December 21, 2006


by Chris Randall

What's a cheap-ass A/D - D/A converter with AES besides the M-Audio Flying Cow? Never mind my aversion to all things Digi, the Flying Cow has been discontinued. I could probably find one somewhere, but I'd rather just order something that's new and, like, supported.

I know we had this conversation before, but I have a Kaoss Pad 3 showing up tomorrow, and Korg, for some bizarre reason, seems to lack the intrinsic understanding that it's, like, 2006 or something and it's easy to throw a pair of SPDIF jacks on any random piece of gear. This thing has RCA jacks. (Really?) So I need to get a converter just for it, because my system isn't hacked together with some whack-ass DJ mixer. I'm not going to bother using an Apogee for something that is just going to do another conversion process with A/D/A of a _much_ lower spec, so I just want to throw a cheap-ass converter on there.

I _suppose_ I could live with SPDIF->RCA->SPDIF (in for a penny, in for a pound, right?) just to use the damned thing. But I'd prefer AES, so I don't have to go through the drama of converting the native AES of my system with some silly adaptor. Oh, wait... That's what I'll be doing no matter what.



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Dec.21.2006 @ 11:40 PM
The words "cheap" and "AES/EBU" don't go together.

RME ADI2 fits you description, but you'll need to convert the unbalanced AES (aka S/PDIF) to an XLR.

link []">link []

Hosa makes a SPDIF/AES converter for $79. Or, you know, you could get a computer interface with some A/Ds on it. It's not like they're hard to find, and might come in handy. ;)


Dec.21.2006 @ 11:47 PM
Go to or and search for "a/d converter" and see if you find anything. Sometimes the broadcast and post guys have problems solvers like this, although they're often expensive.

Dec.21.2006 @ 11:54 PM
Chris Randall
Yeah, I need to get an Aurora 8 or Rosetta 800 (preferably the latter.) Adam was supposed to get tired of his and sell it to me at a steep discount, but that event hasn't occurred, so I suppose I need to just man up and buy the damned thing.



Dec.22.2006 @ 6:55 AM
you could scour the interwebs for a used DAT machine. they go cheap these days. but the idea of that... ugh.

enjoy the kp3. it has some serious stuff, once you shut the pad animations off.


Dec.22.2006 @ 7:39 AM
My ignorance may be showing through here, and this isn't really in the "cheap" category, but perhaps an RME Fireface 400 or multiface II. Way overkill for merely hooking up a Kaos pad, but the quality is unassailable.

Actually, as I'm looking at it, RME has a bunch of stuff that might fit the bill:
link []">link [] -Here's a 2 channel converter, which is going for about $700.

link []">link [] -Or this might be more what you're looking for, and it's about $100 cheaper.

I have a fireface 400 on the way right now and I'm so excited to dump my digital mixer and Audiophile 2496.


Dec.22.2006 @ 10:58 AM
presonus firebox.

Dec.22.2006 @ 11:14 AM
i'll show my ignorance too by suggesting an alesis ai3...i got one for $200 on ebay and its the best money i've spent on anything that doesn't actually create and/or manipulate sound. but i'd love to be enlightened as to why this isn't a good solution? i bought it specifically for all the gear that just doesn't seem to warrant expensive conversion (electribes, anyone?) if i'm doing something wrong i'd love to know. fwiw, black lion does a mod of this thing...they claim the converters are just fine but that something in the analog circuitry is sub par.

Dec.22.2006 @ 11:37 AM
Chris Randall
RME ADI-2 : Costs twice as much as the Kaoss Pad, so we're looking at over a thousand dollars to get a mediocre insert effect. I could think of a lot better ways to spend that money, mainly on a used PCM91.

Fireface, Multiface, Firebox, any other permutations of the words "fire," "face," and "box": These are audio interfaces. I want a convertor, and a convertor only. There's absolutely no way I'm gonna sully my pristine, powerful, tuned PC with its Lynx AES16/Apogee audio with some low-end prosumer interface. No audio shall ever pass through the Firewire ports on my computer. I'm a fan of stability and low latency, two things precluded by Firewire interfaces. (My round trip latency is currently 2.20 ms.)

Alesis AI3: This is an audio -> lightpipe interface. Doesn't even have SPDIF, let alone AES.

As I said, I think I'm gonna have to just get another Rosetta. This is painful, but it needs to be done.



Dec.22.2006 @ 11:53 AM
I was looking at the outputs on the Kaos Pad 3 just to make sure the SPDIF wasn't being mistaken for RCA jacks (I know, I know, CR wouldn't make a mistake like that, but what the heck I thought I would check anyway :) )... but yeah, it only has RCA and 1/4" stereo. The USB connector doesn't even work as a digital sound source.

So my question is, if you had to use one or the other, which is better? I always prefer 1/4" to RCA, because 1/4" is big, and chunky, and has a nice sturdy feel to them when you plug them into gear. But I can't say I can really hear much of a difference between them.

CR, can you post a review of the KP3 when you get it? I was thinking of getting one for live twiddling, but I am also worried it might just be a distraction.


Dec.22.2006 @ 12:22 PM
Chris Randall
I prefer 1/4" just because it isn't so lame. RCA is just lame, and SPDIF is lame by association. Audio connections should be TRS balanced 1/4" or XLR, whether they're analog or digital.

(Of course, this doesn't count for instruments, which are what they are. Only signal processors and the like.)

In any case, the KP3 is _exactly_ the sort of thing I can be really harsh on, so don't expect a love-fest or anything, but yeah, I'll put up a review.



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