I own three computers - one as my main sequencer DAW, and my other two as giga slaves. I take the analog outs of my slaves, run it through my mixer, and back into the DAW. Thing is, the soundcards have s/pdif and adat capabilities - but I've had no luck in trying to get them to work:
My DAW uses a Gina 24/96 card, which has ADAT IO, as well as S/PDIF IO. My first giga slave uses a miaMIDI card which has S/PDIF IO, and my second slave uses a Waveterminal 192M card which has ADAT out and S/SPDIF out.
Can someone help me out here on how to route all this so I can take advantage of the digital in's and out's? It doesn't seem to be as simple as taking the OUT of a slave and routing it to the IN on my DAW. What's all this clock business? How does ADAT work? What type of cable does S/PDIF require? HELP!
I'm totallllllly clueless on this - but if I can get this figured out, this'll save me a LOT of pain (and noise).
If your computers don't have Word Clock connectors, then there is only one way to connect all three.
1. Connect the computer with the Waveterminal through ADAT to the DAW. Connect it both ways, from Waveterminal out to Gina in and vice versa.
2. Connect the computer with the miaMIDI through SPDIF to the DAW. Connect it also both ways, from miaMIDI out to Gina in and vice versa. The cards have coaxial SPDIF (with RCA connector, not the optical that looks like the ADAT connector), right? You can use any cable that has the proper connectors, usually it will work. You can for example use a cheap analog audio cable that has two channels (the ones used to connect CD players to amplifiers) and use one channel for Mia-Gina and the other for Gina-Mia. If you are having trouble with the SPDIF losing clock, then you have to buy better cables.
3. You make the DAW the Word Clock master and the other two slaves. Make sure that the Waveterminal is slave to ADAT, not SPDIF as it has both.
I don't have experience with the cards in question, but if everything goes as supposed the slave computer with the Waveterminal should have 8 mono channels (4 stereo) running to the DAW and the other should have 2 mono channels (1 stereo). ADAT can run 24 bit 48 kHz maximum and SPDIF can run 24 bit 96 kHz maximum. The cabling has to go both ways even if your don't want to run any audio from the DAW to the slaves. The DAW sends the clock signal through the SPDIF and ADAT and the slaves sync to that. Then the signal coming from the slaves will work in the DAW. You could slave the DAW to a slave computer and use only one cable running from the slave to the DAW but then you couldn't have both slaves connected.
Maybe not the clearest possible example but ask if you don't get it.
If I'm not mistaken there are no wordclock connectors on any of these interfaces. I just want to add a little bit to what janila said.
I don't believe that clock signal is sent via ADAT as part of the spec. It may work though. I know that I can clock my Yamaha 01/v mixer off of my RME Hammerfall via ADAT and it is fairly reliable. However, the clock is not reliable from my MOTU 828 MkII to the 01/v. I have to connect the s/pdif output of the MOTU to the 01/v's s/pdif input otherwise, I get random clicks and pops from time to time. Connecting the 828 to the 01/v using s/pdif and there are no pops/clicks. So, YMMV in janila's suggested connection method. It's also worth noting that I use the s/pdif in my situation to simply carry the clock signal. I still connect the MOTU's ADAT outputs into the 01/v's ADAT inputs.
In regards to the s/pdif connections, do not use regular rca cables. They may work but are prone to errors and you will most likely get glitches such as pops/clicks. It needs to be to a certain spec in order to work reliably with digital connections (I believe it is 75 ohm cable) in my experience.
If the ADAT connection does not work, then a wordclock generator or distributor would be your best option because you would have a stable clock signal that can be distributed directly to each computer. However, you may be at a disadvantage because your audio interfaces only have s/pdif and/or ADAT. Most W/C generators that I've seen have either W/C connectors or AES/EBU connectors. Of course, this would cost a bit of money.
Connecting via the method that janila suggested may work. As you upgrade your studio over time, consider wordclock source and distribution in your budgeting. Once you have more than 2 digital devices in your chain, having a central stable wordclock helps with your particular issue. Depending on how bad your clock signal and routing is, the sound should improve as well. Keep in mind that this can vary from subtle to very large improvement.
I've also had mixed experiences with ADAT devices but in theory it should work as I described. There is no other way to find out than to try. I use two computers that are connected via ADAT both ways, other is the master and other the slave and both computers can send audio to the other computer. Of course one must be careful not to create a digital feedback loop. I've used mainly Creamware cards that can route the signals freely but a simple setup should work with the basic cards. I don't have any WC connections, I use only the clock that is carried in the digital audio signal. I've also used regular cables to run SPDIF and I've had no problem with them. If Aaron has the budget for new cards and WC distribution system then that would be a better option but it is certainly worth trying how the system works without any new gadgets.
I'm a Creamware user also. I use sp/dif out to a Lexicon MPX550,and was wondering if you've had stability with ADAT outs from Scope. I'm wanting to purchase an Alesis Q20 Reverb with ADAT. It has the gated plate algorhytihm that I need for my section sounds. The sp/dif outs work without incident. I haven't heard of many Scope guys using ADAT, do you think I would be successful in my endeavor?
I use a GenX6 word clock to control a d8b console, a MOTU 2408 and Midi Timepiece AV, Gina 20-bit (VST machine,)_ Layla 24 (Giga3) and a couple of pieces of 'outboard' (i.e., unused) gear - Lexicon MPX-1, and ADAT and Mackie HDR24/96. No clock issues ever. The ADAT connections are run 8 tracks at a time through a Frontier Apache, so I can bounce ADAT, HDR24/96 and 2408 audio through Digital Performer or to mixdown on the VST computer.
Aaron, if you have two items with word clock in, put a good WC generator on your list. Get the proper cabling (all the same length and proper impedence, I forget if it's 50 or 75 ohms) and everything will lock (if you follow the wisdom of janila and FV. )
------- It's all about the music - really. I keep telling myself that...