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Q about using an digital preamp through S/PDIF ins of interface
Old 19th August 2011
Gear Nut

Q about using an digital preamp through S/PDIF ins of interface

Hey everyone,

I've been wanting to buy a 2 channel preamp with S/PDIF output to make use of the 2 S/PDIF channels on my Echo Audiofire 4 for a total of 6 ins.

I am a little concerned about the logistics of how this would work though. The preamps I'm looking at only have an S/PDIF out, no S/PDIF input. The Echo AF4 has 1 S/PDIF in and 1 out, but no ADAT or BNC ins/outs.

From my understanding of clocking, in a session in which I was using my S/PDIF preamp, I would need to set that unit as the master clock because I would have no way of sending clocking to it from my Echo interface.

The preamps I'm looking at are the ART Digital MPA II or the ART DPS II. Should I be concerned that these preamps might have an inferior clock that would cause a noticeable difference in sound quality as opposed to the clock in my Echo AF4 (which I've read are quite good, especially at its price point)? Or would the difference be quite petty?

Also, say I start a session recording drums with the clocking info coming from the external preamp, when I'm finished recording drums and move on to other tracks for which the S/PDIF unit will not be used, will I need to continue to clock the session with the external preamp through S/PDIF because I started the session that way, even though I wouldn't be using the unit for audio? Or could I then change the clock source back to my Echo interface for all of my other tracks (for which I would not be using the preamps in the S/PDIF unit), so long as I set the same bit depth and sample rate in the Echo as I was using before?

I know this was rather wordy, but I went back through and edited out what I thought was unnecessary babble and this is what I ended up with. Thanks for anyone who takes the time to address my concerns.
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