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Taking 8Ch ADAT out from one DAW/Interface into another? Audio Interfaces
Old 27th June 2018
Gear Head

Taking 8Ch ADAT out from one DAW/Interface into another?


I have a MOTU 896 that did me well for many years. Recently i was trying to solve two problems:

1. I wanted to record through Logic Pro's Bass Amp rig plugin into Pro-Tools 12
2. I wanted to see if I could use 8-Chs of ADAT input I currently have open on the interface(s) I use with Pro Tools.

My setup (roughly) is as follows:

Main Rig: PC computer w/ Win 10 home running PT12 using an M-Audio ProjectMix IO and an M-Audio FW1814. The ADAT in's on the PMix are used up, but the in's on the FW1814 are open (I should mention that certain M-Audio interfaces will 'work together' when plugged into separate FW inputs on one computer - so pro tools recognizes both interfaces as one).

Not that I really need 8 more channels and pre's, but the MOTU's got em' and it got me thinking about a crazy idea:

I have a 2011 MacBook Pro 17" that's pretty damn powerful for a machine going on 10 years old! I also have a UAD-2 Solo Laptop...soooo i was wondering about jerry-rigging my own little wannabe Apollo by running tracks through the MOTU 896 into some intermediary software in my mac (right now i'm trying with Logic Pro, but I also have AudioDesk, Abelton and Reason), then routing the 8 tracks to the MOTU's 8-ADAT output tracks and into the FW1814's ADAT input.

For some reason, while i get signal readout on the assignable ADAT-Out meters on the 896, and can hear my tracks through the headphone output on the 896, my FW1814 reads no signal.

At this point I am testing a different ADAT cable and am going to try running the MOTU ADAT out into the ProjectMix ADAT in (up to now I've only tried through the FW1814)...but I'm wondering if maybe there isn't some limitation in either the 896 or ADAT protocol that wont allow the signal to be sent from one active unit to another?

I have made sure the sample rates match. I can even go as far as adding a coaxial timeclock cable to/from the MOTU into the PMix, but i doubt this is the problem.

Any advice or input would be greatly appreciated.

Old 27th June 2018
Gear Addict
emeline-rec's Avatar

1. sounds like a headache, I wouldn't bother

2. maybe i'm stupid but it's hard to follow what you want to do, i think you want to use the 896 as extra inputs to your fw1814? i used to have a 896hd, i've got a feeling you can't use it as a standalone adat but iirc it had some kinda bundled mixer software than let you route inputs to outputs so i'd look at that first and make sure you've got it clocked appropriately.
Old 27th June 2018
Yeah, I'm having a hard time following, you may want to break it down into simpler terms of what you want to do?

You want to run both your PC and your Mac together, with their own connected audio interfaces right? But do you intend to synchronize both computers so their transports are linked together? Or do you just want to use the resources from the 1st computer, and run it's audio to your main computer? This I didn't get from your post. I've done both scenario's myself, and in different ways.

But generally, and with either scenario of synchronized transports or using resources of another computer, when using digital audio they should be clocked together as master & slave. Note; though they may actually work without clocking, you may experience a certain level of drift, from noticeable to not so much, but just know that you should properly clock with digital audio.
You can clock via Word Clock with coaxial cable & BNC connectors, running from one audio interface to another (or use of a stand-alone master clocking device running out to both audio interfaces). But digital audio inherently can carry clocking information itself, and can run clock and audio down the same digital audio cable.

Breaking it down to a simple scenario, say using 2 computers with one audio interface each, each interface having adat digital audio I/O, which you intent to send clock via your digital audio cable. The master computer should be set to INTERNAL to send clock, and the slave computer should be set to ADAT to receive clock within the interfaces control panel (this is for sending/receiving clocking information properly, the audio should work regardless, if routed properly!). You already know that each should be set to the same sample rate.

I've done the above (running adat digital audio & clocking between 2 PC's with their own audio interfaces), and it can be pretty confusing to set up just the routing of audio alone. Clocking is the easy part (see above paragraph). But I got through it. In my case I was using an Aardvark Aark 24 card in each PC.

You have to decide (if you haven't yet) on if you want to synchronize transports for the most flexible & powerful multi-system, or simply use the 2nd computer for using it's resources. My 1st experience was using the most simplest approach, old school audio/midi sound card networking. 2 PC's with their own audio/midi cards, and each running a DAW software. My master DAW PC contained all audio AND midi tracks, my slave DAW PC was running only VSTi's. Using standard 5-pin midi DIN connections, the master DAW PC sent midi out of it's interface, into the interface of the dedicated VSTi slave PC, which triggered the VSTi's installed. I then sent audio back from my VSTi slave PC, into my master PC. In this scenario I did NOT need to clock them because I was running analog audio. If I had been running digital audio, I would then need to clock. The above is using a PC as a glorified midi sound module, very easy, very powerful, and is universal with any DAW, computer (Mac or PC).

I'm not using audio/midi networking anymore. I am now using digital audio among multiple PC's. I can very well use adat, but I'm just using coaxial s/pdif between all of them. Reason is, I only need a stereo sub-mix from each PC. In my case, since I'm a Cubase user, I'm making use of Steinbergs own VST System Link, which allows me to use digital audio among any number of computers linked together via digital audio. It not only allows digital audio & clock to run down the same cable, but also transport information and midi at the same time too! But this will not help non Steinberg users, if synchronizing computers transports together is desired, non-Steinberg users will have to find another way to link transports, so that you can press PLAY/STOP etc on one computer, to make the other(s) follow. There are dedicated devices that allow this with any type of device that has transports, computers, and/or tape machines etc, etc. MOTU and others make these. To clock, they'll use either digital audio or word clock, and to trigger Transport, they'll use a separate midi connection. This is the example that I'm at least aware of, there may be others but I'm not familiar beyond what I've said above.

Again, I'm not exactly clear on what you want to do, so I've just stated some blanket scenario's if you will. Like I've said, I use VST System Link, and I can have true synchronization, complete with transport via just a coaxial s/pdif (audio, midi, transport). But via System link, if I chose to, I could simply recreate the audio/midi scenario, sending my midi tracks from one PC, to other PC's and use additional PC's for their resources only, as glorified midi modules...but I'd rather have the full Monty.

If any of this sparks interest, or resononates with you, look up certain aspects mentioned above. If nothing else, I've stated what I know about connecting adat digital audio among audio interfaces. In addition, have you looked into using Vienna Ensemble Pro (VEP)? It may serve use for you (or not). It does NOT link transports or anything, but I hear it's very powerful for tapping into resources from another computer(s). Since I use Steinberg's own VST System Link, I personally do not have use for VEP myself.
Old 28th June 2018
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by GovrCheeze View Post

I have a MOTU 896

Main Rig: PC computer w/ Win 10 home running PT12 using an M-Audio ProjectMix IO and an M-Audio FW1814.

The ADAT in's on the PMix are used up, but the in's on the FW1814 are open

I have a 2011 MacBook Pro 17"

I also have a UAD-2 Solo Laptop..

.soooo i was wondering about jerry-rigging

At this point I am testing a different ADAT cable and am going to try running the MOTU ADAT out into the ProjectMix ADAT in (up to now I've only tried through the FW1814)...but

I'm wondering if maybe there isn't some limitation in either the 896 or ADAT protocol that wont allow the signal to be sent from one active unit to another?

I took a few glances at the specs/connectivity of all that "stuff" you have. I don't really know the UAD, but it appears it's basically, what... a dongle so you can run uad stuff on a laptop? The uad expresscard interface itself doesn't appear to have any i/o..... and perhaps that is the instance where you plan on integrating the motu on that computer... but.. as others have said, your description isn't super clear.

Be that as it may... synchronization scenarios are imo by nature... able to evolve any number of ways when you're sitting on a pile of "stuff" that can be clocked. No real need to completely understand what you want to do cuz.. let's face it... you're gonna have to experiment.

SO... based on looking at the specs on your gear and especially the clocking, here are some tips I have.....

If some adat inputs make sound and others don't (in a particular experimental hookup), I almost guarantee you it's because "someone else in the pile" is being clock master at the moment you need "someone else in the pile" to be the master.

My recommendation (which I often recommend), is to buy a used Motu Digital Timepiece (digital timepiece, not midi timepiece).

The Dtp gives you almost EVERY conceivable... and changeable... connection you may want to experiment with... the dtp would be the master controller of everything even though at any moment, clock masters and sync routing can be changed without you having to do all the trial and error.

It becomes the "third" guy in the room who is assigned sync boss. And that's what you need cuz right now, your gear that you want piping audio, is fighting over sync.... or not even yet in the loop.

Sort of more specifically if you have the dtp.....

Your project mix is being fed by the fw interface as I understand it.... that means in probability, the project mix is serving as master clock and the 1814 is slave to the clock for adat use. Especially since you mention the fw has audio available at the moment only at the "ins".

With a dtp, you'd wordclock out of the dtp to wordclock in on the projectmix (which seems to use a breakout cable)... fw1814 would still be connected as is....but you'd probably want to wordclock that as well from the dtp... and you'd have the adat inputs... or outputs routed wherever you want (sounds like you like them routed from the 1814 to the project mix. By the way, at this point, the word clock gives sync.... the easiest way to then add positional info if needed at some point would be to connect midi out of the dtp to midi in on the projectmix.

Projectmix would be set to slave.
Fw1814 would be considered a slave too in a way... but no longer to clock as the dtp is master for that.

Same exact connections from the dtp to the Motu word clock in. Your adat connections are still free for audio use.

There are a number of alternative front-panel switchable ways to re-structure the clock sync once you have a dtp. For example, you could re-route sync via spdif.

When midi connections are being used in any of these setups, keep in mind that midi is only for positional info... like if you want Protools one one computer and Reaper on another to travel in rock solid framelock transport sync. We're not talking about mtc or anything as loose as that. Your wordclock connections insure tight synchronization.

All you have to insure is that you know where to click each of your items into "external slave" for clocking.

Downside (maybe)? The Dtp was designed for 44.1 or 48k sample rate settings between gear. If that's your rate now, great.
Old 14th August 2018
Gear Head

Updates and Clarifications

Hey everyone! Thanks for taking interest and trying your best to help despite my incredibly bizarred sescription of the 'issue'.

In most simple terms, i wanted to be able to utilize UAD plugis in 'real time' without having to buy an interface. I only have plugin excellorators. Of cours that means the preamp emulations for the apollo interfaces would be of no benefit, but i could use one of my older UAD solos to run 8 tracks into my mac and with extremely low latency, track through UAD plugins.

I was in the end able to achieve this- sort of. The main reason i couldnt achieve it completely is because MOTU 896 (I have the Mk1 edition) does not offer access to the motu cue mix software and therefore cant be set up as a mixer scene, saved, and turned on later without need for attachment to a computer.

The goal was to take an 8 channel unit with preamps and ADAT out and add it to my current system which is 32 channel but has one more opening for 8 more channels via it was really just about experimenting, conservationism and curiousity.

So as i said, i got it to work sort of...because my goal changed slightly from start to finish. I initially just wanted to see if i could use my 896mk1 as a standalone 8 channel Analog with preamps to 8 chanels adat litepipe (best part is i already have more channels then i ever used).

But any, when i discovered the 896mk1 cannot be used standalone, i figured next best thing would be to run it from a separate computer running a lite mixing software to set up my own digital mixer routing.

THen i got the big idea that with low enough latency, i could throw some fancy analog modelled plugs on there on the way in and further blur the Analog/Digital dichotomy.

So yeah it was a whole lot of do for nothing - SORT of...its actually incredibly valuable if you happen to have all this stuff because - as I said - i was able to construct a bit of a home-made real-time excelorated plugin system a-la apollo or digigrid but DIY.

Stay tuned for my latest issue and source of immense frustration and confusion: upgrading/best utilizing my hard drives.

I'm trying to upgrade to a system drive that will use RAID in 'spanning' mode in order to allow pro tools to run faster.

The Audio drive i would have in RAID reduntant mode.

But here are the monkey wenches:

Should i use 2 SSD's for the system drive and 2 SSD's for the audio/virtual instrument drive?

Or should i have a seperate project/audio drive and virtual instrument drive? And should they be SSD, HDD or COMBO!?!

Thanks again for your support and help - BEST ONLINE COMMUNITY OF COMPATRIOTS EVER!

PS - sorr about the spelling, was writing in a HUGE rush.

Your prodigal student,

Jaysif P. MacGonicle

(or just Jay)
Old 18th September 2018
Gear Head

i should have said this long ago - but thanks to thenoodle for showing me patience, deference and taking the time to understand my problem and propose solutions. You are the best of what gearsultz has to offer! F*#K the haters!
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