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Do I need a mixer with s/pdif?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by ole Jason, Mar 24, 2005.


  1. ole Jason

    ole Jason Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Louisville, KY
    I want to be able to mic a set of drums and run out of the mixer into my pc. I want each mixer channel to come up in a separate channel in Cubase. If I use a mixer with s/pdif will it send the channels separately? Or will I have to get a soundcard with multiple inputs?
     
  2. rubo

    rubo

    Aug 25, 2003
    S/PDIF stands for Sony Portable DIGITAL Interface. That means you're mixer has to have Digital I/O. What kind of input(s) does your sound card has?

    Cheers
     
  3. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Sounds like an ADAT-type "Light Pipe" is more along the lines of what you're looking for.
     
  4. ole Jason

    ole Jason Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Louisville, KY
    The light pipe cables I've looked at appeared to be fiber optic s/pdif cables. Are the ends different from a regular coax s/pdif?

    Is it going to be plausible to buy a small mixer with a light pipe output and a soundcard with an input? I've never seen a soundcard that specifically has a 'light pipe' input.

    I would prefer to not deal with ADAT if possible.

    I understand what s/pdif stands for, I'm asking if it will send multiple channels of audio to the pc and will a recording program, such as cubase, be able to sort those channels into separate channels within the software.
     
  5. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Good question. In theory, s/pdif should be able send multiple channels of audio. Many home Hi-Fi 5.1 revievers use s/pdif to transmit audio, and that's effectively 6 seperate audio channels sent to 6 seperate places.

    The question is wether or not recording equipment has caught up yet. Before we even worry about the soundcard, I'm not aware of any mixng desks with a s/pdif output. And if there is one, it's probably only going to transmit your traditional 2 channel (left-right). But that doesn't mean they don't exist. There's lots of stuff out there I don't know about yet.
     
  6. ole Jason

    ole Jason Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Louisville, KY
    Perhaps I'm looking in the wrong place for what I want then...

    When you record using ADAT how is the mixer connected to the tape recorder? I've seen people pull tracks from an ADAT to a mixing console and everything went into a separate channel.

    I just want the tracks from the mixer to go into separate tracks on the pc, it seems that there sould an easier way to do this than buying a soundcard with 32 inputs.

    Thanks for the help guys, it's appreciated
     
  7. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    Before we even worry about the soundcard, I'm not aware of any mixng desks with a s/pdif output. And if there is one, it's probably only going to transmit your traditional 2 channel (left-right). But that doesn't mean they don't exist. There's lots of stuff out there I don't know about yet.

    Yamaha and Soundcraft make some, IIRC. The ones I've seen are two channels only.

    Mackie's Onyx board has Firewire output at 24/96, and does up to 14 digital channels out, and 2 back in.

    The ADAT input on my EMU card handles 8 tracks on a single jack, and the manual mentions that this can be an optical SPDIF jack instead, but I don't know if it still does 8 tracks in that format.
     
  8. ole Jason

    ole Jason Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Louisville, KY
    I wasn't aware that firewire could handle multiple channels. That may be an option for me and would actually be pretty cheap because I wouldn't have to buy a new soundcard right away.

    I've seen a lot of hard disk recorders use light pipe cables. Is this the same as s/pdif?
     
  9. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    There are external converters like the Presonus Firestation and the MOTU Firewire boxes that handle lots of tracks on Firewire, which has pretty substantial bandwidth. The thing you'll want to research is whether Mackie (or whoever) provides workable drivers for your operating system,and whether those drivers will play nice with whatever recording software you want to use.

    I've seen a lot of hard disk recorders use light pipe cables. Is this the same as s/pdif?

    Edit: here's a decent glossary that explains some things relevant to this discussion: http://www.recordingeq.com/tmd1k/1ksec13.htm

    A brief quote: Lightpipe- The digital communication format standard developed by Alesis. It puts eight channels of digital audio through an optical cable. Don’t get an optical SPDIF signal confused with the ADAT Lightpipe… they’re not compatible. When hooking up devices with Lightpipe ports, you will need to use a TASCAM IF-TAD conversion box to convert the Lightpipe format to the TDIF format.

    Optical- SPDIF and Lightpipe digital formats both travel through an optical cable (Only one at a time, please.) Remember, Lightpipe and SPDIF are not compatible formats, though. Lightpipe is 8 channels, SPDIF is 2 channels.