Questions about chaining interfaces via ADAT/Firewire

guitarplayr82

New member
I currently have a Focusrite Pro 40 and am looking into adding 8 more channels by chaining another interface via ADAT or Firewire and I have a few questions:

  1. Which is generally the better method for chaining two interfaces: ADAT or Firewire?
  2. Would I run into clocking/sync problems if I chained via ADAT and only ran one cable between the two interfaces? Do I need to run two cables to transfer the sync information?
  3. For Firewire chaining, could I just take any other Firewire interface off the market, plug it into my Pro 40 and have it magically work? Or do you have to be specific about which interfaces will chain via Firewire? How can I find out with other interfaces will chain via Firewire with my Pro 40?

Thanks!
 

Mo Facta

Farts of Nature
To my knowledge, the Focusrite 40 series can be daisy chained via FW for expansion and all clocking is done automatically. It has to be another focusrite interface that is compatible, though. Daisy chaining two different interfaces on the FW protocol does not work. I'm 99.9999% sure of that.

However, when connecting converters/standalone units via ADAT, AES, S/PDIF, etc it will always work, provided you get your clocking right. In your case you would make the Focusrite 40 your master and then send connect BOTH the ADAT inputs and outputs to the expansion unit and set it to slave from the 40 via ADAT clock (or whichever protocol you choose).

***NOTE***

THIS ONLY WORKS FOR UNITS THAT ARE DESIGNED TO WORK STANDALONE.

Cheers :)
 

guitarplayr82

New member
Thanks for the help. After further research, I found that I could use two different Firewire (or USB) interfaces by creating an aggregate device on my Mac. The Mac handles the clocking by allowing my to select one interface to be the master, and then somehow syncs the other device to it. From what I've heard, the clocking is actually decent and there is little latency. Does this sound like a plausible option, or should I try to get a dedicated ADAT interface?
 
It's two different things.
Adding a unit that uses adat will be utilising inputs on your current interface. Ultimately, it's still one interface.

If you add another (firewire or usb), then that's two interfaces.

As you've discovered, mac will let you create an aggregate of two interfaces. I've used it and it's incredibly handy, but I did notice that my recording software would hit its limits a lot sooner when using an aggregate device. I'm not sure why, or if it was unique to my setup, but it'd be worth googling, at least.


Simple answer, buy an octopre (or similar) and plug it in over adat. Simples. :)
 

guitarplayr82

New member
Thanks for the help. Looks like I'll be going with a Presonus Digimax LT and, since the Digimax doesn't have an ADAT input and my Focusrite doesn't have any word clock I/O, I'll use the Digimax as the master plugged via ADAT to the Focusrite and the Focusrite plugged via Firewire into the computer.
 

Mo Facta

Farts of Nature
Thanks for the help. After further research, I found that I could use two different Firewire (or USB) interfaces by creating an aggregate device on my Mac. ?

Ah, yes. I failed to mention that about Macs. Forgive me for assuming you were on a Windows PC.

I have made aggregate devices in Mac and it works just fine.

Cheers :)
 
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