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Expand number of analog output channels of RME babyface
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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Expand number of analog output channels of RME babyface

Hi. I need to expand the analog output channels of my babyface pro. I really don´t need the mic preamps. I need 8 channels to do sourround sound. thanks to all !!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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BT64's Avatar
Any adat to analog converter (with desired outputs) will do then.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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Go with a Presonus Digimax DP88 like mine,it's not as expensive as RME ones but it has great converters (and preamps).
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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Surround sound.. well.
As previously mentioned, you can get any suitable ADAT D/A converter for output expansion for BF Pro. There are various types of such units, some are basic ADAT to an. line level converters, like Aphex 141b.. or it's combined with mic pres and A/Ds, say like Focusrite Clarett Octopre or that Digimax. Some units has A/Ds and D/As, but no preamps say like RME ADI-8, Lynx Aurora etc. Plenty of choices at various price levels.

But getting required amount of analog outputs is the least problematic thing for reasonable surround setup.
What about your monitors or multichannel amp with suitable speakers (say at least common model for L, C, R), room arrangement.. ? What's your plan for handling of volume control, distance alignment with delays, bass management, possibly switchable downmixing?
Some of those things are possible to solve in suitable DAW or with help of certain plugins, but you need to count with that in your workflow.
Or there are of course various hardware surround monitor controllers.. ranging from simple ganged analog volume controls up to modular digital systems, which can handle lot of mentioned tasks. Anyway its connectivity options might affect the choice for the converter.

Michal
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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Thank you all !! What about a cheaper option like Tascam us 20x20 or even behringer ada8200? Cheers !!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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Sorry for my ignorance on the topic but how do I connect this to the speakers?
thank you !
Attached Thumbnails
Expand number of analog output channels of RME babyface-captura-de-pantalla-2019-10-20-la-s-12.46.45.png  
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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Do you have some concept? Can you share details about rest of your intended setup? So far we know just about surround and BF Pro…

Michal
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nahui View Post
Sorry for my ignorance on the topic but how do I connect this to the speakers?
thank you !
This is called DB25 or DSub connector. It typically uses one of two common pinouts for analog connection (either Yamaha or Tascam), you need to know that from specs of particular converter. Then you can get some pre-made breakout cables (looms) with TRS or XLR connectors at the other side. Or make your own, if you can solder.
With regards to speaker connection, it depends on type and rest of your setup (Re. My previous questions).

Michal
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmucr View Post
Do you have some concept? Can you share details about rest of your intended setup? So far we know just about surround and BF Pro…

Michal

Yes, sorry fot that, I was going to answer your questions.
At the moment I have 8 speakers 4 Genelecs 8330 and 4 focal alpha 50. I know it´s hard to setup a 8 ch sourround system with different kind of speakers but that´s what I have now.
My main use is acousmatic composition. I have always worked in stereo and now I want to explore a multichannel setup. I used Logic Pro and now moved to reaper. I started to investigate a little bit ambisonics also and ATK plugins.
My room is pretty small, and rectangular in shape, so I added some acoustic treatment I did myself, absorption panels for first refections mainly. I still have to treat the low frec. but the problem I have with bass traps is brands like GIK acoustics doesn´t ship to south america.

Ok. I hope this clarifies something. Cheers to all !!!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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oh, I forgot to mention, I use RME BF because Totalmix is the only soft that allows me to control with a physical fader (BCF2000) the main volume of my speakers via MIDI. And of course I cannot afford a bigger RME interface like fireface 802 at the moment.
Bye.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nahui View Post
Yes, sorry fot that, I was going to answer your questions.
At the moment I have 8 speakers 4 Genelecs 8330 and 4 focal alpha 50. I know it´s hard to setup a 8 ch sourround system with different kind of speakers but that´s what I have now.
My main use is acousmatic composition. I have always worked in stereo and now I want to explore a multichannel setup. I used Logic Pro and now moved to reaper. I started to investigate a little bit ambisonics also and ATK plugins.
My room is pretty small, and rectangular in shape, so I added some acoustic treatment I did myself, absorption panels for first refections mainly. I still have to treat the low frec. but the problem I have with bass traps is brands like GIK acoustics doesn´t ship to south america.
...
O.K. thanks for expanding.. So it's going to be some kind of non standard 8 channel surround format without LFE.
I initially thought about some more standard format.. like 5.1, 5.0 or 7.1, 7.0. because you could use lot of established tools and infrastructure in DAWs for that.
Surround can be tricky thing to tackle.. IME especially because of reasonable environment is necessary to produce results, which translates well to other playback systems (well in the case, you intend to make some "real" stuff not just something for your own pleasure, which will be replayed on system, where you've made it). If there is typically serious concern among translation of stereo stuff at various playback systems, it can be opening of another can of worms with surround.. For example with stereo sound, you might be checking correlation between L-R channels.. if you completely ignore that, then when you downmix it to mono, important elements might simply get cancelled. Now with surround, you have one dimension more (or two with immersive systems with height).. and similarly weird stuff can happen between front and rear or side channels. Of course you can also employ some meter, but you need to also hear those things rather well during production or mixing. So for example if your monitoring doesn't have aligned levels and delays at listening spot, which is kinda necessary, unless you have all exact same speakers arranged at some ideal circle, which is pretty rare in real spaces.
Maybe for some kind of experimental sound-design stuff might not be as apparent, but still a well calibrated monitoring system makes lot of sense there.

Anyway you can do quite a lot with Reaper and TotalMix.

Reaper supports tracks/buses up to 64 channels and have very flexible routing, there is capable generic surround panner and you have also that 3rd party Ambisonic plugins there. Very cool and usable feature is Monitor FX chain.
This is the place, where you can insert for example multichannel delay plugins (like free Voxengo Sound Delay) for mentioned distance calibration, various switchable downmix effects for comparison or say bass management tools, when LFE channel and subwoofer is being used.

TotalMix can help you, if you don't have external surround volume control. Because you can control level of several output channels simultaneously, if you define fader group there (you likely know that, if you use it with MIDI controller). So it's possible to control level for digital outputs before signal arrives to external ADAT converter, where is fixed level and finally to your speakers.
You can of course do that also in DAW directly, but it's pretty risky, if you do some mistake (imagine some full level noise blast or say system notification to 8 speakers, which will blow tweeters and your socks off ).

Speaking of previously mentioned converters and DB-25 connectors, that's how such breakout cable looks like.
For example one for use with Presonus DP88 or Focusrite Octopre Clarett, Scarlett Dynamics.. (all of those has Tascam pinout)..
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...h-snake-3-foot
Then you'll have individual XLR patches according to distance to your speakers.

Mentioned Tascam doesn't look like good mate to Babyface, because it doesn't offer all routing capabilities for use as standalone ADAT converter (instead of working as audio interface over USB, but in this case, you have no chance to control volume for 8 channels).
Interface, which could works either as an ADAT converter (with BF Pro) or standalone (over USB) and give you simultaneous control of output levels is for example Scarlett 18i20 by Focusrite.

Michal
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
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Thanks Michal !! Very useful all your information. It´s evident that I don´t have the ideal environment for sourround production, so your data about delay for each speaker is very nice. I have already checked the voxengo plugin. I guess I will have of course to calculate the delay time for each speaker, mostly the ones that are closer to my ears in my room, which I numbered 3, 4, 5 and 6. I attach a diagram of my place.
Regarding TotalMix Fader groups, I have used it and it´s great. And one of my main fears in working with so many speakers around me is having a sudden unwanted big accidental sound.
Then if you had to choose between Focusrite Octopre Clarett and Scarlett Dynamics which way would you go ? (By the way, I checked the Scarlett octopre dynamic and it has 8 trs outputs)
thanks!!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nahui View Post
Thanks Michal !! Very useful all your information. It´s evident that I don´t have the ideal environment for sourround production, so your data about delay for each speaker is very nice. I have already checked the voxengo plugin. I guess I will have of course to calculate the delay time for each speaker, mostly the ones that are closer to my ears in my room, which I numbered 3, 4, 5 and 6. I attach a diagram of my place.
You're welcome. Well that distance calibration is very similar to what you can find at every commercial surround receiver, where you can also enter distances of different speakers and likely also adjust individual levels.
Basically you take distance of farthest, most distant speaker (or corresponding pair, if speakers in the pair are placed symmetrically), this won't be delayed.
Then you calculate delay for every closer speaker according to its distance to match the farthest one.
Similarly with differences in SPL at listening spot, there might be differences not just because of speaker placement, but also because different models being used. Although you can likely mitigate difference in sensitivity, and prepare for that.. measure Genelec and one Focal from the same distance and set its trims accordingly, so only distance will be playing role after you put speakers its to intended places.
So some tape meter and SPL meter/measurement microphone (or suitable app to smartphone) will be definitely handy through the process.

Voxengo Sound Delay can accept entry in ms, feet or meters. So you don't even need to convert everything to ms. Also there is per group output level control, you can use for relative SPL compensation. In the past I had some issues with its VST3 version and recalls, but maybe it's already fixed.. anyway VST version works fine.

I have one comment regarding to use of effect in Reaper Monitoring FX chain. One thing isn't just so obvious there.
Say you make some multichannel hw send from master bus.. 8 ch master bus has 8 ch send to ADAT1-8 at the interface driver. But ADAT output channels aren't ordered as first at interface driver (likely there are some analog outs before). Then if you first open the monitoring FX chain, it still operates at fist two output channels, so effects there won't be applied to ADAT channels you've selected before. Monitoring FX chain always starts at first output channel of driver. So you need to increase number of channels to reach last ADAT out. Setting for that is somewhat hidden, but you can access that, when you insert any plugin there and open its channel routing dialog. In that pop-up, you can use plus/minus buttons to increase number of channels in the chain and use matrix router there to set the plugin to operate on desired channels.
Check attached screenshot with Voxengo Sound Delay.

Quote:
Regarding TotalMix Fader groups, I have used it and it´s great. And one of my main fears in working with so many speakers around me is having a sudden unwanted big accidental sound.
Hmm.. I wouldn't afraid of that, if volume will be adjusted in TM. It's pretty safe, last saved values are correctly recalled upon driver initialisation. You shouldn't have any issues with that. Doing that just in DAW can be another story though (eg. some accidental plugin bypass or sound source from other application).
Just keep in mind, it won't save you from possible startup thump (this depends on particular converter/interface and connection to speakers).. so as always, good practice is, to power up monitors as last devices after all upstream sources starts.

Quote:
Then if you had to choose between Focusrite Octopre Clarett and Scarlett Dynamics which way would you go ? (By the way, I checked the Scarlett octopre dynamic and it has 8 trs outputs)
Ahh, you're correct, I've missed, Dynamics has TRS outs.
I'd likely go with Clarett for your use case, but of course both will work fine.
Scarlett Dynamics has built-in basic analog VCA compressors, if you decide to use it for tracking and there are those TRS outs, if it can simplify something for you.
On the other hand, Clarett has better specced converters (IIRC they're using the same AKM chips there, like in Babyface Pro, just 8 ch. model) with tad higher dynamic range. How that translate to real world performance, I don't know, because I never performed any direct shootout, just played with two channel Clarett interface and it was indeed very nice.

Also you can look at Octopre USB interface counterparts instead of converter/preamp.. as I've touched before, all those larger 1U Focusrite interfaces are possible to set as standalone ADAT converter and save that routing to internal memory. That option might be interesting, if you'd like to have TRS outs at Clarett, or use it also somewhere else without Babyface.
Comparative advantage of converter/preamp is in simplicity and also it has two pairs of ADATs, so if you use it with different main interface with more ADAT ports (say like RayDat or DigiFace USB), you can retain full channel count even when working at rates over 48k.

Michal

Last edited by msmucr; 3 weeks ago at 11:31 AM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
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Sorry, as always.. I apparently forgot to attach screenshot to my previous post.

Michal
Attached Thumbnails
Expand number of analog output channels of RME babyface-surround-monitor-fx-routing.jpg  
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
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Thank you Michal !! the info about voxengo plugin is great ! Very useful. for the SPL speaker calibration I have a SPL meter for that. So if I took measures from both kind of speakers and for example the focal is 1 dB lower than Genelec, should I then trim the Genelec down 1 dB or focal up 1 dB ? Where in the signal chain should I do the trimming ? in total mix and save a snapshot for example ? Which would be the way to go here ?
As I understood, once this first trimming is done, I do the distance correction with voxengo plugin, right ?

I got the tricky thing about monitoring FX in reaper.

Finally I´ll go for the Clarett 8pre USB. I think it´ll be more flexible regarding future use as audio interface alone eventually, without BF. And also I don´t need the DB25 cables.

So, thanks again !!!!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nahui View Post
for the SPL speaker calibration I have a SPL meter for that.
So if I took measures from both kind of speakers and for example the focal is 1 dB lower than Genelec, should I then trim the Genelec down 1 dB or focal up 1 dB ? Where in the signal chain should I do the trimming ? in total mix and save a snapshot for example ? Which would be the way to go here ?
As I understood, once this first trimming is done, I do the distance correction with voxengo plugin, right ?
Well.. that mentioned level trimming depends on monitors. But briefly looking to Focals and 8330s, there's no continuous input level adjustment.. or maybe there is for Genelecs, but only via GLM.
So your only way is to do that in upstream devices.
It probably doesn't matter, whether you do that in Sound Delay plugin or at TotalMix or Focusrite Control (each output can have also level fader). It's just about convenience or your preference.
I'd match louder (more sensitive) monitor to quieter one and don't boost signal there. If you for any reason play something with full modulation (eg. peaking close to digital zero), you might get clips with the boost, although 1dB is definitely small adjustment (TBH I expected more difference among different brands and types).
And no it's not all, total SPL difference has essentially two parts.. first due to different speaker models and its sensitivities (that's what you've just found) and also due to different speaker distances at listening spot.. (just because of sound propagation in free field, 6dB SPL drop with doubling of distance).

You can correct both at once, when you'd have speakers at final spots. Or you can split that and for example make first level adjustment in TotalMix or Focusrite Control for sensitivity (eg. put all outputs for Genelecs down by 1dB), and then take care of distances (both delays and levels) in Sound Delay. There's no right or wrong, just depends on your preference.

Quote:
I got the tricky thing about monitoring FX in reaper.

Finally I´ll go for the Clarett 8pre USB. I think it´ll be more flexible regarding future use as audio interface alone eventually, without BF. And also I don´t need the DB25 cables.
Cool, good luck with Clarett USB. I believe, you could be fine with it.

Quote:
So, thanks again !!!!
You're very welcome
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Hi Michal Me again. ! I have already installed my octophony in my room and everything is working. Now I´m triyng to implement the voxengo delay over the side speakers that are the ones that are nearer my head. But don´t know how exactly to do it. Should I use the plugin on the master bus ? With only one instance of sound delay since is and 8 ch plugin ? thanks for the help as always !!!!

nahui
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nahui View Post
Hi Michal Me again. ! I have already installed my octophony in my room and everything is working. Now I´m triyng to implement the voxengo delay over the side speakers that are the ones that are nearer my head. But don´t know how exactly to do it. Should I use the plugin on the master bus ? With only one instance of sound delay since is and 8 ch plugin ? thanks for the help as always !!!!

nahui
Hi,

yes I'd use single instance of Voxengo Sound Delay in monitoring FX chain (that's great advantage of Reaper, because effects there won't be never accidentally rendered to exported audio).
I specifically recommended that plugin, because it's one of handful ones, which supports multichannel, so you can do exactly what you want.

So you'll insert it into FX chain and open internal routing dialog in the plugin. There you can setup input channel names, control group names and assign particular input channels to those groups... so if pair of speakers has the common distance, you can assign both to same group (like fronts, sides, center, back..).
Then when you return to main plugin UI, you can switch between different control groups and apply different delays and level adjustments to them.

You can look at included routing presets, how that's done... like 7.1 Surround (groups). Of course modify that for your pairings and actual layout.

Then as we've discussed, it's pretty simple. The group for closest pair would have highest delay value to match farther pair.. and so on. Similarly with distance - level compensation, if you would do its correction in the plugin.
The channels with 0 delay and no level adjustment will be simply passed without any change.

You can also check screenshot from one my previous post.

Good luck!

Michal
Old 6 days ago
  #19
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Thanks again Michal ! One final doubt I have about the settings in sound delay. My main front speakers are 1.45 meters away from my head and the side speakers are 0.85 meters away. When I set the distance of the side pair speakers in SD I should increase the distance of them to match the dist of front speakers right ? So, the calculation shoud be: 1.45 m - 0.85 m = 0.6 m. This final number is the one I should enter in SD for the distance, am I right ?
Big thanks as always for you kind help !
Old 6 days ago
  #20
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Hi,
you're welcome.. You're exactly right with this calculation, you'd be using the difference between distance of farthest speakers to closer speakers, and you'll put that value for delays to channels to closer ones (sides in your case).

Michal
Old 6 days ago
  #21
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Big, big thanks !!
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