Old 05-06-2019, 04:11 AM   #1
Pinknoise
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Default Hooking up various interfaces in RME Digiface

Hello! Those of you who own a Digiface how well does it work with 2
interfaces ?

I'm planning on hooking up my Steinberg MR816x and adding another interface MR816x or else.

I want to input 2 adat and output 1 adat back to the MR816x.

I'm trying to find back information about some limitations in the adat links on the MR816x. I stumbled upon some infos a while back and can't find it now.

It was something along the lines of 'when adat is used you lose channel counts for audio inputs, or there is only 16 channels available as adat'

Now I'm quoting here cause I don't want to misslead anybody into thinking this is true. There is some limitations that I can't remember exactly maybe someone can point me in the right direction on this. It was an engineering mistake done in the configuration of the signal IIRC.


EDIT: I think I have partly anwered that question found on Gearslutz:

Originally Posted by OliverV View Post
I'm afraid you won't get 10 inputs anyway; if you select ADAT + S/PDIF you lose ADAT channels 7 & 8.
Wow, that kinda sucks. On my Focusrite LS56 i can (and do) use both ADAT inputs (2x8 channels) as well as S/PDIF and the 8 analog inputs on the LS56 at the same time for 26 input channels in total.

Last edited by Pinknoise; 05-06-2019 at 04:29 AM.
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:49 AM   #2
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If your interface manual tells you that it shares some digital channels between ports like that (eg. SPDIF sharing ADAT channels 7,8)... well, that's that then. That's how they designed it and they're telling you just that.

Two steps to 'combine' multiple interfaces:
1. Combine multiple interfaces by making what's called an aggregate device with your OS audio utility app. (Audio MIDI Setup in OSX. ASIO in Windows)

2. Sync the sample rate clocks in multiple interfaces over word clock (if available) as the first choice. Over a digital audio connection as the 2nd choice. Over the data connection (USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt) as the last choice. Word clock is perfect stability and happiness and light. Digital audio connection usually works without error. (Might have trouble with HD sample rates over SPDIF though.) Data connection usually will give you troubles.

The more pro units let you connect as you wish and just work. (RME is pretty top end. )
Some of the budget USB models (especially if they both have no word clock and no digital ports to use) just weren't designed for robust full featured use like supporting aggregate devices.
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:04 AM   #3
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You don't need to aggregate when using ADAT. All adat IO shows up in TotalMix via the RME driver.

Whether or not the interfaces work als ADAT units, depends on running them in standalone modus. I've never done it with a Steinberg, only with RME and Focusrite. If an interface can be set in standalone mode, it behaves just like any other ADAT unit, eg, it's a slave to the digiface.

Usually, you'll want the external ADAT box to be the clock master for recording. With a Digiface, it doesn't really matter which clock you use, as the Digiface will re-clock it anyways. Besides, these days, clocks aren't a problem.
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:18 AM   #4
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Thank you. The only thing I'm woried about is sending back adat from RME digiface to adat in on the MR816x. Will I still have 8 outputs and be able to use both headphones mix ?
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano View Post
You don't need to aggregate when using ADAT...
Yeah, if one just wanted to grab some inputs from another device over the otherwise unused ADAT input - then just do that and keep using just the single device as the connected audio interface to keep it simple.

You'll need to set your clock input to the incoming ADAT input or use word clock if available. (Or you can clock the other way. Send clock to the 2nd unit to sync it to the connected interface over word clock or digital audio connection. Takes an extra connection this way.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinknoise View Post
Thank you. The only thing I'm woried about is sending back adat from RME digiface to adat in on the MR816x. Will I still have 8 outputs and be able to use both headphones mix ?
You'll have to refer to the manual. If they're telling you that the ADAT connection shares channels with SPDIF for example, and you're also using that SPDIF connection, then that's that.

If you want all I/O from both devices available, make an aggregate device. You select the aggregate device in the device menu in Reaper instead of selecting one of the single connected interfaces. It's like a virtual device with all the ins and outs from the interfaces assigned to it.
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Old 05-06-2019, 11:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinknoise View Post
Thank you. The only thing I'm woried about is sending back adat from RME digiface to adat in on the MR816x. Will I still have 8 outputs and be able to use both headphones mix ?
Yes.

As long as the ADAT input on the Digiface receives a clock, it should work. When it works, it's 8 channels. When it doesn't work, it's nothing.

If the Digiface sees 4 channels, the other end is set at 96 kHz. Change to 48.

In my experience, ADAT is pretty much plug and play. Did 7 channels on my FF400 on Sunday. A stereo pair on the mic preamps in the FF400, 1 mono mic and an ambisonic experiment from a Behringer ADA8000. I only had 20 minutes to set up, but that wasn't a problem. Only mic placement suffered, also due to lack of space...
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Old 05-06-2019, 11:25 AM   #7
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Yeah, FYI:
ADAT is 8 channels at SD sample rates (44.1k or 48k).
ADAT is called SMUX at HD (88.2k and 96k) and only supports 4 channels.
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Old 05-06-2019, 11:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post
You'll need to set your clock input to the incoming ADAT input or use word clock if available. (Or you can clock the other way. Send clock to the 2nd unit to sync it to the connected interface over word clock or digital audio connection. Takes an extra connection this way.)
With an RME, you pretty much have no worries about clock. I've used wordclock input, but RME told me it wouldn't make any difference because of re-clocking in the FF400.

If you're on a filmset and need to sync with a bunch of other devices, it might be necessary.

I've got a bunch of strange ADAT hardware and every bit of gear I could find works flawlessly, however weird it may be.

Quote:
You'll have to refer to the manual. If they're telling you that the ADAT connection shares channels with SPDIF for example, and you're also using that SPDIF connection, then that's that.
On the FF400, SPDIF optical shares the optical ADAT connector, so if you want those 2 channels, only coaxial is available. That's OK for me, as SPDIF is a short-distance connection anyways.

I'm planning on buying a 30-40 m optical some day, to use an ADAT box as a stage box. I've already sold the multi a while ago. It didn't get much use these days.
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Old 05-06-2019, 01:09 PM   #9
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Thanks for all your answers. I did read about clock not always necessery somewhere . I'll find out when I'll plug it in.
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Old 05-06-2019, 01:13 PM   #10
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Do you guys think a Babyface could do the job ?
What are the advantages of going into 2 different ADAT ports on the Digiface vs daisychaining 2 MR816x and sending in the Babyface into one single ADAT input ?
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:22 PM   #11
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A Babyface only has one ADAT in and one out. So not suited for 2 ADAT boxes, unless you use one for outputs only and one for inputs only.

The Digiface USB, fi, has eight ADAT ports. 4 in and 4 out. Plus a headphone out. Totaling 66 channels, from which you can use up to 54 simultaneously over USB2.

You can't daisy chain most* ADAT units. Not over ADAT and not over Firewire as they need to be in standalone mode. Eg no direct connection to the computer.

You can daisy chain two MR816x's over firewire to a computer and aggregate them.

*There was an ADAT router that could do that kind of trick. But it had a hefty price tag and is no longer manufactured. I don't think the RME MADI routers can do it. Besides, even if you could, an ADAT connection can't give more than 8 channels.
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Old 05-07-2019, 05:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano View Post
A Babyface only has one ADAT in and one out. So not suited for 2 ADAT boxes, unless you use one for outputs only and one for inputs only.

The Digiface USB, fi, has eight ADAT ports. 4 in and 4 out. Plus a headphone out. Totaling 66 channels, from which you can use up to 54 simultaneously over USB2.

You can't daisy chain most* ADAT units. Not over ADAT and not over Firewire as they need to be in standalone mode. Eg no direct connection to the computer.

You can daisy chain two MR816x's over firewire to a computer and aggregate them.

*There was an ADAT router that could do that kind of trick. But it had a hefty price tag and is no longer manufactured. I don't think the RME MADI routers can do it. Besides, even if you could, an ADAT connection can't give more than 8 channels.
Thanks the Digiface seems to be the ticket. Too bad the Babyface must be the best portable quality/price deal.
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Old 05-07-2019, 12:57 PM   #13
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I was looking at a replacement for my FF400 when Firewire is no longer an option. The digiface USB is the cheapest RME around. I will miss the 2 mic preamps, but hey.

ADAT boxes are cheap and widely available. A 2nd hand ADA8000 goes for around 50 € over here. And a new ADA8200 is something like 150 €. Pretty flexible and optical provides complete electrical isolation. And the digiface USB is at 359€ (VAT incl.) @ Thomann, it doesn't even break the bank.

Have a look at appsys.ch for converter boxes for ADAT if you need long/cheap cables?

https://appsys.ch/en/products/extenders
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