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basic digital audio ??

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Discussion related to installation, configuration and use of MOTU hardware such as MIDI interfaces, audio interfaces, etc. for Mac OSX

basic digital audio ??

Postby Drumthumb » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:27 am

what route does the audio take ? For example: a MIDI controller triggers sounds in MainStage via MIDI connection through an UltraLite; the sound travels from the laptop back through the USB or FireWire connection into the MOTU where it is routed out the analogue jacks OR the SPDIF/TOSlink. From there it is inserted into the sound system/PA speakers. So my question is: why do you need a digital out if the sound is going directly into an amplifier?
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Re: basic digital audio ??

Postby bayswater » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:00 am

Drumthumb wrote:So my question is: why do you need a digital out if the sound is going directly into an amplifier?
In case you want to route the signal to the digital inputs of another device.
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Re: basic digital audio ??

Postby mikehalloran » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:16 am

Bingo!
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Re: basic digital audio ??

Postby Drumthumb » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:48 pm

bayswater wrote:
Drumthumb wrote:So my question is: why do you need a digital out if the sound is going directly into an amplifier?
In case you want to route the signal to the digital inputs of another device.

bear with me - another device like a DAW, or SSD? Ultimately, though, the sound will need to be routed through an A/D converter to get it to an amplifier, right?
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Re: basic digital audio ??

Postby mikehalloran » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:09 pm

Drumthumb wrote:Ultimately, though, the sound will need to be routed through an A/D converter to get it to an amplifier, right?

Yes but the goal for most these days is to keep everything in the digital domain up to that point.
July 2010 iMac 2.93G i7 Quad, OWC eSATA mod, 32G RAM, OS 10.13.1
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Re: basic digital audio ??

Postby bayswater » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:58 pm

Drumthumb wrote:
bayswater wrote:
Drumthumb wrote:So my question is: why do you need a digital out if the sound is going directly into an amplifier?
In case you want to route the signal to the digital inputs of another device.

bear with me - another device like a DAW, or SSD? Ultimately, though, the sound will need to be routed through an A/D converter to get it to an amplifier, right?

No. If you wanted to send it to a digital tape, for example, you could do it without conversion. You might send it to another audio interface that has a connection to effects you want to use. E.g., I have a second Mac with a PCI UAD card. To use it, I use digital outs on my main Mac to get to it, setting up an effects loop to and from the UAD.

Generally, you should keep your signal in digital format once it has been converted from analog until it has to be converted back to analog for monitors, vinyl, etc. So all your equipment needs to have digital inputs and outputs so you can do that.
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Re: basic digital audio ??

Postby Phil O » Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:08 am

Vinyl? What's that?
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Re: basic digital audio ??

Postby bayswater » Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:47 am

Phil O wrote:Vinyl? What's that?
The Beatles used it for storage or something.
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Re: basic digital audio ??

Postby Phil O » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:57 am

Kind of a not-so-floppy disk, huh?
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Re: basic digital audio ??

Postby Phil O » Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:03 pm

bayswater wrote:
Drumthumb wrote:Ultimately, though, the sound will need to be routed through an A/D converter to get it to an amplifier, right?

No. If you wanted to send it to a digital tape, for example, you could do it without conversion. You might send it to another audio interface that has a connection to effects you want to use. E.g., I have a second Mac with a PCI UAD card. To use it, I use digital outs on my main Mac to get to it, setting up an effects loop to and from the UAD.
Also, some amps now have built in converters (i.e., digital ins). I don't think I'd use one, but they exist.

Phil
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Re: basic digital audio ??

Postby Drumthumb » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:45 pm

Phil O wrote:
bayswater wrote:
Drumthumb wrote:Ultimately, though, the sound will need to be routed through an A/D converter to get it to an amplifier, right?

No. If you wanted to send it to a digital tape, for example, you could do it without conversion. You might send it to another audio interface that has a connection to effects you want to use. E.g., I have a second Mac with a PCI UAD card. To use it, I use digital outs on my main Mac to get to it, setting up an effects loop to and from the UAD.
Also, some amps now have built in converters (i.e., digital ins). I don't think I'd use one, but they exist.

Phil



Can you recommend a good keyboard amp with digital inputs?
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Re: basic digital audio ??

Postby HCMarkus » Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:38 pm

Drumthumb wrote:Can you recommend a good keyboard amp with digital inputs?

I wouldn't go there. Use the digital outputs to drive external digital devices (i.e. external digital reverb or delay or whatever box) or to transfer audio to another device that will be manipulating the audio in the digital domain. This way, you avoid multiple conversion cycles.

Connect amps to the analog outs of your interface.
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Re: basic digital audio ??

Postby Drumthumb » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:08 pm

HCMarkus wrote:
Drumthumb wrote:Can you recommend a good keyboard amp with digital inputs?


Connect amps to the analog outs of your interface.


ahhhh....thank you for helping to make my point; there are no keyboard amplifiers with digital inputs.
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Re: basic digital audio ??

Postby Kurt Cowling » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:19 pm

So the bottom line of this thread is... if you don’t need the digital output - don’t use it.
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Re: basic digital audio ??

Postby bayswater » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:42 pm

Drumthumb wrote:ahhhh....thank you for helping to make my point; there are no keyboard amplifiers with digital inputs.
There may not be any sold as keyboard amplifiers, but there are amps with digital inputs. The point being made, and the answer to your original question, is that there are a lot of audio units that have digital I/O so that once the analog/digital conversion is done, the signal path can remain digital as long as some sort of processing is to be applied.
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