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Thread: How can I expand my audio interface using its Optical digital input?

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    Question How can I expand my audio interface using its Optical digital input?

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    Hello,

    I use an Audient iD14 USB interface. It has 2 on-board Mic/Line inputs, as well as an "optical input"/ADAT digital input. The manual claims that the digital input can be used to expand the Audient's input capabilities.

    I will quite the manual:

    "iD14 features an optical input connection. This can be set to operate as stereo optical S/PDIF or 8-channel ADAT (SMUX) via the System Panel in the iD mixer application. Both formats will operate at up to 96kHz sample rate...
    Running in ADAT mode, the optical input provides a great way to expand to 10 inputs for recording via an external mic preamp such as an Audient ASP800."

    What I am wondering, is if only the specified expansion unit made by Audient will work if I want to expand to 10 inputs.

    I have an old Tascam 1641 Interface (discontinued/no longer driver supported) which has a "digital out" (IEC60958 Consumer(S/PDIF) or IEC60958 Professional(AES/EBU). From what I can observe, the Tascam still operates fine and powers on, although the outdated USB technology prevents me from being able to use it straight into my computer.

    Is there a way that I can run the Tascam's digital out into my Audient's digital in? I can already see that I'd need some kind of active converter box/device, but I still am not sure if, even with he proper converter, the Tascam would be able to communicate its input channels to the Audient.

    I am very new to "digital" ins & outs and I have very little knowledge of the properties and differences between S/PDIF, Optical, AES etc connections. I know that "clocks" play an important role in this operation, as well, so I must educate myself on that as well.

    Any help here would be greatly appreciated! Hopefully my question actually made sense to experts of digital connections - I will try to clarify any details that may have been miscommunicated in my question. Thanks!

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    I don't have the time to investigate your Audient specs, but from what you say it should be able to add a 8 channel preamp via ADAT.

    Oh, the 1641. Great for the time but not expandable. I had to move on from that unit but it did me good for a while. 16 tracks just wasn't enough for my needs eventually.

    You can likely use the Tascam for a digital input in to the Audient, but why? You will only get two tracks that way. The SPDIF out is only two channels. L/R. Not really worth it.

    Some preamps have a SPDIF out that you could use as extra tracks, but it depends on the interface. They are not all the same.
    PC Win7-64-24G i7-4790k/Cubase 9 Pro 64-bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/ADAM A7x/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne 4 Studio/Other things that don't mean anything if a client shows up not knowing what it wants.

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    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cable-Mount...9479268&sr=8-5

    I have one of the above and its mate going the other way. I used them to communicate two ways from a Mini Disc recorder and an M-A 2496 sound card. Worked a treat.

    Only gets you two more channels but cheap so worth a try? And yes, there is no reason why a "lesser" ADAT unit like the Behringer ADA 8200 should not work. Take advantage of the Distance Trading Regs? Get one, try it, if no joy..SHOUT!

    Dave.

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    Hey guys, thank you both for the quick help. Ok, I now realize that SPDIF implies a stereo/2 channel signal - which means running a SPDIF connection into the Audient is not going to help me achieve what I would like (sadly). So, if Iím correctly assuming that the only way to add an additional 8(ish) inputs (or more than 2) to the Audient is with an ADAT capable unit, are there any very affordable devices that youíd recommend? My basement is filled with miscellaneous stereo sound equipment, various RCA and coaxial cables/converters, old interfaces(like the Tascam) and plenty more random kinds of outdated audio equipment. Could it be possible that I already have some kind of consumer grade device that would help my situation, or am I needing something that is very specific to the interface Iím using? Sorry if thatís a dumb question... I naturally look for ways to use any and all resources available to me (DIY lifestyle lol).

    Also, slightly off topic (but maybe not) - I recently came into possession of a Mackie 40 channel mixing board (Onyx series). Itís clearly built to be a live sound board, and doesnít have any native USB/computer connectivity capabilities. It does, however, have several ďDirect OutĒ DB25 outputs, which I have assessed are meant to be used for recording the audio coming into the board. The manual and device may just be from another era of recording, as the diagrams they provide show the Direct Outs running into a hard disk recorder. Itís a long shot, but is there any way that these DB25 outputs could somehow work with my audient? Or are the direct outs strictly analog signal and not able to communicate with a digital input?

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    The DB25 connectors on that console are analog direct outs.

    ADAT wasn't generally found on home audio gear, but it was fairly common on recording gear made for home studios. Just look on the back of the unit for an optical connection labeled ADAT. Often they were capable of SPDIF and ADAT.

    When you're running an ADAT input you need to make the unit sending signal the master and the unit receiving signal the slave. That is, unless there are wordclock BNC connectors on both units that allow the receiving unit to send wordclock to the sending unit. But look carefully at the way the connections are labeled because some wordclock connectors are either in only or out only. It may also be possible to use ADAT Sync connection (on a DB9?) to sync wordclock in the reverse direction from signal flow if both units have them.

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    The affordable ADAT solution already mentioned by @ecc83 (Dave) is the Behringer ADA8200. I used one with my Focusrite Saffire 26 Pro and it works fine. You will need to use the Audient configuration/routing software (which I assume exists/you have) to tell the Audient the master clock source (Behri, likely) and configure any other settings. You will be limited to 48kHz sample rate with 8 channel ADAT.

    The Mackie is analog, as you note, and that only goes into digital via another interface, i.e., something with 8 separate A/D converters. There might be something out there besides the Behri, which also has mic pres, but I'm only familiar with that piece of gear and the F'rite equivalent (OctoPre IIRC).

    You might consider a yard sale of sorts on Reverb or something. Besides possibly ending up with some $ to throw at an ADAT unit, you might save some time with only having the gear you know you need and what it does (and I'm not being snide/snarky, honest).
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Ok, I think I know what I need to do now. Thanks to both of you so much! Iím feeling a lot more informed on this whole subject. Now, time to sell some junk...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bradyo View Post
    Ok, I think I know what I need to do now. Thanks to both of you so much! I’m feeling a lot more informed on this whole subject. Now, time to sell some junk...
    You don't *have* to sell stuff. Heck, maybe you've got a huge studio and will want a 40 channel mixer to use as a console, but it seems like that's a ways down the road. (The image I came up with when googling 'mackie 40 channel' was a huge beast - something a mega church might use! At least, it's not even gonna fit through the door in my place!)

    Just suggesting sorting through stuff and understanding whether it's ever going to have a future in what you want to do. It's easy to become a packrat, because in some idle moment you'll think about doing something that an ancient piece of gear (you jettisoned along the way) would let you do, but I've found it's more productive to to stick with what I have, and when I stop using something for a year, it usually goes on the block...
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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