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S/Pdif Help?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Krael, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. Krael

    Krael Guest

    Yeah so I got me a mackie mixer that is straight analog. I also got me one of them nifty M-Audio cards to record my stero outs onto the computer. Seems pretty good but I need more quality. I was looking on my M-Audio card and noticed a S/PDIF Out and In line. Looked up S/PDIF and found out it holds digital sounds. So I have the technology of going from analog to digital so I assume. So my questions.

    1) Do I use the S/PDIF input for my recordings IF I had a mixer/workstation that supported S/PDIF outs? (Because I assume digital is better than analog)

    2) Being I have only one S/PDIF input. Would that be a MONO input? (Dono anything about S/PDIF maybe it's stero and doesn't say in manual :p)

    3) If it happens to be a mono input and S/PDIF would be my best bet for high quality digital recording other than analog inputs like I have been using... Would it be ok to find me a cheap 2 S/PDIF output 24/96khz mixer with like 4 tracks to run my analog mixer to it?

    Example: 24 track Analog Mixer -> Converts Analog to Digital -> 2 Track Digital Mixer -> S/PDIF Connections -> Sound Card -> Computer

    I think that would work being for example. Recording a guitar is analog. So like on a full digital recording workstation. It's still converting the Analog to Digital before sending to soundcard. So Analog -> Analog -> Digital should be fine too.

    Sorry for the spammy questions. Just trying to figure out how to save my setup without getting rid of my Mixer. I just want to get rid of my sound card if I have too.

  2. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    1. yes

    2. SPDIF can do stereo on a single conductor.

    If you are having quality problems, it is probably not going to be solved by switching to SPDIF. The converters on the card are of decent quality and there will not be much difference between the analog and digital ins, ceteris paribus.
  3. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    I assume you're new to digital recording? Well, first off...digital is either mono or stereo ( you the engineer/producer have control over that). It's also embedded with other stuff such as word clock. SPDIF is different from what you're used to seeing from your average anolog stereo pairs. Your able to transfer the signal to an external device (standalone CDR recorder, Dat or anything that has these connections).
  4. Krael

    Krael Guest

    Yes im new to digital recording with the PC.

    So what I gather so far is that my S/PDIF connection is prob not going to solve the problem being it's not top notch S/PDIF connectors. But what if it was?

    Not unless you ment my analog feed is being converted to digital on recording. But if that is the case then I need to get me a good mic preamp and some racks to fix my tone. Being the Mackie preamp isn't cutting it.
  5. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    Well, basically most if not all digital recording devices have some sort of A/D conversion. If you're using an analog mixer and you have a sound card that supports various forms of digital I/O (as well as analog of course), then you're set. You are on the right track, as far as going digital is concerned. The idea is to rig your mixers' outs to the soundcards' analog inputs. From there, you can send the signal from your DAW program to the SPDIF outputs. If you have an external CDR & you use the SPDIF inputs on it, you can monitor this in real time and adjust the mix to your likings while you're at it. This is one of the techniques I use when recording to an external mastering device.
  6. Krael

    Krael Guest

    I gotcha, thanks for the tip
  7. Krael

    Krael Guest

    Well I came up with a better idea and maybe you wanted to comment on it. I discovered the nifty A/D D/A Boxes that might help with a better quality sound. Being my recordings from guitar and whatnot are already analog.

    Analog -> Analog Mixer -> M-Audio FlyingCow Digital Converter -> S/PDIF Connector to Soundcard

    Think that would be a pretty good investment to help out my tone a bit more. That way I can get 24/96Khz Digital sound and even 128X Sampling with AES/EBU connections. So I wont have to invest in some big digital mixer. I know the box might not be the top notch 3grand A/D converters but im sure it will boost my already "Pretty good sound" to "Pretty awsome sound" for my budget.

    Also I just got my hands on the T-Racks plugins and stuff. Which is being a really good tool for my CubaseSX.


  8. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Listen. The converters on your soundcard are what you should use for the A/D conversion. Buying a Flying Cow will do nothing but give you the same A/D conversion that you already have in your M-Audio soundcard. This would make no sense. You will not get more quality just because you go in through the SPDIF input. You can get better quality through other means like better mics, preamps, instruments, acoustics, and most importantly, time, skill, and experience. If you have specific gripes about your sound, our engineer mods and members can help you fix the real problem, but your soundcard, A/D conversion or whatever is not your weakest link. Do you see what i'm saying now?
  9. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    But overall, I have to strongly agree with David, that the front end is more of what you'll want to put emphisis on. A dynamite front end can yield wonders on your recordings. And moreso, having an arsenal of mic pre's, channel strips, & dynamic processors will give you tools you can use to give you control, or contour your OWN individual sound.
  10. Krael

    Krael Guest

    Aye I understand it now. I am no digital expert. Just trying to get an idea in my head. Next to last post sounded pretty rude. But again thanks for the help Dabmeister. Think ill focus more on a good mic preamp and some other racks.


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