Coaxial/spdif soundcard woes part 2 (OSX)

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by Xeraser, Sep 22, 2022.

  1. Xeraser

    Xeraser Producer

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    I'm once again in need of a soundcard after returning my ESI U24XL. I'm about to purchase an EDIROL SD-90 which can do both coaxial and spdif but alas the drivers don't go up to Mojave and I didn't expect them to either.

    I don't need anything fancy (coax/spdif in/out and that's it) and I'd like to spend as little as possible - provided that the thing is actually compatible with OSX unlike the ESI garbage. I'm not looking to replace my actual soundcard unless I really need to. In which case: NO focusrite.
     
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  3. boomoperator

    boomoperator Platinum Record

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    You better choose a current device with active driver development. Because hey, you never know what Apple changes after a year.
    My 6 year old M-Audio interface could only keep running because a user found a way to edit USB system files.
    With my 5 year old Motu interface, I really had to dig deep to find a working software. Planned obsolescence in full effect..
     
  4. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    to get it out of the way, spdif is the data format not the connection type. Coaxial cable is basically an RCA plug. The other type is Optical, which is a fiber cable with a red light. You need both?
     
  5. Olaf

    Olaf Platinum Record

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    Tascam's US-366 is one of the latest (if not the latest?) prosumer USB interface with both optical and coax S/PDIF, however they cannot be used simultaneously. There are drivers for up to Mojave (and Catalina too).
     
  6. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    well, the reason why they cannot be used simultaneously is because each digital connection carries its own word clock for sync. It's typical, anyway.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2022
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  7. SineWave

    SineWave Audiosexual

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    Audient ID-14 MKII has optical ADAT/TOS and SPDIF, plus great drivers that will work for some time to come.
     
  8. tzzsmk

    tzzsmk Audiosexual

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    SPDIF is a digital standard, different voltage than AES,
    you can have either Coaxial (RCA) or Optical (Toslink) or rarely XLR,
    many cheaper interfaces don't support both Optical and Coaxial simultaneously (shame even on you, RME ;)
    perhaps most convenient interface you can buy is RME Digiface USB - it's tiny portable USB 2.0 interface with headphones out, which has 4 ADAT pairs, each of them capable of ADAT/SPDIF mode switch,
    if you had desktop Mac with proper PCIe slots, RME HDSPe AIO would be great option too, as it has digital breakout which supports both SPDIF and AES
     
  9. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    I wouldn't even mind a Focusrite for just a digital in/out. It's one of the few things about the 18i20 I can't say anything bad about. there is no conversion being done. It either works or it doesn't. "Driver quality" is a non-issue. Something like this is even 300$:

    Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820 USB Audio Interface
    USB 2.0 Audio Interface, 18-in/20-out, with 8 Microphone Preamps, ADAT I/O, S/PDIF I/O, MIDI I/O, and Dual Headphone Outputs - 24-bit/96kHz Resolution - Mac/PC

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/UMC1820--behringer-u-phoria-umc1820-usb-audio-interface


    something like this https://hifimediy.com/product/ux1-dac/ (someone linked this) will work. it's just data. it just needs to be the right direction(s) for what you are connecting. There is a pretty long thread on Gearspace about the lack of options for a simple digital i/o. This is such a simple function/connection you shouldn't need to go buy some great audio interface to do this.

    Personally, I wouldn't even connect it digitally at some additional cost. Buying say,a 200-300$ solution; to digitally connect a 300$ used/vintage device wouldn't work for me. At all. It could very easily sound better just through a mixer, if you have one.

    A point of consumer trivia: the manufacturers adding both ADAT and Coax is an outright scam in itself. The ADAT optical connection can carry 8 channels of audio back and forth with whatever device. This is how they arrive at this number: "18-in/20-out" on all these devices and in their model numbers. It's like adding 3 formats of samples to a pack, because people buy things with bigger numbers. :suicide:
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2022
  10. bobdule

    bobdule Rock Star

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  11. Xeraser

    Xeraser Producer

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    It's not Apple's fault this time. This isn't about drivers or anything, this was entirely on ESI knowing their products' fault on OSX for at least 10 years and refusing to fix it or even warn potential customers. I mentioned the SD-90 not having drivers for Mojave but then again, it's a consumer level device from 2001.

    This might actually work, looks solid enough. Need to ask around and see if anyone owns it, hopefully it doesn't have the same problems the U24XL has when recording from the digital ins.

    Yep, I know. Just used to calling it SPDIF since it's what the plug is called most of the time here, don't think I've ever seen electronics call it toslink whenever they bother to specify it (not here at least, I know it's more common on US electronics from what I've seen while the coaxial digital out is just called coax on most devices, not even "digital" for some reason)
    Think I've only seen "cheap" cable packaging actually call it toslink here, the more "upmarket" ones call them SPDIF cables.

    I don't really need both at once even though it'd be nice

    Yep, I need both in one interface without breaking the bank. U24XL was nice and compact but alas, shit OSX support.

    Doesn't seem to have the digital coax in though
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2022
  12. nctechno

    nctechno Ultrasonic

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    if you don't need (more than 1) analog outputs you are lucky, definitly go for RME Digiface USB, it's RMEs cheapest option at just 350$ which is half of their regular interfaces you get 4 ADAT/SPDIF switchable inputs and also 4 outputs . (you can convert optical to coax easily with 20$ converter https://www.amazon.com/Optical-Coaxial-Optical-Converter-Bi-Directional/dp/B085DJGT28/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1G92VAPSGWH3P&keywords=spdif+coax+converter&sprefix=spdif+coax+converte,aps,131&sr=8-3)

    else Babyface Pro FS or

    MOTU Ultralite MK5 which has both optical and coax

    Going with these especially the RME will also prevent all potential driver problems in the future
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2022
  13. tzzsmk

    tzzsmk Audiosexual

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    not 100% certain about long-term driver support, but Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 MKII seems as viable option - it has only RCA SPDIF though,
    I don't expect quality be any better than Focusrite, but it's definitely cheaper than RME....

    [​IMG]
     
  14. nctechno

    nctechno Ultrasonic

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    NI has no apple m1 drivers as far as i know

    also the difference in price is only 100€
    https://www.musicstore.de/de_DE/EUR/RME-Digiface-USB/art-PCM0014433-000
     
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  15. tzzsmk

    tzzsmk Audiosexual

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  16. Xeraser

    Xeraser Producer

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    I don't need long term driver support or M1 support, and I don't really want to break the bank.
    I need something that was made after 2012-ish and is confirmed to be working without issues when recording digitally on Retina macbooks running 10.7/10.9 and above. The ESI one couldn't do it (and the information about this was buried in their knowledgebase on a site that spends most of its time being down)
    To reiterate, I'm running a mid 2015 15" MBP that's permanently on Mojave (10.14.6)

    All too expensive, I'm afraid. Minimum is 400€ for the digiface but it's out of stock locally
     
  17. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    this is basically how I ended up with the Motu 828ES MK2. Which is outside your target budget new, they are the better part of a grand. I think we talked about it before. I'd try to find one used perhaps.

    I wanted spdif coax i/o, ADAT optical connectivity, 8 analog in/outs (would prefer more), ethernet connectivity, USB c and thunderbolt 2, 1 midi I/o. It happens to also have sends, onboard DSP, http/wifi control, etc. Runs perfect with High Sierra and Mojave. It uncomplicates a lot of stuff.
     
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  18. Xeraser

    Xeraser Producer

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    Yeah that still outrageously expensive, I literally only need digital ins and outs of both kinds.
     
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