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Z-sys Optipatch
Old 6th June 2002
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
Z-sys Optipatch

So this forum is intended for early warnings, eh?

I just got in (10 minutes ago- thanks, Mr. UPS man!) a true project-studio gearslut dream product: the brand-new Z-sys Optipatch. I don't even know if it has been officially introduced yet! It's a significantly cost reduced (~$500) digital detangler based on the z8.8a- it leaves out the SRC and AES-EBU/SPDIF split-combine functionality, and lets you simply route 24-bit ADAT lightpipe from here to there. *All* it does is route lightpipe to lightpipe (or optical SPDIF to SPDIF), but that's all I need- with the D1624, external converters, and the DAW/Hammerfall all to deal with in wierd and wonderful configurations...

I was tired of crawling around behind the rack moving TOSLINK cables to reconfigure from tracking to the D1624 to flying tracks to or from the DAW. One of the most annoying "features" of the D1624 is that any ADAT sync present on an input port disables its internal A/D converters for those 8 channels, so you have to *physically pull the connector* from the DAW if/when you want to use them... With the Optipatch, you can patch "digital dark" onto an input if you need to, so that it doesn't see sync. Valhalla...

Anyway, I'm looking forward to putting some hours on this guy over the next few days. A reliable, affordable ADAT patch bay has been needed for some time, and there's not much out there that really works reliably at 24-bit. And this has the same user interface as the z8.8a and the other detanglers, not to mention looking very spiffy.

Standard disclaimer applies: I have no relationship with Z-sys other than as a salivating potential customer who has been waiting for a while for this damned thing to become available. It's a low serial number- I beat on Mr. Z for a while to get one of the first ones. Soon as I know for sure how well it works, I'll post a proper review here. But if you've had grief with other optical patch bays and 24-bit ADAT data streams, here's one that was designed specifically for it, finally...
Old 7th June 2002
  #2
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
Great news!

I am happy with my Z-Sys detangler!
Old 7th June 2002
  #3
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
http://www.z-sys.com/p_news.html

just checked it out on their site .... retail $ 549.

Looks pretty cool and if you have a optocal setup a great thing to have ....
Old 7th June 2002
  #4
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
Yon Digipatch is installed and working. Trivial install, trivial setup. Handles putting "digital black" (no sync) on the 1-8 input of the D1624 exactly as promised for tracking (to allow the internal converters to work properly to drive those tracks), and puts any output of the Hammerfall on either input for flying tracks back and forth- my two major operating modes. Can't wait for my ADI-8 to show up to replace the external Fostex AC2496 converter box I'm now using, so that I can get 24 channels of output and mix in the analog domain if I wanna. As well as getting 8 slightly cleaner channels of A/D for tracking that can be easily steered to any or all of those destinations...

RME's invaluable digicheck utility for the Hammerfall shows clean 24-bit throughput on all channels, and flying a set of 16 5-minute 24/44.1 tracks up and back down a few times, and doing bitwise cmp on them, shows no bit errors in the transfer. Zip, nada, nil, just as one would hope. This item, together with a clean house clock distribution rig, seems to work very well indeed...

I'd much rather recall a patch and hit "route" than have to crawl around on the floor with a flashlight- that got damned old after the first few dozen times.

Finally- a real lightpipe patchbay/router that actually handles 24-bit data properly. Worth a long look if you have a complex lightpipe-based setup in your rig, I think. I'm keeping mine!
Old 8th June 2002
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
Blue Bear Sound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Funny - I was just thinking about this - was gonna email ya!

No sign of jitter Skippy??

Also - did they mention anything about how they accomplished routing ADAT with having to clone the signal?


Bruce
Old 10th June 2002
  #6
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
No problem at all. However, I do have to note that I use house clock (Lucid GenX6) to lock everything up. I never have any equipment that tries to regenerate clock from the ADAT data stream. That'd be the biggest exposure to jitter, right there, since the on- and off-times of that damnable cheap TOSLINK receiver hardware would then factor in to the timing stability in a major way. You'd get trash in the frequency domain even with a good PLL in the loop, IMNSHO.

I forget, Bruce: are you running word clock around, or are you slaving clock at your Hammerfall to the clock derived from the ADAT stream?

With word clock, jitter is far less of an issue. As long as your data makes the setup and hold time at the receiver, you have a nice solid lock and no gross bit errors. And most importantly, the sample timing is independent of the unpleasantness of the TOSLINK hardware. Optical interconnect is probably one of the single best places in which use of word clock can improve the results...
Old 10th June 2002
  #7
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
optimum optical?

The Rosendahl designer Fritz (nice chap) told me that manufacturers very often skimp on a chip in the optical section.. he said for an extra $2 jitter specs could be so much better.. Anyhow, I just thought I would share that.

Old 11th June 2002
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
Blue Bear Sound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Skippy....

I'm using the Lucid GenX6 too...

Did you say they're available now - or you got special dibs?!?!
Old 11th June 2002
  #9
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
They are available now- they were officially introduced in mid-April, looks like, and are out in the field in quantity now.

And yes, I do think that Mr. Zelniker invested real money in the parts, and real engineering time in the design of the RX/TX support circuitry.

The problem with the original cheap consumer TOSLINK hardware is that operating it at 8 channels/24bit/48kHz is actually quite a bit (50%!) beyond the design bandwidth of the hardware. The low-cost, original TOTX173/TORX173 transmitter/receiver pair is spec'd as being usable to 6Mb/S, but 8x24/48kHz requires 9.216 Mb/S.

http://www.toshiba.com/taec/componen...et/TOTX173.pdf

Use the pricier, and more recent TOTX141/TORX141, and you get a 15Mb/S bandwidth:

http://www.toshiba.com/taec/componen...et/TOTX141.pdf

I suspect that that is why several of the earlier routers that initially claimed ADAT support had to back away from it (or add disclaimers that they only supported 16 bit)...

I haven't had the lid off mine yet, but I'll bet a beer that it has the higher-bandwidth hardware in it. If I get some time, I'll pull it apart and look. But meanwhile, I'm getting good results from it...
Old 25th January 2010 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Addict
 
Spid's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Sorry to wake up this old post, but it's quite hard to find any info about the optipatch.

Is there any manual somewhere? I'd be interested to know how the routing works? Can we just route the port to port, or can we also choose which of the 8 channels we want?

I mean, if I could say... I want the channel 1 & 2 of my ADAT in 1 and 5, 7&8 from my ADAT in 2 that goes straight in my 1,2,3,4,5 of my ADAT out 8, I could almost use the optipatch like a digital patchbay

Any experience like that?

Thanks,
Spid
Old 31st January 2010 | Show parent
  #11
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
try the z-sys web site, all manuals are available there.

Alan
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