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ADAT for dummies Audio Interfaces
Old 7th September 2011
Gear Nut
GMK's Avatar

ADAT for dummies

Hey folks! Well I've been using a the maudio firewire 410, it wont work with my laptop(which is a great hindrance to remote recording which I need to do due to having a bedroom studio), nor will other firewire interfaces I've tried. It does not have enough channels for me. I have gotten the impression(might be wrong!) that adat is a step up. I basically need at least 8 channels of audio, preferably 8 preamps as well, to get into my pc/laptop. A good long haul expandable system is what I'm looking for but you know, money is tight blah blah, so I'm also looking for the "57" of recording. Any advice on gear I should buy, literature I should read to cure my blatant ignorance?
Thanks a bunch,
Old 7th September 2011
Gear Maniac
portishead's Avatar

I have been through this path you are about to embark on (PCI to USB to Firewire). Upgrading your interface is not going to help you and hurt your wallet. There is something wrong with your laptop setup or interface drivers. Correct that and you'll be able to record many, many tracks at high resolution through Firewire. Try your interface with a PC.

I have used M-Audio Delta 1010's, FW410, FW1814, Presonus Fireboxes, Tascam FW's and RME FireFace 400 and 800. Most of the worked out of the box but some of them I had issues with and it was usually the PC/Laptop setup (Bios Setting) that fixed it.

About ADAT comment:
ADAT is not an interface but rather a transport "protocol" can't go directly into your laptop. It's going to have to run into your laptop somehow (either via a firewire or usb interface, or possibly cardbus). Firewire should be your best option for recording into a laptop. Get that working and you should be able to use your 4-10 then upgrade to something that will handle more.

What are your laptop specs? What problems are you having?
Old 7th September 2011
You have specified firewire. Is this because this is what your laptop has or because that's the interface you currently have?

Firewire/iee1394 400 and 800 has been abandoned by laptop makers so you're left with old, used laptops, 2002 to 2007 vintage.

Not every laptop has a firewire card with chips agreeable to the proaudio interface. Texas Instruments chipsets are the ones which give the least trouble. Via, SIIG and BestBuy brand cards just don't work very well, if at all.

If you absolutely must keep your firewire interface, a laptop is not how you'll be using it unless you're lucky enough to find the right chipset inside a working older one. HP/Compaq and some IBMs/lenovos.

You can still find/buy pci cards to put in an old desktop/rackmount which will do what you want.

ADAT for dummiesCompaq HP 231848 2 Port PCI 1394 Firewire Card | eBay

Notice the TI logo on the smaller chip.

If your firewire connection is iffy, the ADAT link from a micpre to your interface is only as good as the chips it's running through in the computer, so adat is not a panacea to your original problem, but it does save the weight of one 8ch snake.

You could get a zoom 8track recorder with on-board preamps for around 350 which will do what you want for 5 to 7 years without the uncertainty of a used, discontinued system hanging together for a couple more years.

You could hang a zoom h4 or any digital 2-trk with balanced inputs off the back of a mackie vlz mixer's channel inserts and line them all up in your daw later. Cheap, effective and robust. I do that for open mic coffee house setups, truly the "57" of remote recording gigs.

Keep the FW interface in the bedroom and use recorders on stage.
good luck.
Old 7th September 2011
Gear Nut
GMK's Avatar

cheers for the input guys, so adat/AD/DA isn't the "bigboy" recording system I though it was then? What would most big studios who don't use protools implement? Hmmm I tried a firewire pcie adaptaor with no luck, is it feasible at all to replace the firewire card in a laptop?
Old 8th September 2011
Gear Maniac
portishead's Avatar

Unfortunately your FW chipset is on your laptop's motherboard so it's not replaceable. I would try and rule out your interface being the problem before shelling out bucks for a new one. The M-Audio website has some pretty good KB articles in their support section on resolving issues with their interfaces. You may want to check there.

More on ADAT:
ADAT Lightpipe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Old 8th September 2011
Lives for gear
mattjew24's Avatar

ADAT is used a lot for expanding inputs and outputs. you can have a single 8chan interface thAt has ADAT in and out, and add more channels using another ADAT device. A single Toslink optical cable can carry 8 channels of mono audio.
Old 11th September 2011
Here for the gear

The ADAT you are referring to is a standard of electronically transmitting 8 channels of audio information.
Many laptops with firewire ports have compatibility with various firewire audio interfaces largely due to the manufacturer using firewire chips not completely compatible with the audio interfaces design.Some users whose laptops have PCI expansion slots have been able to circumvent this problem by using a carefully selected PCIexpresscard or PCI/MCia expansion card.
Sometimes the problem is drivers, which can be complicated, particularly on a P.C.
Some interfaces can work with a laptop via USB2 port rather than firewire, but the audio interface would have to have this compatibility.

Major studios not using Pro Tools are probably using interfaces costing from $2k to $10k per 8channels from Lynx, Apogee, Prism etc. It is a subject of debate whether some less expensive interfaces can result in a comparable finished recording, but in any case the major studios don't want to lose clients who don't want to have any doubt about getting the highest quality when they are paying $50 to $500 per hour.
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