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Non PCIe Interfaces that support simultaneous AES,SPDIF coax,SPDIF optical
Old 4th December 2012
  #1
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Non PCIe Interfaces that support simultaneous AES,SPDIF coax,SPDIF optical

I've been doing some personal research for my own setup regarding interfaces that support multiple AES (or XLR AES plus SPDIF) or SPDIF coax plus SPDIF optical INPUT connections simultaneously. Basically interfaces that support multiple digital ins without using ADAT. I have stand alone stereo A/D converters that do not have ADAT outs which is why I started this search. Wanted to post here as a resource for anyone else looking for this info. The following are inputs only. All interfaces are non PCI or PCIe.

Interface units I've found that support 4 digital ins (non-ADAT).

1. RME UFX - (AES + SPDIF Optical)

2. RME UCX - (SPDIF coax + SPDIF Optical)

3. Focusrite Saffire PRO 24 (and Pro 24 DSP) - (SPDIF coax + SPDIF Optical)

4. Focusrite Saffire PRO 40 - (SPDIF coax +SPDIF Optical)

5. Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 - (SPDIF coax + SPDIF Optical)

Interfaces that support 8 or more digital ins (non-ADAT)

1. Apogee Symphony - (8 AES I/O)

2. Apogee Rosetta 800 (8 AES I/O)

3. Lynx Aurora 8 and 16 (8 and 16 AES I/O respectively)

4. Metric Halo ULN -8

5. Metric Halo LIO-8

This is what I've found so far. Feel free to addd to this list if you know of other units that support this. Thanks!
Old 8th December 2012
  #2
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For Four Digital Ins, you can also use the MIO 2882 and ULN-2 as they have 2 Channels of AES/SPDIF and the optical can be set to SPDIF.
Old 15th May 2014
  #3
I got the apogee symphony ... I did connect an eleven rack through spdif that is running smoothly ... I was considering buying a mic preamp with AES connection .... can I use the SPDIF and AES/EBU Protocol simultaneously on the symphony ?
Old 15th May 2014
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Bechara View Post
I got the apogee symphony ... I did connect an eleven rack through spdif that is running smoothly ... I was considering buying a mic preamp with AES connection .... can I use the SPDIF and AES/EBU Protocol simultaneously on the symphony ?
Yes - that is how I'm currently setup.
Old 15th May 2014
  #5
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The MOTU 896 mk3 can do all simultaneously if I remember correctly. The adat ins are switchable to spdif independent of one another.
Old 15th May 2014
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Parker View Post
Interface units I've found that support 4 digital ins (non-ADAT).

1. RME UFX - (AES + SPDIF Optical)
The UFX does not allow simultaneous AES & SPDIF! It's only one or the other.

(identical signal outputs to both, but only the SPDIF input works in this setting)

Just a clarification as this may change yours or someone elses buying decision.
Old 21st May 2014
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by |-| View Post
The UFX does not allow simultaneous AES & SPDIF! It's only one or the other.

(identical signal outputs to both, but only the SPDIF input works in this setting)

Just a clarification as this may change yours or someone elses buying decision.
So you cannot use AES and Spdif optical via the labeled ADAT connectors at the same time?
Old 21st May 2014
  #8
TC Konnekt 24D - coax spdif + optical spdif simultaneously. Also TC digital konnekt x32 which was inexplicably discontinued Digital Konnekt x32 - Every Studio’s Missing Link | TC Electronic basically a digital patch bay.
Old 22nd May 2014
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Parker View Post
So you cannot use AES and Spdif optical via the labeled ADAT connectors at the same time?
You CAN use AES & ADAT 1&2 simultaneously.

You CANNOT use AES & Optical SPDIF (which takes over ADAT 2 ports) simultaneously.

You CAN use ADAT 1 & Optical SPDIF (ADAT 2 simultaneously)

Apparently when switching to Optical SPDIF mode, it's using the same internal component that drives the AES which makes this a hardware limitation that unfortunately won't be fixed in a firmware update.
Old 22nd May 2014
  #10
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UFX vs UCX Digital Inputs

I was very disappointed that my UFX can't handle AES and SPDIF simultaneously. I'd like to be able to record my Kemper through SPDIF while recording vocals into my Burl B2 through AES, for example.

I'm thinking of downgrading to the UCX, the manual says that the optical and coax SPDIF can be used simultaneously. Can someone please confirm that they've done this and it works?

My other option might be to get an RME ADI-4 DD or an ADI-192 DD and connect them to the UFX through ADAT. Are there any other less expensive but high-quality options? By the way, I'm on a Windows PC, not a Mac.
Old 22nd May 2014
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LesC View Post
I was very disappointed that my UFX can't handle AES and SPDIF simultaneously. I'd like to be able to record my Kemper through SPDIF while recording vocals into my Burl B2 through AES, for example.

I'm thinking of downgrading to the UCX, the manual says that the optical and coax SPDIF can be used simultaneously. Can someone please confirm that they've done this and it works?

My other option might be to get an RME ADI-4 DD or an ADI-192 DD and connect them to the UFX through ADAT. Are there any other less expensive but high-quality options? By the way, I'm on a Windows PC, not a Mac.
From my understanding, the UCX in fact CAN do both simultaneously.

The only downfall I've ever experienced with my UFX is this exact issue, which I didn't know existed until I tried it.

There are a few ways to convert ADAT to AES, and I would do that before getting a UCX. UCX is great, but the DURec is an absolute necessity for me on my UFX and I wouldn't trade it for any interface that's currently being produced personally.

Since these are hardware limitations, they have no difference whether mac/pc.
Old 22nd May 2014
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LesC View Post
I was very disappointed that my UFX can't handle AES and SPDIF simultaneously. I'd like to be able to record my Kemper through SPDIF while recording vocals into my Burl B2 through AES, for example.

I'm thinking of downgrading to the UCX, the manual says that the optical and coax SPDIF can be used simultaneously. Can someone please confirm that they've done this and it works?

My other option might be to get an RME ADI-4 DD or an ADI-192 DD and connect them to the UFX through ADAT. Are there any other less expensive but high-quality options? By the way, I'm on a Windows PC, not a Mac.
This totally surprised me, usually the RME stuff doesn't overlook this type of thing. Then again from my understanding its usually a limitation of the components available for specific purposes. I think many of the coding chips have only so many IOs built into them, which is why you see many interfaces with the same limitations.

The USA RME rep told me on the phone some time ago that the UCX will handle both Coax and Optical Spdif at the same time, but you might want to call them and confirm.
Old 22nd May 2014
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by |-| View Post
The only downfall I've ever experienced with my UFX is this exact issue, which I didn't know existed until I tried it.
Thank you for the reply, I had the same experience. This is on the main RME UFX Page:

1 x AES/EBU I/O
2 x ADAT I/O (or 1 x ADAT I/O plus 1 x SPDIF I/O optical)

In the 120 page user's guide, I can't find anywhere that it mentions that AES/EBU and SPDIF optical can't be used simultaneously. I'm sure this is just an oversight, but it still feels deceptive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by |-| View Post
There are a few ways to convert ADAT to AES, and I would do that before getting a UCX. UCX is great, but the DURec is an absolute necessity for me on my UFX and I wouldn't trade it for any interface that's currently being produced personally.
The only currently-made ADAT to AES convertors I can find are the RME ADI-4 DD and the ADI-192 DD. These are around $1,000 and $1,500, a bit too much for just one more digital I/O that I thought was already available on the UFX. Are you aware of any others that are good quality and less expensive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by |-| View Post
Since these are hardware limitations, they have no difference whether mac/pc.
I mentioned the PC platform in case people would give alternative suggestions. For example, the Symphony requires a Mac, at least for configuration.
Old 22nd May 2014
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Parker View Post
This totally surprised me, usually the RME stuff doesn't overlook this type of thing. Then again from my understanding its usually a limitation of the components available for specific purposes. I think many of the coding chips have only so many IOs built into them, which is why you see many interfaces with the same limitations.
Yes I think it is a limitation of the chips used. Unfortunate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LesC View Post
Thank you for the reply, I had the same experience. This is on the main RME UFX Page:

1 x AES/EBU I/O
2 x ADAT I/O (or 1 x ADAT I/O plus 1 x SPDIF I/O optical)

In the 120 page user's guide, I can't find anywhere that it mentions that AES/EBU and SPDIF optical can't be used simultaneously. I'm sure this is just an oversight, but it still feels deceptive.



The only currently-made ADAT to AES convertors I can find are the RME ADI-4 DD and the ADI-192 DD. These are around $1,000 and $1,500, a bit too much for just one more digital I/O that I thought was already available on the UFX. Are you aware of any others that are good quality and less expensive?



I mentioned the PC platform in case people would give alternative suggestions. For example, the Symphony requires a Mac, at least for configuration.
Although it probably wouldn't have changed my purchase, it would have been nice if this limitation was noted in the manual. I found out the hard way (and scratching my head) when I was trying to route things.

I'm not familiar with format converters, but I would think someone besides RME is making them as well.

But I would add, RME gear is exceptional and you always get what you pay for, if not more with them. If you can afford it, stick with them.
Old 4th July 2016
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by |-| View Post
You CAN use AES & ADAT 1&2 simultaneously.

You CANNOT use AES & Optical SPDIF (which takes over ADAT 2 ports) simultaneously.

You CAN use ADAT 1 & Optical SPDIF (ADAT 2 simultaneously)

Apparently when switching to Optical SPDIF mode, it's using the same internal component that drives the AES which makes this a hardware limitation that unfortunately won't be fixed in a firmware update.
Hey I got a question about this, I got a UFX and I'm thinking about getting a Antelope Pure2 and another DAC, running Pure2 on Toslink and the DAC on AES. Is this possible? I'm a little confused about ADAT vs Optical SPDIF.
Old 4th July 2016
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatsNo View Post
Hey I got a question about this, I got a UFX and I'm thinking about getting a Antelope Pure2 and another DAC, running Pure2 on Toslink and the DAC on AES. Is this possible? I'm a little confused about ADAT vs Optical SPDIF.
Unfortunately, you wouldn't be able to run 2 stereo DAC's with one on AES and one in SPDIF mode.

You could run stereo AES, then 16 channels of ADAT simultaneously. But once ADAT2 is changed to SPDIF mode, you have no separation between it and AES.
Old 4th July 2016
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by |-| View Post
Unfortunately, you wouldn't be able to run 2 stereo DAC's with one on AES and one in SPDIF mode.

You could run stereo AES, then 16 channels of ADAT simultaneously. But once ADAT2 is changed to SPDIF mode, you have no separation between it and AES.
Ok, thanks. One thing that has me baffled though is that it says here that Pure2 has ADAT: https://www.musicstore.de/en_NO/NOK/...REC0011860-000
But ADAT and optical Spdif runs through the same cables right? How would UFX know that it's adat and not spdif optical. Sorry if this is confusing. It might also be wrong on the musicstore site, that it's infact not adat but just optical spdif.
Old 4th July 2016
  #18
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Motu 112d
Old 4th July 2016
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatsNo View Post
Ok, thanks. One thing that has me baffled though is that it says here that Pure2 has ADAT: https://www.musicstore.de/en_NO/NOK/...REC0011860-000
But ADAT and optical Spdif runs through the same cables right? How would UFX know that it's adat and not spdif optical. Sorry if this is confusing. It might also be wrong on the musicstore site, that it's infact not adat but just optical spdif.
ADAT and SPDIF share the same cables, same connectors, just talk a different language.

SPDIF only allows 2 channels, ADAT supports 8 at 48k, and 4 channels at 96k (SMUX mode).

Many devices that support ADAT will support SPDIF, but the device must have the ability to speak both languages in its settings.
Old 5th July 2016
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatsNo View Post
Ok, thanks. One thing that has me baffled though is that it says here that Pure2 has ADAT: https://www.musicstore.de/en_NO/NOK/...REC0011860-000
But ADAT and optical Spdif runs through the same cables right? How would UFX know that it's adat and not spdif optical. Sorry if this is confusing. It might also be wrong on the musicstore site, that it's infact not adat but just optical spdif.
Pure2 does not have ADAT. This means that connecting it to the UFX will only allow access to one of the Pure2's DA's. You will have the current capabilities of the UFX plus one higher-quality stereo AD and DA.

The Pure2 may be great quality, but the connectivity is awful. Something like the Lynx Hilo will do what you want to do without the limitations of the Pure2. The Lynx can be connected to your UFX using ADAT, so you have full access to the Hilo's AD and the 3 DA's. And you can still connect another AD-DA using AES or optical SPDIF on the UFX.
Old 5th July 2016
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by LesC View Post
Pure2 does not have ADAT. This means that connecting it to the UFX will only allow access to one of the Pure2's DA's. You will have the current capabilities of the UFX plus one higher-quality stereo AD and DA.

The Pure2 may be great quality, but the connectivity is awful. Something like the Lynx Hilo will do what you want to do without the limitations of the Pure2. The Lynx can be connected to your UFX using ADAT, so you have full access to the Hilo's AD and the 3 DA's. And you can still connect another AD-DA using AES or optical SPDIF on the UFX.
Thanks for clearing that up! That's a bummer though, the Hilo is a bit out of the price range for me at the moment, could get a good deal on the Pure2 and would definitely had gotten it hadn't it been for this akward restriction.
Old 5th July 2016
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatsNo View Post
Thanks for clearing that up! That's a bummer though, the Hilo is a bit out of the price range for me at the moment, could get a good deal on the Pure2 and would definitely had gotten it hadn't it been for this akward restriction.
I know what you mean, I have the same problem. Antelope could have easily and inexpensively given reasonable connectivity options, but they chose not to, I guess they wanted to limit their potential market for some reason.

For a small recording setup like mine, using the Antelope itself as the interface could have worked, but again another decision by Antelope killed the idea. Using the Pure2 as an interface, you can use the Pure2 AD OR another AD connected to the Pure2 using AES of SPDIF, but not both at the same time. So if you want to record 3 or 4 channels instead of just 2 you're screwed.
Old 11th July 2016
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by LesC View Post
I know what you mean, I have the same problem. Antelope could have easily and inexpensively given reasonable connectivity options, but they chose not to, I guess they wanted to limit their potential market for some reason.

For a small recording setup like mine, using the Antelope itself as the interface could have worked, but again another decision by Antelope killed the idea. Using the Pure2 as an interface, you can use the Pure2 AD OR another AD connected to the Pure2 using AES of SPDIF, but not both at the same time. So if you want to record 3 or 4 channels instead of just 2 you're screwed.
Are you using the UFX? I'm wondering if the 802 can handle more digital in/out at the same time?
Old 11th July 2016
  #24
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Hunt up Z-Systems on the webz. Some of their gear converts, some just routes.
Old 11th July 2016
  #25
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Typically you select converters / interface together as a system and not "I bought these converters, what will work with it?". As such you still need to determine the basic questions one would if they did not already have converters. Post your answers to these questions . . . What is your budget? How many channels do you need now? How many channels in the near future for possible expansion (you don't want to paint yourself into a corner)? What sample rate will you be recording at? What DAW app will you be using (Pro Tools may impose restrictions with third party hardware)? What DAW computer will you be using and what specifc slots / ports does it have? What are the details about the converters you have now to use?

I know you want to use the converters you have now but depending on your answers to the above questions you may be better off selling them to get a TOTAL solution that fits your specific needs and budget best.
Old 12th July 2016
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatsNo View Post
Are you using the UFX? I'm wondering if the 802 can handle more digital in/out at the same time?
I believe the 802 is the same as the UFX in this regard. From the 802 manual:

In AES operation, identical signals are available at both the optical and the XLR output. An obvious use for this would be to connect two devices, i.e. using the Fireface 802 as a splitter (distribution 1 on 2).

From the UFX manual:

In AES operation, identical signals are available at both the optical and the XLR output. An obvious use for this would be to connect two devices, i.e. using the Fireface UFX as a splitter (distribution 1 on 2).

The cheaper UCX allows two digital connections simultaneously, but for some reason they decided to save a few bucks on the UFX and the 802.
Old 12th July 2016
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
Typically you select converters / interface together as a system and not "I bought these converters, what will work with it?". As such you still need to determine the basic questions one would if they did not already have converters. Post your answers to these questions . . . What is your budget? How many channels do you need now? How many channels in the near future for possible expansion (you don't want to paint yourself into a corner)? What sample rate will you be recording at? What DAW app will you be using (Pro Tools may impose restrictions with third party hardware)? What DAW computer will you be using and what specifc slots / ports does it have? What are the details about the converters you have now to use?

I know you want to use the converters you have now but depending on your answers to the above questions you may be better off selling them to get a TOTAL solution that fits your specific needs and budget best.
I see your point, but sometimes it would be nice to use two different types of convertors, maybe a Burl DA-AD analog loop on the master buss and a Forssell DA for monitoring. This would be quite possible with the RME UCX, but not on the UFX or the 802.

Similarly, with the Hilo, you could use another DA-AD simultaneously with the Hilo's DA-AD. But you can't do this with the Antelope Pure2. It saves Antelope a few bucks, but it eliminates the Pure2 for use in small studios like mine.
Old 12th July 2016
  #28
Tui
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Amazing, how something as trivial as connecting a few pieces of digital gear is still such a PITA, in 2016.
Old 12th July 2016
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by |-| View Post
You CAN use AES & ADAT 1&2 simultaneously.

You CANNOT use AES & Optical SPDIF (which takes over ADAT 2 ports) simultaneously.

You CAN use ADAT 1 & Optical SPDIF (ADAT 2 simultaneously)

Apparently when switching to Optical SPDIF mode, it's using the same internal component that drives the AES which makes this a hardware limitation that unfortunately won't be fixed in a firmware update.
This is also true for the FireFace 802.

I was surprised, but it's not a deal breaker for me.
Old 12th July 2016
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilikefruit View Post
This is also true for the FireFace 802.

I was surprised, but it's not a deal breaker for me.
If it wasn't I would have tried to change my UFX for a 802 Not ready for a UCX though... Might have to get a ADI4-DD or similar
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