For $304 more (based on the Sweetwater pricing, try Kelly's Music and
Computers as well) you can get the RME FireFace UCX.
I have the UFX and think it is fantastic. I have not used the Apogee and
cannot comment on it.
Here is the RME page for the UCX. I suspect it is between the RME
Multiface II and the Fireface UFX in quality, tending more towards the
UFX. It uses the same digital core and the same wonderful mixer app. I
have successfully used Multifaces, Multiface IIs, and now the UFX in my
audio digitization business where, among other things, I do master tapes
of albums for critical users.
It has 8 analog inputs, coax SPDIF, and LightPipe, all of which can be
used simultaneously--18 input channels. Using multi-track software,
parallel interfaces allow you to ingest a cassette and a reel in
parallel. In addition, the additional inputs, even if you don't use that
mode, allow sofware selection among say a reel machine, a cassette
machine, and a DAT machine (using the SPDIF for that).
Additionally, the Light Pipe connector can be converted to be the
optical SPDIF input (but you do NOT get two SPDIF inputs at that point,
I don't think, but I'm not certain. The block diagram implies that you
might, but I don't think so.).
Light Pipe is an Alesis standard that was developed for the ADAT and has
been widely adopted. It allows for 8 channels at 44.1/48 or 4 channels
at 96/24 (using S-Mux, built into the RMEs). It is not the same as SPDIF
which is stereo (and I think can run up to at least 96/24 though none of
the devices that I have other than the RMEs work at those speeds).
The downside is analog inputs 1-4 are on the front panel, with 1/2 being
mic/line inputs and 3/4 being instrument inputs. However, the instrument
inputs are great if you can mount it near a Nakamichi Dragon for
cassettes. There are only four balanced pro line inputs.
I would caution copying anything in parallel with DATs however, because
with a DAT you are clocking from the DAT, not the ultra-stable internal
reference, and any perturbation in the DAT clock might impact the other
analog inputs. The good news, however, is that unlike some other brands,
if you lose the SPDIF reference, the RME products fail over to the
internal clock in a pretty seamless manner. That way, you don't have to
change clock source as you switch the DAT on and off.
The block diagram is on page 97 of the manual available here
On 2012-09-11 10:26 AM, Henry Borchers wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> Thank you for all your help as it has been very useful to me. As I have explained in earlier posts, I am working on an audio digitization workstation for the university here and I am looking at options for equipment. I have been given the go ahead to upgrade the university’s original plans of using a Behringer interface for something more archival worthy.
> For the last week I have been searching through various interfaces to find the one best to serve for our needs. I came across the newly released Apogee Quartet which seems like it should satisfy our analog to digital needs, however the only digital input is ADAT Lightpipe and no S/PDIF. I did find that the university has an unused Alesis AI-1 that I can use which converts between S/PDIF and ADAT Lightpipe. I have never used a digital converter before nor do I have a way of testing it so I cannot say if the translation is flawless or if it should be avoided for archival transfers. Our collection has a considerable amount of DAT tapes which I hope to connect via S/PDIF but we also have a handful of ADATs which I’d like to transfer over ADAT Lightpipe. As the Apogee Quartet is half the cost of the Apogee Symphony, it would be nice to get away with simply using this. Not to mention, the Apogee Quartet comes with some beautiful level monitors.
> Does anybody have any experience and advice about converting S/PDIF and AES/EBU to ADAT Lightpipe?
> Thank you for all your helpful advice!
> Henry Borchers
> Broadcast Media Digitization and Curation Librarian
> University of Maryland
> B0221D McKeldin Library
> College Park, MD 20742
> (301) 405-0725
Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.