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Help with expanding the number of channels

Connecting Hauptwerk to MIDI organs, sequencers, ...
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chuckstanley

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Help with expanding the number of channels

PostWed Mar 25, 2020 3:49 pm

I’m looking to expand the number of channels in my setup. I have an RME Fireface 802, which gives me 12 channels. I know that there are (2) ADAT ports, which would give me 16 more channels. What is the recommended device to connect to the ADAT ports? It seems like overkill to purchase another Fireface 802.

Many seem keen on the MOTU 24AO. If I understand correctly, I could connect the two ADAT outputs from the Fireface to the two ADAT inputs on the MOTU and get 16 more channels. Or, I could put the MOTU first and connect it’s two ADAT ports to the Fireface. Correct? Is one a better option than the other? Would you say that the Fireface and MOTU are equivalent or similar in their sound production/quality?

I don’t know much about audio and reading specifications, so I am not sure what questions to ask, which is why I am appealing to the collective wisdom. Would there be a problem connecting devices from two different manufacturers from a management point of view? Are there other devices I should consider that would work well with Hauptwerk?

I’d appreciate any words of wisdom on this topic. Thanks!
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engrssc

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Re: Help with expanding the number of channels

PostWed Mar 25, 2020 4:07 pm

Assume you are aware that in the stand alone format for a single MOTU 24Ao output has 24 channels. In that format, it is connected to the computer via USB 2.0.

Beyond that, you would be able to connect up to 5 - 24Ao's using one MOTU switch with AVB for a total of 120 channels.

Rgds,
Ed
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mnailor

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Re: Help with expanding the number of channels

PostWed Mar 25, 2020 4:52 pm

I use an RME UFX as the computer's audio interface, then send the two ADATs to a MOTU 24Ao used as a DAC. Both are controlled via USB, but only one is the audio interface seen by HW.

There were cheaper 8 channel DACs, so I could have bought two of those to go with the UFX. But I wanted the 24Ao as a backup audio interface for when the older UFX breaks down.

In testing the 24Ao as a standalone audio interface, I didn't perceive any difference in sound quality -- but of course the analog comes from the 24Ao in both cases, so that's not a useful comparison. I was really just testing it as a backup config.

I did miss the RME's mixer interface with live sound levels on all the channels and fewer limitations such as number of aux buses. It's helped me with a lot of multichannel debugging. The 24Ao mixer limitations no longer matter with HW 5, but the RME sound level displays in Totalmix are still useful. Of course, the software is part of the large price difference between MOTU and RME.

The only problem with this setup (RME to 24Ao) is that the 24Ao doesn't obey sample rate changes from the ADAT input that it's configured to clock from, so I have to bring up its web control page to change that manually for a 44k sampleset.

I never tried the other direction, using the 24Ao as audio interface sending ADATs to RME, since the UFX gives 28 channels (vs 24) and a better control/monitoring interface. I do use some of the UFX analog outputs as well as the ADATs.

But if I hadn't spent the money for RME before the 24Ao came out, today I would just buy a 24Ao.
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engrssc

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Re: Help with expanding the number of channels

PostWed Mar 25, 2020 5:05 pm

mnailor wrote:The 24Ao mixer limitations no longer matter with HW 5, but the RME sound level displays in Totalmix are still useful. Of course, the software is part of the large price difference between MOTU and RME..


There is a powerful software 48 channel mixer (with individual bar graph level meters for each input). included with the 24Ao which, in addition to other uses, I create a monitor bus mix down to drive a headset. Also included is a powerful routing matrix.

mnailor wrote:But if I hadn't spent the money for RME before the 24Ao came out, today I would just buy a 24Ao.


Think I remember an old song - "What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours". :wink:

Rgds,
Ed
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pedro

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Re: Help with expanding the number of channels

PostWed Mar 25, 2020 5:18 pm

Hi All
While on the subject anyway,
I am using the RME UCX but am looking for a good DAC to hook up to it to get like an extra 6 channels.
I am using the cheap behringer one now but dont think i am actually getting the same sound as the sound thats coming straight out of my RME.
Would anyone be able to recommend a real good DAC?
Thanks a lot
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mdyde

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Re: Help with expanding the number of channels

PostThu Mar 26, 2020 6:28 am

RME do also make a 32-channel DAC with ADAT inputs (RME M-32 DA): https://www.rme-audio.de/m-32-m-16-da.html . (I have no experience with it myself, but I've heard that it's highly regarded for audio quality.)
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.

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