the heads up on the Shinybow.

Out of curiosity, did you notice any signal degradation when using the Shinybow?

In other words, if you were to record two signals:

Signal 1 = SPDIF Source --> Interface

Signal 2 = SPDIF Source --> Shinybow --> Interface

...did the two SPDIF signals cancel out completely, or was there some difference in one of the SPDIF signals?

Given that SPDIF is a digital protocol, there shouldn't be any conversion going on during the duplication process, but there could be slight phase / gain differences in the signal during the duplication process.

Thanks,
Nelson
Old 2 days ago
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by nelsona View Post
Hello Steve,

Thanks for the heads up on the Shinybow.

Out of curiosity, did you notice any signal degradation when using the Shinybow?

In other words, if you were to record two signals:

Signal 1 = SPDIF Source --> Interface

Signal 2 = SPDIF Source --> Shinybow --> Interface

...did the two SPDIF signals cancel out completely, or was there some difference in one of the SPDIF signals?

Given that SPDIF is a digital protocol, there shouldn't be any conversion going on during the duplication process, but there could be slight phase / gain differences in the signal during the duplication process.

Thanks,
Nelson
Hi Nelson,

I did not notice a difference of any kind in the signal, when comparing going through the Shinybow SB-5588 s/pdif I/O's, VS going directly from among my PC's pro audio interface's s/pdif I/O's. The manufacturer rep communicated to me that what go's into any input, is what comes exactly out of any & all outputs. I was told the same from other manufacturers & models of these types.

By the way, I had also looked at the units you 1st had mentioned, among some others, even very expensive professional studio designed units, but decided this was the most cost effective and appropriate type of device for my VST System Link set up, due the 'matrix switching' capability, as I needed the ability to choose which PC was going to be sending my VST System Link data, to any other PC(s) at the quick pressing of some buttons.

Just to be clear, the Shinybow, and most all other s/pdif devices do NOT 'mix' or 'combine' digital audio s/pdif signals (as like an analog audio mixer does), but I don't think you were asking for that. (if anyone want that ability, look at the Roland M-1000). Or, if you need a computer to receive multiple s/pdif signals simultaneously, simply install multiples of your capable audio interfaces for the added digital I/O.

I did a lot of experimentation sending s/pdif signal among PC's. Regarding phase differences, in my own experience, this can happen when transferring digital audio signals among any devices, and seems do with a slight latency, because when I manually realign the transferred audio, the phase sound can mostly go away. Also when comparing the transferred audio's wave forms throughout an entire standard song length, the waves peaks can be ever so slightly off. But this is such a small degree that it's impossible to hear. It can only be seen by fully expanding/stretching the wave form in my DAW's audio editor. All this is WITH or WITHOUT using the Shinybow switcher/distribution amplifier.

As part of my experimentation with sending s/pdif among my DAW PC's (with and without the Shinybow), much of that was with sending & receiving identical audio parts (say a guitar or drum track etc), or a mix of parts (a song). I muted either the Left or Right side of the digital stereo audio field when transferring, and send one at a time, and I did this from different PC's. That is, if I had a song mix available, I 1st 'exported' that audio, then imported that to say 2 DAW PC's so they had an IDENTICAL wave form each. I then transferred that song from each of the 2 PC's, to a 3rd receiving PC, #1 PC sent just the LEFT side, and #2 PC sent just the RIGHT side of the same song mix to the #3 PC. Listening to the 3rd PC's Left & Right transferred audio sounded perfect.

Another clarity is that the ONLY time I could even hear any 'phase' sound, was when comparing IDENTICAL audio parts! In at least my real world, that would never happen. I came to the conclusion that when I'm sending digital audio from any one PC to any other, they're going to be totally different parts, therefore I will not be able to distinguish any oddities. For example, I was using 4 PC's with my VST System Link set up. PC #1 was sending a mix of all my VSTi's (drums, bass, key's etc, etc), PC #2 was sending a mix of everything guitar (standard guitar audio tracks, and guitar direct tracks that were processing with guitar soft-sims ), the 3rd PC was sending all my vocal tracks. The 4th PC was the 'mix PC' receiving digital stereo audio from all PC's, but sending/receiving only ONE PC's audio at a time, as I don't the ability for any one PC to receive 3 coaxial s/pdif signals simultaneously...though I certainly COULD if I installed 3 identical audio interfaces in the mix PC, giving me 3 sets of coaxial s/pdif I/O's. I actually HAVE the spare interfaces to do this, but I just haven't bothered yet.

With my particular set up, using a digital audio distribution amp (in the form of a matrix switcher/amp in my case) I do NOT have to compensate for any latency, as any signals sent into the distribution/matrix/amp, get sent OUT of ALL the matrix's outputs perfectly/simultaneously, where the receiving DAW's get sent that signal at the exact same time. I also use a monitor mixer, so when I'm monitoring each of my 4 PC's audio (from their analog outputs), my VSTi's PC, my guitar PC, and my vocal PC are all in perfect synchronization.
With just above, I'm getting a little off topic. As I mentioned previously, I'm using my s/pdif to not just send digital audio, but also digital clock, and transport commands, and I can send midi down the same line at the same time. This gives me sample accurate synchronization among PC's.

For your purposes, as far as I understand it, YOU need far less complexity than me, and just want a simple digital audio distribution amp...ie; a distribution amp that can receive s/pdif from one device, and send identical signals from each of it's outputs accurately. There are many devices available that can do this, including the Shinybow. I chose my unit because I got it at a great price used. These things were something like $1,200-$1,700 when brand new?" Check eBay, and you'll see. Oh, and by the way I actually have THREE of these types of units, the 8X8 Shinybow, an 8X8 Atlona (which looks almost identical, and I wonder if they're manufactured by the same people, but branded differently?), I also have a unit by AVocation, this one is an 8X16 unit. I bought them ALL at great prices! In theory, I could use the 8X16 AVocation to send out 16 simultaneous s/pdif signals. But that's just crazy. You may want to give some thought, as to whether you want the true matrix capability, it's nice to have, and I for one didn't pay any more for it.

An added beauty for me is that these unit's also have RCA analog audio, and RCA video (if I ever want or need it). I'm sure that some would balk that I'm using a matrix designed for the video market, but as I said, I can tell no difference between what I can send directly from my pro audio interfaces VS my matrix switchers. In FACT, with my VST System Link set up, it's actually been MORE stable. In a typical System Link set up, Steinberg recommends using a 'ring' network (daisy-chaining s/pdif among computers) which adds a very small latency with each added computer, with a distribution amp, each of the receiving PC's get the signal at the exact same time, from the sending PC. If I was totally insane, I could use my AVocation 8X16 matrix, which I also got for around $100 (or even buy a 16X16 matrix), to use 16 computers.

So do I think that using an s/pdif distribution amp degrades the signals in any way? Not in my own experience. If I haven't been clear on something, let me know and I'll try to clarify.

Last edited by Steve Fogal; 2 days ago at 06:34 PM..
Old 1 day ago
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Fogal View Post
Hi Nelson,

I did not notice a difference of any kind in the signal, when comparing going through the Shinybow SB-5588 s/pdif I/O's, VS going directly from among my PC's pro audio interface's s/pdif I/O's. The manufacturer rep communicated to me that what go's into any input, is what comes exactly out of any & all outputs. I was told the same from other manufacturers & models of these types.

By the way, I had also looked at the units you 1st had mentioned, among some others, even very expensive professional studio designed units, but decided this was the most cost effective and appropriate type of device for my VST System Link set up, due the 'matrix switching' capability, as I needed the ability to choose which PC was going to be sending my VST System Link data, to any other PC(s) at the quick pressing of some buttons.

Just to be clear, the Shinybow, and most all other s/pdif devices do NOT 'mix' or 'combine' digital audio s/pdif signals (as like an analog audio mixer does), but I don't think you were asking for that. (if anyone want that ability, look at the Roland M-1000). Or, if you need a computer to receive multiple s/pdif signals simultaneously, simply install multiples of your capable audio interfaces for the added digital I/O.

I did a lot of experimentation sending s/pdif signal among PC's. Regarding phase differences, in my own experience, this can happen when transferring digital audio signals among any devices, and seems do with a slight latency, because when I manually realign the transferred audio, the phase sound can mostly go away. Also when comparing the transferred audio's wave forms throughout an entire standard song length, the waves peaks can be ever so slightly off. But this is such a small degree that it's impossible to hear. It can only be seen by fully expanding/stretching the wave form in my DAW's audio editor. All this is WITH or WITHOUT using the Shinybow switcher/distribution amplifier.

As part of my experimentation with sending s/pdif among my DAW PC's (with and without the Shinybow), much of that was with sending & receiving identical audio parts (say a guitar or drum track etc), or a mix of parts (a song). I muted either the Left or Right side of the digital stereo audio field when transferring, and send one at a time, and I did this from different PC's. That is, if I had a song mix available, I 1st 'exported' that audio, then imported that to say 2 DAW PC's so they had an IDENTICAL wave form each. I then transferred that song from each of the 2 PC's, to a 3rd receiving PC, #1 PC sent just the LEFT side, and #2 PC sent just the RIGHT side of the same song mix to the #3 PC. Listening to the 3rd PC's Left & Right transferred audio sounded perfect.

Another clarity is that the ONLY time I could even hear any 'phase' sound, was when comparing IDENTICAL audio parts! In at least my real world, that would never happen. I came to the conclusion that when I'm sending digital audio from any one PC to any other, they're going to be totally different parts, therefore I will not be able to distinguish any oddities. For example, I was using 4 PC's with my VST System Link set up. PC #1 was sending a mix of all my VSTi's (drums, bass, key's etc, etc), PC #2 was sending a mix of everything guitar (standard guitar audio tracks, and guitar direct tracks that were processing with guitar soft-sims ), the 3rd PC was sending all my vocal tracks. The 4th PC was the 'mix PC' receiving digital stereo audio from all PC's, but sending/receiving only ONE PC's audio at a time, as I don't the ability for any one PC to receive 3 coaxial s/pdif signals simultaneously...though I certainly COULD if I installed 3 identical audio interfaces in the mix PC, giving me 3 sets of coaxial s/pdif I/O's. I actually HAVE the spare interfaces to do this, but I just haven't bothered yet.

With my particular set up, using a digital audio distribution amp (in the form of a matrix switcher/amp in my case) I do NOT have to compensate for any latency, as any signals sent into the distribution/matrix/amp, get sent OUT of ALL the matrix's outputs perfectly/simultaneously, where the receiving DAW's get sent that signal at the exact same time. I also use a monitor mixer, so when I'm monitoring each of my 4 PC's audio (from their analog outputs), my VSTi's PC, my guitar PC, and my vocal PC are all in perfect synchronization.
With just above, I'm getting a little off topic. As I mentioned previously, I'm using my s/pdif to not just send digital audio, but also digital clock, and transport commands, and I can send midi down the same line at the same time. This gives me sample accurate synchronization among PC's.

For your purposes, as far as I understand it, YOU need far less complexity than me, and just want a simple digital audio distribution amp...ie; a distribution amp that can receive s/pdif from one device, and send identical signals from each of it's outputs accurately. There are many devices available that can do this, including the Shinybow. I chose my unit because I got it at a great price used. These things were something like $1,200-$1,700 when brand new?" Check eBay, and you'll see. Oh, and by the way I actually have THREE of these types of units, the 8X8 Shinybow, an 8X8 Atlona (which looks almost identical, and I wonder if they're manufactured by the same people, but branded differently?), I also have a unit by AVocation, this one is an 8X16 unit. I bought them ALL at great prices! In theory, I could use the 8X16 AVocation to send out 16 simultaneous s/pdif signals. But that's just crazy. You may want to give some thought, as to whether you want the true matrix capability, it's nice to have, and I for one didn't pay any more for it.

An added beauty for me is that these unit's also have RCA analog audio, and RCA video (if I ever want or need it). I'm sure that some would balk that I'm using a matrix designed for the video market, but as I said, I can tell no difference between what I can send directly from my pro audio interfaces VS my matrix switchers. In FACT, with my VST System Link set up, it's actually been MORE stable. In a typical System Link set up, Steinberg recommends using a 'ring' network (daisy-chaining s/pdif among computers) which adds a very small latency with each added computer, with a distribution amp, each of the receiving PC's get the signal at the exact same time, from the sending PC. If I was totally insane, I could use my AVocation 8X16 matrix, which I also got for around $100 (or even buy a 16X16 matrix), to use 16 computers.

So do I think that using an s/pdif distribution amp degrades the signals in any way? Not in my own experience. If I haven't been clear on something, let me know and I'll try to clarify.
Hello Steve,

Thank you for the detailed and insightful response.

Nelson
Old 1 hour ago
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by nelsona View Post
Hello Steve,

Thank you for the detailed and insightful response.

Nelson
Sure but NOTE; that 'not all' these matrix switchers may work with 'Digital Audio'. If you are considering any of the brands I've mentioned above, or others, make sure they 'specify' that they have a digital audio coaxial RCA. Some of the units may also specify that you can use coaxial digital audio via their video RCA connections, but this is NOT A GIVEN.

There are also models that are 'audio only', and there are models with various INS/OUTS ... like 8 IN/8 OUT, 4 IN/4 OUT, 2 IN/4 OUT etc, etc.


If you'd rather consider units designed for professional recording studio use, there was a few companies like Z-Systems (ZSys). These are discontinued and can be found on eBay, I believe they are matrix switchers as well as distribution amps.

A company called Kramer (not the guitar company I believe) also had a distribution amp only unit, model #6505 for digital audio, 1 IN/5 OUT.
Old 46 minutes ago
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Fogal View Post
Sure but NOTE; that 'not all' these matrix switchers may work with 'Digital Audio'. If you are considering any of the brands I've mentioned above, or others, make sure they 'specify' that they have a digital audio coaxial RCA. Some of the units may also specify that you can use coaxial digital audio via their video RCA connections, but this is NOT A GIVEN.

There are also models that are 'audio only', and there are models with various INS/OUTS ... like 8 IN/8 OUT, 4 IN/4 OUT, 2 IN/4 OUT etc, etc.


If you'd rather consider units designed for professional recording studio use, there was a few companies like Z-Systems (ZSys). These are discontinued and can be found on eBay, I believe they are matrix switchers as well as distribution amps.

A company called Kramer (not the guitar company I believe) also had a distribution amp only unit, model #6505 for digital audio, 1 IN/5 OUT.
Hello Steve,

Thanks for the heads up on Kramer.

I actually don't think the VDA-1 will work for my needs, and will instead need to pick up something aimed more at a studio environment (as you previously mentioned).

I've pretty much narrowed things down to the Kramer 6505:

https://www.kramerav.com/Product/6505

...or the Henry Engineering Digimatch 2x6:

http://www.henryeng.com/hedigimatch.html

I'm leaning towards the Henry, as it can also convert SPDIF to AES (which might be useful down the road).

Thanks once again for all your help,
Nelson
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