Re: [LAU] What audio interface to use for a Linux-powered surround preamp?

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To: Jörn Nettingsmeier <nettings@...>
Cc: <linux-audio-user@...>
Date: Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 2:28 pm

2011/12/18 Jörn Nettingsmeier :

It's not really a requirement, but I thought it'd make sense for two reasons:

1. Making sure there's enough resolution to do room correction, volume
control, etc. without losing details.

2. Forcing everything into a common format to make thing
simpler/uniform for the remainder of the pipeline and the dacs/amps.

>>  - A HDMI switch with audio split (SPDIF) and RS-232 control.

True. Ideally, I'd be able to run the HDMI directly into the PC, and
pick up the sound signal directly from the HDMI stream. However, I
don't know of _any_ consumer-available HDMI input card, and even if
they were available, I probably wouldn't be able to decode an
HDCP-encrypted stream (or maybe the audio signal isn't encrypted? I
don't really know HDMI...).

Meridian has an HDMI switch

but the audio is output using either MMHR (over RJ45) or SmartLink
(over 4xRCA), which are (AFAIK) both encrypted and can only be
connected to other Meridian gear. (Also, I don't have $3000 to spend
on an HDMI switch.) I don't know of any other commercially available
physical connection that can carry the full information of the HDMI
audio signal.

> plus you will need to think about the clocking structure. usually

Hmm. I don't really know much about clocking. How would you organize
the system to minimize clocking issues, and maximize fidelity?

>>  - A suitable audio interface with at least 8 digital outputs.

I've been doing some reading on 96kHz vs. 192kHz, and most people seem
to think that there is no audible difference, and that it's a lot of
marketing hype, so until I'm convinced otherwise, I'm not going to
spend extra money on 192kHz equipment. So what other equipment is
available with 2 ADAT outputs?

> iirc, rme also has a card with native aes/ebu outs, and it should be working

Yes, the RME HDSPe RayDAT and HDSPe AES are the two cards I've been
looking at the most. However, the AES seems to be ~60% more expensive
than the RayDAT, so I'm leaning towards the RayDAT. It really comes
down to how cheaply I can convert from ADAT to either AES/EBU or SPDIF
(either of which is what most digital amps will take as input).

When it comes to kernel compilation, I'm not too scared, as my
background is in Linux and software. I'm more afraid to screw up the
audio hardware part of this project... :-)

> the vendor is moderately linux-friendly, at least they are providing specs

That's my impression of RME too. I'll gladly spend some extra bucks on
equipment that will cause less headache in the long run.

>>  - MOTU 828mk3 (capable, but seems to be poorly supported by Linux)

Thanks! That's exactly the kind of advice I was looking for. I had a
feeling that it'd be simpler with PCI(e) than with firewire, and now
I'm convinced. :-)

>>  - Focusrite Saffire PRO 40 (seems similar to RME Multiface II, but

Indeed. I've seen some DIY projects that are interesting to hobbyists
[*]. Hopefully some of them will "grow up" to become interesting to
professionals as well.

Thanks a lot for your input! :)


[*]: Some of the interesting DIY audio interfaces I've stumbled across:

Johan Herland,
Linux-audio-user mailing list

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Messages in current thread:
Re: [LAU] What audio interface to use for a Linux-powered su..., Jörn Nettingsmeier, (Sun Dec 18, 11:30 am)
Re: [LAU] What audio interface to use for a Linux-powered su..., Johan Herland, (Sun Dec 18, 2:28 pm)
Re: [LAU] What audio interface to use for a Linux-powered su..., Jörn Nettingsmeier, (Mon Dec 19, 10:14 am)
Re: [LAU] , gene heskett, (Mon Dec 19, 11:19 pm)
Re: [LAU] , gene heskett, (Tue Dec 20, 11:24 pm)
Re: [LAU] , gene heskett, (Wed Dec 21, 3:52 am)
Re: [LAU] , gene heskett, (Wed Dec 21, 3:24 pm)