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Hardware chain with DAC and synthesizer
Old 9th October 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Hardware chain with DAC and synthesizer

Hey,
I've got about hardware chain.

Right now I have RME ADI-2 DAC plugged via usb to my computer, with studio monitors and headphones plugged to ADI-2 DAC.

ADI dosen't have analog inputs, only S/PDIF and ADAT.

I want to buy KORG MS-20 Mini synthesizer and plug it having all the functionality (sound in my studio monitors, being able to send notes from DAW (via usb)).
Also, im not sure if latency matters if im sending notes from DAW to Korg?

I thought about buying PCI-EX soundcard RME AIO, would it work that way?
Will I be able to plug everything and make it work that way or should i find other solution?
Would AIO bottleneck ADI-2 DAC in any way, if it would be connected by ADATA for example? In case of bit depth and sample rate through the AIO? Can i have ADI-2 connected also via USB having it adat/spdif at the same time and then when i work in DAW i switch it to the adat/spdif mode and when i want to listen to the music i switch it to USB and stick with 32bit/ high sample rate mode?

Selling or swapping RME ADI-2 Dac is not possible :(

If someone would help and explain me how can i do that and possibilites I would be much grateful.
Cheers!
Old 11th October 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
Hi,

yes HDSPe AIO would work for recording of MS-20 mini. MS-20 mini has one mono unbalanced output at small 3,5 mm TS connector. So you could be fine with basic unbalanced breakout cable with RCA connections, which is shipped with AIO. Then you'd need to get only standard adapter cable from 3,5 mm stereo jack to two RCA cinches.
And yes you can connect your ADI-2 DAC there, for example via coaxial SPDIF, and use it for monitoring.
With regards to limitations, if you would use AIO as a main interface.. functionally you won't have only certain sample rates and modes, which aren't supported by HDSPe AIO. Its highest PCM sample rate is 192 kHz. Whereas ADI-2 DAC via its USB driver supports up to 768 kHz PCM and also DSD rates, so if you have some material like that (eg. some HiRes downloads music), you can't play it via HDSPe AIO.
However you can still leave ADI-2 DAC connected also via USB to your computer. It can coexist with AIO drivers and you can simply select particular ASIO driver in each application and switch appropriate input (either USB or digital IN with AIO) at DAC.

The another option for combination, and maybe a bit versatile with interfacing, is Babyface Pro. It roughly for the same price as AIO, but you'd get also portable interface, you can use solo somewhere outside of you PC with notebook or iPad and mainly you'd get four inputs (two balanced mic/line XLRs and two unbalanced TS jacks, where you can connect guitars, synths and likes), whereas AIO has only line two inputs. ADI-2 can be there connected via optical SPDIF.
Babyface Pro shares the same driver installer with ADI-2 DAC. I have never tried both at one computer, however I do believe it would be working the same way as with HDSPe. If I recall that correctly, ASIO dirver for DAC is called "ASIO MADIface USB" and for Babyface it's "ASIO Fireface USB", which is important to be able to switch outputs to different interface, when both are connected via USB. If you would like to be 100% sure about that, ask support or at RME forum.

Michal
Old 11th October 2019
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by msmucr View Post
Hi,

yes HDSPe AIO would work for recording of MS-20 mini. MS-20 mini has one mono unbalanced output at small 3,5 mm TS connector. So you could be fine with basic unbalanced breakout cable with RCA connections, which is shipped with AIO. Then you'd need to get only standard adapter cable from 3,5 mm stereo jack to two RCA cinches.
And yes you can connect your ADI-2 DAC there, for example via coaxial SPDIF, and use it for monitoring.
With regards to limitations, if you would use AIO as a main interface.. functionally you won't have only certain sample rates and modes, which aren't supported by HDSPe AIO. Its highest PCM sample rate is 192 kHz. Whereas ADI-2 DAC via its USB driver supports up to 768 kHz PCM and also DSD rates, so if you have some material like that (eg. some HiRes downloads music), you can't play it via HDSPe AIO.
However you can still leave ADI-2 DAC connected also via USB to your computer. It can coexist with AIO drivers and you can simply select particular ASIO driver in each application and switch appropriate input (either USB or digital IN with AIO) at DAC.

The another option for combination, and maybe a bit versatile with interfacing, is Babyface Pro. It roughly for the same price as AIO, but you'd get also portable interface, you can use solo somewhere outside of you PC with notebook or iPad and mainly you'd get four inputs (two balanced mic/line XLRs and two unbalanced TS jacks, where you can connect guitars, synths and likes), whereas AIO has only line two inputs. ADI-2 can be there connected via optical SPDIF.
Babyface Pro shares the same driver installer with ADI-2 DAC. I have never tried both at one computer, however I do believe it would be working the same way as with HDSPe. If I recall that correctly, ASIO dirver for DAC is called "ASIO MADIface USB" and for Babyface it's "ASIO Fireface USB", which is important to be able to switch outputs to different interface, when both are connected via USB. If you would like to be 100% sure about that, ask support or at RME forum.

Michal
Thank you very much for your time and help!

I'm using my destkop PC and studio monitors at one place, so the scenario with AIO would fit me more i think.

Also I guess AIO would lower the latency much more rather than Babyface Pro, which is cool for me.

So Am I correct with having ADI-2 DAC + AIO, I can set the drivers to AIO in DAW and in foobar and in other sources I can set them to to ADI-2 DAC USB and it would work without any problems, so when I want to produce I just switch to COAX on ADI remote, when I want to play music or do whatever Im switching to USB and that's all?
Old 11th October 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirwizz View Post
Thank you very much for your time and help!

I'm using my destkop PC and studio monitors at one place, so the scenario with AIO would fit me more i think.

Also I guess AIO would lower the latency much more rather than Babyface Pro, which is cool for me.
You're welcome.

Hmm.. I think, latency is likely non-issue for what you do. Practical difference between AIO and their USB interfaces is negligible, except specific situation with super high load, because of slightly more efficient audio streaming. Basically if you're fine with DAC-2 itself, BF Pro would be the same.
Anyway I see you reasons for AIO at fixed desktop setup with given I/O needs, I came with BF Pro, just because it's more flexible, so when you'd decide to track vocals, guitars or add another stereo synth someday without getting another converter or expansion boards for AIO.
Btw. I have also AIO for many years and it's a workhorse.

Quote:
So Am I correct with having ADI-2 DAC + AIO, I can set the drivers to AIO in DAW and in foobar and in other sources I can set them to to ADI-2 DAC USB and it would work without any problems, so when I want to produce I just switch to COAX on ADI remote, when I want to play music or do whatever Im switching to USB and that's all?
Exactly, that's what I've meant.

Michal
Old 12th October 2019
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by msmucr View Post
You're welcome.

Hmm.. I think, latency is likely non-issue for what you do. Practical difference between AIO and their USB interfaces is negligible, except specific situation with super high load, because of slightly more efficient audio streaming. Basically if you're fine with DAC-2 itself, BF Pro would be the same.
Anyway I see you reasons for AIO at fixed desktop setup with given I/O needs, I came with BF Pro, just because it's more flexible, so when you'd decide to track vocals, guitars or add another stereo synth someday without getting another converter or expansion boards for AIO.
Btw. I have also AIO for many years and it's a workhorse.



Exactly, that's what I've meant.

Michal
I've got highend computer and with ADI-2 dac sometimes I got overload problems, because my projects are really big and i use tons of vsts.

My point of getting AIO was even a minor improvement of this heavy project load, and maybe getting better results with real-time processing and playing with the sound from Korg and again with lots of vsts on mixer.

I'm not into vocal and guitars. My main work is done in DAW, synthesizer will be some kind of addon to what I do right now.

I see AIO in spec has just 1x analog input. Am I able to get some kind of expansion cable for more than 1 analog input in the future?

Or maybe there is some kind of alternative PCI-EX card in reasonable price to this kind of setup?
Old 12th October 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirwizz View Post
I've got highend computer and with ADI-2 dac sometimes I got overload problems, because my projects are really big and i use tons of vsts.

My point of getting AIO was even a minor improvement of this heavy project load, and maybe getting better results with real-time processing and playing with the sound from Korg and again with lots of vsts on mixer.
You'll see. And don't get me wrong, I don't want to talk you out from AIO purchase. Just mentioned that BF as another option.
With regards to minor improvement, I've meant with heavy load and short buffers. If you already struggle with overloads even with longer buffers, then it's likely already CPU bounded and another interface, albeit more efficient, likely won't help you.
Some people try to do crazy stuff and desire low apparent latency even with heavy effect chains (working "through" Ozone, Nebula.. long plugin stacks etc. from point one instead of splitting to performance and mixing/finishing stage), but lot of times that's outside of reasonable realm with current capabilities even with powerful computers.

Quote:
I see AIO in spec has just 1x analog input. Am I able to get some kind of expansion cable for more than 1 analog input in the future?
There are two channels of analog inputs, two channels of analog line outputs. Either balanced or unbalanced depending on used breakout cable, the shipped basic variant has RCA cinches, optional one has XLRs.
Plus there is independent headphone out, which can be also used as an additional unbalanced line level output.

I/O expansion is possible in two ways.
Either you can get AI4S-192 and AO4S-192 internal boards, which adds 4 line inputs or 4 line outputs respectively.
https://www.rme-audio.de/expansion-boards.html
Those cards aren't connected to PCIe slot, just mechanically sitting there and you use flat ribbon cable for connection to main AIO card.
The other way is to use ADAT ports at AIO, where you can connect any suitable external converter/preamp. This will give you up to 8 additional channels (for rates up to 48k, a half with S/MUX at higher rates).

Quote:
Or maybe there is some kind of alternative PCI-EX card in reasonable price to this kind of setup?
I don't think so, there are other internal cards like RayDat or HDSPe MADI, but primarily for more digital channels.

Michal
Old 12th October 2019
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by msmucr View Post
You'll see. And don't get me wrong, I don't want to talk you out from AIO purchase. Just mentioned that BF as another option.
With regards to minor improvement, I've meant with heavy load and short buffers. If you already struggle with overloads even with longer buffers, then it's likely already CPU bounded and another interface, albeit more efficient, likely won't help you.
Some people try to do crazy stuff and desire low apparent latency even with heavy effect chains (working "through" Ozone, Nebula.. long plugin stacks etc. from point one instead of splitting to performance and mixing/finishing stage), but lot of times that's outside of reasonable realm with current capabilities even with powerful computers.



There are two channels of analog inputs, two channels of analog line outputs. Either balanced or unbalanced depending on used breakout cable, the shipped basic variant has RCA cinches, optional one has XLRs.
Plus there is independent headphone out, which can be also used as an additional unbalanced line level output.

I/O expansion is possible in two ways.
Either you can get AI4S-192 and AO4S-192 internal boards, which adds 4 line inputs or 4 line outputs respectively.
https://www.rme-audio.de/expansion-boards.html
Those cards aren't connected to PCIe slot, just mechanically sitting there and you use flat ribbon cable for connection to main AIO card.
The other way is to use ADAT ports at AIO, where you can connect any suitable external converter/preamp. This will give you up to 8 additional channels (for rates up to 48k, a half with S/MUX at higher rates).



I don't think so, there are other internal cards like RayDat or HDSPe MADI, but primarily for more digital channels.

Michal
Thank you very much.

Yeah, in case of overloading - lets say I have really big amount of space for doing weird stuff, but sometimes I use really crazy chains or multivoicing so i ocassionally Im having overloads. It's not a big deal tho, but if AIO would help it even in few %, while im needing it anyway for analog input, I would rather choose it than babyface pro which gives me mobility that i dont really need.

So to sum up, the scenario of AIO + Adi-2 DAC and switching between USB and Coax/spdif will be versatile and easy to use, and if I would need another analog inputs for other things in the future I can easily get it with the expansion, right?
Old 12th October 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirwizz View Post
So to sum up, the scenario of AIO + Adi-2 DAC and switching between USB and Coax/spdif will be versatile and easy to use, and if I would need another analog inputs for other things in the future I can easily get it with the expansion, right?
Well, such summary is only up to you. I feel, I wrote about options, ways for expansion and coexistence with the DAC.

Michal
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