Academy Dashboard Forum Studio Gear Talk New Interface, ADAT, AES/EBU, Drum Recording

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  • This topic has 29 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 6 years ago by MichaΕ‚ Wysokinski.
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    Guido tum Suden

      Hi everyone,

      I'm in the middle of expanding my home recording studio.
      I just bought a drum set (cymbals still missing) and I could use a little help regarding the gear for recording drums.

      This is what I've got
      - MOTU 8pre Firewire:,2018by3200/quality,85/motu_8pre-eaa4a411d3b232cfb76ec3b54e89ecd0.jpg
      I think this is still a good interface and hopefully good enough for good quality recordings. Of course, whenever I will have to buy a new Mac, I will probably need a new interface due to Firewire.

      So I thought an interface with an ADAT port would be the right thing for the next 8 inputs, like:

      Here's my thinking: I connect both interfaces with SPDIF cables, so I will have 16 inputs and 2 outputs. To get another 8 outputs I will need a SUB-D to 8 x XLR-female multicore which I connect to the OctoPre.
      Is that right? Will it work? Any other (better) ideas?

      Maybe better get the 8PreX Thunderbold ( interface and use that as slave until I'll have a newer Mac and then turn the configuration around an use the MOTU as slave?

      Next question:
      It will roughly be 8 to 10 m (yards) from the drum set to the interfaces. Would you use a multicore with stage box or use single cables for the approx. 12 to 14 channels? What about the quality of the cables?

      Leaving the set in the recording room:
      I hope the set will stay in the recording room and I will not have to remove it every time I want to record something else. Do you think blankets or felt mats will be enough to stop the ringing from drum heads and cymbals?

      And finally – Mics:
      It seems I can get good 2nd hand drum mics (d112, sm57 … (not really expensive ones, though)), I guess at 1/2 or 2/3 of the original price. Or as a teacher I can get this for under 1000 $:
      Which one would you prefer? Any other (better) ideas?


      • This topic was modified 7 years ago by Guido tum Suden.

        I don't follow what you're using the ADAT connections for... or how you're using the SPDIF cables.


        ...don't know if that helps.


        Guido tum Suden

          Thanks Tobi,

          Interesting interface. I'll have a look at it.
          The MOTU 8pre is connected via FireWire to the computer. It has 8 XLR in and 2 TRS out plus another 8 in and 8 aut via ADAT. So if I connect the focusrite via SPDIF as slave the 8 ins and 8 outs of it will be shown as ins and outs of the MOTU. I will then have 16 in and 10 out.



            If you're connecting via ADAT for the extra 8 channels, you can slave via the ADAT cable. You shouldn't need the SPDIF.

            Guido tum Suden

              Isn't the ADAT cable a SPDIF cable?


                ADAT is a lightpipe, optical.

                SPDIF is electrical, in fact a standard RCA cable.

                ADAT can carry 8 output/input channels on each connection.

                SPDIF carries 2 output/input channels - typical a stereo in/out.

                Guido tum Suden

                  Okay, I was confused and had to look it up:

                  You're right SPDIF is a 2 channel protocol, but it can be RCA or optical.
                  ADAT and SPDIF (which is Sony) can use the same cables (TOSLINK (which is Toshiba)).
                  I thought SPDIF was the cable. I meant ADAT with TOSLINK cables.

                  There's another thing I just understood.
                  I didn't think about the fact, that many producers are using a mixing console.
                  I don't and I don't think I want to, because it needs a lot of space.
                  Okay I've got an old Yamaha 8/2 from the early 90s and a Soundcraft 12/4 which is 15 – 20 years old.

                  So I think I will need an interface with Mic inputs and phantom power.
                  Or maybe, if I want to record drums, it is better to look for a mixing console with 16 in- and outputs and then use a interface like the Ferrofish???

                  Chris Sweet

                    I would go with the TB Clarett, that way you've got a foot in the future. Once you upgrade your mac, the TB has remarkably less latency, and you can slave the MOTU over ADAT. You're right, adat and spdif are protocols that can run over RCA or toslink (optical).

                    I'm in a similar boat, and the way I've been approaching it is this...instead of a console, I've been investing in 500 series preamps (CAPI specifically). They're affordable (especially if you can DIY) and sound as good as anything you'll ever need. It's the conversion tech that'll change, but I'd like to make my front end future-proof. So I'm buying analog pre's and will eventually get a sufficient amount of conversion (i'm in the UAD world so I'm going to get the apollo 16 when money allows, but there are more affordable options). While this approach will cost you more money in the immediate future, you'll know you're investing in the last front end you'll ever need, and you can upgrade convertors as tech advances. And because it's modular you can expand it as money allows. Just my $.02.


                      SPDIF can run over optical, typically doesn't. ADAT can't run via RCA. It's optical or nada. SPDIF is even more confusing, because you also have SPDIF AES.

                      SPDIF is regarded as 'prosumer' and ADAT as okay, but not really 'Pro Studio'. Madi is seen as the more pro studio version of ADAT. But's it's waaay more expensive.

                      My system has quietened down a lot, since switching to ADAT. I'm very pleased with the set up.


                      Frontend. Honestly, not sure... mixing desk or 500 module? Good arguments for both. Allen and Heath mixers are very affordable and provide a very decent sound quality. Luckily I have nooo money at the moment, so I don't have to make the decision any time soon πŸ™‚


                        Hey Guys,

                        I am in the same boat also regarding an upgrade for recording drums and multiple instruments. I have my eyes on the Studio Live series 3, 24. I have never had the experience working on a console and I would really like to get to try one for more of a 'tactile' mixing experience. Also I like the fact that in the future if the latest OS does not support the unit, It can be a 'stand alone' recorder to SD card (which is why I am being forced to upgrade). Would you fine gentlemen have an opinion as to whether this is the best way to go for my home studio set up? And this also might be an option for you Guido if you can spare the space? For me, I very much doubt Adele is going to walk into my studio so I'm not really too concerned about the absolute best pre's here. I am at peace with mediocracy! Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.


                        Guido tum Suden

                          That's an interesting option too.
                          I think the quality of the pres is somewhat important here, or maybe not, since there is the question if anybody can hear the difference in the final mix.
                          Let's say we've got low-budget, mid-class and high-end …

                          I'd guess that the latest StudioLive and the Clarett are mid-class.
                          I also think, high-end is too expensive for me. I guess I will want to track drums with 14 channels soon.
                          14 pres + interface would be around 4000 $, if not more.
                          A high-end interface with 8 or 16 mic pres is way too expensive. You can see that most high-end interfaces are meant to be used with a mixing console.

                          The Clarett is < 1000 $, the MOTU 8M is > 1500 $, but is the sound really that much better, if any?

                          I'm also thinking about putting the interfaces in the recording room. That would mean around 100 m less XLR cable.
                          This again could point to the MOTU with the AVB interface for future connections.


                            I would think that someone has done a 'shootout' between these comparable models. It would be interesting to hear them back to back. Looks like you are getting it figured out though and it's always a good idea to stick with what you know, right? If you're tracking drums, channel count is always at a premium, so being able to slave them together is a consideration. I was happy with 9 or 10 inputs, but now I would like to have the flexibility of having alot more. That mic in the hallway could bring some extra magic to your overall drum sound? But saying that, you could also achieve the same effect ITB πŸ˜‰ Food for thought!


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