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ADA8000 to firewire on the cheap question
Old 22nd January 2013
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
ADA8000 to firewire on the cheap question

Long time lurker, first time poster. Okay, here goes:

I have an Apogee Ensemble right now, which I am not completely in love with. After doing a ton of research and closely listening to an embarrassing amount of shootouts I've decided to grab an ADA8000 for conversion (which I will most likely Black Lion mod). Here are some questions I can't seem to find the answer to:

1. Does a firewire interface have any effect on the ADAT out signal from the ADA8000? Meaning, if I were to cheap out and grab an inexpensive interface would my signal chain suffer? Or does it pretty much bypass all of the lesser components?

2. If that is true (meaning interface = no change in ADAT signal) then can someone recommend me the absolute cheapest route to go down? I'm trying to pinch pennies and grab a Lunchbox and a couple of solid preamps with the difference.

Thanks!
Old 22nd January 2013
  #2
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🎧 10 years
Bump?
Old 22nd January 2013
  #3
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celticrogues's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The firewire interface won't have any impact on sound quality. Once the signal is converted to digital (in the ADA8000) it's just shuttling bits around.

However, the quality of the drivers that comes with the interface will definitely have an impact on your workflow. A good interface with good drivers (like something from RME) will be solid and work without fail. Something on the lower end will be much less stable and more annoying. I've had lower end interfaces that required me to reset all of their settings every time I opened a new session or they wouldn't pass audio... very annoying.

Just wanted to give fair warning.

-Mike
Old 22nd January 2013
  #4
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noah330's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yeah, I used one of those with Nuendo and an RME 5692 (I think that was the model) PCI card and it worked fine.

FWIW the RME card sounded a ton better then my MOTU 24 whatever thing, which would stop working randomly.
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #5
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by celticrogues ➑️
The firewire interface won't have any impact on sound quality. Once the signal is converted to digital (in the ADA8000) it's just shuttling bits around.

However, the quality of the drivers that comes with the interface will definitely have an impact on your workflow. A good interface with good drivers (like something from RME) will be solid and work without fail. Something on the lower end will be much less stable and more annoying. I've had lower end interfaces that required me to reset all of their settings every time I opened a new session or they wouldn't pass audio... very annoying.

Just wanted to give fair warning.

-Mike
Thanks! That clears that one up. Do you have any recommendations for a fast, sturdy interface as cheap as possible?
Old 22nd January 2013
  #6
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8 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
The best cheap option would be to find a used RME PCI card with ADAT i/o.
You can find them under € 100 and they work very well.
I think that the cheappest FW interface with ADAT i/o is the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24.
The cheappest interface with ADAT is the EMU 1010, but is PCI-express.
Unless you're planing to use it with a laptop, I'd suggest you to look at the PCI or PCI express interfaces.
Maybe you can find a used M-audio Lightbridge (which is FW) for a good price, because they are discontinued now.

And yes, FW to ADAT interface won't make a difference in sound quality, but it will have an impact on the latency.
Old 23rd January 2013
  #7
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voidar's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
There is also the discontinued M-Audio Lightbridge.
Old 23rd January 2013
  #8
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3rd Degree's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Outside what has been said, some interfaces cannot record at their highest bit depth when going through ADAT. Some will go from 192 to 88.2 with one ADAT device. Then they go down to 44.1 with two. I could be wrong on those numbers and it may be different for different interfaces but I know with many, you can't record at any bit depth you want. That's likely not a big deal, but it is something to consider if you are not at 44.1.
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #9
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8 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rd Degree ➑️
Outside what has been said, some interfaces cannot record at their highest bit depth when going through ADAT. Some will go from 192 to 88.2 with one ADAT device. Then they go down to 44.1 with two. I could be wrong on those numbers and it may be different for different interfaces but I know with many, you can't record at any bit depth you want. That's likely not a big deal, but it is something to consider if you are not at 44.1.
You are talking about sample rate, not bit depth. Single ADAT fibre can carry 8 channels at sample rates up to 48 kHz. Via S-MUX, it can carry 4 channels at up to 96 kHz or 2 channels at up to 192 kHz. Many devices with ADAT lightpipe don't support higher sample rates than 48 kHz.
Old 23rd January 2013
  #10
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
thanks,FWIW the RME card sounded a ton better then my MOTU 24 whatever thing, which would stop working randomly
Old 23rd January 2013
  #11
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kosty's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If you are planning on using more than one ada8000, I can highly recommend the M-Audio Profire Lightbridge for 32 I/O via Adat + 2ch SPDIF, 2ch analogue, WC and MIDI.

I'm running my SSL Alphalink with 24 channels I/O thru ADAT with the Lightbridge.

I even have a second one in case I need to run some other converters on my Macbook. (Used it twice with an ADA8000 for a location recording without problems)
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #12
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Funk-O-Meter's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kosty ➑️
If you are planning on using more than one ada8000, I can highly recommend the M-Audio Profire Lightbridge for 32 I/O via Adat + 2ch SPDIF, 2ch analogue, WC and MIDI.

I'm running my SSL Alphalink with 24 channels I/O thru ADAT with the Lightbridge.

I even have a second one in case I need to run some other converters on my Macbook. (Used it twice with an ADA8000 for a location recording without problems)
As long as it's stable, I had one years ago with Pro Tools M-Powered and it was total crap. But that was then I suppose. And Pro Tools M/LE stability was a joke even with with their proprietary hardware circa 2000's
Old 23rd January 2013
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
dergit's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I'm not sure I understand your situation correctly but you could always just hook the ADA8000 up to the Ensemble, no? Or is the Ensemble going to have to go?
Old 24th January 2013 | Show parent
  #14
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dergit ➑️
I'm not sure I understand your situation correctly but you could always just hook the ADA8000 up to the Ensemble, no? Or is the Ensemble going to have to go?
Well, I'm going to get the ADA8000 and do a test of my own for the conversion comparison. Not scientific, just a personal "is the Ensemble worth the extra 1300$ in preamps I could buy with it" test.

If the ADA8000 wins, I would be getting rid of the Ensemble so I can snag a few 500 series pres and an inexpensive interface. If it doesn't, then I'd be selling the ADA and keeping the Ensemble and figuring out how to sell my blood.
Old 24th January 2013
  #15
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kosty's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'm pretty sure that the ADA8000 preamps are noisier than the Apogee one's. Conversion for line level is good.

Fortunately the firmware / drivers of the lightbridge are stable now.
Old 24th January 2013
  #16
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ivmike's Avatar
The ADA8000 is not noisy unless you crank the preamps well past the three o'clock on the gain pots.
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