ADAT, Clocking, And A Lifesaver

This article is provided by Home Studio Corner.

 
Graham over at The Recording Revolution posted a video about how to use your ADAT input on your audio interface. If you haven’t seen it yet. Go over there, watch it, then come back here.

Graham does a fantastic job of explaining this oftentimes confused topic. ADAT is a fantastic way to add an additional 8 microphone inputs to your system. (Also, if you aren’t subscribed to Graham’s site, you need to…seriously.)

While using ADAT is a killer way to expand your current rig (whether you own a 002, 003, Presonus Firestudio, etc.). However, whenever you start adding digital devices to your rig, you’re adding another level of complexity.

No, I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t add an ADAT preamp to your rig. (It can be a fantastic way to record drums.) BUT there’s one thing that could happen if you’re not careful. And it causes major headaches.

It happened to me a few years ago, and it happened to a friend of mine recently. More on that in a second.

Quick Clocking Overview
I’m not going to bore you with all the details of clocking digital devices. You simply need to know the basics so you don’t end up with jumbled digital mess.

All digital devices work at a particular “speed.” This is known as the “sample rate.” When you start connecting digital devices together (using digital connections like ADAT, AES, S/PDIF, etc.), they all need to be running at the same sample rate, or you’ll have issues.

As Graham mentioned in his video, once he connected the ADAT device to his 002, he made sure both devices are set to the same sample rate (I do everything at 44.1 kHz). Simple, right?

Another tip about digital devices – only one device can be the “master.” All the others need to be the “slave.”

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In Graham’s example, either the 002 or the Behringer unit needs to be the master. There are two ways to sync up digital devices: through the digital signal itself (ADAT, AES, S/PDIF all allow for this) OR through a BNC wordclock connection. Since the 002 doesn’t have a wordclock connector, Graham has to clock the 002 to the Behringer through the ADAT cable.

Graham shows us how to do this in his video.

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